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AimPoint Golf – Ultimate Green Reading Tool (REVIEW)

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"I can easily see this blowing up on tour and eventually with the average golfer too.  Even without using the charts, the ideas from the class are now in my head with every read.  And not in a bad way, I feel much more confident that I made the right read." - (GolfSpy Dave)

Will AimPoint Revolutionize The Putting Industry?

Written By: GolfSpy Dave

If you have watched any golf in the past few years on TV I am sure that you have noticed the aiming graphic that is used to show where the player should aim and what path a ball that is going in the hole should take.

What you have also likely noticed is that when the ball goes off that digital path, it doesn’t go into the hole.  This is usually followed by the tour pro making some kind of hand gesture right or left, showing how the ball should have moved based upon the line they saw.

The cliché of “seeing is believing” is not always the case with putting.  We have all had putts that we read right to left break to the right.  Putting has the mystical aura of “feel” associated with it, and with some good reason.  Think about your long vs. short putts.  Many of us will line it up and just have a “feel” for how hard to hit it and on flat putts we are pretty good at this.  What gets to be an issue though is using “feel” to judge breaks on putts and where we should be aiming.  Why were you high or low on that last uphill left to right putt?  Why did the putt that you read as one cup left go dead straight?  Perhaps what we saw or felt was the correct line on those putts was not correct.  Feel definitely helps in judging distance for our putts, but maybe we need something more precise for figuring out where the putt should actually be aimed.

What if instead of relying only on feel, you could also use science to read the break?  What if aiming by feel could be replaced by aiming with math, physics, and three-dimensional geometry?  Even better, what if the math was already done for you?  Enter AimPoint.  That line on TV is not Johnny Miller going all John Madden with the telestrator.  That line is based upon science and is the product of AimPoint developer Mark Sweeny’s research and innovation.  The line on TV and the line you can read on your course are not based upon feel, but science.  If you putt on that line at the correct speed, the ball goes in. Period.

This sounded pretty good to me.  Knowing that I could use the same system that is used on TV on any green I play was a strong motivator to sign up for a Level 1 AimPoint class one Sunday last February.  I looked through the AimPoint website and the more I read, the more it sounded like something I could learn and use.  So, armed with my trusty Byron twisty I headed out to the course for the class.

Aimpoint - Putting Drills

I apologize in advance for the lack of exciting photos associated with this review.  I was so engrossed in the class that stopping to shoot pictures didn’t really cross my mind.  There were ten students in the class with two instructors, Tim Tucker and Peter Brown.  After some brief introductions, Tim and Pete had us head over to part of the green that had been taped off with a large rectangle.  We were told to go to a pile of balls and make putts with the ball stopping in the rectangle.  Although this was a class about reading greens, the system still requires you to hit an accurate putt at the correct pace for it to work.

aimpoint-putting

Key Point #1:

The AimPoint calculations are based upon the speed that would have your ball stop 10” past the hole.  If you can’t control speed, line becomes a secondary issue.

So this drill was introduced as a way to practice pace and to develop a consistent speed.  Next we paired up and moved to lengths of elastic string that had been tied to knitting needles and sunk into the green.  We were told to putt the ball down the line.  The other person was watching to see if we actually lined up the putter square to the string line.  That way we could know if our putt was off line because of aiming or the stroke itself.  Another good putting drill to take with me.

Key Point #2:

Reading the correct line is important, but so too is aiming correctly at that line and actually sending the ball down that line.

So although this is a green reading class and not a putting class, right away we were given two simple drills to make us better putters.

Class Day – AimPoint System and Aiming Drills
The green reading started with the simple concept of uphill and downhill putts.  On a simple planar green there will be two putts that are straight:  one uphill and one downhill.  As you move away from those straight putts, putts will break.  The further away, the more break.  Made sense to me so far.

Key Point #3:

Every hole has two straight putts, one uphill and one downhill.

Our next drill was to walk around holes and feel with our feet where the transitions from uphill to downhill and downhill to uphill occur.  If you can pinpoint the transition point, you have found the straight put, or what is called the “zero line”.  So the group of us walked in circles around the holes and stopped once we felt the transition.  After marking that spot with a tee, we rolled balls at the hole to see if we were correct in our read.  This is a skill that must be practiced.  On the steeper slopes I found locating the transition point a bit easier than on the more flat holes.  After a few holes, I could tell when I was close.  With more practice I think that I will improve in this area.  Getting close is huge though because putts to the right of the zero line break left and putts to the right of the zero line break left.

