Uphill versus Downhill
Downhill Putts (Less Speed = More Break)
With less momentum on a downhill putt, gravity acts upon the ball sooner and forces the ball down the direction of the true downslope. On downhill putts, therefore, we need to allow for more break.
Uphill Putts (More Speed = Less Break)
Uphill putts are a lot easier than downhill putts as they have less break. This is because we are hitting an uphill putt much harder than a downhill putt, and thereby eliminating the break in the early part of the putt.
The ball will take any break when it starts to “die” (i.e. loses speed). Gravity starts to take over and the ball will follow the true slope.
Side Slope Putts
Putts hit across any side slope are generally uphill on the first part of the putt, and then downhill on the second part.
Once you have assessed whether the put is uphill or downhill (to help you determine the pace of the putt and initial starting line), then focus on the area around the hole where the ball will die. This will help you to gain an understanding of the direction of the true downslope; as this is where the slope will have the greatest influence on your putt.
By building up a picture of the contours, you will build up a picture of the line and pace you will need to hit the ball on for it to go in the hole.
If you practice reading putts and build it into your pre-shot routine and practice putting from different spots on the green on your home course, it will help you to assess the effects that different slopes and speeds have on your putts. Building up such experience will make you more decisive and improve your confidence and putting on the course and hopefully improve your score.