Geoff Mangum On reading putts with the four skills:

In the PuttingZone we teach math and physics for ballparking the read (more simple and accurate than APE) and then teach three instinctive visualizations with the golfer’s optimal, usual ball speed. These three movies accept the putting situation as it is without estimated numbers, and so yield a read that is more accurate and scientific than “calculated” aims using estimations of slope, green speed, distance, and slope flatness.

The three movies all agree on the imagined curve the ball will actually follow over slope and contour into the cup. And the three movies show the same start line at the beginning of the imagined curve. And the end of these start lines at the fall line above the cup all identify the same aim target. And these aim targets usually adjust and correct the estimated math calculated target with a minor adjustment.

Then the golfer is taught how to aim from behind the ball at the target, how to aim from beside the ball by following the aim of the putter face straight up across the green as far as the fall line, and how to sense the correctness of the aim with the body setup and stroke movement habit the same way a golfer aims a seven iron at a flag stick.

Then the golfer is taught how to stroke the ball exactly where the putter face is aimed.

And of course the golfer knows how to have focused action intentionality to the space at the hole for rolling the ball to and nicely into the cup or with pace that stops shortly past the hole, using natural tempo and the body’s instinctive sizing of the stroke for the distance, green speed, and any uphill or downhill.

The math is only used if the surface slope is the SAME from ball to hole, which means the same flatness, and not two or more different slopes or changing contour. If that is true (usually not for putts longer than about 10 feet), the method using estimated numbers is this:

Perceive the fall line or straight putt up thru the hole (as taught) and then estimate the slope using the eyes and the golfer’s trained familiarity with the look of usual slopes (no guessing ankles). Then aim this many inches from the center of the cup straight up the fall line:

Inches of break = Distance of ball from center of cup (feet) times Slope % / 2 (inches of break per foot).

For example, the math target for a 7-foot putt over 2% slope is:

7’ x 2%/2 = 7”.

Imagine a target (tee peg) in the green on the fall line above the cup 7” from the center of the cup. Aim there, and putt straight where aimed with the usual perfect pace.

A 4-foot putt over 3% slope aims

4’ x 3%/2 = 6”.

In general,

a 1% slope breaks 1/2” per foot;

a 2% slope breaks 1” per foot;

a 3% slope breaks 1.5” per foot; and

a 4% slope breaks 2” per foot.

This math is estimated based upon empirical testing of good ball speed on usual green speed (about stimp 9.5’ to 10’). If the speed is faster, just tip the math — stimp 11’ is tipped 10% more break than stimp 10’.

Then forget the math and read the green with instinctive prediction with a more precise assessment of the factors that matter for more accurate science than the math.

The three movies all use an imagined baseline straight from ball to center of cup (that divides the green neatly into a high side and a low side), and a length of line from the hole straight up the fall line — making a “corner” for the breaking putt that renders irrelevant all of the rest of the green outside this corner. With this corner in mind, imagine these three movies each with the same perfect ball speed the golfer actually putts with:

1. Imagine putting straight down the baseline at the center of the cup with perfect pace and then predict exactly where the ball curves below the baseline and crosses the fall line below the cup, before stopping within another 1-3 more rolls. The target is the same distance up the fall line.

2. Imagine a perfect-pace putt entering the cup from the high side of the “corner”, deciding exactly the final inch or so over the rim; then pretend a small car drove over the rim on this path into the cup and drive this car in reverse back along the predicted curve to the ball; once there, imagine the car’s headlights shine straight along a start line to a “target” spot on the fall line. This target will be the same as predicted in movie 1.

3. The third movie is a “feel” that starts by aiming down the baseline and imagining only perfect pace, knowing that the aim line is too low and the ball will quickly curve off the baseline to the low side. Then angle the putter face a little to the high side and check the body feeling — if the aim is still too low, the body will “feel a need to putt faster than perfect pace in order to keep the ball on the high side of the baseline all the way to the hole.” If you get this feeling, the aim is too low for perfect pace, so angle the putter face aim to a slightly higher start line and check the body feel again. If this line is still too low, the body feel of needing extra pace will still be present, but will be smaller of fainter. The golfer in this manner aims until the body feel signals that the aim is just high enough that no extra pace is required and perfect pace will for the first time keep the ball on the high side all the way to and into the cup. At this point, imagine headlights on the putter face shining straight along a start line at a spot on the fall line. Thus target will agree with movies 1 and 2.

My experience is that the instinctive movies will usually not be exactly the same as any math target but will only be a minor adjustment.

There is plenty more about teaching reading putts in the PuttingZone, but the above methods have been developed exclusively in the PuttingZone for the first time in golf history and are earlier than any other aiming-only gimmicks with the exception of the 1984 book by Colonel H.A. Templeton of Dallas Texas, who spent a year or more mapping green contours and experimenting with putts and green speed and slopes and computer programs snd aim charts, all explained in his 200-page book full of greens agronomy and ball-roll physics called Vector Putting: The Art and Science of Reading Greens and Computing Break.

So it’s not really true anymore that the best way to learn how to read greens is alone trying this and that on greens for years. There’s a lot to learn and know and use way beyond sticking fingers up in the air.er your text here...

**Geoof Mangum - PuttingZone**