Key Point #4:

Putts to the right of the zero line break left and putts to the right of the zero line break left.

Yes I did repeat myself here, but even without the AimPoint system, this was a huge help for me.  If I can get a good estimate of the zero line, I should always at least play the correct direction of break.  No more read left, ball goes right.

From here we were issued the AimPoint charts.  This is where the math comes into play.  You measure how far your ball is from the hole (pace it off), estimate the angle of the ball location from the zero line, estimate the stimp and slope of the green, and then read the correct break number off the chart.  Stimp can be acquired from the starter at the course or is easy to estimate if you are 8 (slow), 10 (medium), or 12 (fast).  There are four different slope reads on the chart ranging from flat (1%) to severe (4%).  You estimate the slope and you have your number.  This estimation is also something that will be improved with practice.

Key Point #5:

Trust the chart.

If it says that your 10’ putt needs to be aimed 4” left.  Aim 4” left.  While I practiced with the chart, the break often seemed less than I would have played had I been going with my eye.  Granted, I may just be bad at reading greens with my eyes.  However when I went with the reads on the charts, I got close if I miss-hit the putt or made it if I stroked it well.  It still comes down to the monkey holding the club, but now this monkey knows exactly where to point the stick.

Although the charts are only calibrated out to 20’ distances, it is easy to calculate the break on longer putts.  They even showed us how to find the (sometimes snaking) zero line of a 60’ putt and how the chart could be used to tell break.  One of the putts we hit was 60’ with a chart reading of 20” of break.  There is no way that I would have read it that low.  Hitting a ball though, 20” was the right read.

At the end of the 2.5 hour class, I walked away with my aim charts, a Level 1 student workbook, and a feeling of confidence that my green reading will improve if I practice and use the AimPoint system. The cost of this course was $200, which honestly seemed a bit steep to me at first.  Two and a half hours of swing instruction from your local golf pro would cost you about the same though.  Having taken the class, I feel that what I spent was a bargain.  This is a skill set that I can use for every round of golf I play in the future.

AimPoint:  Reflections and “Rating”

After the class, I had lunch with Tim and Pete and some interesting points came up.  First of all, there has been a significant increase in the number of tour pros using the AimPoint system.  Some seem reluctant to learn the system, fearing that they will lose their “feel” for reading greens.  That seems like a good thing.  AimPoint trained caddy to tour pro after reading the chart, “Play it 14” left.”  Pro aims 14” left and it goes in.  Tim told me some great stories about how the game of golf has changed over the years.  One innovation came when Jack Nicklaus would go out during a practice round and mark off distances to objects on the course.  That way he knew that if a tree by his ball is 145 yards out, he hits the iron that goes 145 yards.  Many of the players were using more of a “This feels like a 6 iron mentality” until Jack showed them the value in knowing exact yardage.  A similar revelation came later in wedge play.  Mapping out exact distances of wedge shots at 50%, 75%, and 100% swings allowed Tom Watson to throw darts at greens well before others were doing the same.  All other areas of the game are very data centered, but green reading is still viewed as being only about feel.  I think that more and more people will see the science of AimPoint and experience how using this system improves reads and lowers scores.  A few years from now we may joke about how we putted before AimPoint.

Conclusion

Go to the AimPoint website, locate an instructor in your area, and take a class.  You will be happy you did.  Tim mentioned to me that they will be launching 3-day AimPoint clinics at twelve locations across the US this year.  This would be amazing to attend.  Instruction in the morning and practice on the course in the afternoon would truly cement in those skills.  After three days, you would leave a far better putter with a great handle on the AimPoint system.

I could break this review down into a 100 point based scoring system as I have done in the other reviews, but taking a class doesn’t really lend itself to that scale.  For this review I will leave the scoring to you, but think about these questions.  How would you score a class that makes you a better green reader in every future round you play?  How would you score the value of that skill?  How would you rate a class that allowed you to never have to guess at a read again?

That is what I believe AimPoint has done for me.  And this class was only Level 1...

