(Editor's Note: The following tips for reading greens are from Harold Swash, one of the top putting instructors in the world and founder of Harold Swash Putting Schools of Excellence. Philip Kenyon, an instructor at Swash's schools, is the fellow in the photos that appear on succeeding pages. And the text and images appear courtesy of Pocketbooks Putting-Fundamentals, one of a series of pocket lessons from Swash and Kenyon. See www.dizzyheights.com for more info about Pocketbooks.)
The ability to read the correct line and speed of a putt is an important skill to develop. To help develop such a skill, consider the following points.
Controlling the speed of your putt is vitally important.
The quicker the ball is rolling, the less the ball will break.
The optimum pace to hit a putt is one that would take the ball 15 inches to 17 inches past the hole. This speed ensures that the ball holds its line.
True Down Slope Direction (TDSD)
The momentum of the stroke makes the ball roll along a straight line initially (we have stated the relationship between speed and break).
However, as the ball gets closer to the hole the ball begins to lose its speed. As it loses its speed the ball will start to look for and go down the true downslope of the green as gravity starts to take over.