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The Apex of the Putt

post #1 of 60
Thread Starter 

It was only recently that I talked with Rich Hunt about people aiming at the apex of a putt. Rich said something about how he felt like a lot of golfers aimed at the apex of the putt. My opinion was something like "Who would be so stupid?"

 

And when he said they aimed at the apex of the putt, he meant it. He said people would see the "high point" of the putt and they'd literally try to aim it there. Again, "who would be so stupid"? I'd literally never seen it before.

 

Until I started looking for it. I'd casually ask some golfers where they were aiming. By and large a lot of them would pick a spot about halfway to the hole, say "right here," and correctly state that their ball should roll over that spot. Then they'd line up to it! They'd then have to wickedly PUSH or PULL their putts to get the ball to roll over that spot. Talk about inconsistent...

 

In case it's not obvious to you, your ball starts breaking immediately. You're better off aiming at the true "high point" of the putt - not the apex, but the "AimPoint" if you want to use the way AimPoint teaches green reading, and putting straight at that. At least it's accurate. You can line up to it, deliver the ball straight to it, and when it starts to go "low" of that point immediately, that's okay.

 

Two funny stories, both from the same guy... This was a scramble so the pins were put in some REALLY awkward places. Literally about half a percentage away from roll-off type slopes.

 

On one hole, our twenty foot putt broke - no kidding - eight feet. It'd enter the hole almost 70 degrees from the direction we were putting. The Guy's read? "Foot and half, firm." After someone else putted he adjusted it to "two feet" and pointed at a spot that was four feet left of the hole if measured at the hole. His starting line? Four feet left (at the hole) of the mark he pointed at. His ball rolled just high of that mark and he said "see? Toldja."

 

On a later hole, we had ten feet on a relatively steep slope. My read, which I announced to the group, was "nine inches, 9 inches past for speed." The Guy says "No WAY it's nine inches. I have it right here." He puts his putter down and the other three members of the group turn to me and smile. Politely (well, somewhat) I say "That's nine inches! Look! It's two cups away and then a little tiny bit." The Guy probably couldn't have put his putter head down nine inches outside the edge of the cup any better if he had a ruler.

 

Do yourself a favor. Learn to read putts with some sort of AimPoint - whether you take an actual "AimPoint" session or not - and make every putt "straight." If you're one of the people who "putt to the apex," stop right away. You're likely manipulating things from there.

post #2 of 60

i just see the line i want, i usually aim a bit infront of my ball on the line i want.. I use to aim out near the hole, or some point i want the ball to roll over, but i got away from that. 

post #3 of 60
Obviously, aiming at the apex won't work if the ball starts breaking right away. I haven't heard too much talk about it before, but I wouldn't be surprised if lots of people aim at the apex. Makes no sense at all, though.

I always pick a target very close to the ball, in line with the true "high point". Now if I only could get the speed right. b2_tongue.gif
post #4 of 60
I played in a scramble last month, and despite it being only my second time on the course, I spend nearly the entire round reading the greens, telling them all where to aim. Very rarely did they actually roll the ball over the spots they were trying to hit, because they were aiming straight at those spots. That ain't gonna work.

I pick a spot even with the cup to aim at, and assume that I'm going to hit it less ~six inches past. That's the goal, at least... b2_tongue.gif
post #5 of 60
Reminds me of Phil Mickelson's instructional DVD. When discussing putting, he says that the "high point" of the putt, pragmatically speaking, is where the ball starts, because it instantly starts breaking from there. He said something to the effect of, "If you line up to the visual 'high point' of the putt, you're crazy, because the ball stands no chance of getting there." He also says that he has almost never, including Pro-Ams, seen amateurs line up properly.

Can't find a video of that segment of his video on YouTube, maybe not many people clamor for advice on putting from Phil... b2_tongue.gif
post #6 of 60
Quote:
Originally Posted by B-Con View Post

Reminds me of Phil Mickelson's instructional DVD. When discussing putting, he says that the "high point" of the putt, pragmatically speaking, is where the ball starts, because it instantly starts breaking from there. He said something to the effect of, "If you line up to the visual 'high point' of the putt, you're crazy, because the ball stands no chance of getting there." He also says that he has almost never, including Pro-Ams, seen amateurs line up properly.

Can't find a video of that segment of his video on YouTube, maybe not many people clamor for advice on putting from Phil... b2_tongue.gif


Phil needs to putt more like Phil Mickelson and less like Pelz, Stockton, Bradley, or whatever windmill he's chasing. He's one of the best putters of all time - he wouldn't have stayed in the OWGR top 10 for so many years with his driving and no putting skills.

post #7 of 60

I wasn't sure what this topic was all about. Aim at the apex? Pick an aim point? Why do the two have to be mutually exclusive. You have to take the apex into account, but unless the putt breaks 180 degrees like something at Augusta, are people actually trying to leave their putt on the apex?  I've always assumed I was picking an aim point, but then always looked at the hole as well.

 

Today I played a round and after 3-putting the second hole, I decided that whatever I was doing, it wasn't working. From the third hole on, there was the same green reading, but I then visualized the cup in a different spot and aimed there. On some putts it was 6 feet short and right and others just beyond the cup about 2 inches left of centre. Oh man, what a difference. I was making the same reads, but my stroke felt so much more natural. Even the putts I missed were just better misses. And I had no fear on the comebackers. I've never taped my preshot routine and setup, but there was something missing and something extra - it sucked. Onward and upward.

post #8 of 60
Thread Starter 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by sean_miller View Post

I wasn't sure what this topic was all about. Aim at the apex? Pick an aim point? Why do the two have to be mutually exclusive. You have to take the apex into account, but unless the putt breaks 180 degrees like something at Augusta, are people actually trying to leave their putt on the apex?  I've always assumed I was picking an aim point, but then always looked at the hole as well.

