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Taking the eyes out of putting

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Before we take the eyes out of putting, let’s take a quick eye test. Look at this picture below and answer this question: Which looks longer, A or B?

Screen Shot 2015-02-06 at 8.35.18 AM

The correct answer is C!

I know you just read the question again and are screaming, “There is no C!”

That’s because like any great illusion, it’s a trick. The cards you see are EXACTLY the same. Our eyes are just lousy at seeing curves.

Which brings us to green reading in the modern game. Think about golf course architecture — specifically green construction. Courses are now built with modern capabilities, no bare hands and mules dragging soil. So what are some things that happen that upset our eyes’ ability to read greens?

No. 1 is that the architect can tilt the green away from natural drainage patterns. The old saying “it breaks toward the water” actually can be 100 percent wrong because the architect can move the dirt to make it go the other way.

When the PGA Tour was at Torrey Pines recently for the Farmers Insurance Open, I heard the announcers say too many times to count that the players need to take into account the ocean when reading the break for a putt. Lunacy! When the South Course was redone before the 2008 U.S. Open, modern equipment was brought in to move the ground around, and man determined the slopes on the greens — NOT NATURE. It would be very easy for me to build a green that broke completely away from the water, agreed?

Secondly, man-made drainage patterns allow for run off in a minimum of three directions for most greens. So you can have lots of opposite movement on greens that mess with your eyes, also going away from the natural lay of the land. So in Phoenix, putts are not necessarily biased to break toward “The Valley,” and in Palm Springs, they all don’t break toward Indio!

That is why eyesight can be so misleading. There has to be a better way to read greens that does not fool you and make you guess as to what you are seeing?

AdamScottAimPoint

That brings me to last May when I was hanging around the putting green at The Memorial Tournament. Adam Scott had just won the previous week and made lots of putts including two in a playoff. Before each putt, he held up several fingers and then lined up and hit the putt. It was the first time I had seen Aimpoint Express. I had read about it, but now it was live fire with the No. 1 player in the world at that time. Now here I was watching it up close at The Memorial. I soaked it all in as Hunter Mahan worked the green with his caddy. Then Adam arrived and worked it.

I noticed two things immediately:

  1. They made lots of putts…and they made the reads quickly in doing so.
  2. When they missed, they were burning the edge every time.

In fact, you might already be doing Aimpoint Express and not even know it! Have you ever gotten over a putt and felt like it might break more/less than you saw? That is because your feet are feeling the incline and sending your body an adjustment to calibrate to so you stand in balance. That is exactly what Express does.

StacyLewicAimPoint

This gets me to the point of needing to bring clarity to Aimpoint Express for players confused by what they are seeing and hearing on TV. Just last week, Jerry Foltz and Judy Rankin on The Golf Channel LPGA Tour telecast from Ocala had an Aimpoint Express discussion that was full of errors that left the viewer confused and badly misinformed.

So let me give you some facts about green reading with Aimpoint Express. We are going to hit these 3 points:

  1. Aimpoint Express is quick.
  2. Aimpoint Express is NOT technical.
  3. The best players are using it.

Take the last point first because all you have to do is read the list of names that use Aimpoint Express: Adam Scott, Anna Nordqvist, Stacey Lewis, Ian Poulter, Zach Johnson, Hunter Mahan and Lydia Ko, the new No. 1-ranked female golfer in the world.

Also, Aimpoint Express is not technical. When you can learn it in less than an hour and immediately make putts from all over the green, that is in no way technical. Quantum Physics or String Theory is technical. Taking apart my computer and putting it back together (and having it work again) is technical!

Here is how non-technical it is.

I had a tour player recently ask me what we do about grain and if I can adjust to play more or less break if I want to with Aimpoint Express? He had been told there is no adjustment for it because it is too technical. Well, that is another false statement and goes to how not technical it is. Aimpoint Express is accurate to 95 percent of the read, while the other 5 percent of the putt is your experience and athleticism, adjusting for things like grain and how hard to strike the ball. It’s literally as easy as that!

The last comment I hear a lot is that Aimpoint takes too long. On the contrary, it’s so fast that if every player on the Ryder Cup teams last year knew how to do it, they could play the event in two days instead of three. I can get the read and have the putt on the way a lot faster with Aimpoint Express than when I read it with my eyes after walking all over the place. My eyes are nowhere near accurate enough for me to get the read quickly!

I prefer to be 95 percent accurate as opposed to just going with my best guess and reading putts with my eyes. Remember the test above, with the curved cards, if you want to trust your eyes.

Our feet are like a pair of highly sensitive levels. They are always seeking dynamic balance to keep us safe by making minute adjustments and sending that message to our brain. So they are very effective at feeling slope because they have been doing that since we started to walk in order to keep us upright and out of harm’s way.

So after learning Aimpoint Express and teaching it to my players and watching them win tournaments, I can clearly see the future of green reading. If you do not want more precision, then keep guessing with your eyes. If you want to get your read faster and make more putts, then find a certified instructor near you and check out Aimpoint Express.

