As the weather improves, the greens get a little firmer and faster so picking the right line as well as gauging the distance of a putt becomes much more crucial.
While distance control is more important - what good is a 25 foot putt on the right line that's 10 feet short or a similar distance too strong? - it's vital to hit the ball on the line you wish it to start.
With good distance control you’ll always be somewhere around the hole but as greens speed up we need to start looking for the slopes which effect how the ball will roll.
We often hear of players looking to hit their putts on the 'professional side' of the hole. To those new to golf the 'pro side' is the high side of the hole - the 'front door' of the hole which accepts the curve or slope of a putt, but which is to be found at the side.
For example, if the green slopes from right to left and you're putting across the slope, the high or pro side of the hole is on the right.
When standing over a putt, with arms hanging down loose (eyes over the ball), and faced with this kind of putt, always allow for a little extra turn from the right. As the ball slows, it will turn more and has a chance of dropping in. A putt under-hit will never drop into the hole but will tend to finish short or on the low side.
Nothing irritates a golfer - amateur or pro - more, than not giving a putt a chance to reach the hole. You might misread it, but leaving it short is unforgivable.
It's always best to be an aggressive putter rather than a timid one. At least a ball that passes the hole on the high side gives you a better chance of reading it on the way back!
Article first published May 2008, updated May 2013