Reading a green is referring to a technique in golf of understanding how the slopes and conditions of a green will affect the direction your golf-ball will take when it comes time to take your putt.
There are many conditions that can change the roll of your golf ball. To begin with you should examine the green on your approach before you even get close to your ball.
Try to ascertain the way the green leans, or whether it sits flat like a table, or slopes in one general direction.
Look at the green side fringes and surroundings - the weather effectConsideration needs to be given to the surrounds as well. Has there been recent rain and do the edges look saturated. Most greens are very effective at draining water, however playing a round early in the morning there will often be residual dew left on the putting surface. The same can be said if there has been a recent shower during your round of golf which will result in the green slowing down.
Feel the grass and look at the cut
One of the best ways to check for this is literally to stroke the green with your fingers and check for moisture. This has an added bonus as well. Brushing the green with your hand allows you to feel the length of the grass on the green.
Both the moisture and length of grass will affect how well the ball rolls and so you will need to putt with more force than normal. The reverse can also be applied if the green is dry and the grass is short or has recently been cut, in this instance use less force, the greens in this condition are fast.
Having ascertained the general slope of the green on your approach and the condition of the putting surface, you will now need to fine-tune your reading.
How to read a green for the best chance of putting your ball into the hole
Firstly kneel down behind the ball but far enough so you can clearly see the ball and look for any slopes or angles that lean away from the hole. Make sure that you can observe for slopes that lean to the left and to the right of your ball. You will need to factor this into what direction you will hit the ball when it comes to putt.
Now is a good time to walk to the back of the hole and look back towards your golf-ball. Ensure that the hole is also clearly visible and you are low to the ground. Judge whether the slopes from this side look and feel the same as from the ball-side.
The Etiquette of putting - look out for players lines and ball markers
Every golf player should have a professional Ball Maker with a Divot Repair Tool.
When you return to your golf ball walk wide around the whole watching out for other players ball markers. As you are walking check your natural sense of balance and feel in your feet any slopes that confirm the directions you saw whilst looking at the hole at ground-level.
Now you have all the elements of the green in your mind, and it is time to focus and decide the direction and pace you need to hit the ball into the cup, it is time to trust your senses and believe in your vision to sink the ball you have read the green successfully after-all.