How do you work on a skill like green-reading? For tour players, it’s essential to master, but not easy to practise.

“That’s a good question,” says PGA Tour player Sami Valimaki. “I think it’s just a lot of reps. Spending lots of time hitting different putts, and learning from each.”

A good start from the rookie in the field this week, but in search for more clarity, I studied some putts from one of the tour’s more veteran players: 13-time PGA Tour winner Jordan Spieth.

Ahead of the 2024 Players Championship, Spieth spent a good amount of time before his Tuesday practice round hitting some mid-range putts, a distance that Spieth is so deadly from. He’s converted almost 40 percent of his birdie putts so far this season, and finished second on the PGA Tour in approach-putt performance last season.

Jordan Spieth: Blackout Putting

But he wasn’t doing so haphazardly. He was paying close attention to the details, forcing himself to focus the same way he would on the golf course.

As just a bystander, I noticed how first Spieth would read the putt with his caddie Michael Greller and coach, Golf Digest Top 50 coach, Australian Cameron McCormick.

Once they read the putt, Spieth would place two tees as markers about a foot apart from each other somewhere in the final third of the putt. copy 2.jpeg

These markers represent goal posts, of sorts. Similar to the Hawk-Eye graphics you see pop up in the broadcast. 2024-03-13 at 2.09.22 PM.png

Spieth’s goal was simple: to roll his ball between the tees. He’d need to hit his putt firmer if he takes the low route, and softer if he rolls it nearer to the higher tee.

And after that, rinse and repeat with a different putt. With each one, Spieth hones in on the details of the green, and what the best approach is to accomplish his goal of making the putt.

It’s a small but fascinating insight into one of the best putters in the game, and the discipline required to get there.