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# Issue With Finger Aiming on Short Putts

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Let's assume we have a tool to roll the ball an exact amount of distance and to start in the line we want it to roll. Basically the perfect putter.
Now let's assume we have a 9 footer, with 2° consistent slope so we should aim our tool 2 fingers away from the hole (assuming we bent the arm in order to account for green speed) and set it to 10 feet of power to hole the putt. Last assumption we have a perfect green were the ball do what gravity tell it to do , no grass imperfections or grain tendencies. Also 0° degrees of upslope or downslope.
We set the perfect putter as mentioned and we hole the putt. Great! Now we place the ball in the same line but now 3 feet from the hole. We aim the tool 2 fingers away from the hole and set the power to 4 feet but this time we miss the hole on the high side.
Again we move the ball but now to 15 feet in the same line, aim 2 finger away from the hole and set the power to 16 feet. We run the tool but this time we miss the hole on the low side.
As we were told all of those putts should be holed in the middle but all of them acted in different ways.. why? there's a simple reason.. eyes height.

If we run the same scenarios but aim the tool using our fingers at ball height we are going to hole all of them, but when we aim with our fingers we do it at eyes height (normally standing tall) witch corrupt the numbers and making the perfect putter aim wrong and miss putts, only to be 100% accurate on the distance it was calibrated, in this example 9 feet.
Here is an example of this using a 6 foot golfer (assuming 5.5 feet distance from eyes to ground). Perfect putter was calibrated to hole with 2 fingers away from the hole at 9 feet.

From the 9 feet putter you can see that you need to aim 27 inches away from the hole to hole it. Because we calibrated our fingers at that distance using 2 finger works perfectly. But now if the use it in the 3 footer it make us aim 16 inches away from the hole were we only need to be 9 inches away from the hole so because we play more brake than we should we miss on the high side. The contrary happens with longer putts. At 15 feet with 2 fingers we aim 5 inches lower than we need so we miss on the low side.

On the last row we can see the real amount of finger we should use if we calibrated our fingers at 9 feet. Of course it changes in relations on what distance you did the calibration.
This could could be use an explanation to why on really short putts is recommended to set the fingers in the low side of the hole instead of the middle like in normal putts.

As a conclusion, finger aiming is really accurate if we do it at ball height, but the more we lift our eyes away from the ball, the more the method is not going to be accurate, even more on short putts.

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You’ve given a few things wrong here, and IMO it’s enough to tank the whole thing.

AimPoint uses percent slope not degrees.

Inside a crossover point you use the low edge instead of the center of the hole.

Also I have no idea how you’re getting two fingers to equal 27”. I get well under half that. There’s no way a 2 finger read from 3’ is anywhere close to 16”. Or the 9” you say is correct. A 2 from 3’ is barely outside the hole.

In other words, the numbers you gave seem really out of whack.

Erik J. Barzeski —  I knock a ball. It goes in a gopher hole. 🏌🏼‍♂️
Director of Instruction Golf Evolution • Owner, The Sand Trap .com • AuthorLowest Score Wins
Golf Digest "Best Young Teachers in America" 2016-17 & "Best in State" 2017-20 • WNY Section PGA Teacher of the Year 2019

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My practice green has 2% slope across a lot of it and 9 foot putt with 2% slope is nowhere near 27" of break. It's like half of that.

I'll measure it myself tomorrow.

I also don't really understand what point you're trying to make, are you trying to say that the green reading system that is used by like tens of thousands of golfers including plenty of tour players and caddies is incorrect and I'm supposed to believe that based on a couple lines you typed in a spreadsheet?

I don't get the whole eye height vs ball height thing. You mean to tell me you actually laid on the green at ball height and measured with your fingers?

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34 minutes ago, klineka said:

My practice green has 2% slope across a lot of it and 9 foot putt with 2% slope is nowhere near 27" of break. It's like half of that.

I'll measure it myself tomorrow.

I also don't really understand what point you're trying to make, are you trying to say that the green reading system that is used by like tens of thousands of golfers including plenty of tour players and caddies is incorrect and I'm supposed to believe that based on a couple lines you typed in a spreadsheet?

I don't get the whole eye height vs ball height thing. You mean to tell me you actually laid on the green at ball height and measured with your fingers?

So far as I can tell, he's talking about how the distance from ball to hole on the ground does not line up with the distance from eyes to hole on the ground - that's gotta go down the longest line of the triangle.

