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AimPoint Green Reading

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Originally Posted by Ernest Jones

Screw the green reading! Can you teach me how to do that ^^^^^^^^^^^^?

I totally agree lol. Taking money out of the wedding funds and doing the lesson on her birthday, wow you are a really smooth talker we won't ask what you said to her to get her to say yes..lol

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Now that i've had some time to practice the aim point concepts and played 2 rounds using them, I thought it would be a good time to post a quick update.

This all got started for me a few weeks when I complained that on one muni I play I always putted significantly worse there than other courses, despite playing there 2 to 3 times more often than any other course.  Erik suggested i try aim point, which set this whole thing in motion.  I averaged about 36.3 putts per round on that course.  Saturday I played it for the first time since the aim point clinic and hit 32 putts (hitting my typical number of GIR).  Obviously, better approaches/chips could affect that, but i had 3 putts from the fringe (chips) each of which left me with short puts (<3 feet), so some of the better "chipping" was actually result of aim point.

The week before I played a course that I previously averaged 35.75 putts per round and had 34.  That's 3 strokes per round, and I think I can still do better.

Saturday I was playing with a random guy who was cursing himself after every swing/putt.  There were more than a few times when he stood over a putt and said "there is no way this putt breaks" or "this putt has to break right" while I stood there knowing that it was going to break a few inches left.  he would miss the putt and go nuts and it really reinforced what i learned.

I'll end by bringing it full circle: convincing the fiancee who let me raid the wedding fund that the clinic was worth it.  She plays the executive course with me 2-3 times a year, at most.  We played sunday and I was intent on demonstrating the usefulness of the clinic and I think she was genuinely impressed.  There was one particular putt, downhill, about 15 feet.  I checked out the chart and told her to point to a spot 10 inches left of the hole.  She did, and as I stood over the putt I said aloud "I might have screwed that up, because I think this is going to break left, but i'm going to trust it."  She put her putter 10 inches left of the hole, i aimed for it, struck the putt, and hit the center of the cup.

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Originally Posted by dsc123

This all got started for me a few weeks when I complained that on one muni I play I always putted significantly worse there than other courses, despite playing there 2 to 3 times more often than any other course.  Erik suggested i try aim point, which set this whole thing in motion.  I averaged about 36.3 putts per round on that course.  Saturday I played it for the first time since the aim point clinic and hit 32 putts (hitting my typical number of GIR).  Obviously, better approaches/chips could affect that, but i had 3 putts from the fringe (chips) each of which left me with short puts (<3 feet), so some of the better "chipping" was actually result of aim point.

Do you plan to do some quick maps of the greens at your home course? Knowing the slope percentages is far and away a great way to make even more putts, because then you're not guessing whether something is a 2% putt or a 2.5% or a 3% - you glance at your chart and know.

You can also mark highs and lows, and even zero lines for common pin positions.

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I would like to, but I would have to get a level first.  Right now i'm just using 2% as "normal" and working off that if the slope looks more or less.  Getting a level will be the next step in the process for me.  I know its only $40 or so, but the wedding budget is still tight and i think i lost my SW Saturday.  Filling the gap between my 50* AW and 60* LW is going to be my priority.

I figure once I do, I think i'll try printing images of each green off google maps and marking %'s.

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My next question:  how do you go about using it during a round?

Edit: Let me clarify what I mean.  Are you able to use it efficiently during a round, and how much practice did you need to do before then?

I suspect I can find the zero line pretty quickly in practice, but a lot of the other pieces took me quite some time during the event.  At least I can use this to determine which way the green breaks.

Also, I need to go through and use the workbook to prepare.

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With the caveat that I am not very exacting, I will say that it doesn't slow me down much, if at all.  Here's my approach:

Walking up to the green you can guess where the zero lines are going to be.  As you walk towards the hole, by judging the slope, you can refine that estimate.  At this point I have not added one second to my routine.

Once I get to the hole, I basically walk a 10 foot arch to confirm what i thought.  That might take 5-10 seconds depending on how easy it is to find.  I can usually do this before its my turn to putt, for example if someone is going to chip, I go over to tend the flag and I can do it before/after the chip without getting in anyone's way.  If no one's chipping, just get to the green quickly, walk straight to the pin and find the zero.  You can do this while others are pulling their putters out.

The best info in the workbook, in my opinion, is that if your stride is 30 inches, then one step from the zero line is 30 degrees at 5 feet.  So after finding the zero line, i just walk back to my ball, which i would have to do anyway, and i have a pretty accurate estimate of my distance from zero.

