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The Perfect Putt -- How To Putt On Bentgrass Greens
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A short-cut bentgrass putting green challenges even the best players

The putting green is where golfers experience the most excitement, disappointments and euphoria in a golf tournament. From tee to green their target has been that small 4.25-inch hole carefully located on the green. The pin location is there either to challenge the player, or to make the hole easy. Sometimes the pin location is chosen for no other reason that to promote even wear on the green.

All the drama on a green is magnified at the 18th green. That's where the round concludes, scorecards are tallied and the winner is finally determined.

Sinking a long putt brings a sense of satisfaction; missing a short putt leads often to disappointment and frustration.

Most golfers do not spend as much time and effort in putting practice as they should. They tend to neglect honing their putting skills. Not so for tour pros, however. They know that putting makes or breaks their golf game.

One of the most important skills is knowing how to read a putt. Will it be a fast or slow putt? Is it uphill or downhill? Will the putt break? How much? What about the topography of the green? Are there terraces to negotiate?

There are three huge factors in putting -- the rolling golf ball, the surface of the putting green, the putter, and you. Let's consider the putting surface.

Find out what kind of grass is used on the green you'll be playing

Ask the pro. Will you be playing Bermuda grass greens or on bentgrass greens? Those are the two grasses used most often for putting greens. Let's assume you'll be putting on creeping bentgrass greens.

Agrostis stolonifera -- otherwise known as creeping bentgrass, is used most commonly for golf greens in temperate climates. Left uncut it has long narrow grass blades. It can be cut extremely short. It aggressively sends out stolons, or horizontal stems, that run along the surface of the soil and take root. A well maintained creeping bentgrass green grows into a dense and smooth surface. It tends to be very fast. A rolling golf ball tends to break more easily on slopes. Putting on short-cut bentgrass greens requires a very careful read and a soft touch. Check carefully to see how short the grass is cut. That makes a big difference in easily the ball rolls.

Creeping bentgrass generally means there is very little grain to contend with. But heavy dew or moisture can easily turn it into a slower green.

Augusta National Golf Course, home of The Masters Golf Tournament, has short-cut bentgrass greens that are extremely fast. These greens challenge even the best players in the world to make a perfect putt.

Every golfer can use good coaching on how to fix their golf swing -- and that includes putting. Help your game by learning how to putt on bentgrass greens, and then practice precision putting.

Street Talk

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