{ 29 comments… read them below or add one }

Justin March 15, 2011 at 7:38 am

Excellent article! I like the blend of info and humor. And I learned something: I spent this whole time thinking AimPoint was just a cool addtive to my TV viewing experience… dead wrong! Very few reviews make me want to say “You know what, I think I want to try “. This one, however, did.

Thanks for this article!

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Golfspy Dave March 15, 2011 at 9:10 am

Thanks for the positive feedback. Feel free to ask any questions here or in the AimPoint thread in the Forum.

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P-Gunna March 15, 2011 at 7:51 am

Awesome article, I have been interested in Aimpoint for some time now!

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Golfspy Dave March 15, 2011 at 9:08 am

Thanks for the positive feedback. Feel free to ask any questions here or in the Forum thread.

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Tom March 15, 2011 at 6:41 pm

I seem to be missing something. I agree–if I take something wholly flat, such as a large plywood sheet with a hole in the middle, and tilt it 1 degree, there will be two “straight” putts to the hole, one at the highest point and one at the lowest point. I get that, as well as the “to the right of those points” a putt will break left, and vica-versa.
What I don’t get is this appears to assume the the green is wholly flat except for the tilt between the place where a ball is and the hole is–my plywood example. But real greens aren’t like that. If my ball is 20 feet from the hole, it might be exactly at the lowest point of a 40 foot circle with the hole at the center (a 20 foot radius). But, unlike my piece of plywood, there is no reason to think that the green is “flat” between my ball and the hole. It might have some right undulation, or some left undulation, or both. Discovering where my ball is relative to the high and low points of this 40 foot circle is a useful start, but the non-flat nature of a green within that 20 foot radius would seem to mean that I can’t take this first impression “to the bank.” I might be the the right of the lowest point of this circle and still find that the ball will break right, not left, because of what happens to the green within the intervening 20 feet.
Please help me understand what I’m missing.

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Golfspy Dave March 15, 2011 at 11:12 pm

Hi Tom
You are not missing anything, you are just describing what would be a more advanced read. You are absolutely right that green topography can include all kinds of variation. The class I took and reviewed above just covered the basics. The subsequent classes get into how to use the charts for crowns and saddles. I am not trying to duck your question at all, it’s is just that as you can tell from the review, I am new to this too. I think that when I take the next classes, I can better answer your question. Meanwhile , I will try and get one of the instructors to come and respond to your question.
Dave

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Mark Sweeney March 16, 2011 at 6:05 am

Hi Tom, that’s a great question. All greens have curves to them and are not perfectly planar like a sheet of plywood, but the same pricinciples still apply about the straight putt. It’s not intuitive, but the straight putt will be on or very close to the inflection still even if the green curves, because the ball will double-break towards the hole and the two breaks will cancel each other. In some situations the straight putt will be off of the inflection, but the advanced class shows how to handle that situation easily.

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Rod March 16, 2011 at 8:25 am

I was wondering when this application might be availablefor android?

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Brad Smith March 16, 2011 at 11:17 am

You’ve got the same mistatement in items 3 and 4. “Putts to the right of the zero line break left and putts to the right of the zero line break left.”

If you’re below the hole, putts to the right of the zero line break left and putts to the left of the zero line break right. Conversely…….
If you are ABOVE the hole, putts to the right of the zero line break right, and putts to the left of the zero line break left.

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Golfspy Dave March 16, 2011 at 11:55 am

Hi Brad
It was actually not a mistake, but written that way on purpose to emphasize the the consistency of the reads. However, I was just thinking about the read below when I wrote it and should have made that more clear…

I get your point about the upper zero line. For a putt to the right of the zero line, the read would be to the left of the hole, with the ball rolling to the right.

I do my best having only taken my first class three weeks ago. :)

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FOURZeek March 16, 2011 at 11:23 am

Last year I took the same class and was immediately impressed with the results. My average putts per round went from 30 to 27 in just 4 weeks of playing and practicing (which also reduced my handicap). It is a phenominal education of how to read greens and I still haven’t lost the feel either. At this time of the year when things are dead in the south, it can’t teach you how to putt from off the green – hence the feel part.
A few things about this that were eluded to a little and may answer a few questions. Not all greens are basic – given – so the more undulating greens may have multiple low points and high points (zero lines or zero points). It takes practice and further education, as you stated, to know how to utilize the chart for such type putts. The gentlemen we took the class from made themselves availble via email with all future questions we had – which was a help. Also, consider this…if you are concerned about sinking more 40 and 50 foot putts, you might be starting your improvement efforts in the wrong area of your game (I am a prime example of that).
I strongly advise doing this if you are to the point where putting is your focus!

