Reading and playing fast greens

I played in a state tournament today and the course is immaculate. The greens were ultra fast and I don’t have the pleasure to practice on this type of surface besides a fast putting mat. I found it really hard to read the break and slope in general. After three putting the first 4 holes, I hate to admit I had a mental collapse and things started to get worse. To stay on topic- what kind of things do you do to work with these fast greens. I am used to more public courses than anything. Chips, putts both are quite different when it’s like linoleum hah!

Reading techniques?
Putt pace?


I think it’s just a matter of practice… faster greens break more than slower greens…

Control over distance is significantly harder as the margins for error are lower.


FYI… There’s a separate thread about AimPoint Express; if you’re not familiar with AimPoint there’s info online.

I had a brief intro to AimPoint and … while not immediately better, you have to work on it … it has transformed my putting.

W/r/t super fast greens, well… sorry I can’t help you there other than to offer…

  • play waaaay more break than you think,
  • stroke the ball waaaay easier than you think
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I will check out Aimpoint!

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Cool! … if you do get interested, there’s a “Find an instructor” feature on the site.

I Probably should find a place that keeps their greens like this or close to it. I used to belong to a private course and it was similar when they sped them up for club championship etc. I think the biggest difference is in the short putts. I am used to making at least some of my putts inside of ten feet. They have a lot of break and god forbid you hit it too soft or too hard. Pace seems to be key and I need to find it. The slightest decline makes it run by a few feet. Most public places don’t and can’t keep their greens this fast. I want more practice on these! It’s pretty fun but challenging


Yeah, super fast greens are always interesting… it’s tough to find them consistently, even at most decent clubs.

This happened to me a few weeks ago in a tournament I played. I got there early to try to adjust to the speed. On the first day I did really well, but managed to be below the hole all day, for the most part, so I only have 1 three putt.

Day 2 was a different story! The greens got about a foot faster and I was above the hole a lot. I three-putted 3 times for the day.

I just had to keep telling myself that everyone was going to three putt and to keep grinding.


I love fast greens, but you really have to putt defensively to an extent. They break more than you think and given the speed of the greens, lip outs are even more common (and powerful). I find you really need to have the speed dialed in and play more break than you think and try to “die” it into the hole. It’s hard when you don’t do it often.

Chipping is just practice and relevant specifically to the course you’re playing - some fast greens are soft and you don’t have to adjust much since you’ll get check while others are firm and you have to play for a ton of roll.

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Gotta say I like it too! They were really receptive to all kinds of shots, full, pitch and chips, pretty soft overall. Different dynamic for sure

I think a lot of it boils down to experience. I’ve played a lot of tournaments over the last 5-6 years and seen greens upwards of 14 stimp. At first, it was a bit of a shell shock. I’d putt defensively and have very little confidence in my speed and even controlling my line on shorter putts.

Now I would say I make more putts on faster greens than I do on greens rolling an 8-9. Not to say that it’s not challenging anymore, but I’ve learned to adjust my feel a little more effectively. I’ve always thought that feel had to be earned through experience so it’s not something you can just pick up one day and “learn” it.


Agree - it’s all feel and its definitely hard going between different courses with fast greens since they each have their nuances.

It’s nice though to be able to have a 8 footer that you only have to hit a foot!

I’m kind of curious what number these are running, and I am glad that I am not alone with not being able to adjust right away. I’ll hit the putting green in the morning before tee and try to play around a little.

I am going to try and focus on confidence in hitting my line and speed. I felt timid after running one by, I can only explain it as lack of confidence , or scared to do it again, which leaves the second putt on the lip, short.

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Like @jon I prefer the fast greens. Probably because I’m in the desert and most of them are fast. I hate when they’re hard and fast though, makes it hard to hold the green when making your approach shots. However, when they’re faster, I feel it’s easier to control the pace because they roll consistently. The slower they are the more swing I have to make which leads to more forced errors with the putter face.


One thing I’ll always do at tournaments is spend a little extra time on the practice green trying to adjust

One thing that was suggested to me at an Aimpoint class I went to was to have a stock putt. One where you take the putter back to your back foot big toe, then hit it. Hit three at nothing in particular and watch how far they roll. That can effectively work as your own personal stimp meter. Gives a really good indication of how fast the greens are.

Another one I like to do is find a straight uphill 6 foot putt. Hit three balls and try to have the first one whack the back lip and go in. The second pour into the hole so it hits the far side of the cup before it gets to the bottom but well under the lip. The third so it just last gasp gets to the hole. I’ve found that a useful way to get the speed of somewhere new.


Find a place you can practice fast greens and mentally get the feel for them is definitely the best advice. When that’s not possible, remember putting mats as well. Nicer ones like BirdieBall will let you specify the stimp reading level you want, but IMO most cheap basic mats roll very fast (12+), maybe just not so consistent. Can still be good enough to develop though.

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I agree with what others have said. There’s no substitute for practicing on fast greens. But one tip is to watch others putt on the practice green while you’re warming up. If your preferred learning style is visual then watching how hard others hit putts of different lengths might help you as much as feeling your own putts.


Our course hosted the state amateur tourney last week and the greens were the quickest I had ever seen them. Members could play each day after the tournament play had finished. One day 29 putts with 9 one putts Then the next day 36 putts and only 3 one putts. I just couldn’t get the speed right. I even had a putt I hadn’t hit very hard roll of the green. And I wasn’t the only one to roll of the green there. I don’t know if the pins were in more treacherous locations or if my pitching and chipping was off or both but then it is the same for everyone. Thankfully now the greens are now back to being fast.

I agree with earlier posts suggesting that the best way to handle fast greens is to prepare for them through practice. That can really be tough for those that only find about the problem once they arrive at the unfamiliar course that they happen to be playing that day. I’ve always hated to “putt defensively”, but that might be the best advice when facing with fast, unfamiliar greens. Putting the ball out toward the toe of my putter has helped to deaden the stroke a little, so that could be tried also. The other thing I try is to imagine that the hole is “x” number of feet closer to me than it actually is which helps me modulate my distance control. Good luck.

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