The R&A Holing Out Test is conducted by rolling 10 golf balls in a direction and at a pace so that the ball should, if the roll is not disrupted by irregularities, fall into the center of the hole. From the number of the balls that actually do fall into the hole, out of 10, one can get some idea of the smoothness, trueness, or reliability of the putting surface. This video gives an introduction to this test and shows balls being rolled from the Greenstester.
This is an exciting new measuring tool that I just started using this week. The stimpmeter is one thing, and it is interesting to know the green speed. A Clegg Hammer or Tru-firm or Yamanaka Tester is interesting also, to get a measure of green hardness. The R&A Holing Out Test is an important addition to the evaluation of putting green performance, because it allows us to measure something that is very related to the game.
If we make a perfect stroke, is the green reliable enough that the ball will go in in the hole? The stimpmeter reading and the green firmness reading don't even attempt to answer that, but The R&A Holing Out Test does.
Putting greens that are reliable, meaning that the ball goes where it is intended, are sure to reward good putters with more birdies. I, for one, am excited about that prospect.