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Tim March 16, 2011 at 1:24 pm

Great Review Dave. This has really peaked my interest
Thanks!

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Geoff Mangum May 19, 2011 at 7:32 am

Dear Dave,

I like your “what it was like” approach to the lesson. I’ve studied systems like the aimpoint approach for twenty years now, and would like to point out a couple of problems. The main one is the idea of using a chart to read putts is not golf. It is generally illegal to use a chart or similar “artificial device” to decide how to play a shot. The only allowed exception in the Rules is a “yardage book”, which cannot contain any information about the contour or elevation of the course and is limited to “yardage only”. The second big problem is the level of touch required for the charts is not realistic or representative of more than a tiny few number of golfers. The 10″ (actually 6-12″ past the hole) was borrowed by aimpoint without reflection or analysis from a physics paper, which in turn borrowed it from another physics paper. These physics papers on putting in golf are always “fun physics” sorts of efforts, not all that serious about the subject. Real golfers cannot perform at that level and can only force-fit their games into the aimpoint charts without really learning how touch works. There are other problems as well, since the chart aims cannot be calculated without making untrue assumptions to simplify the green, such as the assumption that the green is perfectly flat although tilted out of level and that all balls are started with perfect true roll and no skid at all off the putter face every time. You can get the full benefit of the system intuitively if you simply predict what a putt with YOUR touch started straight at the hole across the REAL green will actually do, by predicting HOW LOW the breaking ball started straight really will pass below the hole. Just aim that high and putt straight with that same touch. All the fancy physics isn’t that useful or good.

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Ryan October 30, 2012 at 11:04 am

PGA Tour caddies map the green and how they break…. there seems to be some holes in your theory.

a PGA member

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Chris Rogers June 9, 2011 at 12:38 pm

Dave,

Thanks for the great review and discussions.

I’ve attended the Aimpoint courses, used the charts and iphone app. These are good products for simplifying the putting process. Particularly with regard to the concept of a zero break line (first discussed by H.A. Templeton). However, the assumptions plugged into the formulations must be considered and not taken at face value. As noted above, the ball does not start rolling off the putter face, it skids-rolls for the first 10-20% of the putt distance. Aimpoint calculations do not include this phase resulting in a lower estimation of green friction and over estimation of ball speed at the hole.

Also, using 6-12″ past the hole as a measure of optimal terminal velocity at the hole is not always accurate. The optimal terminal velocity depends on multiple variables not considered in Aimpoint courses: golfers’ ability to aim, golfers’ ability to control speed at hole, condition of the greens (time of day), strategy (aggressive match play vs. conservative stroke play). Therefore, the distance past the hole used would represent an average most useful for all golfers. But, I think better players on better greens should be rolling the ball at faster terminal velocities.

Finally, knowing the break requires knowing the average green speed, putt length, average green slope, and angle between ball-hole line and 12:00 position. It’s not always easy to obtain these with high accuracy. Remember GIGO (garbage in – garbage out).

Training aids that provide accurate feedback will offer the golfer the best chance of improving putting skills. Aimpoint classes which teach aim, speed, and physics concepts regarding the green do go a long way to improving a golfer’s putting skill. However, there is always the opportunity for improvement.

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dave bamford May 16, 2013 at 8:45 am

I have to reply because I think some things are inaccurate.

Regarding skid — all putts come off the putter the same way according to loft and stroke (skid or not) and it is up to golfers to properly adjust for speed, so this has little to do with aimpoint theory. If your point is that the aimpoint calculations are “wrong” because they don’t account for skid, then I think you misunderstand what they term “capture speed” — it is simply a speed that will run the ball 6 to 12 inches past the hole, regardless of how pure the roll is. The charts are calibrated by stimp as well. If the stimp is right on, the charts work. I can tell you that much (see my posts below).

