To putt well you have to consider the slope of the green and any undulations that will affect the roll of your ball. You can get a general view of the slope of the green, as you walk toward it, by studying it in relation to the surrounding topography. This is an especially important thing to do on courses located on hilly terrain or near the ocean, since the surroundings on mountain or seaside layouts can mislead your sense of contour and even your sense of balance.
The best place from which to determine the rolls you must play and your consequent line to the cup is behind the ball, as you aim toward the cup. On downhill putts, however, some people see the line better if they sight from behind the cup back to the ball. You should keep in mind that a slow, heavy green will not give you the same degree of fall—or break off a roll—that the same slope would produce if the grass were short and the surface slick. A wet green, of course, will reduce the amount of fall you will get.
All this may seem like making work' out of play and involving too much time. Actually it can be a fast routine—particularly if you do some of your "green reading" unobtrusively while your partners are getting ready to putt. It will naturally improve your scoring, for, no matter how good your putting stroke, you must know something about the surface your ball will roll over if it is to find the cup.
from ARNOLD BROWNING Guyan Golf and Country Club, Huntington, W. Va.
NEXT WEEK: ED OLIVER ON STAYING WITH THE SHOT