Over the last 10 years, golf has changed dramatically and there is a constant push for technology. For years, club companies have made a push for more distance to create the “longest club ever.” What many golfers forget to realize is that about 30 percent of all strokes will occur on the putting green, so why isn’t there technology for sinking more putts? Well, there is and it’s changing the way players of all skill levels learn to read greens.
About six years ago, Mark Sweeney developed a system “which can accurately predict optimum putting parameters and putt trajectories from any point on a green to any other point.” In layman’s terms: He developed a way to give you the correct read of any putt from anywhere on a putting green. I was skeptical at first but having a background as a civil engineer piqued my interest.
AimPoint is similar to a science experiment. The more variables you have in an experiment, the more your results tend to vary; the fewer the variables, the more precise the results. AimPoint strives to isolate each variable that occurs on a putting green and the golfer basically plugs them into an AimPoint chart.
Let me elaborate, for this example a golfer hits an approach shot to 15 feet and is getting ready to read the break of his simple one plane putt. Most of the time, golfers are playing a guessing game based off of past experiences and there is no methodology to how much the putt will break. With AimPoint, the same golfer will now answer a few quick questions to systematically determine the break of the putt and it’s surprisingly easy.
1.) What is the length of the putt?
- This is generally simple and can be your best estimation of how long your putt is.
2.) What is the slope of the putt?
- This one is a bit tricky and will take a little practice. The severity of slope on any putt is generally between 1 and 4 percent. In my time using AimPoint, I’ve observed most of my putts are about 2 percent and rarely get to 4 percent. Getting yourself a digital level can help you hone this skill further.
3.) What angle is the putt to the slope?
- You don’t need to be an engineer to solve this equation but this does take a bit of practice. Essentially if you were to draw a line from your ball to the hole, and then lay your club down in the same direction of the break, the two lines intersect. What is the angle between the two.
4.) What is the stimp (speed) of the green?
- Some courses post their current green speed for the day but it’s always best to estimate your own stimp.
That’s it. Once you have all the information the only variable left is referred to as capture speed. All AimPoint calculations assume your putt will lay to rest about six to nine inches past the hole on every putt. You take this information, plug it into your “AimChart” and you have your read.
At first it might seem daunting to roll through all these variables but with practice you or your regular caddie will become very proficient in gathering all the information in less than 30 seconds.
So why waste another $400 on a driver that is the “longest ever” and spend a few dollars on learning a new skill that will revolutionize the way you read the putting green. If you don’t believe me, feel free to ask PGA Tour Pro Justin Rose (whose putting performance at the Ryder Cup sparked a historic comeback) or LPGA Tour Pro Stacey Lewis (who has won four tournaments in 2012 and LPGA Player of the Year), or any of the over 60 Tour pros who are currently “Aimpoint-ing.”