“Better players should roll the ball faster” — this is completely wrong. I just finished reading Dave Pelz’s short game and putting books, as well as taking the aimpoint class. Pelz has done statistical analysis of putts ad-nauseum. He concludes 16 inches is “optimal” distance for rolling putts. Mostly his logic rests on analysis of amateurs, who leave putts short (Pelz relies on real-world tracking data, as he should. He watches lots of amateurs miss lots of putts. And most of them are short.) While I agree that rolling the ball “faster” is a laudable goal simply because lots of putts are left short, and if left short they have 0% chance of going in (!) — but if the quibble is “12 inches is incorrect, it should be 16 inches past” … well, that is splitting hairs.

The aimpoint instructions state that the effective width of the cup decreases dramatically as speed increases. The 6-inch past “minimum capture speed” is necessary to reduce wobble effect (keeping putts on-line despite imperfections in the green). As capture speed goes beyond 10 or 12 inches, the cup narrows and the chance for misses increases.

I have been fanatically reading everything I can about putting, and taking lessons lately, so I am in geek-mode regarding putting lately. Everyone seems to agree that you want to run the ball past the cup, just not “too far”. I don’t believe that the laws of physics change for “more experienced” players.

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Charlie December 15, 2011 at 6:50 am

Keeping in mind that this is a training aid, it should be used only in this way. My only problem with someone using Aimpoint concepts during a round of golf is that they may hold up play pacing off distances and trying to calculate where to putt. Why is this a concern for me? Usually these people do all this calculation stuff and then miss the shot anyway .

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geo January 24, 2013 at 9:58 am

all great points. classes do seem pretty steep, so i am trying to just use the app to read reens. does good job of predicting if put in accurate info but takes some practice. very good starting point though for poor putters like myself. i have improved using this app and concepts but do not have a consistent stroke to hit the aim point line. thanks for a good product. i will try the drills, hopefully they will help.

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Frank January 31, 2013 at 9:45 pm

As a former PGA Tour caddie and professional tour player, I have to say respectfully to Mr. Mangum that most of your statements are misleading and you really have no clue or business talking about something you obviously know nothing about. We, meaning caddies and players, walk golf courses chart everything and even have a SEPARATE green diagram in our yardage books. Then we add compass readings, elevation adjustments and wind directions. Hours are spent putting arrows on greens before the new more specific charted greens were in our books.

Just saying those things for no other reason but to “poo-poo” on a great opportunity for some to improve simply, because its not YOUR system is disrespectful and frankly I would expect more out of you as an industry professional. Sounds like you are jealous that many tour players, TV and now more amateurs are flocking to a system they can MAYBE improve their skills.

Not all teaching techniques work or are adopted by everyone. But at least give the respect to let people judge for themselves.

I hate to be rude but it is a huge disservice to anyone trying to look for a system THEY like in an effort to make this game more fun for them to make blatantly false statements in an effort to dissuade anyone from this system.

Disgusting and offended.

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dave bamford April 23, 2013 at 12:47 pm

From one “dave” to another, thanks for the great and thorough description of your experience at an AimPoint class. Based on your review I decied to go ahead and sign up for one in my area — a couple weekends from now. I’m really looking forward to it. I’ll come back and give an update of my experience.

My story is that I’m finally getting serious about breaking 80, but I’m stuck at 82-85 territory because my putting is below average even on a good day, and my green reading is generally terrible. When my ball is 12-15 feet away, it is basically a guaranteed miss. Out of 100 greens last season I 1-putted something like 5 greens, it was pathetic. I can tell you that in every 1-putt was because the ball was 3 feet from the pin or closer (and was almost always on a par 3). I often miss par chances from 6-8 feet away, it is depressing! I came to the realization that putting is far and away my biggest problem.

This year putting is my focus. I finally took a long-overdue putting lesson in the off season, had my putter altered, and am making better strokes (I think!). But my instructor said nothing about green reading, … alignment and stroke mechanics are all that most putting lessons deal with. It was a start. I then went on a hunt and found some youtube videos about AimPoint. I think the approach is interesting, but really I just need a plan. Like a lot of things in life, a plan doesn’t need to be perfect to help. It has to be better than my current guess-and-hit-and-pray method, which I assure you does not work very well. I didn’t used to be such a bad putter, but somehow in the last year or so I have totally lost all sense of putting feel, confidence, what-have-you.

