This is one of our original articles posted for the GK Blog by one of our members a few years back. I always look back at that series of articles when I need to rethink my putting strategy. I think it deserves to be re-posted in our newly revamped version. What do you think?
It all started with an article I read in Golf Digest magazine. It was about this thing called Aimpoint. It highlighted a different way to approach putting, or more accurately green reading: using science and physics to accurately predict how much and which direction putts will break. Instead of trying to read the green with your eyes and trying to figure out how much and which direction a putt MIGHT break, you use the laws of gravity and physics to accurately determine how much the ball WILL break. Hmmmm… a green READING system to help improve my putting…it made complete sense to me. A brief summary with basic principles was outlined in the article, and I headed out to the putting green to put it into practice. However, it was harder than I thought. A look at the website further intrigued me, but there were no classes close to me. So, I shelved the idea.
Fast forward a few months later, a forum topic on Greenskeeper.org was started: “Aimpoint Clinic, anyone do this?” This inspired me to check the website again for clinics. I was rewarded with a clinic being offered THAT weekend.. $125 for a 2 1/2 hour class only 30 minutes from home. I quickly signed up and was exposed to the single greatest golf concept I have ever learned. It was eye-opening, and fairly simple to implement. In the end, I just needed guidance.
After a month of reading and rereading forum topics on the subject at the Aimpoint forum, watching and rewatching different videos, and several hours of practice, I am more and more encouraged with the results and the system. What I have learned is that I have alot more to learn, but I am grasping concepts and techniques that have improved my green reading skills immensely. I am excited about how much better I am going to get at it. I guess if I had to sum it up in one sentence, it’s this: “I am no longer guessing what the putt will do; I KNOW what it’s going to do.”
The following is a de facto blog, I guess, of my Aimpoint experience. I plan to update it as I go through the experience over time. You can get more info at www.aimpointgolf.com, as well as clinic dates. There is a forum as well, where people talk about all things Aimpoint. I highly recommend this clinic for everyone.
Wednesday March 2, 2011 — First Impressions and Initial Feedback:
First of all, my general feeling is I am really excited about this. At worst, I’ll be able to tell which way a putt will break 90% of the time, and I’ll come close to knowing how much. At best, I will be a putting fiend!
First a little background:
You know when you watch a tourney on television; they show you the putting line, and how accurate that line is? That’s AIMPOINT technology. The inventor of Aimpoint developed a system based on physics and gravity that can accurately predict the putting line. He turned that into a green reading system and has several touring pros on his system.
The class is a green reading class, not a putting class; however, it is very important that you practice hitting the ball straight and work on speed control.
The basic premise: The ball will give in to gravity. It will break downhill — always. This guy figured out, based on the length of the putt, speed of the green, and severity of the slope, exactly how much that ball will break, as long as you always hit the ball 12 inches past the hole.
You have to find the zero line, which is the point on the green that is a completely straight putt. From there, you plug in the data: length, degrees off of zero, uphill or downhill, right or left of zero, severity of slope, and speed of green. It then tells you how far away from the hole to start your putt.
For example: I have a 10 ft putt. It is uphill 60 degrees from zero line. Slope is steep (as oppossed to flat, average, or severe). The greens are running at a 8 stimp. Once I figure this out, I look at my chart, and it takes a second to see I have to aim say, 4 inches away from the hole. if I start my ball on the right line aimed 4 inches left of the hole (for a L to R putt), and hit it at a speed where the ball will go 12 inches past the hole, the ball will break accordingly.
After 3 hours of clinic, I was thoroughly sold. After reading the Golf Digest article I was sold on the concept, my stumbling block — I couldn’t figure it out in practice. After the clinic though, I see how easy it is All I needed was someone to walk me through it. Plus, with the chart they give you at the clinic, the information is all accurate. They say up until now, you were guessing on how the putt will break. Now, no more guessing.
A few things I learned:
1. There were many putts that I read with a completely different break than what actually happened, and the system was able to get it right every time.
2. I need to really learn what 12 inches is, what 10 feet is.. I need to calibrate my distances. I realize I’m way off. What I think versus what actually is are two completely different animals.
3. My speed control sucks.
4. The hardest part is finding the zero line, but over the 2-3 hours, I was better at it. I know with practice I’ll be able to do it.
5. Long putts (greater than 30ft), are really not that hard to read with this system.
6. You never have to read a green again; just find zero line and pace out your putts.
From my perspective, I highly recommend this clinic. I know I can master this in 2-3 months.
Look for my next article as I analyze both the practicality of the Aimpoint system and how it has helped and/or hindered me.
About GK Member michaelko:
Our resident physical therapist from Northern California and one of the original GK Staffers. He is also one of the individuals responsible for making the GK Casual Golf Events possible. Way back when it was only an idea, michaelko, was one of those individuals that made it possible with our first outing of six members at Rio Hondo Country Club, Downey CA.