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If you are an avid Golf Channel viewer you are familiar with Rob Strano the Director of Instruction for the Strano Golf Academy at Kelly Plantation Golf Club in Destin, FL. He has appeared in popular segments on Morning Drive and School of Golf and is known in studio as the “Pop Culture” coach for his fun and entertaining Golf Channel segments using things like movie scenes*, song lyrics* and familiar catch phrases to teach players. His Golf Channel Academy series "Where in the World is Rob?" showed him giving great tips from such historic landmarks as the Eiffel Tower, on a Gondola in Venice, Tuscany Winery, the Roman Colissum and several other European locations. Rob played professionally for 15 years, competing on the PGA, Nike/Buy.com/Nationwide and NGA/Hooters Tours. Shortly after embarking on a teaching career, he became a Lead Instructor with the golf schools at Pine Needles Resort in Pinehurst, NC, opening the Strano Golf Academy in 2003. A native of St. Louis, MO, Rob is a four time honorable mention U.S. Kids Golf Top 50 Youth Golf Instructor and has enjoyed great success with junior golfers, as more than 40 of his students have gone on to compete on the collegiate level at such established programs as Florida State, Florida and Southern Mississippi. During the 2017 season Coach Strano had a player win the DII National Championship and the prestigious Nicklaus Award. He has also taught a Super Bowl and Heisman Trophy winning quarterback, a two-time NCAA men’s basketball national championship coach, and several PGA Tour and LPGA Tour players. His PGA Tour players have led such statistical categories as Driving Accuracy, Total Driving and 3-Putt Avoidance, just to name a few. In 2003 Rob developed a nationwide outreach program for Deaf children teaching them how to play golf in sign language. As the Director of the United States Deaf Golf Camps, Rob travels the country conducting instruction clinics for the Deaf at various PGA and LPGA Tour events. Rob is also a Level 2 certified AimPoint Express Level 2 green reading instructor and a member of the FlightScope Advisory Board, and is the developer of the Fuzion Dyn-A-line putting training aid. * Golf Channel segments have included: Caddyshack Top Gun Final Countdown Gangnam Style The Carlton Playing Quarters Pump You Up

57 Comments

57 Comments

  1. terry

    Feb 27, 2015 at 11:28 am

    could this be part of what’s wrong with golf. its hard enough, now course architects are changing the slopes to not match the natural tendencies… dumb.

  2. Jerry

    Feb 19, 2015 at 12:51 pm

    “Feeling” the slope with your feet is only valid for about a 3 ft putt. Beyond that length the slope is rarely consistent with where the ball rests. Matter of fact, for me at least, if I can feel the slope when I stand over the ball for that 3 footer, it’s so severe that it’s real luck if ball goes in.

    • Jose

      Mar 3, 2015 at 2:09 pm

      We have found this not too be true. Your feet can tell you a lot about how the green changes over distance.

      Shawn Clement and I have crafted a putting drill in the dark. Well almost in the dark. You need enough light such as a full moon or a nearby parking lot lamp so that you can still barely see the hole and ball while being totally deprived of depth perception.

      You do the around the world drill at a pin position with slope using 5 balls at 5 feet. For ADHD kids we do semi circles and alternate the sides of the hole in order to maintain focus. Since you can not see the slope your senses will be hyper charged to be aware of what your feet and your inner balance mechanism are telling you. When you go up and over the falling it becomes very obvious. By the third time through the sequence you will make most if not all of the putts even though you can not see a thing.

      Then do the same with a 5 ball ladder drill from 10′ to 30′ feet. With the first putt you can stills how the ball reacts near the hole. On the second putt you apply that knowledge plus what your feet are telling you is the difference between ball 1 and ball 2 and the second putt ends up much closer. By the third time through the ladder there is very little difference between the outcome of the ladder drill in the dark vs the ladder drill in the light.

      However you still need your eyes. You need both senses to allow you brain to predict. This is why we teach ADHD kids to walk above the break, around the hole and stop below the hole. Then they build a picture of how the ball will roll into the hole. They walk back to the ball below the break. Then they build a picture of the ball going into the hole starting from the hole backwards from what both their feet and their eyes are telling them.

      It is like a Chef sautéing vegetables. An experienced chef uses what his or her eyes, ears, and nose are telling them what is going on in the pan. If the veggies have spent a couple of days in the crisper, they are more dehydrated and will sizzle less in the pan. At that point the chef instinctively grabs for the chicken stock sooner. His brain has predicted from the sound and experiences that the veggies are about to burn sooner than the time the recipe suggests.

      You need to build awareness of what your eyes, feet and inner balance mechanisms are telling you.

      Your brain is a marvelous prediction machine.

  3. pete kauffman

    Feb 13, 2015 at 9:24 am

    How can an amateur learn AimPoint?