You've already got the book turned to the right page, so its just a matter of pulling it out of my back pocket to peek (once you're familiar with the chart it takes literally 2 seconds to find the right number). If you do this as your walking back to the ball it will waste literally 0 time.

If I feel comfortable that i can accurately judge what spot is 4 inches or 10 inches from the hole, i line up my ball to that spot take a quick crouch to see the line on my ball aiming at that point, and hit the ball.  If not, I walk to the hole one last time and use my putter as a guide, knowing that the face is 4.5 inches.

That sounds long but it really isn't.  The only steps I'm taking that I wouldn't normally take are walking the 10 foot arc (5-10 sec), peeking at my chart (2 seconds), and possibly walking back up to the hole (5 sec).  But most of that can be done before its your turn to putt.  If you're quick to the green, you can walk the arc before anyone gets there, otherwise you can usually do it between other people's turns if they're not ready.

And keep in mind that that's the long version.  If i'm on a zero line, i dont look at my chart or worry about anything else.  I find the zero and i'm ready to putt.  If i'm 2 feet or less from the zero line, i pretty much just aim at the edge of the cup or an inch outside.

I probably spent 2-3 hours on the practice green working on aim point other than pre-round warm ups.  But i didn't work on the routine specifically.  The greens were crowded so I camped out at one hole, marked the zeros and 90s, and hit putts from all over using the chart.  I think after playing a round or two you'll feel more comfortable with the speed.  It stops being some complicated foreign process that you're working on and self conscious about.  Particularly after you stand over a putt, think the aim point is wrong but trust it, and nail it.  After that you won't want to play without it.

and you've got to figure that eliminating some 2 or 3 putts speeds play as well.  Maybe you take an extra 5 seconds 30 times (2.5 min) but you save 20 seconds for each extra put you make.

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Getting real info on AimPoint is about as hard to come by as getting the skinny on Scientology.  I am really thinking about a clinic but $200 bones is sort of steep when I am not sure how it all works not to mention when/where the clinics are held.  I have seen the chart posted on 3Jack but that really tells you nothing until you can get some history.  I know that there has to be someplace I can get the at least the basics of AimPoint to see if I can wrap my "southern born" mind around.

I am reading all I can, but everything I read sounds like a sales pitch... to PAY THE MONEY and figure out if it works for you.  I don't do that with clubs, lessons or courses.  A test drive is mandatory for me.  Am I SOL?

EDIT TO ADD: The post above mine came in as I was typing... this is helpful, but still not exactly that I was looking for. :)

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I have a read a few articles.  Not a lot of information but the concepts seem sound to me.  The question though and I have read it on this thread a number of times is proficiency.  Aimpoint will show you the way to read and what to expect but it's practice practice practice after that.  Something like piano lessons.  You can play chopsticks after your first lesson but anything beyond that is impossible without a lot of practice and training.

I am sure if you google Aimpoint or even how to use aimpoint it may give you some idea how it can be used effectively after some practice.  All I know is a buddy of mine wrote a few articles for my blog and now he has me hooked.  I personally haven't taken the class but I have benefited from him showing me what he learned.  Some of the assumptions take a major leap of faith though but once you get past that I think you will become a believer too.

I guess I am happiest about Aimpoint b/c it opened my eyes to more and more nuances on the greens.

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Originally Posted by Double Bogey

I am reading all I can, but everything I read sounds like a sales pitch... to PAY THE MONEY and figure out if it works for you.  I don't do that with clubs, lessons or courses.  A test drive is mandatory for me.  Am I SOL?

I don't know if this is standard, but I went to a demo day on Saturday (for lots of things, not just AimPoint).  At 11 there was a free one-hour AimPoint seminar, which dealt with finding the speed for 10-foot up/down hill putts and zero-lines.  I was one of (I think) three people from that who also went to the paid, 2-hour one later that afternoon (although I was already intending to take the paid one).  So there are free ones out there.  If you see AimPoint or Edel are going to be at a demo day, maybe ask the demo day coordinator to see if they're doing a free one.

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Originally Posted by Double Bogey

Getting real info on AimPoint is about as hard to come by as getting the skinny on Scientology.  I am really thinking about a clinic but $200 bones is sort of steep when I am not sure how it all works not to mention when/where the clinics are held. I have seen the chart posted on 3Jack but that really tells you nothing until you can get some history.  I know that there has to be someplace I can get the at least the basics of AimPoint to see if I can wrap my "southern born" mind around.

