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Here’s a useful little Slideshare presentation we created based on this original article we wrote awhile back about reading the grain of a green. We’ve added some more useful information and clarified some tips from the first article.

Hope you enjoy it and find it useful!


(Also, here’s a handy transcription)

The easy guide to reading the grain of a green.


The grain is the texture made by blades of grass pointing in a specific direction.

Elevation changes combine with the grain to create ‘breaks’ which can pull your ball off course.

But if you could go ahead and pretend grain is the only factor right now, that’d be great.

Imagine you’re putting on a perfectly flat surface.

This is your ball and this is the hole.

In a perfect world you could hit it straight…and the ball would go in.

But, if the grain is pulling the ball right…your putt will break right.

So, how do you figure out which way the grain is pointing?

Walk in a circle around your ball until the grass looks lighter. You’re looking in the direction of the grain. When it’s darker you’re looking against the grain.

Your ball moves 25% faster putting with the grain, 25% slower putting against the grain, and it’s more likely to swerve when you’re putting across the grain.

This happens because of the friction from the blades of grass pushing against your ball.

At first your ball moves too fast for the grain to catch it, which means the grain effects the last 1/3 of your putt the most because your ball slows down.

This is why you should always view your putt from both sides of the hole so you can get a clear view of the last few feet of your putt.

Other factors to consider when looking at the grain:

Most courses mow their greens in a different direction every time to minimize the grain. Sometimes a strong grain will be purposefully laid to change the difficulty of the hole.

Because the blades of grass move to point towards the sun. the grain changes throughout the day

The grain also tends to point to water sources like ponds and creeks.

We hope this information helps you improve your short game next time you play!