  4. Rob Strano

    Feb 13, 2015 at 8:04 am

    Thanks for all the mostly favorable comments on the article. Understand that I wrote it to help explain why you “might” miss putts, why there is another way, and to correct wrong information that so called expert golf commentators are sharing during telecasts (Yesterday Feherety said everything at Pebble breaks toward the ocean, UGH….). In this limited space I do not have the luxury of a dissertation length narrative to explain everything. Just because I did not write about the HOW does not mean anything negative mentioned in the comments is valid. It means that I chose to help you by giving you facts over falsehoods and misconceptions so that you are correctly informed. If you want more about AE here is a great article about the HOW by one of the other certified instructors:

    http://www.todaysgolfer.co.uk/tips-and-tuition/tuition-features/the-art-of-green-reading/

  5. Martin

    Feb 13, 2015 at 6:25 am

    I just read an article about a process I had never heard of before and I don’t know anything more about it than I did before I read the article.

  6. Long

    Feb 13, 2015 at 6:08 am

    The idea of Aimpoint express is to quickly read the break and give us the weekend hackers a much better chance to 2putt from outside of 6 feet. I dont expect to make everything for mid range and long range putt. My number of 3 putt has significantly reduced since i took the aimpoint express class. And like some of you mentioned, you have to practice a lot to get better at feeling the slope with your feet. Adam has practiced every day to feel the slope and double check with a digital meter.

  7. Tom

    Feb 13, 2015 at 5:28 am

    If this article was in any sort of scientific journal it would come with a massive disclaimer at the bottom of it.
    Plus the question at the top of the article is ‘Which looks longer, A or B?’ not ‘which is larger, A or B?’ Therefore the answer is ‘B’ it looks larger.

  8. Tim

    Feb 13, 2015 at 4:41 am

    I have tried it. Not sure I like it. feeling the break through your feet is just as difficult as seeing it with your eyes. Its also just as open to error. if you tend to favour your weight on one side or the other won’t that make a putt that curves feel straight potentially. If I was barefoot on a green I might be able to feel all the slopes, but with spiked shoes its just as much a lottery for me as using my eyes

    • Fred

      Mar 5, 2015 at 3:12 pm

      That is exactly correct Tim ! I have got to come up with a gimmick for golf. We are so easy !

  9. Chris C

    Feb 13, 2015 at 12:05 am

    With all due respect, this article provided no useful information and is simply an add for Aimpoint. I am not saying that Aimpoint is worthless. I am saying that this article provided no information regarding the “secrets” of Aimpoint. Step right up people. Pay your quarter and step into into the tent to see the lizard girl from the Amazon… It’s fast; it’s not rocket science and some very good golfers know the secrets. At least the carnival barkers give some examples of what might be revealed inside the tent. With respect to Aimpoint, I would be satisfied if the author would have given a good explanation as to Scott’s use of a Vulcan mind meld grip to assess green breaks.

  10. Andy W

    Feb 12, 2015 at 5:49 pm

    So “regular” Aimpoint goes to the curb, now “Express” claims get 95% good reads? Insane quick Expert Greenreading is guaranteed 100% of the time with a P&SI-EGOS; where if ever a bad read, it is pilot error. And free support to correct pilot error. No charts, no foot feeling, no fingers needed.

  11. Anon

    Feb 12, 2015 at 2:48 pm

    Nice sales pitch. Your article didn’t actually present any information about aim point though. You just bragged about who uses it and name dropped the whole time. Are you afraid if you shared a little knowledge that no one would come to you for lessons? This kind of thinking kept golf instruction (and other industries) in the dark ages for the longest time!

  12. Rob Strano

    Feb 12, 2015 at 10:34 am

    “When I stand over a six-footer I have a game plan,” says Adam Scott. “I know where the putt needs to go and that gives me great confidence.”

  13. Captain Oblivious

    Feb 12, 2015 at 10:15 am

    Sounds interesting. I think I will pass, though. I already make an extraordinary amount of putts. If I made any more, I’m sure I would be investigated by numerous government and golfing organizations. Senate hearings, the whole deal. Thanks, but no thanks.

  14. Steve

    Feb 12, 2015 at 8:58 am

    Adam Scott started using aim point when he was the number 1 player in the world, now he is number 5. Seems to be working, what a joke.

    • Birdeez

      Feb 12, 2015 at 10:10 am

      yet his putting stats have gotten better…. sometimes you drop in world ranking for other reasons, but that would take little more common sense and time from your part which you seem incapable of

      • Steve

        Feb 12, 2015 at 1:30 pm

        This article is a advertisement at best. it is a complete joke and has no merits, no proof that it works. It is some teaching pro trying to drum up buisness.

