AimPoint Green Reading – Should We Aim at the Apex?

January 10th, 2011 by John Graham Leave a reply »

AimPointCertified-LogoOne of the tricky things about reading the green is trying to determine to putts true geometry.  What exactly will the putt look like on the ground based on how far I plan to hit it? After I do that, I have to determine where to aim so that geometry, first of all, shows up and secondly, crosses where the center of the hole is.

There’s always been lots of talk about visualizing the putts shape on the ground. Imagine a cup sized track that the ball will roll in is an example of such visualizations you might have heard.  This type of visualization has made popular the idea of aiming at the apex of the putt.  What is the apex of the putt?  The apex of the putt is where the ball is the farthest away from the straight line that connects the ball and the hole.  It is the point that is the highest point of a breaking putt.

Take a look at this picture and tell me if you think aiming at the apex is a good idea.

AimPoint vs Apex puttingThis picture was taken from this weeks most recent PGA Tour telecast which AimPoint Technologies was working and using its emmy award winning putt prediction program.  I thought it would be fun to share what founder Mark Sweeney wrote regarding this picture:

Another great example of why Apex putting doesn’t work. The AimPoint of this putt is 40 feet right of the hole, but the Apex is only 7 feet high. I hate to see where this putt would finish if you under-read it by 33 feet.”
The key thing to understand is that gravity is constantly affecting the roll of the ball and how it breaks.  The only time you will ever ‘aim’ at the apex is for a perfectly straight putt.  For all breaking putts, you will always aim in a different place than the apex so as gravity affects the roll of the ball, the track that you visualized will be created.

Here’s a video I did that I hope helps.

Please leave a comment below if you still have any questions and please consider sharing this post if you think others may also find it valuable.

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17 comments

  1. Andres says:

    Hi from Argentina. Great post John !! This picture shows very clear were to aim and the mistakes we will make if we use the traditional reading rules.
    Thanks !!!

  2. JR Shears says:

    John great work once again. If this article doesn’t get people believing the great system for reading greens that Mark has created, then I’m at a loss. It’s weird you know players do this more then they think but when you explain it to them they think we are crazy. This is a great picture an hope that it helps all players believe. I love reading your stuff keep it coming.

  3. John Graham says:

    Anders,

    Thanks for the comment.

    Glad to hear it helped.

    JG

  4. Davidmorgangolf says:

    Very interesting post, I have been following you for a while now and really starting to buy into aim point. Living in the UK, Will have to look into contacting Jamie Donaldson

  5. John Graham says:

    JR,

    Thanks for the comment. It really is amazing how many people I work with that used to aim at the apex (myself included). Turned out I was a big right aimer so it worked for right to left putts but always missed low on left to right.

    Glad to hear you enjoy the information.

    JG

  6. John Graham says:

    David,

    I’m as critical of information as anyone and I think Jamie is also. When I came to the UK to teach Jamie and his students, he was just blown away as I was.

    Honestly, you will never look at the green the same way again.

    Hope to meet you when I come back this summer.

    JG

  7. golfdad says:

    hello, can you tell me in this pic, how was the “apex” determined? thanks

  8. John Graham says:

    Golfdad,

    In this particular picture, the apex was determined by a computer. AimPoint Technologies as seen on the golf channel uses a 3d scan of the green combined with its computer program to project to parabola of the putt for the viewer on the TV screen.

    By definition, the apex of the putt the point of the putt that is farthest from the ball to hole line.

    Does this answer your question?

    JG

  9. golfdad says:

    yes, it does and thanks. i am about 7 hours from you,,,do you ever teach in NJ area (07920) in the summer? i have 2 golfing kids,,,they are not that serious, but with this info and knowledge and understanding, i have a feeling that they will cut down on 3 putts simply because they can get the first putt closer. good luck and thanks!

  10. John Graham says:

    Golfdad,

    I haven’t been in New Jersey to teach AimPoint yet. The closest I have scheduled right now is in Rhode Island. You are absolutely correct that this information is great for juniors. It gets them down the right road at the start and it is quite simple to understand.

    I continually add locations so please stay tuned or you can sign up for my AimPoint club which will receive notice of clinics in your email.

    JG

  11. dan says:

    Basically, all you’re doing is making every putt a straight putt. Good players do this anyways. Every putt is a straight putt and the break takes it to the hole.

    Plus, the putt you demonstrated breaks right off the bat. The apex isn’t even right in that picture. The apex is at the putt itself since it’s going left, if right-handed, right off the bat.

  12. John Graham says:

    Dan,

    It’s true that we have to aim somewhere and hopefully that somewhere will create the shape of the putt that will carry the ball into the center of the cup. In that respect, yes every putt is aimed straight at something.

    If you look at it that way, every golfer that has ever played the game makes every putt straight because they aim somewhere.

    The putt does break immediately off the aim line but that is not how the apex of a putt is defined.

    The apex of a putt is the point where the ball is farthest away from the ball to hole line not the ball to aim point.

    Far too many people see the true curve of the putt in there mind and then aim at the point where the ball is at the apex. Then they’ve been told that the first part of the putt doesn’t curve because the ball is rolling so fast so they think it makes sense to aim there.

    Wrong on both counts.

    JG

  13. J R says:

    True or false?
    It must be true that the first part of the putt is not affected by gravity as much because the ball is rolling faster, alternatively, it must be true that a ball curves more as it slows because of gravity?

  14. John Graham says:

    J R,

    Certainly, the amount of time gravity has to effect the ball changes the amount of curve it will have.

    JG

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