I went to the practice green on Sunday and just simply thinking of the “clock-face” analogy and experimenting with increasing the amount of break slightly with distances … and even doing this kind of “guesstimation” I sank lots of puts from 12-15 feet. If I could make 4 of those per round, (and stop missing 6-footers!) I would be shooting 79. Actually the biggest change from my “normal” putting this weekends was that my first-attempts were much closer, and I felt like I had a workable strategy to get my putts closer.

I can’t wait for the class, I feel like it will really give me some footing to improve.

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dave bamford May 6, 2013 at 7:34 am

I attended my aimpoint class this weekend and took my new knowledge to my local practice green yesterday for an hour. I have learned a lot of interesting things. If you don’t want to read this whole review, the short version is that the whole thing was fascinating, I have new skills at reading putts, and I can’t wait to go out and practice some more. The class was a bit pricey, but I have paid a lot more for golf-related items and gotten a lot less, I think. I think the value is right in the ballpark.

So, the class went roughly like this:
Putting distance tune up:
Like in the review above, we started with a warmup to get used to running the ball a few inches past the hole. This is the touch part that comes with practice, so no “system” is going to help with that…and putting straight …

Then we learned how to accurately measure distance.

This turned out to be easy for me, because my natural stride takes me 2.5 feet, on the button. So two strides is exactly five-feet. Others weren’t so lucky, but I was giddy to realize that I can now walk off a putt and tell you it is 12.5 feet. This has little to do with the aimpoint methodology, but honestly I had never thought to measure my stride with a yardstick, or would have thought that accurate measurements could help me with putting. I have learned how to stretch out my strides on fairways, like most people, but never thought to do this on greens. So, that was cool!

Finding slope at the midpoint:
Next we learned how to estimate the slope *at the midpoint* of the putt. This was a totally new concept for me. I have always read putts from behind the ball, or maybe from behind the cup. Never from a center point in-between the two.
Estimating the slope:
We were introduced to the idea of percentage slope of the greens — and were shown everything from 1% to 5% grades. The instructor had marked out areas on the green with different slopes, calibrated with a digital level. We then internalized the feeling of the various slopes (using our feet) to both discern the slope correctly, and secondly to discover the high point, or where the “zero line” (aka: fall line) of the putt is. This was fascinating to me, as I discovered that with only a few minutes of practice I could easily discern the difference in say, a 2% vs. a 4% slope, and it was pretty easy to find the fall line — easier on steeper puts, especially. This technique by itself is crucial to helping me understand and read putts. I am no longer relying on visual cues (like a big hill on one side of the green) or folklore (everything breaks to/away from the creek) and any other distractors or illusions. The instructor made the point over and over again that it is only the ground your ball is rolling over between it and the hole that matters. Way cool stuff.

Finding Stimp –
We started using the actual AimPoint cards themselves at this point, to find the green’s stimp reading. This is a critical piece, because the charts are organized by stimp rating. Luckily this is quite simple, since most greens are around an 8, you can start there. If you follow the chart and aim correctly from 5 feet, your putt will go in the hole. If you consistently miss high or low, switch to a different stimp chart and try again until you have it.

Reading the charts –
Then we got into doing a full-read of the putt with the charts. There’s too much to go into here regarding reading the angles, and some quirks with the charts. For example the aim numbers are marked off at 5, 10, 15, and 20 foot intervals, so you have to find midpoints sometimes, and there are rules about what to do in certain situations. For example, if the ground feels “flat” or you can’t tell what’s going on, default to 2% slope, etc. My first few reads were slow, but I was getting the hang of it by the time the class was over. Most putts rolled where they were supposed to, or if they missed they were usually too fast or too slow. Pretty amazing.

Results from my one practice session (so far) –

I took my aim chart and new skills to the putting green. It took me a little while to get into the groove, but I kept at it for a solid hour and by the end of it I could do reads very quickly. One thing I learned is that my local practice green is CRAZY STEEP. There are 4% and 5% grades all over it, and in all but the flattest areas it is 3%. No wonder it used to drive me bonkers practicing there!

One of the most interesting things I discovered is my new-found ability to discover when putt is straight. I can now walk to the midpoint of my putt, find the fall line, and realize based on where my ball is, that “Oh, this putt is straight!” No charts, books, or anything, just walk back and hit it. I was sinking a LOT of 5-10 foot putts, and missing 15 and 20-footers by just an inch or two. Most of my worse misses came from my lack of distance control (leaving a putt 10 inches short — oops — is clearly user error). I hate to jinx myself too soon, but after a while 5-foot putts were getting a little boring so I ventured out to hit a lot from 15-20 feet. When I think of how many 5 to 7-footers I missed last year, I have high hopes that my putting will be drastically better. I feel like a kid with a new toy!