  15. rc

    Feb 11, 2015 at 10:08 pm

    I’m just waiting for the comment here with the youtube link for it :0)

  16. Rob Strano

    Feb 11, 2015 at 9:39 pm

    Thanks for all the comments on the article pro and con. I just got really frustrated last week at the comments during the telecasts on the LPGA and PGA Tours. Mainly this one from Ocala between between Jerry Foltz and Judy Rankin on The Golf Channel telecast.
    Here is the transcript of the conversation:

    Foltz: “I know Judy you get a lot of questions from viewers who look for a definition as to what it is, and it’s impossible to give you an overview that quickly but essentially it’s a modern day way to quantify what you feel with your feet a plumb-bob if you will.”
    Rankin: “And if you stick with us for a few weeks we are going to make every effort to explain this in layman’s terms.”
    Foltz: “You feel the slope with your feet and you learn how to judge it between a scale of 1-5 and then you stand behind the ball hold up those fingers next to the golf ball and where the outside finger is in relation to the hole that is your Aimpoint. It is a little more complicated than that.”
    (Then Lydia Ko makes a super long birdie putt using Aimpoint Express!!)
    Rankin: “I have to ask one more question Jerry…Does it matter which is your dominant eye because it sure did plumb-bobing?”
    Foltz: “Yea, I believe it does. Yea, you just , with plumb-bobbing you are like how Karrie Webb does, and is doing, you have to basically stand perpendicular to the slope and then hold your dominant eye. The putter between your dominant eye and the outside edge of the ball. Very similar with the Aimpoint.”

    Very confusing and it made my head spin listening to them and I know what I am doing. So how must the viewer feel when hearing all that?. It is OK if you do not know something to simply say “I don’t know,” instead of making stuff up. The point is to help the readers understand some correct facts against what they are hearing on telecasts and maybe see why the best players are doing it.

  17. Richard Davis

    Feb 11, 2015 at 9:34 pm

    I’m blind in one eye,a good reader of greens.
    I actually do it with my feet. I learned the art
    of putting from a pro that played in the 1st
    masters. Won’t use his name,son copied righted
    everything he did or said.
    (QUOTE) in real estate 3 important things to remember
    Location…Location…Location
    IN PUTTING POSTURE…BALANCE…FEEL
    Everything starts from the ground up.

  18. Secret

    Feb 11, 2015 at 8:15 pm

    Folks folks folks.

    The reason why there is so much misinformation from guys like Foltz and even good Tour players is this…..: They don’t really want you to know the secret. It’s always been that way.

  19. 8thehardway

    Feb 11, 2015 at 7:48 pm

    So AimPoint mitigates our difficulty reading curves, it’s accurate and easy to learn…
    what differentiates it from a protractor?
    and why is Adam Scott holding up two fingers?

    An overview would have supported your product better than the unexplained correlation with feet, fingers, photos and four paragraphs on non-natural drainage patterns.

    The lack of clarity is doubly annoying because my green reading I’m bad at reading the line

    • Secret

      Feb 11, 2015 at 8:16 pm

      If you take the course, you would know, wouldn’t you? Duh

  20. Preston

    Feb 11, 2015 at 7:40 pm

    I’ll save you folks some money. Here’s how it was explained to me by someone that did go to a teacher on the Aimpoint (not sure if it is correct, but I won’t spend the money on the class to verify it): The number of fingers is the amount of break. The length of your arm (distance from your eye) is the speed of the greens. This is the basic principle. First, you calibrate your arm (distance) to the speed of the green, then decide if the putt is a one finger break, 2 finger break (more break), 3 finger, etc….

    Example: a huge swinger from right to left… you determine that this much elbow bend equals the speed of the green, the amount of break is 2 fingers. Hold that up to the hole in front of you. This will give you your aim point for the putt.

    • Secret

      Feb 11, 2015 at 8:20 pm

      hahahaha what a joke.

    • MAx

      Feb 12, 2015 at 9:24 am

      Thank you for the explanation.

    • skytrooper70

      Feb 19, 2015 at 1:52 pm

      The number of fingers is based upon your getting to know the degree of slope (from 1-5, with the number of fingers equaling that degree). However, you place the index finger over one-half of the cup and determine your aim point, using the outer most finger (again, from 1-5). I never took the course but saw a promo video. My first three rounds since using Aim Point had me draining longer (over 10 feet) putts on a more consistent basis or just burning edges, more consistently. This meant the dreaded 3 putts were history. The key is to get used to your feel for slope and knowing how hard to hit your putts. Personally, whether it’s a cure-all or not is irrelevant. Now, I have much more confident in my reads and that’s what counts for any golf shot–confidence.

      • Rob Strano

        Feb 19, 2015 at 5:35 pm

        “Now, I have much more confident in my reads and that’s what counts for any golf shot–confidence.” Bingo!!! This is what the tour players tell me. They say now I have a plan and feel more confident over the putt…

  21. Cyd

    Feb 11, 2015 at 5:15 pm

    Anyone that listens to Jerry Foltz is asking to miss putts, cuts, greens, fairways and the broad side of a barn.

    Foltz is wrong so often I don’t think he is even watching the same tournament or much less the same shot or putt that I am.

  22. golferjack

    Feb 11, 2015 at 4:57 pm

    How about letting us know what Aimpoint is (I do know this is just a comment) and give us a bit of Information about how it works……..Otherwise I would like to see the Stats from the Players who use it now and how they putted before ….Then maybe I would like to invest my hard earned bucks in a lesson. Just as an extra there, I am quite happy with my putting but new things are often worth a look.

