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What Is The “Break” In Golf? – Explained!

what is the break in golf
what is the break in golf

Golf is known to be a technical sport full of technical terms that you may not know the meaning of. One of those golf terms sometimes mentioned on golf courses and TV broadcasts is the term “Break”.

If you are reading this article, you may wonder: What exactly is the “Break” in golf?

In this article, we will explain to you exactly what the term “Break” means in golf.

What Is The “Break” In Golf?

In golf, the “Break” is the extra movement imposed on a golf ball after it is struck, due to the slopes and the topography of the turf it travels on. For example, if you putt a ball straight and it turns to the left once it meets a small slope, then it is “breaking left”.

In the great game of golf, the expression “Break” is often mentioned on golf courses and on TV broadcasts.

In golf, the term “Break” is the name given to the phenomenon of a putted ball changing directions on a putting green, due to the slopes and the topography of the putting green itself. The “Break” refers to the extra movement imposed on a golf ball due to the slopes it rolls on.

In some cases, people use the term the “Break” to refer to the slope or the topography of a putting green.

Why does the “Break” exist in golf? The answer is simple. Most putting greens are not perfectly flat, and are purposely designed to have all sorts of slopes and undulations. These slopes and undulations create more difficult and challenging putts, and are the cause of “Breaks” in golf.

If you watch professional golf, you may have noticed that many of the professional golfers like to squat down before putting to examine the putting green. What they are doing in those moments is analyzing the “Breaks” and the slopes of the putting green.

Knowing how to “read” the “breaks” allows a golfer to counteract the effect of a break and compensate by aiming a bit more towards the slope that would cause a “break”.

Being able to read and compensate for breaks allows golfers putt the ball in the hole with a much higher success rate.

Down below, you can see an example of a “Break” during a golf putt.

what is the break in golf infographic
Visual Explanation of the influence of the “Break” in Golf

As you can see in the example above, not reading the “break” of a putting green will force your strokes to miss, and cause you great frustration. In this example, although there are multiple paths to victory, to one-putt this ball, you could aim more to the left to account for the “break”.

“Breaks” are tricky to deal with in golf. They are one of the main reasons why the short game is such a challenging aspect of golf.

It is hard to see with your eyes exactly what the topology of a putting green is, and even if you can, you still have to translate that vision to your golf clubs in a pure game of inches in order to hole the ball.

If you initially hit a ball straight ahead on the putting green, but its path curves to the left due to the slopes it travels on, then it is said to be “breaking left”. If the ball path curves to the right side (like in the image above), then it is “breaking right”.

Furthermore, how much your golf ball breaks when it encounters a slope depends on many factors such as slope angle, the turf characteristics, and how fast the ball is travelling.

In fact, if your golf ball is travelling along a sloped surface at a fast speed, it will not spend a long time on the slope, so it will not be affected that much.

However, if a golf ball is travelling slowly along a slope, then it will spend a long time on the slope, and the “break” will be significant.

If you would like to have a better chance of taming the “Breaks” on a putting green, you can read our guide: How To Improve Your Golf Score? – 9 Pro Tips.

Origin Of The Term “Break”

The origin of the expression “Break” in golf is extremely simple.

When you are putting then golf ball on a flat putting green, your intended ball path will be a straight line from the ball to the hole.

However, when you introduce a certain slope along the straight ball bath, it will “break” or interrupt the actual ball path.

Therefore, the “Break” in golf is the effect a slope has of “breaking” the straight theoretical path a ball would follow to the hole. In other words, the destructive connotation of the term “break” in golf makes sense due to the meaning of the term.


There you go! After reading this article, you have learned exactly what the “Break” means in golf.

Do you have any other golf expressions you wish to know more about? Do you find it hard to read the “breaks” in golf? Let us know in the comments down below!

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