Speed in putting is often the most critical element to making more putts, and once you have the correct speed you must match it properly with the correct line. We typically rank speed over line because one controls the other, as we’ll see in the pictures below. This article is designed to give you a better understanding the necessary speed to make more putts from a critical range – 3 to 10 feet.
Let’s examine a flat 5 foot putt, and assume the ball is rolling over a 2% grade from right to left. The ball will always roll down the slope, but the longer the ball is on the slope the more effect the slope will have on the ball. In picture 1 the ball is rolling with the proper speed (roughly 12 inches past the hole), and will roll into the center of the hole. In picture 2 we increase the speed, rolling the ball 3 feet past the hole. Since the ball spends less time on the slope it will break less and requires a starting line closer to the right edge than the first one. In picture 3, we decrease the speed so the ball will just barely roll to the front edge of the hole; this ball spends the most time on the slope and requires your starting line to be aimed the furthest outside of the cup.