Every person that has watched a PGA Tour event has witnessed a player circling a putt for what seems like an eternity. Unfortunately, amateurs copy this tactic without knowing what to look for. Truly great putters don’t just look from the ball to the hole. They survey there entire surroundings in great detail. The mound that is 20 feet to the left of your ball can affect the break, most players would not even notice it. This is why nearly every amateur plays way too little break. Every so often you hear something like everything breaks towards the water, in order to be good, it has to be more detailed than this.
Next time you are on the practice green find a putt with a decent amount of break. Hit a couple putts without attempting to read the break at all. Now step back and take a look from behind the spot you were putting from. This time don’t just look between the ball and the hole. Look at both sides of the green. Take note if the green is slanted from front to back, or left to right. A putt that appears to be straight can be severely affected by something you may not notice at first glance. Becoming a great putter does not happen in a single practice session. It can take years for some to really learn to read greens. Being more aware of your surroundings can certainly put you on the right track.