 

Some people pick the apex of the putt and AIM AT IT. The majority of golfers, actually. If you aim at the apex, then you have to pull or push the putt like crazy to have a chance to make it.

 

Yes, they're mutually exclusive. You can't AIM at both. They're different points.

 


Quote:
Originally Posted by sean_miller View Post

Today I played a round and after 3-putting the second hole, I decided that whatever I was doing, it wasn't working. From the third hole on, there was the same green reading, but I then visualized the cup in a different spot and aimed there. On some putts it was 6 feet short and right and others just beyond the cup about 2 inches left of centre. Oh man, what a difference. I was making the same reads, but my stroke felt so much more natural. Even the putts I missed were just better misses. And I had no fear on the comebackers. I've never taped my preshot routine and setup, but there was something missing and something extra - it sucked. Onward and upward.

 

Sounds like you switched to picking an AimPoint with a little difference for speed (fake cup in front of the hole, etc.).

 

BTW, here's an earlier post I made on this topic: http://thesandtrap.com/t/32254/more-advice-i-hate-the-apex-of-the-putt .

 

 

post #9 of 60

post #10 of 60

When i read putts, i can usually see how the putt will roll. I will look at my ball then trace my eyes out towards the hole, and i can visualize how the ball will roll and the break it will take. I actually make more putts with break than straight putts. So what i do is pick a point about a 6 inches infront of the ball i like to see the ball roll over. That point is on my curved line that i see.

post #11 of 60



 

Quote:
Originally Posted by iacas View Post

 

Sounds like you switched to picking an AimPoint with a little difference for speed (fake cup in front of the hole, etc.).

 

 



I started off thinking of the cup, but by the end of the round my focus was a much smaller point, like a specific blade of grass on short(ish) ones. My nemesis is 1.5 to 4 foot putts (seriously) and this is where I felt the most confident. These putts are second nature to a good putter, but I've only had a few streaky rounds over the years (good streaky - had lots of the other kind). After a good putting round, I could never identify any single thing to carry over to the next one. I'm kicking myself for missing the course in Calgary. Next year though . . .

post #12 of 60
I feel there is a feedback mechanisn at work here. During practice and play players believe that what the see is real. What happens is that their brains/bodies learn to translate what they see into the results the seek. Of course this leads to inconsistency. I feel this is why there are some who pull or push puts, as long as consistently, often, at least some days, putt well. This is why I laugh when people insist on keeping the flag in on longer putts. If you aim at the hole when you putt it will almost always miss unless on pool table like greens.
post #13 of 60

Let's not forget that the short game (putting included) has a very large imagination component. The imagination in putting being the skill to read the speed of the putt. Because, ultimately, the line you choose is subject to the pace you hit it at. (Yes I realize that those two components CAN be interchangeable).

 

Bit I tell ya, nothing aides the putting stats like knowing the course's greens!

post #14 of 60

Sorry I have to post again, because I realised I forgot something about this whole aim-point thing......

 

 

DUH!

post #15 of 60
Quote:

Originally Posted by iacas View Post

 

Some people pick the apex of the putt and AIM AT IT. The majority of golfers, actually.

  

I read this and thought, "Nah.  That's preposterous.  Who would be so dumb..."  Then I watched the video and read a few articles.  Holy Crap!  I guess I feel pretty fortunate in this regard.  Maybe because of having some physics in my background.  Whatever.  I never thought a bullet didn't start falling to the ground immediately after leaving the barrel and I never thought a putt didn't break immediately after being struck.  Maybe with as much backspin as some people get on their rolls they're accounting for lift  :)  In riflery, you pick a spot and pull the trigger.  The bullet always comes out straight.  That seemed like the right way to think about putting to me from the first day I ever thought about putting.

 

 

 

 

post #16 of 60

I can remember arguing this with my uncle when he tried telling me about this.  I was nine, so you really shouldn't need a physics degree to figure this out.  It obvioulsy doesn' go dead straight and then take a 90 degree turn at the high point.  High handicappers would do better to just react and not think....I think.  The best thing any golfer can do is to take a few lessons on putting and not just their full swing.  I love driving by our course and seeing how rare it is for me to see someone make anything over 4 feet. 

post #17 of 60

The apex of the putt is the ball.  It is pretty amazing how bad people are at reading putts.  I've been a habitual line user for around 5 years now and that has helped me aim where I want to.

 

A rule I use on the greens I typically play is if I see the ball going over the high point I want to start it maybe 2 times outside that or more.  If I don't, the the thing will have no chance or be racing by.  That is a generic amount but based on everything I have read and learned from playing, I'd rather overread the break and miss on the pros side.  When I miss low is when a putt can get away from me in terms of speed.  Inside of 5 feet I sometimes have a problem missing on the high side.  If the apex is the edge of the cup, I start it just outside and if I hit it a little firm, I miss.  But when I'm playing ok and enough, this issue is minimal and I feel really good from close range.  I like to hit my short ones a little harder than what some prescribe. 

post #18 of 60
I think that people who aim for the high point often are aware that the ball will instantly start dropping. They just think that aiming at the high point is the "balancing" point of the putt, where the drop from the first part of the putt will coincide with the drop from the last leg of the putt. Or something... Not sure how to put it into words.
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