  23. Philip

    Feb 11, 2015 at 4:50 pm

    I’ve learned to just trust myself “my 5 senses, yes all 5”. Works from any distance, slop, or speed of greens and can adjust immediately to changing conditions. I believe many just forgot how to listen to their senses and let that information set them up for the putt. It is almost as if someone else is making the putt for you.

    It tool me a few months last season, but it was a project that is seeing results in all aspects of my game besides putting. Putting just seemed logical to approach first.

  24. Andrew Cooper

    Feb 11, 2015 at 4:26 pm

    Trust your feet don’t trust your eyes? Ok try reading a green with your eyes closed and relying on your feet to feel the slope…

    • Rob Strano

      Feb 11, 2015 at 10:01 pm

      Thanks for your comment Andrew. If you love the game like I do then you have run into this situation. It is late in the day and you say to yourself, “I can squeeze in a quick 9 before dark!” But you don’t quit make it and with 3 holes to play it is hard to see the ball in the air let alone read a green. Over the summer this happened to me and using AE I made 3 in row coming in without being able to see a thing. Years ago on tour (back when it was Buy.com before Nationwide) I was finishing in the near dark, they had not called play because we were two holes from done, and it was darn tough to see. Wish I had this back then!

      • Andrew Cooper

        Feb 12, 2015 at 3:58 am

        Rob, thanks for taking the time to reply. I’m a little skeptical of AE, but obviously lots of good players, yourself included, are devotees so I don’t want to knock it. Just can’t think I’d ever trust my feet to feel a slope over what my eyes are telling me! I can relate to your experiences of playing late in the day and holing putts-maybe because we’re also not over thinking the putt too? more relaxed, lower expectations? I’ve always felt I can read greens well- I’ll hit my share of bad putts but rarely do I get fooled by a break-maybe I’ve a sense of slope coming through my feet without realizing it.

  25. Connor

    Feb 11, 2015 at 3:23 pm

    I live in Seattle, WA and the nearest AimPoint certified coach wanted $600 for a 2-hour lesson.

    …I’d rather 3-putt?

    • Rob Strano

      Feb 11, 2015 at 10:47 pm

      Connor thanks for your comment.
      I charge my normal one hour lesson fee. Interested to know who that is and I cannot imagine they are doing many sessions at that rate.

  26. Mike

    Feb 11, 2015 at 3:12 pm

    Sebastian, here are 3 Aimpoint certified instructors in Canada: Paul Horton Heritage Point Golf Club DeWinton Canada, Derek Ingram Elmhurst Golf and Country Club Winnipeg Canada, Martin Whelan Club de Golf St-Rapha L’lle-Bizard Canada.

  27. Sebastien

    Feb 11, 2015 at 2:48 pm

    I wish I could learn it but are any course offered in Canada?

  28. snowman0157

    Feb 11, 2015 at 12:04 pm

    I have taken the level 1 Aimpoint class (not Express)….but actually I have started using my feet to feel the slope and then trying to just trust it with my stroke….It Works! The feet and brain are very well calibrated it seems. If this is similar to the AP Express method, then I would suggest folks try it.

    • Rob Strano

      Feb 11, 2015 at 10:05 pm

      Snowman thanks for your comment. The article is about Aimpoint Express and glad you understanding the correlation between feet and slope. In a couple of years only the stubborn will rely 100% on the old way to read a green.

  29. Don B

    Feb 11, 2015 at 11:11 am

    Great article, as an Aimpointer myself I get asked all the time what it is and how it works and I am happy to offer a quick lesson or a full scale demo. Doing this doesn’t really make someone good at it, until you spend some time training your feel for slope!
    So that’s where taking a class or two comes in. I have done training with Mark Sweeney and even he will tell you that without practice you will not be as accurate.
    One other point that will no doubt open Pandora’s box, is Grain! Just like Rob mentions that slope doesn’t necessarily break to a body of water or like the TV folks repeatedly say about the setting sun, grain is a misunderstood property of green reading. To put it bluntly, it has little bearing on green reading because “grain is slope”. Grain is the direction in which grass grows and grass grows where water goes. Water goes with the slope!! On today’s greens that are cut much shorter than in the past, grain is negligible.
    The only place grain effects a read is where the grass is longer, say fringe! And the only place grain doesn’t grow with slope is where there is no slope, on really flat spots.
    Aimpoint won’t guarentee you make every putt, but it will sure help you understand how to make more and why you miss when you do. I was always a poor putter but I now feel like I can make everything. And if I dont, it’s usually not far off.

    • Rob Strano

      Feb 11, 2015 at 10:22 pm

      Thanks for your comment Don and your last sentence is dead on…
      When I miss it always looks like it is going to go in but at the last roll just misses.
      Really tightens down your reads.
      Keep it up and make everything in 2015

  30. frendy

    Feb 11, 2015 at 11:00 am

    This article should be filed under ADVERTISEMENT.

