I believe it is important that a green reading routine suits your own putting process. My TSMS has been designed so that it can be used on different levels: you can use it as a stand-alone system, add it as an aspect of layering to a process you may already use or use it on the practice ground to better reinforce your own green reading technique.
Nick Riley PGA Advanced Member Inventor of the Target Slope Measuring System
The Target Slope Measuring System book is now for sale through all good book stores worldwide and is also available on Apple Books, Kindle, and other digital platforms.
When you stand on a side slope, your body mass moves in varying degrees to one side depending on the size of the slope. When you hold your putter from the sternum and hang it like a plumb bob, the putter shaft will swing in the direction of the downslope. This might be left or right of the zero point on a sidehill putt, as shown in the pictures below.
In Figure 1, I am standing on a balance board which is set on a 1-degree slope, this device is an ultra-high resolution pressure plate which evaluates balance and body mass. In Figure 2 you can see my body mass has moved to the left, 65% of my weight is now on my left foot, this is the effect of standing on a 1-degree gradient which in turn moves the upper body to the left as in figure 1. When positioning the putter in the middle of the chest, the hang of the putter has now moved off centre slightly to the left which indicates that you are standing on a slope.
When taking a read on the green, face the hole with your feet as wide as your shoulders and stand at the halfway position of the putt. You will then use my revolutionary ‘Perpendicular Read Position’ (PRP) technique, which will be explained in the book. Hang the putter from the sternum, look down, and if the putter shaft swings right or left from the centre of the zero point this will give you a clue to the degree of the slope, and thus the direction to which the ball will roll. If the putter only hangs slightly off centre, then it will be a small amount of break. If the putter hangs near your left or right foot, you will have a bigger break on the ball. The strength of this system is that even the smallest slopes are easily visible when you hang the putter from the sternum.
To cater for these variables in the putter hang, I have devised a simple practice target system that lies between the feet. Once you have hung the putter it will give you a visual cue to help assess the size of the slope.
Green Reading Summary
I hope you enjoy using my TSMS. Gradually you will learn to see and assess the extent of the degree of slope on any given putt, and with a little practice on your part, you will soon start to improve your green reading skills and hole more putts. Please note that the read isn’t always perfect as a slope is not always the exact same degree all the way down the line. You will still need to view the putt and make a judgment.
Did you know that amateur golfers miss as many as 70% of their putts on the low side of the hole? A normal percentage should be 50%, allowing for the process of natural adjustment. Missing more than 50% on a given side is a systematic error. Obviously missing putts on the low side is not the only reason that golfers miss putts; we can simply misjudge the line or even see a slope where there isn’t one. Another interesting fact is that 70% of putts missed from inside nine feet are missed due to a misread of the green. I have developed my TSMS to address these issues.
For both pros and amateurs, three to seven feet is the distance range that separates good putters from the average. Learning to read greens better WILL make a massive difference to your score.
I believe it is important that a green reading routine suits your own putting process. My TSMS has been designed so that it can be used on different levels: you can use it as a stand alone system, add it as an aspect of layering to a process you may already use or use it on the practice ground to better reinforce your own putting technique.
The aim of the system is to help you judge the size of slope and see a slope when it’s not easily visible. By identifying the degree of slope, you will learn to intuitively recognise the desired shape of the putt, which will assist you in picking the correct line and thus HOLE MORE PUTTS!
As a putting coach, I work very hard to keep putting as instinctive as possible; this new green reading system has been developed with that same mantra. No system can be perfect, as you don’t always have a perfect slope with the exact same degree all the way down your line. Crucially, the speed of the putt will also make a massive difference to the amount of break. Therefore, you will still need to observe the putt and make your own judgment.