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Aimpoint Express, the Fickle Finger of Fate... Really?

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nevets88

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NBC announcers flaunt their lack of curiosity like... peacocks. If I were interviewing someone for a job and asked for his/her opinion of the new programming language Beta, which has been available for years, and that person said, I don't know anything about it, I've always used Alpha and it's better in my opinion, for me, that would not represent the candidate well. 

In the video, Peter Jacobsen says he tried Aimpoint Express and still hasn't figured it out. Miller then asks Gary Koch if he tried it and he says no, plumb bobbing would get the same result. Miller follows up with plumb bobbing is more accurate. David Feherty calls it The Fickle Finger of Fate, a disparaging moniker with the randomness it invokes, or maybe it's more for chuckles - Feherty seems like a smart guy and would figure out Aimpoint straight away.

Listen, if you're going to knock something on national TV, at least take a detailed look into what you're dismissing. I'd have more respect for these statements if they were, I took a clinic, gave it a concerted effort to try it, I just don't get it. Maybe we don't know the inside politics. Maybe there's some friction between the media and the company behind Aimpoint. Maybe there's some kind of extenuating circumstances. But if this isn't the case, there's no excuse for all the announcers not to have taken a clinic (Aimpoint Express isn't hard to learn, kids learn it.) That's their job, to know golf, right? Putting is one of its aspects.

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I think it's the same reason you see basketball announcers (or, before Moneyball, baseball announcers) making ignorant comments about "analytics" and how "the numbers are only part of the story".  In short: these guys are old.  They think the way things were in their day is the only right way...

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Yeah, there's such a resistance to technology. You see it with those old timers who say that video analysis has been the worst thing for modern instruction.

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1 hour ago, colin007 said:

Yeah, there's such a resistance to technology. You see it with those old timers who say that video analysis has been the worst thing for modern instruction.

 

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Yeah, I heard the comments and felt they weren't doing any service.   Aimpoint can be a bit more accurate than plumb bobbing.   One thing I have realized is that unless I chart the greens with a level, it is not be very effective for me.   I can't "feel" the slope with my feet very well and is often wrong by 2% or more.  Another thing I found is that slope can vary from foot to foot, yard to yard. 

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4 hours ago, rkim291968 said:

Yeah, I heard the comments and felt they weren't doing any service.   Aimpoint can be a bit more accurate than plumb bobbing.   One thing I have realized is that unless I chart the greens with a level, it is not be very effective for me.   I can't "feel" the slope with my feet very well and is often wrong by 2% or more.  Another thing I found is that slope can vary from foot to foot, yard to yard. 

Comparing plumb bobbing with Aimpoint is like debating whether a unicorn is faster than a quarter horse. 

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How long has Aimpoint been around? Forget debating whether it's better or not. That these guys haven't even taken a clinic, talked to the owner, to me, shows they're out of touch they are plus lack of trying to keeping up with trends. On the other hand, you have back in the day, Gary McCord hanging out with Mac O'Grady and soaking up his knowledge. Maybe these guys are playing dumb and want paid advertising or their contracts forbid them to even loosely speak positively of services and products not endorsed by parent company.

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Is (in this case only) 'we are old school' a defense catch phrase for intellectual laziness or just that they are simply incapable of filtering out their personal bias of reliance only on 'visual feel' for 'all these years'? I think the latter. Additionally very few on tour using AimPoint so far corroborates what they think - no better than what 'we' did and I am guessing some (like Miller or Feherty, for eg.) prolly think it can be misleading in some reads.    

@rkim291968, reading slope degs. with your feet does take some practice. If you play different courses, then takes a bit more practice. Admittedly, I am a bit lazy myself in practicing/using it enough. But this is not a overly difficult skill.  

Anyway, Adam Scott winning with short putter two weeks in a row didn't happen without some great putting, no small thanks to greens reading. I would think that would raise their confidence in the method or at least some distant respect.

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I remain reticent because up til the past 2 weeks, the very few pros who use it have not been successful.  In fact, these may be the 1st 2 PGA tournaments won by someone who uses it (could be wrong).  

Scott's success may inspire more pros to research it, although, as someone pointed out earlier, his putting SG made up only 15% of total SG for the week so not sure it's a worthwhile endeavor.  

Call me superficial, but until I see more success on the pro level, it's not something I'd invest in, either time or money.  Too many other things to work on. 

Edited by Gunther

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1 hour ago, Gunther said:

I remain reticent because up til the past 2 weeks, the very few pros who use it have not been successful.  In fact, these may be the 1st 2 PGA tournaments won by someone who uses it (could be wrong).  

Scott's success may inspire more pros to research it, although, as someone pointed out earlier, his putting SG made up only 15% of total SG for the week so not sure it's a worthwhile endeavor.  

Call me superficial, but until I see more success on the pro level, it's not something I'd invest in, either time or money.  Too many other things to work on. 

Well, it's a tool for who wants/needs it. A good tool.

But yeah, if you think your green break reading is good or good enough then would be low priority, or not be on the list at all if you feel it will mess up the apple cart. As all thing golf, you still have to work to find a comfort level.  