I am reading all I can, but everything I read sounds like a sales pitch... to PAY THE MONEY and figure out if it works for you. I don't do that with clubs, lessons or courses. A test drive is mandatory for me. Am I SOL?

Sure you do those things with clubs, lessons, and courses. How many courses have you ever been that let you play three holes for free and then ask you to pay on the fourth tee? How many instructors have you been to where you work for 20 minutes, then get asked if you'd like to continue?

The thing about AimPoint is that it seems simple enough to understand by reading about it online only. In other words, you read about it, you think you get it, you try it out, it fails, and you swear off using it. But you didn't really learn it. It's like buying a book and trying to learn the golf swing only from the book... odds are you still need a set of eyes to help you.

I've yet to read a review from someone who took the class and didn't like it or feel it was worthwhile. That's quite telling, I think.

dsc isn't giving you a sales pitch.

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There are no AimPoint instructors anywhere near my neck of the woods, so I've had to make do with what I can get in picking up the framework.

First, John Graham has some good basic info: Free.

http://johngrahamgolf.com/blog/aimpoint-golf/

Second, the iPhone app will do most of the work for you (and includes instructional videos which answered several of my additional questions.): $30.

http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/aimpoint/id392015867?mt=8

So far the DIY-route outlay has been well worth it to me. I'm looking forward to taking a proper course someday.

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I attended an AimPoint clinic here in the UK on Saturday and it was eye-opening to say the least!

When part of the introduction is to be shown on a 10ft cross-slope putt and told specifically where to aim the putt and it drops straight in it's spellbinding.

When you're also shown how to locate a zero line and the instructor follows it through several different waves left and right across the green to the edge of the putting surface 40ft from the pin and tells a student where to putt, and the student hits it within inches it's also jaw dropping.

The kicker though is being able to then apply the knowledge yourself to work out where putts should be aimed and watching them drop from 15ft away cross-slope or at the very least end up 1' from the hole.

Now that I've blown AimPoint's trumpet I will say however that the website seems to be more focused on "We rock! We do all this shiznitz! Booyah us!" rather than specifically what can be expected of clinics/training etc for students.

Also with AimPoint there's still a certain amount of estimation to be done either before your round begins for more accuracy or during the round itself if you don't need to be as accurate. As iacas mentioned it's probably good to map your zero lines on scorecards ahead of time if possible. That though is still preferable to the normal guesswork and "Oh wow, I didn't see that break" rubbish of putting.

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Originally Posted by Stretch

Second, the iPhone app will do most of the work for you (and includes instructional videos which answered several of my additional questions.): $30.


I'd suggest taking manual note of the charts off the app if it has them for use in any tournament play where the iPhone is banned.

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Originally Posted by MiniBlueDragon

Now that I've blown AimPoint's trumpet I will say however that the website seems to be more focused on "We rock! We do all this shiznitz! Booyah us!" rather than specifically what can be expected of clinics/training etc for students.

I agree, but I have a question: what would you write?

"Golfers who attend a Fundamentals class will learn to find the straight putts!" People think they can already do that (though they can't). You still have to make the stuff sound appealing. It's not very sexy when you're talking about it - when you're DOING it and you're realizing how magical it can all be, then yeah, it's sexy... but how do you make green reading sexy on a website?

Just playing devil's advocate. To be honest it's tough to tell people what it is, why it's so awesome, etc.

Today I was out with a guy who's going to be taking one of our first classes and we read a putt in 15 seconds as nine inches outside the right edge. He would have read it two feet outside the left edge. James hit the putt and it went straight in the hole from 40 feet away, first time, bang. That's the sexy part... but how do you tell that to people?

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I took a seminar on last Friday with John Graham and I feel as though I learned a lot. I haven't put too much time into practicing yet, but I did play two rounds and used it on every hole. Finding the inflection point started getting very easy the second round and I really had confidence in my reads. In the two rounds I did not misread a break direction once. I did, however learn that I tend to push a lot of putts! At the end of the second round I made a correction and started making everything. I'm a believer! I highly recommend a seminar as they provide a bunch of fantastic ideas and theories. Looking forward to putting in some significant practice time and charting the greens at my home course. Multiple breaks over crowns and into saddles are still too advanced for me to make a perfect read, but I'm not misreading the directions of the break anymore.