So 9 feet away on the ground is about 10.8 feet away (if your eyes are 6 feet off the ground). 3 feet away and you're 6.7 feet away. 3 feet should be 1/3 of the break as 9 feet, but your finger measure is really 6.7/10.8, which is roughly double the measure.

But outside of 9 feet, as he shows in his chart it makes barely a lick of difference. I can't tell the difference between 2% and 2.2%, so 9 feet and 15 feet are pretty much the same. Inside of 9 feet, where it starts making more of a difference, the using the lower lip for the start of your finger measure is pretty close to being about right anyway. That might start to break down if you have a 4% slope and you're 3 feet away, but that's basically unpinnable and not something you're going to come across unless you're playing in some sort of greenkeeper's revenge event. Then all bets are off anyway. AE is designed to be pretty darn close to what the real number is. It has some flexibility in it (the bend of your elbow for example) to iron out some of the stuff that won't quite line up exactly right like green speeds, uphill vs downhill etc.

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Yeah, @klineka, I get that he's just basically saying this:

He's just saying the top and bottom lines are not the same length. He just seems to have missed or be off on two or three things:

• AimPoint is in percentage slope, not degrees.
• Ain't no way a 2% putt is breaking 27" from 9'.
• You cross over to using the low edge of the hole inside of about 6-8'.

Here are some 2% putt break amounts (number is from the high side of the hole and is rounded to the whole inch, all putts are level — 90° to the slope):

• 9', stimp 10: 8"
• 9', stimp 12: 11"
• 9', stimp 8: 5"
• 24', stimp 10: 27"

You have to get out to 24' to get 27" of break.

Now, 2° is 3.5% slope, and… at stimp 10 and 90° a 9' putt is aimed 18" high. Still not 27", so I don't know where he's getting that.

Erik J. Barzeski —  I knock a ball. It goes in a gopher hole. 🏌🏼‍♂️
Director of Instruction Golf Evolution • Owner, The Sand Trap .com • AuthorLowest Score Wins
Golf Digest "Best Young Teachers in America" 2016-17 & "Best in State" 2017-20 • WNY Section PGA Teacher of the Year 2019

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28 minutes ago, Ty_Webb said:

So far as I can tell, he's talking about how the distance from ball to hole on the ground does not line up with the distance from eyes to hole on the ground - that's gotta go down the longest line of the triangle.

8 minutes ago, iacas said:

Yeah, @klineka, I get that he's just basically saying this:

He's just saying the top and bottom lines are not the same length. He just seems to have missed or be off on two or three things:

Ah, got it. That makes sense.

11 minutes ago, iacas said:

Here are some 2% putt break amounts (number is from the high side of the hole and is rounded to the whole inch, all putts are level — 90° to the slope):

• 9', stimp 10: 8"
• 9', stimp 12: 11"
• 9', stimp 8: 5"
• 24', stimp 10: 27"

I'll measure mine at the course tomorrow, I suspected it to be in that 6-12" range for 2% at 9 feet which matches what you said too, certainly nowhere close to 27".

Driver:  Rogue Max ST LS
Woods:   Darkspeed LS 3Wood
Irons: U505 (3)   P770 (4-PW)
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Putter:   White Hot RX #1
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1 minute ago, klineka said:

Ah, got it. That makes sense.

I'll measure mine at the course tomorrow, I suspected it to be in that 6-12" range for 2% at 9 feet which matches what you said too, certainly nowhere close to 27".

I stepped off 10' from a wall electrical outlet this morning when I read it and held up two AimPoint fingers at about stimp 10… and got a little over 8" (because I was 10' and not 9').

Erik J. Barzeski —  I knock a ball. It goes in a gopher hole. 🏌🏼‍♂️
Director of Instruction Golf Evolution • Owner, The Sand Trap .com • AuthorLowest Score Wins
Golf Digest "Best Young Teachers in America" 2016-17 & "Best in State" 2017-20 • WNY Section PGA Teacher of the Year 2019

Check Out: New Topics | TST Blog | Golf Terms | Instructional Content | Analyzr | LSW | Instructional Droplets

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23 minutes ago, Ty_Webb said:

So far as I can tell, he's talking about how the distance from ball to hole on the ground does not line up with the distance from eyes to hole on the ground - that's gotta go down the longest line of the triangle.

