AimPoint Golf – Distance Control or Speed Control

November 28th, 2010 by John Graham Leave a reply »

AimPoint Certified LogoOne of the most important pieces in becoming a good putter and making putts is distance control.  Using the AimPoint model, we prescribe a total distance from 6 inches to 1 foot past the hole when making your read.  The big question is, what’s the difference between speed control and distance control?  Is there a difference?

For this discussion, I will define speed control as the ability to deliver the same speed of the rolling ball to the hole edge.

I will define distance control as the ability to control the total distance the ball rolls.

They seem pretty similar don’t they?  But are they the same?  Refresh your memory about how green speed and slope direction affect the speed at which a ball rolls by reading this post on Putting Myths.

When it comes to distance, a ball rolling on a ‘fast’ green or going downhill is rolling slower than a ball on a ‘slow’ green or going uphill.  This means that if I arrive at the hole with the same speed, the distance the ball will roll past the hole if I miss will be different from an uphill putt vs a downhill putt.

If I deliver 3 revolutions per second of the ball at the lip of the hole (which will will typically give you a nice size of hole capture width) the variance between the total distance past the hole, if missed, is dramatic.  On a 4% slope, stimp 8 the downhill putt will roll 4 times farther than an uphill putt with same 3 rps at the lip delivery speed if the putt is missed.  Stimp 10 is 6 times farther for the downhill miss and stimp 12 is a whopping 9 times farther on the downhill miss.

So, you tell me.  Is it better to have speed control or distance control?

Seems obvious to me that distance control is King.



  1. Dan Lockhart says:


    Great breakdown of the two. Here’s my question…
    Will the ball wobble for a longer distance considering your example?
    Is there an optimal speed (ex. 3rps) to eliminate the wobble effect? In your opinion or study.

  2. John Graham says:


    Wobble is determined by a combination of ball velocity and quality of surface. Greens with a lower stimp number will also have a surface that isn’t as smooth requiring a greater ball speed to prevent wobble.

    However, on greens with a higher stimp number, the surface is much smoother and can support a slowing rolling ball with less wobble.

    You’ll rarely see wobble before the last the 6 inches of the putt for this reason. I don’t have an exact answer for optimal speed to prevent wobble but hopefully the above comparison will help.


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