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Originally Posted by iacas

Sure you do those things with clubs, lessons, and courses. How many courses have you ever been that let you play three holes for free and then ask you to pay on the fourth tee? How many instructors have you been to where you work for 20 minutes, then get asked if you'd like to continue?


Actually I did do this with courses. Before I agreed to become a member at my club, I asked them to play the course.  Not just a few hole but the entire course.  I did this at every club I was thinking about joining.  I also asked them if I could sit down and have a lunch to see if the food was good.  Seems only logical to me, since I am paying them a monthly fee.  And as far as instructors go.  I did take a 15 minute mini-lesson with two different guys to see if I "liked" what they said and their style.  I chose one and made a lesson appointment with them the next week.  So yes, I do get to "try things out before I buy."  Personally I see nothing wrong with that.

Now back to AimPoint.  It does seem that everyone loves it after attending a clinic.  It might be worth it, and I am looking into finding a instructor near me (it looks like only one in the Atlanta Area).  Maybe I will get lucky and there will be a Demo Day close by.

FWIW, DSC123 and MiniBlueDragon have been very helpful as were the links from Stretch.

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Originally Posted by Double Bogey

Getting real info on AimPoint is about as hard to come by as getting the skinny on Scientology.


I totally agree.  John Graham has some good stuff that has been linked too, but it really just peaks your interest, its not a wide ranging instruction manual (not knocking it--i'm sure this is the purpose).  Most of the Aim Point videos on youtube are worthless.  They show a guy sink a 60 foot put or something like that, then the words "Aim Point" come up on the screen. They dont show or explain how Aim Point helped him sink that putt, they just imply that it did.

Originally Posted by Ringworld

Aimpoint will show you the way to read and what to expect but it's practice practice practice after that.  Something like piano lessons.  You can play chopsticks after your first lesson but anything beyond that is impossible without a lot of practice and training.


Maybe.  But I think that if you take a course you can go out the next day and putt better.  Its not a physical skill that needs practice to master, its a system that needs to be understood.  Then maybe confirmed or refined with practice.   I'm very new to it, but to me, it doesn't seem like the the type of  thing that requires a lot of repetition to ingrain.  Unless you have trouble hitting a straight putt or controlling your distance, but that's not specific to aim point green reading.

Originally Posted by MiniBlueDragon

When part of the introduction is to be shown on a 10ft cross-slope putt and told specifically where to aim the putt and it drops straight in it's spellbinding.


That's exactly it.  They put a tee in the ground, say "aim here" and the sinks it center cup.  At that point you're hooked.  Not sure how they can better market that, but its exactly the point they need to make, somehow....


Originally Posted by MiniBlueDragon

I'd suggest taking manual note of the charts off the app if it has them for use in any tournament play where the iPhone is banned.


I think you can buy an aim chart from mark sweeney.  That seems easier and possibly cheaper, if you dont already have the app.

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Originally Posted by dsc123

I totally agree.  John Graham has some good stuff that has been linked too, but it really just peaks your interest, its not a wide ranging instruction manual (not knocking it--i'm sure this is the purpose).  Most of the Aim Point videos on youtube are worthless.  They show a guy sink a 60 foot put or something like that, then the words "Aim Point" come up on the screen. They dont show or explain how Aim Point helped him sink that putt, they just imply that it did.


Yes, it's called marketing.

Again, the information is somewhat constrained because they want people to take the classes. As you said, you felt the class was worthwhile, and the more people take the classes the more people will be out there saying how great it is.

If you could teach yourself AimPoint just from reading online, people would get a lot wrong, and then conclude "it doesn't work" because, essentially, they're doing it wrong. It seems simple enough that you could learn it on your own... it's really not.


Originally Posted by dsc123

Maybe.  But I think that if you take a course you can go out the next day and putt better.  Its not a physical skill that needs practice to master, its a system that needs to be understood.  Then maybe confirmed or refined with practice.   I'm very new to it, but to me, it doesn't seem like the the type of  thing that requires a lot of repetition to ingrain.  Unless you have trouble hitting a straight putt or controlling your distance, but that's not specific to aim point green reading.

Yes, that's very much true. They offer a one-hour thing which doesn't even use the chart, and people sometimes take those. Just knowing which way the putt breaks is great information for some people.


Originally Posted by dsc123

I think you can buy an aim chart from mark sweeney.  That seems easier and possibly cheaper, if you dont already have the app.

You should have gotten a chart in your class...? Did you, MiniBlue?

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