Sorry to ramble on so much, but I am excited about this.

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dave bamford May 16, 2013 at 8:20 am

UPDATE #2!

Sorry, just one more and then I will stop with the updates.

I managed to get out for 9 holes last weekend, even though it was Mother’s day and I had a lot of other obligations, you know how it is … :-)

In short, I played 9 holes and one-putted 4 greens. !!! Yes, 4. Out of 9. (And I missed another 6-footer along the way! GRR!). A particular gem was a solid 25-footer on hole #1, and curving 18-footer to save par on a par 3 after my tee-shot found the sand, and my bunker shot was short coming out of wet sand (my only bunker foray of the outing). I went out to the first tee stone-cold (no warmup) and a chilly wind blowing and a light drizzle . I managed a 42 although I started with two double-bogeys in the first 3 holes. Ack. Putting really helped me for a change!

As I mentioned before, in the 100 holes I collected putting data on last year, I one-putted exactly 10 times (I went back and checked my list, I said 5 in my earlier post, I can tell you it felt like 5). So, from 10% to 44% increase… I can see myself breaking into the 70′s soon. Going out for real this weekend, hope to get in 36!

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Geg January 12, 2014 at 10:27 am

I recently took the Aimpoint fundamentals class and found the technology and green reading information to be extremely useful.

I have a question:
Is the Aimpoint iPhone App legal for play according to USGA rules? I know that the Aimpoint charts are legal, but I cannot find an answer ANYWHERE regarding conformity of the iPhone App. Even my Aimpoint instructor did not know if the App was legal for use during play….

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dave January 14, 2014 at 8:36 pm

In our class the AimPoint instructor made it pretty clear that while you were on the green you could not utilize any device or mechanism while in the process of reading your putt. Specifically he was answering another student’s question about trying to orient the degree markings on the chart to align the cup with their ball’s location ( … like trying to decide between 40 or 45 degrees, let’s say). I believe even the green charts that pro caddies typically carry can only be referenced while standing off the green, or at least some distance away from the putt and putting line.

I haven’t seen the need for an AimPoint app, other than to train yourself to find % grade instead of buying a digital level. It may be cheaper than the level. As I understand it, you would have to place the phone down on the green, at the midpoint, to read the % grade, so that would not be allowed anyway. Only repeating what I heard from the instructor, and it made sense.

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Sushil March 19, 2014 at 11:27 pm

Hi dave,
Will you be able to share how Aimpoint has helped you now that you have learnet it almost 10 months back.

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dave bamford April 18, 2014 at 6:49 pm

Hi Sushi,
Stumbling upon my old posts … yes, I’d be glad to give another update!

The snow has melted around here and it is finally warming up! I played my first 9-holes of the season last weekend with two friends. Early season lack of touch had us chunking shots and hitting some bad chip shots. But I still carded a 42 and my putting was ON. I one-putted 4 greens, and sank several putts between 5-10 feet. I wasn’t even using my aimpoint chart, just feeling the slope and doing my midpoint reads as usual.

At the end of last season (Oct-ish) my putting was the best it’s ever been. In my last round (before getting hurt and not playing ’til now) I had one blistering round where I sank multiple puts from beyond 10-feet — some out to 25 — in one round. I carded a couple of 38′s … my best ever for 9. I am so happy to see that my putting it has not faded that much during the off season. Looking forward to great things this year.

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dave bamford April 18, 2014 at 6:50 pm

oops, maybe you meant the “other” dave… sorry if I chimed in out of turn.

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Terry March 23, 2014 at 2:02 pm

@Greg As I understand it, It’s not so much the app that would be illegal but it’s the smart phone itself that’s illegal to use during USGA play. Because the phone can get live weather data, it’s deemed illegal to use period. Even if you don’t use the weather app, it’s the fact that it has the ability that’s the problem.

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Colin McCarthy July 24, 2014 at 9:47 am

On a flat-flat putt you aim at the center of the hole, period. If you want reference, ask Jack Nicklaus about dying the ball in the hole. He seemed to win the most didn’t he??

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