So 9 feet away on the ground is about 10.8 feet away (if your eyes are 6 feet off the ground). 3 feet away and you're 6.7 feet away. 3 feet should be 1/3 of the break as 9 feet, but your finger measure is really 6.7/10.8, which is roughly double the measure.

But outside of 9 feet, as he shows in his chart it makes barely a lick of difference. I can't tell the difference between 2% and 2.2%, so 9 feet and 15 feet are pretty much the same. Inside of 9 feet, where it starts making more of a difference, the using the lower lip for the start of your finger measure is pretty close to being about right anyway.

This is the concept I wanted to be noticed. I can recheck the numbers to make them more accurate.
The closer you get to the hole, the more the height of the player affect the reading of the putt and the system starts to diverge from reality. Aiming to the low part of the hole in short putts is a way to patch the method so that it gets closer to reality. Only using it at ball heigth, as camilo villegas used to read lines, is going to give you the exact distance away from the hole to aim at.

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13 minutes ago, p1n9183 said:

I can recheck the numbers to make them more accurate.

Yes, please, because if you said it was 20" but should be 10", that's a 10" error, but if it was 2" and 1", that's a one-inch error.

22 minutes ago, p1n9183 said:

The closer you get to the hole, the more the height of the player affect the reading of the putt and the system starts to diverge from reality.

Which is why… there is a different process for shorter putts (inside of about 6-8'). You don't really use your fingers anymore there.

I misspoke when I said that you use the low edge of the hole. That's the old way. In reality, you don't use your fingers at all inside of whatever your crossover point is.

23 minutes ago, p1n9183 said:

Only using it at ball heigth, as camilo villegas used to read lines, is going to give you the exact distance away from the hole to aim at.

That's not what he was doing there, no. He was just trying to see the slopes and tilts, not actually measuring distances and holding up fingers. His fingers were on the green. :D

Erik J. Barzeski —  I knock a ball. It goes in a gopher hole. 🏌🏼‍♂️
Director of Instruction Golf Evolution • Owner, The Sand Trap .com • AuthorLowest Score Wins
Golf Digest "Best Young Teachers in America" 2016-17 & "Best in State" 2017-20 • WNY Section PGA Teacher of the Year 2019

Check Out: New Topics | TST Blog | Golf Terms | Instructional Content | Analyzr | LSW | Instructional Droplets

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1 minute ago, iacas said:

Which is why… there is a different process for shorter putts (inside of about 6-8'). You don't really use your fingers anymore there.

I misspoke when I said that you use the low edge of the hole. That's the old way. In reality, you don't use your fingers at all inside of whatever your crossover point is.

Hmm... didn't know that. Good to know.

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38 minutes ago, iacas said:

Which is why… there is a different process for shorter putts (inside of about 6-8'). You don't really use your fingers anymore there.

I may need to brush up on my AimPoint.  I have been using my finger on 3-8 foot putts.

Stuart M.

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41 minutes ago, iacas said:

Yes, please, because if you said it was 20" but should be 10", that's a 10" error, but if it was 2" and 1", that's a one-inch error.

Which is why… there is a different process for shorter putts (inside of about 6-8'). You don't really use your fingers anymore there.

I misspoke when I said that you use the low edge of the hole. That's the old way. In reality, you don't use your fingers at all inside of whatever your crossover point is.

38 minutes ago, saevel25 said:

Hmm... didn't know that. Good to know.

Yeah I didn't know that either, but it's been like 5 years maybe since I did my lessons on AE.

What are you supposed to do inside the crossover point, read with your feet and then just learn what feelings correspond to like middle, inside edge, outside edge, etc?

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1 hour ago, iacas said:

He's just saying the top and bottom lines are not the same length. He just seems to have missed or be off on two or three things:

I'm not sure that is even relevant.  The idea of the fingers is how far above (Right) or below (Left) the hole to aim to account for the break.  As you get father away a "2 Finger" putt automatically directs you to aim more left or right of the hole regardless of how tall or short the golfer may be.

Stuart M.

I am a "SCRATCH GOLFER".  I hit ball, Ball hits Tree, I scratch my head. 😜

Driver: Ping G410 Plus 10.5* +1* / 3 Hybrid: Cleveland HIBORE XLS / 4,5 & 6 Hybrids: Mizuno JP FLI-HI / Irons/Wedges 7-8-9-P-G: Mizuno JPX800 HD / Sand Wedge: Mizuno JPX 800 / Lob Wedge: Cleveland CBX 60* / Putter: Odyssey White Hot OG 7S / Balls: Srixon Soft / Beer: Labatt Blue (or anything nice & cold)

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We dropped our AimPoint certification (wasn't close to worth the annual nut) a few years ago, and it's not "wrong" to use your fingers on the low edge, but basically… you get some guidelines on where to aim and then kinda massage it to fit what kind of putt you want to hit.

