While many golfers can “drive for show,” there’s definitely a reason that the second half of that of this historic phrase from South African golfer Bobby Locke – putting for ‘dough’ -- is more important. More strokes are taken on the putting surface than any other place on the course, and the ability to effectively read greens can make or break your score.
AmateurGolf.com asked a panel of top competitive golfers for tips on improving green reading, and there was a near universal response. A majority surveyed noted that learning to use a green reading book was imperative in improving their overall putting stats.
While the typical amateur golfer would not have access to “professional” green reading books that are used on Tour by professionals and caddies alike, the technology now exists where golfers can access laser-scanned green guides for their home course from Strackaline.
StrackaLine was founded in 2007 by Jim and Chase Stracka. Both avid golfers, the father and son duo wanted to combine their expertise in technology with their passion for the game of golf. In 2008, they teamed up with “Gorjus” George Lucas, creator of the famous "bright orange" hand drawn yardage books that had been used on professional and amateur golf tours since the 1970s. In the past 14 years, Strackaline has grown to amass a catalog of more than 10,000 green guides (and 36,000+ yardage guides) from golf courses around the world.
While the Greens Guides may initially seem a little overwhelming with their dual-view topographic slopes, multiple colors and hundreds of arrows pointing in seemingly all directions, the learning curve to understand the Strackaline Greens Guide is able to be quickly understood after just a few holes.
Once you determine your orientation to the green, it becomes very easy to figure out the slope of the putting surface. This is accomplished by the marking of sprinkler heads and other nearby hazards in the Greens Guide to help you orient yourself to the shape of the green.
The Strackaline is not meant to replace traditional green reading, which is still very necessary for any golfer to master in order to be a complete player. Instead, like any tool, it’s important to gain a full understanding of it in order to use it to its full potential.
The Strackaline Yardage Guides include a wide variety of additional data, including elevation changes and distance in yards from tee to green. They’ll allow you to know your distances to hazards and penalty areas, and also include a compass and fairway arrows that indicate a slope increase of four percent or more for most courses.
Personally, we loved utilizing the Strackaline Greens Guide on longer putts that might have multiple breaks. The topographically accurate diagrams allowed us to determine the direction that our putts might break along the way. The same holds true for greens with more drastic slopes where a putt might look straight, but thanks to the Greens Guide, we were able to determine if it would break left to right.
We also found the Strackaline Greens Guide to be a useful tool in the fairway, a key aid in determining which direction in which to attack a green in, and if there are any false fronts or other important green features that you might not be able to decipher during your approach shots.
Our advice? Turn the Greens and Yardage Guide into your personal guide on a golf course. Take a pen with you, and take comprehensive notes. The more you play, the more detailed your notes will become, and therefore the more detailed your on-course knowledge will become. The Strackaline Greens Guides fit conveniently in a yardage guide cover, and arguably, more importantly, are USGA Compliant. The guides are scaled on a measurement of 3/8 inch to 5 yards (1:480) and are in line with USGA Rule 4.3.
Do you want to read greens quite literally like one of the professionals? Check out the Strackaline Greens and Yardage Guides.
How to Order
Visit Strackaline.com, and search the database of 10,000+ golf courses. Yardage-Only guides start at $47, Hardcopy Greens-Only Booklets start at $97, and the combo booklet, which includes the Greens and Yardage booklets can be purchased starting at $125.
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