    • Zak Kozuchowski

      Feb 11, 2015 at 11:04 am

      It’s filed under opinion, and comes from one of our regular featured instructors who writes about a variety of topics.

      • Knobbywood

        Feb 11, 2015 at 2:13 pm

        This article does not tell you anything about how to use the system but it certainly tries to put the hook in our mouths so we can all go and pay for aimpoint lessons… I agree this is basically an advertisement and I don’t think it should be on golfwrx

      • Preston

        Feb 11, 2015 at 7:32 pm

        I agree, this it definitely not an opinion piece. An opinion piece would offer an opposing viewpoint, usually backed up with some facts. This is a teaser for trying to drum up business for Aimpoint teachers, which the writer just so happens to teach.

        • Travis

          Feb 17, 2015 at 4:00 pm

          I’m not sure you fully comprehend what “opinion” means.

    • Keith

      Feb 11, 2015 at 9:18 pm

      100% agree…but…AimPoint Express is legit and worth it if you can find a pro that doesn’t price gouge for a lesson.

  31. 4pillars

    Feb 11, 2015 at 10:10 am

    The big issue with aimpoint express is that it is so simple you don’t want to tell people how it works because you will lose big $$$$ on your expensive 2 hour classes.

    The actual information on aimpoint express you could write in a ten page ebook.

    Your article dosn’t in fact explain how aimpoint express works.

    I’m not knocking aimpoint express as a technique – I use it myself – just the $$$$ mentality around it.

    • Knobbywood

      Feb 11, 2015 at 2:23 pm

      Bullseye! First article on this site to actually make me feel disgust… Sad as this is one of my favorite sites 🙁 and this guy one of the best writers too…

      • Rob Strano

        Feb 11, 2015 at 10:41 pm

        Knobbywood thanks for your comment and sorry you feel so strongly that way. If you read my lengthy comment above you see that my desire to write this comes from all the incorrect commentary on the telecasts. Why does everyone have a hard time saying, “I simply do not know enough to have an informed opinion?” Also, I am unaware of the big $$$ around AE. I charge the same rate as my hourly lesson fee.

        Thank you for also saying I am one of the better writers. That was very kind of you. Don’t personally feel that way and am just trying to help everyone enjoy the game more and play better by sharing information from lessons at my academy.
        BTW, your handle would make a great golf course name:
        Knobbywood Golf Club – Pine Forest, Illinois

    • Dennis Corley

      Feb 11, 2015 at 2:26 pm

      In my opinion:
      Pricing of a product or service should be about “value” not “volume”. Just because the inventor can explain the innovative process in a short and simple fashion should not make it “less valuable” or “less expensive”. In fact I think it is more valuable how the process has so simplified some complex science.

      Value is set by the consumer. If the seller can help you putt significantly better with a small amount of information – how much is it worth to you? Many golfers are paying $250-$500 to get 10 more yards on a drive. I would argue that the benefits to score are more significant with AimPoint Express than a new driver.

      I will also say that, like stealing someone’s music with something like Napster, stealing the Aimpoint Express methods is not “OK” just because it is easy to communicate. (I am not suggesting that you specifically are going to steal it.)

      I have taken two AimPoint Express clinics. It is fast, effective, and worth the price– to me. If it is not to you, that is fine, just don’t then feel OK to steal the information.

  32. Jesse

    Feb 11, 2015 at 10:01 am

    Great article there is so much disinformation about Aimpoint im glad you cleaned it all up. I’ll be taking an Aimpoint clinic this year and am excited to try it out as putting has always been the worst part of my game.

    • Rob Strano

      Feb 11, 2015 at 10:43 pm

      Thanks for the comment Jesse. It will help you tighten up your reads a lot. One of the main questions I get from players who tell me putting is the worst part of their game is how do I read a green. This will help you a bunch.
      Play well in 2015 and make lot of putts!

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Podcasts

The Gear Dive: Episode 100

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In this 100th episode of The Gear dive, Johnny looks back at his top 5 favorite moments and discusses what’s to come in the equipment industry as we come out of the lockdown haze.

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Opinion & Analysis

The Wedge Guy: 3 keys to handling pressure

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Whether you play competitively or not, “pressure” is a big part of this game. Even if we are out for an evening practice nine, when we get over any shot, from drive to putt, we are putting “pressure” on ourselves to perform to our best capability.

So just what is pressure? My dad used to tell us the story about a guy who wanted to learn how to walk the tightrope. He strung a rope across his yard about a foot off the ground and started practicing—first just balancing, then walking, skipping—he got where he “owned” that tightrope. So, he decided he was ready for the big top, to join the circus. The circus manager says, “Well, climb up there and show me what you’ve got.” When he got to the top and looked down about thirty feet, he couldn’t even get off the platform.

Pressure!

Pressure affects all of differently, but it does affect all of us. How can we totally jack a two-foot putt sometimes? How can we chunk a chip shot? We don’t do that on the practice tee! But then, how can tour pros hit some of the gosh-awful shots we see them hit coming down the stretch? No one is immune.