You still have to determine proper slope via feet and know speed level to apply right break read amount. And, obviously you won't magically make a better stroke (well, maybe, if it adds confidence to a serial bad break reader).

Worse your break reading is, more the help. To each their own. No knock on the tool.

Edit: Forgot to add, I also think this is not drastic like learning a new swing pattern or anything. Some use it as bible, some use it to confirm the break for added confirmation. And, if not working for them, then one can stop using any moment.  

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Also worth noting is that this is not that dissimilar to fitted putters.  We tout how important something like an Edel putter, which is fitted to you personally for aim, can be for the masses, but its not as important for the pros.  Why?  Because the pros have had tools at their disposal for years that allow them to be precisely fitted for putters.

So, while there may only be a handful of pros who are using the brand name Aimpoint system, that doesn't mean that the rest of them are "old school."  These guys have the greens mapped out thoroughly and charted for slopes of all directions.  In fact, this year the Euro our announcers have commented several times on Rorys "charts" that he pulls out on the greens (at Dubai and Abu Dhabi, at the very least).  So while he may not have a chart that gives him the exact "aimpoint," he does have a chart that gives him some information that he swirls around in his head with other info he has to get his read.

Basically, what I'm saying is that there are a lot of pros using a bastardized version of aimpoint and they don't even know it.  No matter what Johnny and Roger say - I believe that there are no players out there reading the greens solely with their eyes on the spot and factoring in the location of the nearest water body or valley.

That said, I don't disagree with @Gunther.  After all, putting is relatively easy compared to all other aspects of the game and doesn't usually factor in to our scores nearly as much as some want to believe.  But the beauty of the system, as @GolfLug already alluded to, is that you don't have to use it.  You can take the class and get some good information on how to feel slopes with your feet, how to recognize general drainage and slope patterns, and stuff like that, and even without ever holding your fingers up in the air one single time, you'll already be a better green reader, and thus a better putter.

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2 hours ago, Gunther said:

I remain reticent because up til the past 2 weeks, the very few pros who use it have not been successful.  In fact, these may be the 1st 2 PGA tournaments won by someone who uses it (could be wrong).  

Scott's success may inspire more pros to research it, although, as someone pointed out earlier, his putting SG made up only 15% of total SG for the week so not sure it's a worthwhile endeavor.  

Call me superficial, but until I see more success on the pro level, it's not something I'd invest in, either time or money.  Too many other things to work on. 

Huh?!?!!!?  What are you talking about??!?!?! 

Before Adam Scott started Aimpoint he was literally in the bottom half of all putters in the PGA.  After he started it he won two tournaments early on and then these last two.  Not to mention Stacy Lewis plus a large number of other players who have won with it that I can't even remember!

It's THESE statements that have no basis in fact or even reality that tanks new AND BETTER things. Before you say ANYTHING about someone not winning with it etc... You NEED to look up the facts FIRST!  That (could be wrong) statement does NOTHING after you just crapped on the whole system before.

It's like Donald Trump calling all Mexicans rapists and murderers then (oh by the way I'm sure there are some nice people)....Too late! 

I'll get off my high horse now, but god that statement really chaps my ass!

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2 hours ago, Gunther said:

I remain reticent because up til the past 2 weeks, the very few pros who use it have not been successful.  In fact, these may be the 1st 2 PGA tournaments won by someone who uses it (could be wrong).  

Scott's success may inspire more pros to research it, although, as someone pointed out earlier, his putting SG made up only 15% of total SG for the week so not sure it's a worthwhile endeavor.  

Call me superficial, but until I see more success on the pro level, it's not something I'd invest in, either time or money.  Too many other things to work on. 

 

I think a far better way to evaluate AP value (aside from taking a course) is the improvement that amateurs see after taking the course. Lots of ultra-crappy putters have turned putting into the strongest aspect of their game after taking (and practicing) Aimpoint courses.

Putting plays a relatively small role in the success of a PGA Tour pro, the winner is typically the best ball striker of the week, so evaluating AP based on pro performance probably isn't a very good indicator.

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18 minutes ago, MattM said:

Huh?!?!!!?  What are you talking about??!?!?! 

Before Adam Scott started Aimpoint he was literally in the bottom half of all putters in the PGA.  After he started it he won two tournaments early on and then these last two.  Not to mention Stacy Lewis plus a large number of other players who have won with it that I can't even remember!

It's THESE statements that have no basis in fact or even reality that tanks new AND BETTER things. Before you say ANYTHING about someone not winning with it etc... You NEED to look up the facts FIRST!  That (could be wrong) statement does NOTHING after you just crapped on the whole system before.

It's like Donald Trump calling all Mexicans rapists and murderers then (oh by the way I'm sure there are some nice people)....Too late! 

I'll get off my high horse now, but god that statement really chaps my ass!

That was a bit aggressive.  Scott was a great putter in his younger years, even leading the Tour one season, before he went to the long putter and well before Aimpoint.

I know of no other PGA Tour win by a pro who uses the system. If there has been one, please share.

