Can ANYONE Be a Good Putter with a Greens Book?

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Space Bandito

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The other day, after watching a tour pro drain a 30 footer for birdie during post-round beers, a guy at the clubhouse bar commented that pros are such good putters because they have access to extremely detailed maps of contours and slopes on the greens. It's almost as if they don't need to learn to read greens, so long as they get the pace right. All they need to do is pick a line in the book and hit it well.

****Obvious inaccuracies aside here - as I know some of you are dying to chime in and point out what's wrong with the above thought (I think we all know, and it's not the point.)****

I have always considered myself to be a good putter. I rarely ever three putt, and most of the time I can lag the ball to the point where it's a kick in. Do I miss a lot of birdies? Yes. Have I often said to myself "If I only new the breaks of this green better, that ball would have dropped?" I say that all the time.

So it made me wonder: If you had a detailed greens book for every course at which you played (not one of those cheesy, over-graphical books resorts will sell you for $15,) would you be a GOOD/BETTER putter? If so, how do you think your make percentage would change?
 

OldandStiff

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I don't have as many years of experience behind this as a lot of others here, but I think no, it wouldn't. I think it would help me more on approach, because my limited memory of greens is hard to apply from the fairway, and exact distances to slopes/breaks is pretty valuable to me. On the green though 'extremely detailed' information would likely go to waste, because if I can't see it or have blind faith enough to believe it despite not seeing it, it won't help, or will just affect my stroke. I'm sure over time I'd incorporate it into how I'm seeing the green to a certain degree, but I've never really found detailed green information very useful with an actual putter in my hand.

I'm sure others will have different opinions and my experience is limited, and outdated, but the pros have them and we all watch them miss the same hard to read putt, to the same side, all day long. I think experience on the specific greens is more valuable.
 
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MWard

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They assist, but they sure as hell don’t help you make everything. Subtleties or putts that have some double break in them? Super helpful there. Still gotta figure out how hard to hit it, and get it started on that line.
 

Bernoulli

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I agree that a Greens Book would be very helpful but you still need to have the right speed and line for the putt.
 

WMac19

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I think it may help to remove doubt when I'm unsure of a read.

Doesn't happen too often thankfully, but sometimes I'm WAY off on a tricky read. With a book, I'd have to think it may alert me to a probability that I'm not seeing.
 

Sox_Fan

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It is helpful in the right hands but it still does not stroke the putt. The putter still has to be aligned correctly to the line obtained by deciphering the book and the stroke still has to be executed properly to make a high rate of putts. So my answer would be no. If it were just about getting the correct line, I would be a much better putter.
 

Space Bandito

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They assist, but they sure as hell don’t help you make everything. Subtleties or putts that have some double break in them? Super helpful there. Still gotta figure out how hard to hit it, and get it started on that line.
Right. Mentioned that in the guys comment. I guess I can turn the question around a bit. Would pros make as many putts without them?
 

SquirrelyDave

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Right. Mentioned that in the guys comment. I guess I can turn the question around a bit. Would pros make as many putts without them?
Maybe, I’m sure some would. I don’t think it would hurt the good putters that much, and the guys that ride the putter struggle bus week in and week out would probably still not be good putters.

I’d guess we‘d see average putts go up by .5-1 stroke.
 

DG_1234

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So it made me wonder: If you had a detailed greens book for every course at which you played (not one of those cheesy, over-graphical books resorts will sell you for $15,) would you be a GOOD/BETTER putter? If so, how do you think your make percentage would change?
A detailed greens book would not make be a better putter.
 

KEV

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It might help me on one or two putts a round but it wouldn't be ground breaking. Our course actually sells them but I'm not dropping money on one or taking the take during a round to study it.

I would love to see the Tour do away with the greens book. To me green reading is a skill that a pro needs to have and shouldn't have help with.
 

cbaker2882

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It would help me tremendously. From every putter fitting I’ve had it’s shown that I have a very consistent putting stroke, and I’ve always been pretty solid with pace, so really my downfall is reading greens. If I knew where every putt was breaking I would make a crazy amount of more putts.
 

MWard

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Right. Mentioned that in the guys comment. I guess I can turn the question around a bit. Would pros make as many putts without them?
50/50, depends on the player. They miss one putt where they were right and the book was wrong, and now there’s doubt. Nevermind the aspect of did they make a good stroke or aim right, etc. These guys are very head case like at times.
 

tequila4kapp

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No, I don't think it automatically would make anyone a good putter. You still have to execute the stroke.
 

Golf Dawg

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I was fortunate to start in the dark ages (1970s) when we had to learn to read a green with our eyes & feet.

While I’m sure they help some, I think it’s over thinking to use the “modern aids.” They can also affect pace of play.
 

greekelite

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For me personally, Absolutely not! Always user error, technique, and mishits.. sometimes I get lucky, usually I just try not to 3 putt
 

Canadan

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Right. Mentioned that in the guys comment. I guess I can turn the question around a bit. Would pros make as many putts without them?
I think the pretty obvious answer here is no.
 

Blueteez

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I think it would allow you to make more of those putts that are in that range where you believe you should make it. Like the 5 to 10 foot range where speed is easier to judge correctly but subtle breaks cause a missed putt. Longer putts are more often missed because of poor judge of speed than line.
 

FatChance

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The topography of the green shown on the map does not change but the grain, moisture content, grass growth, wind and overall speed of the green is constantly changing.

Sent from my XT1585 using Tapatalk
 

Chef23

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It can make you better but not great. The line varies with speed. You still need to pick the right line, get the speed right and then get it on that line at that speed. A green book would help but there is still a lot you need to do to be a great putter.
 

vdubtx

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No, I don't think anyone can be a good putter with a greens book. It may help get closer to the hole though. Unless you have the knowledge to pick the right line and the right speed, it won't suddenly make you sink all of your putts.

I equate a greens book to what we call lane topography in bowling. In certain tournaments, the governing body of Bowling publishes a topography of the lanes that shows minute peaks and valleys of the lane from the foul line 60 feet down the lane to the pins. If you know how to read these "maps" you can avoid low or high spots on the lane where the lane may negatively react with the ball. Low spots will stop the ball from hooking so much, high will make it over react.
 

StLCardsFan

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If it is at a course that I haven't played a lot, I could see it helping some. Not a lot, but maybe a hole or two here or there. If it's a course I've played many times and know the greens well, I'll use my experience over a book. I'm sure many others, like myself, know what a putt is going to do before even getting to the hole just because you've played there so many times and have hit the same putt several times before.
 

hkphooey00

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I've made my own green maps before. I'm pretty bad at reading greens, so I would say more than anything, it helps me from making the wrong read. It doesn't help me pick a line, it just helps give me the general breaks of the green.
Capture.JPG
 

Space Bandito

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I've made my own green maps before. I'm pretty bad at reading greens, so I would say more than anything, it helps me from making the wrong read. It doesn't help me pick a line, it just helps give me the general breaks of the green.
View attachment 8915509
This is great. How did you map the directional slopes?
 

hkphooey00

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This is great. How did you map the directional slopes?
I downloaded LIDAR and used GIS software to convert it to contours and slope direction.
 
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I downloaded LIDAR and used GIS software to convert it to contours and slope direction.
That's pretty smart. I work in Geomatics and I'm working with LIDAR/Contour data daily! Nice use! Gotta try it for myself.
 

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