So, I want to share my three keys to handling pressure. I’d like for all of you to chime in with your own personal keys that you use with success.

Here are mine:

  1. Recall success! The first thing that happens in pressure situations is that fear sets in. You may find yourself thinking of that last short putt you missed, or that chip you chunked, or bunker shot you skulled. In Dr. David Cook’s book/movie “Seven Days In Utopia”, the mentor tells his student, “See it. Feel it. Trust it.” See the shot you have and recall the dozens or hundreds of ways you’ve successfully executed it before. Take a few practice swings and feel the swing that will produce that vision. Then trust your skill that you KNOW you have and just execute.
  2. Get S-L-O-W. It’s a natural tendency to get quick when we are under pressure. As you begin to approach the shot, slow down a bit. If you are riding in a cart and approaching the green, pause for a count before you jump out of the cart. Take a breath before you pull the clubs from the bag. Walk a little more slowly over to your ball, which gives you time to think those successful thoughts we just talked about. Make your practice swings or strokes a little slower, more deliberately. And feel the end of your backswing. The quickness killer is not finishing the swing, whether it’s a full iron shot, a short chip or pitch, or even a putt. FEEL the end of the backswing to neutralize quickness.
  3. Lighten up! A nice relaxed grip is essential to a good golf shot of any kind, but pressure affects that first, most of the time. When you are feeling a little “amped up”, focus on your grip pressure and R-E-L-A-X. Your body will not let you hold a club too softly, but pressure sure can make you put the death grip on the club. And it is hard to swing too quickly when you have a nice soft grip on the club.

So, those are my “three keys” to handling pressure. Try them the next time you find yourself a little nervous, whether it’s for the club championship, or just beating your buddies out of a few bucks.

And let us know your keys to handling pressure, too!

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Equipment

Coming out of the haze: What to expect from the OEMs in the second half of 2020

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As we slowly come out of the lockdown haze, it’s going to be interesting to see which OEMs are primed to come out swinging. From where I sit, there are a few companies that either kept the foot on the pedal or found new ways to interact with the masses. I have been tracking the major companies for different reasons, and I am optimistic on most fronts. Now, it needs to be said that everyone has been keeping the respective momentum going in their own ways—this has been a challenge for everyone, so this analysis is simply a commentary on what may come in the second half of the year.

Many good folks were either furloughed or laid off during this lockdown—that’s where we all lost. It needs to be acknowledged that we are talking about golf here, but the underlying reality of this is still devastating. I so look forward to getting into the trenches with these folks again either back where they were or at new companies.

TaylorMade became educators…and kicked off live golf again

Big giant club company or big giant marketing machine…it doesn’t matter what you label them as. TaylorMade Golf, in my opinion, turned the heartbreak of stalling one of the biggest first quarters in company history into an opportunity to start talking…and teaching. With the help of the tour team and TM athletes, TaylorMade focused hard on talking to us all during the lockdown. With multiple initiatives through social media, the Driving Relief event, and the tour staff engaging way more than usual. I believe TM created a runway to start moving quickly once stores and pro shops open up again.

Let’s face it, with the social media presence, the most robust tour staff maybe ever, and the driver everyone seems to have reserved for the top big stick of 2020, what’s not to be confident about? On the flip side, a company that big could have really taken it on the chin hard, but how they handled the lockdown—from my chair—was fun to watch and will ultimately ensure a quick restart. There is something to be said about having guys like Trottie, Adrian, and Hause in the fold informing and keeping things fun.

Rumor has it new irons are dropping in the fall/winter, which could spell two awesome bookends to a bittersweet 2020.

PXG leaned in

Why online sales for all OEMs spiked is no mystery. Boredom, desire, and a credit card are keys to any great online buying experience, but PXG made certain that if you were not a buyer previously, you may be now.

The price tag has always been a key topic with Bob Parsons’ Scottsdale-based company. It’s no secret that the clubs aren’t cheap, but during this lockdown, they did multiple strategic initiatives to not only crank up direct-to-consumer buying but also expand the PXG conversation into different areas, namely fashion.

Price cuts across the board started early and, rumor has it, enabled PXG to achieve sales numbers unlike any other period in the company’s short history. Yes, cutting prices helps unit sales, but in the case of PXG, it brought in the club customer that ordinarily shied away from PXG for financial reasons and ultimately made them buyers. That’s where PXG seems to shine, once they finally get you in, they are very effective at keeping you in the family. Mercedes-Benz AMG is like that: once you have had a taste of the Kool-Aid, it’s hard to go back to Hawaiian Punch.

In addition to the aggressive price-cutting, PXG fashion, spearheaded by President Renee Parsons, launched a new collection that is designed and manufactured by PXG. Fashion in times like these is always a risk from a financial standpoint, but this launch has been on the calendar since the BOY and the current lockdown did not disrupt that. It speaks to the confidence that Bob and Renee have in what they are doing. Now, is it a guarantee that PXG garments will fly off the shelves? No. but that’s not the point, it’s the fact that this current climate didn’t scare them into pivoting or holding off.

