AimPoint Green Reading-A Real World Application

December 4th, 2009 by John Graham Leave a reply »
Over the summer, I did an introductory AimPoint clinic to a college golf coach in the area. We have both played the same golf course for many years and he wanted to see if this idea could help understand a particluar green on our course.

So we go out to the back of 15 at Webster GC where he says he hasn’t made a putt in 20 years.

This part of the green is clearly crowned to the trained eye but appears very flat as you look at it. Once you “walk the curve” you realize how much terrain variation there really is.  Basically, walking the curve is a technique used to use your feet to feel slight variations in slope while walking on the green.  The key to it’s success is you have to keep the distance between yourself and hole the same.  Once, you turn your feet on, you will be amazed what you feel.  It will take some trust in the beginning but you’ll see rather quickly how accurate they are.

I asked him to walk the curve and told him to drop a ball every time he felt himself switch from going uphill to downhill and downhill to uphill. As he’s walking behind the hole he starts dropping balls like his pocket has a hole in it.

I ask him to do it again and he picks up a couple but there are probably 6 balls still on the ground. So I walk around and confirm his results.

Then I show him why you can’t read this part of the green with your eyes. Each time you move over the inflection point(the point when slope changes from up to down or down to up) the direction of the break reverses. I start rolling balls to show him how often the break of the putt completely changed from slightly left to right to slightly right to left. You must know where you are relative to the slope on the green in that area.  If left of the ball is higher than right of the ball the ball must got right. It doesn’t matter if you don’t see it. It’s there.

Needless to say, he was blown away. He understood why player’s don’t make putts back there.  Many times in the pass, he would watch someone hit a put that broke one way and then a ball a foot to the side of that would break the other way.   Because the direction can change multiple times over a very short distance, if you don’t know where you are relative to the inflection point on either side of you, you have no chance.

This is a trait of older courses and greens that may have been ‘hand made’ or push up greens.  This is also the reason that greens that appear very flat can be some of the hardest to read with your eyes.  They will have lots of little microbreaks because they weren’t machine graded.
Using your feet to find the inflection points will give you a great advantage over the competition.

Modern greens are much easier once you know where you are because they won’t have as many of these very subtle breaks.

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7 comments

  1. Phana24JG says:

    In Eastern NY most of the courses are older and have a lot of the terrain you describe. Even in my competitive league, we are frequently baffled by greens we play on weekly. I sure like the concept, but I will have to be sold on the ability of Aimpoint to allow the less than scratch quality golfers to actually quantify the amount of break to play.

  2. John Graham says:

    Phana24JG- The AimPoint system is best at quantifying break from a planar surface within 20 feet for the scope we use it for. For very difficult crowns like the one I described, you’ll find that the break is usually very near the edge but you must get the direction right to make it. I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised.

  3. Dave Robillard says:

    John, Could you explain this a little more in depth, I’m not understanding your comment fully. (you’ll find that the break is usually very near the edge.)
    Thanks Dave

  4. John Graham says:

    Dave,

    I should have said that the aim will be very near the edge of the hole. The ball will not break much near the top of a crown because it tends to be pretty flat. You need to know where the two inflection points around your ball so you know it you’re aiming near the left edge or right edge.

    I hope that helps.

    Let me know if you have any questions.

    JG

  5. Glen Kirk says:

    John, I was in a class with you at Gleneagles GC in Plano, Tx a couple years ago. Since then I understand there is a different, less time consuming way to find the zero line. Can you briefly explain the new process?

  6. John Graham says:

    Glen,

    Email sent.

    JG

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