The other comments are taken in the manner they were conveyed.  It's just not something I struggle with, which isn't to say I don't misread greens, because sure I do, occasionally.  There are lots of other areas in my game that have a much higher priority and should get my focus.

But, being the superficial dude I am, if over the next couple years, 50% of the pros begin using it and winning at an incredible rate, I'd look deeper into it.  The evidence on the pro level hasn't convinced me to this point.

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It was absolutely aggressive and I do apologize. 

That first part of your comment was just not right I can't help it.  Here is a link to an article about Adam Scott using Aimpoint to get a win way back in 2014 from Golf Week http://golfweek.com/news/2014/may/27/adam-scott-putting-routine-pga-tour-express-read/ .

I also answered your question when I told you that Scott has won BEFORE with Aimpoint.  In addition, he went from 107th in 2013 to 18th in 2014 in putting.  Again, Stacy Lewis has been using it for YEARS as well and she has won some very big tournaments with it. 

Again I apologize for being aggressive, but the facts have to be told not innuendo.

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2 hours ago, Gunther said:

I remain reticent because up til the past 2 weeks, the very few pros who use it have not been successful.  In fact, these may be the 1st 2 PGA tournaments won by someone who uses it (could be wrong).  

Scott's success may inspire more pros to research it, although, as someone pointed out earlier, his putting SG made up only 15% of total SG for the week so not sure it's a worthwhile endeavor.  

Call me superficial, but until I see more success on the pro level, it's not something I'd invest in, either time or money.  Too many other things to work on. 

What would be more fair is to compare their putting performance for two to three years prior to adopting aimpoint and the same period after to see if their performance shifted. Many of those most interested in trying something new like this recognize they are below average in the skill.

NBC commentators: "This guy is about to win serious moolah ($1.67 M), but he looked funny doing it." That said Johnny Miller is quoting strokes gained stats so that's progress.

Edited by natureboy

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Just now, natureboy said:

What would be more fair is to compare their putting performance for two to three years prior to adopting aimpoint and the same period after to see if their skill was shifted. Many of those most interested in trying something new recognize they are below average performers in the skill.

Natureboy, check out that article I posted.  It talks about how poorly Scott was doing in the last five years or so, and where he ended up after taking Aimpoint (WINNING).  That's a big shift!

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4 hours ago, Gunther said:

I remain reticent because up til the past 2 weeks, the very few pros who use it have not been successful.  In fact, these may be the 1st 2 PGA tournaments won by someone who uses it (could be wrong).  

Scott's success may inspire more pros to research it, although, as someone pointed out earlier, his putting SG made up only 15% of total SG for the week so not sure it's a worthwhile endeavor.  

Call me superficial, but until I see more success on the pro level, it's not something I'd invest in, either time or money.  Too many other things to work on. 

Justin Rose won the US Open using AimPoint. He wasn't using express, so you didn't see the finger technique. I would say that was "successful". Stacy Lewis also uses AimPoint. Only the Express method uses the finger technique. I use AimPoint all the time and most people who don't know me don't know I am using it.

 

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2 minutes ago, billchao said:

From the AimPoint FB group @Gunther. According to their website, they count over 40 wins on professional tours.

FB_IMG_1457381427277.jpg

Well, that does make it more compelling, for sure. And, I didn't know that only the Express version uses the fingers so probably more pros using it than I'm aware.  Thanks for that info.

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21 minutes ago, Gunther said:

Well, that does make it more compelling, for sure. And, I didn't know that only the Express version uses the fingers so probably more pros using it than I'm aware.  Thanks for that info.

I"ve been using Aimpoint Express for a while now, and I actually don't always use my fingers. I know what a 2 finger read looks like without holding them up. But, I'm pretty lazy...

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39 minutes ago, billchao said:

From the AimPoint FB group @Gunther. According to their website, they count over 40 wins on professional tours.

Current world #1 Lydia Ko uses AimPoint.

FB_IMG_1457381427277.jpg

if you go to the website, the front page says 200 tour pros use it. 

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53 minutes ago, Gunther said:

Well, that does make it more compelling, for sure. And, I didn't know that only the Express version uses the fingers so probably more pros using it than I'm aware.  Thanks for that info.

Yeah, the previous version is all I know, and there are no fingers involved.  However, what I'm forced to do is equally quirky, so if a pro didn't already have the green mapped out and did what I do (shuffle around near the halfway point of the putt to find the straight up/down direction and estimate the severity of it) then it would not go unnoticed by the announcers. :)

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4 hours ago, Golfingdad said:

Yeah, the previous version is all I know, and there are no fingers involved.  However, what I'm forced to do is equally quirky, so if a pro didn't already have the green mapped out and did what I do (shuffle around near the halfway point of the putt to find the straight up/down direction and estimate the severity of it) then it would not go unnoticed by the announcers. :)

And yet they have no problem with the players who go to the halfway point and simulate a putt or the guys who spent 30 seconds behind the hole, below the hole and behind the ball and then plumb bob. The dumb thing about plumb bobbing is the putters don't hang vertical. 

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