Point to this pick is PXG looks healthy coming out of this and it was possible to believe that perhaps this would have taken a toll on the custom fit brand. There is even a commercial produced during lockdown to attract even more club builders to the fold. Not normal behavior in times like these, but is anything that PXG does normal? No, and that’s what makes them fun to talk about.

The company also released its Essential Facemask with 50 percent of proceeds going to Team Rubicon.

Ping was quiet…but don’t be fooled

Yes, they did some rare social media engagements with Kenton Oates and the tour staff, which were fantastic. But the real magic here was the quiet way in which Ping slipped into 2020 and the mystery they have in hand and what’s to come next.

There hasn’t been really any new Ping product in a good while, and I anticipate a big winter for the Solheim crew. Sometimes, silence is golden and from what I can gather, what Ping has coming in irons and woods will be yet again a launch that gets people talking.

Ping from a business standpoint is a company that gets one percent better every year. Never any dramatic shifts in strategy or product. It’s always good, it’s always high-performance, and it’s always in the “best of” category across the board.

Watch out for them over the next six to nine months…a storm is brewing. A good one.

Cobra introduced the “Rickie iron”

Cobra Rev 33 Irons

Compared to 2019 and the runaway success that was the F9 driver, Cobra Golf seemed to cruise along in the first quarter of 2020. The SpeedZone metal wood line was an improvement tech-wise from the F9 but seemed to get lost in the driver launch shuffle with an earlier release—and frankly everyone in the industry took a back seat to TaylorMade’s SIM.

It’s not placing one stick over the other actually, I have been very vocal about my affections for both, it’s just some years, the story around a club can generate excitement, and if the club is exceptional, boom. Cobra was that cool kid in 2019.

What Cobra decided to do in the downtime is slowly tease and taunt with a “Rickie Fowler” iron. Players blades aren’t typically the driving element of any business model, but what Cobra did was introduce to a beautiful yet completely authentic forging that will not only get the gear heads going nuts but also entice the better players to start looking at Cobra as a serious better players iron company. No small feat.

Point is, Cobra has generated buzz. It helped that Rickie’s performance at Seminole was just short of a precision clinic. Beyond the Rev 33, its rumored Cobra has a new players CB coming and some MIM wedges.

It should be an exciting last half for the Cobra crew.

The Titleist train chugged on

I mean, what else is there to say about Titleist? They are as American as apple pie, have a stranglehold on multiple tour and retail categories, and one of the best front offices in golf. The company is a well-oiled machine.

So what do I expect from them in the last half? Well pretty much what I would expect on any other year, solid player-driven equipment. A metal wood launch is coming, the SM8 was a huge hit in stores and on tour, and the ball portion is the biggest 800-pound gorilla in golf.

It was also nice to see a little more social media interaction beyond the traditional. Aaron Dill has been very active on the social media front and a good portion of the tour staff, namely Poulter, JT, and Homa were proactive in engagement. Might seem trivial to some, but specifically, Titleist and Ping are not super active in the organic interaction game, so it was nice to see both companies dive into the fold.

Cleveland/Srixon should have a lot to look forward to

Let’s be honest here, 2019 was a quiet year overall for Srixon. Shane Lowry won The Open, but in the golf mainstream it was a leap year for them in regards to any launches. The anticipation from me personally of what is to come is quite strong. I adore the irons. I have yet to meet one I didn’t love, and fitters across the country will speak to that in sales. The Srixon iron line has become a popular yet-sort-of-cult-classic among fitters and gearheads and rightly so. They are phenomenal.

The recently teased picture of the new driver on the USGA site more or less teased us of what is to come for the overall line. New Cleveland wedges are coming shortly and the golf ball has always been a solid component to the Huntington Beach company.

As much as anyone in the market, I believe Srixon could finish the year with some serious momentum going into 2021. The irons and ball have always been firestarters. My only wish for them, selfishly, is a more aggressive tour strategy in regards to landing one of the perennial top 10. It seems like a dumb thought, but I have always felt Cleveland/Srixon was always a serious hitter that at times seems to get lost in the conversation. Having a big gun on staff or a couple of them will remedy that quickly.

Callaway has an eye on big things for the golf ball

Callaway, a company that seems to do it all well, was actually a bit quiet since the lockdown started. After a solid release of the Mavrik line and some momentum in the golf ball area, I’m sure this lockdown probably felt like a kick to the shin.

However, this company is shifting in a good way. The idea that they were a golf club company that happened to make golf balls is slowly turning into a company with multiple major components that stand alone. TaylorMade is on a similar shift, and honestly it’s very interesting to watch. Do I think that anyone will ever catch Titleist in the ball category? No, I don’t. All of these mentioned golf balls are ridiculously good, but 75 years of trust and loyalty are hard to compete with. But that’s not the point, Callaway is a monster company that takes the golf ball conversation very seriously, and I believe this will serve them very well coming out of this craziness and help the momentum going into 2021.

 

 

 

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