The speed at which people like to hit putts inside of 6' especially changes things a lot.

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Erik J. Barzeski —  I knock a ball. It goes in a gopher hole. 🏌🏼‍♂️
Director of Instruction Golf Evolution • Owner, The Sand Trap .com • AuthorLowest Score Wins
Golf Digest "Best Young Teachers in America" 2016-17 & "Best in State" 2017-20 • WNY Section PGA Teacher of the Year 2019

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1 hour ago, iacas said:

I misspoke when I said that you use the low edge of the hole. That's the old way. In reality, you don't use your fingers at all inside of whatever your crossover point is.

I didn't knew either that the method changed in the last years. I agree that over maybe 8 feet the difference between the reality and the fingers method is not significant because of been the length of the putt longer than the height of the player. But inside that area and closer to 3 feet the difference is important and can lead to confusion.

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16 minutes ago, p1n9183 said:

I didn't knew either that the method changed in the last years. I agree that over maybe 8 feet the difference between the reality and the fingers method is not significant because of been the length of the putt longer than the height of the player. But inside that area and closer to 3 feet the difference is important and can lead to confusion.

Erik J. Barzeski —  I knock a ball. It goes in a gopher hole. 🏌🏼‍♂️
Director of Instruction Golf Evolution • Owner, The Sand Trap .com • AuthorLowest Score Wins
Golf Digest "Best Young Teachers in America" 2016-17 & "Best in State" 2017-20 • WNY Section PGA Teacher of the Year 2019

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1 hour ago, StuM said:

I may need to brush up on my AimPoint.  I have been using my finger on 3-8 foot putts.

I would not think of aimpoint as being a "there's a right way to do this and a wrong way" on this aspect of it (you need to use % slope to have it tie to finger width though for example). If it's working for you, then have at it. I personally haven't 100% bought into the whole thing yet (although I am getting there). I use it to verify my sight read or if i'm struggling to figure out what it's going to do. That said I had a putt last week from about 25 feet on my last hole. I looked from behind and thought it looked like it was breaking about 2 feet. I tested it and got about 2% at the ball, 1.5% at a 1/3 of the way and 1% at 2/3 of the way, so I figured about 1.5% on average, which worked out to about 18" or so I think. I didn't quite trust it so I went with my original read (I often find aimpoint underestimates the break for me - I need to do more work on my calibration). It broke quite a bit early and then straightened up and actually at the end went a tiny bit back the other way. If I took all four measurements (3/3, 2/3, 1/3 and 0/3) and trusted it, I'd have probably ended up holing it.

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1 hour ago, Ty_Webb said:

I would not think of aimpoint as being a "there's a right way to do this and a wrong way" on this aspect of it (you need to use % slope to have it tie to finger width though for example). If it's working for you, then have at it. I personally haven't 100% bought into the whole thing yet (although I am getting there). I use it to verify my sight read or if i'm struggling to figure out what it's going to do. That said I had a putt last week from about 25 feet on my last hole. I looked from behind and thought it looked like it was breaking about 2 feet. I tested it and got about 2% at the ball, 1.5% at a 1/3 of the way and 1% at 2/3 of the way, so I figured about 1.5% on average, which worked out to about 18" or so I think. I didn't quite trust it so I went with my original read (I often find aimpoint underestimates the break for me - I need to do more work on my calibration). It broke quite a bit early and then straightened up and actually at the end went a tiny bit back the other way. If I took all four measurements (3/3, 2/3, 1/3 and 0/3) and trusted it, I'd have probably ended up holing it.

Yeah I typically use it as a rough guideline to get the general direction of break and the amount.

I'd say about half of the time I don't even use my fingers, I just feel the slope to get the percentage and then pick my spot based on that. I've practiced it enough too especially inside 20 feet I'm usually pretty close even without my fingers. Part of it depends on how confident I am in the read with my feet. If I'm certain it's a 1% then I'll do the finger, but if I'm not exactly sure on the read then I won't use a finger and rely on a combination of feet and eyes.

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