And trust me, this really is useful info that you rarely find all together in one place.
Charlie listed several things you need to find out when you play a new golf course and want to play it well quickly. These are things the pros find out very early when they're learning a new course.
First, there are different grasses that you'll see on greens. Each has certain characteristics you need to learn. As Charlie said, these are general rules. You may find exceptions but these are generally correct.
- Bentgrass: Read the slope. Bentgrass greens don't have as much grain as other grasses, so although you need to check the slope on every type of green, slope is the most important influence on bentgrass greens.
- Bermuda: Read the grain. Bermuda greens have a lot of grain to them, so much that it can counteract the slope somewhat. Grain generally grows toward the setting sun.
- Poa annua: Grain goes downhill. The grain in poa tends to follow the flow of water running off the green. Uphill putts are slower than you think, downhill putts are faster than you think.
- Cool weather grasses: The ball will jump. The ball comes out of it a little faster.
- Warm weather grasses: The ball will fluff. (This includes Bermuda.) That means it's hard to catch the ball solid, so it isn't likely to fly as far.
- Soft fluffy sand: Make a shallow attack. You need to use the bounce more or you'll take too much sand. And fried egg lies are more likely.
- Firm sand: Make a steeper attack. You'll be using the front edge of the wedge a bit more, otherwise you'll bounce off the sand and catch the ball thin.