Wednesday, December 14, 2011
More AimPoint Musings...
After my latest get-together with David Graham (firstname.lastname@example.org) working on AimPoint, I had some new thoughts on the subject:
1. If you went to an AimPoint clinic awhile ago, you need to go to the Advanced clinic or to an AimPoint instructor who is up-to-date on AimPoint.
I won't get into it too much, but David calls it 'chunking' and I refer to it as 'fragmenting the read.' Mark Sweeney has come up with a new method to help calculate the read that is simpler, quicker and makes even more sense. Even if you are quite good at AimPoint, learn how to 'fragment the read' and you'll thank me later for pointing this out to you.
2. AimPoint is about more than learning how to read greens.
What I've realized is that AimPoint is really a system that helps the golfer understand putting as a whole.
Not only the read of the putt, but what does it take for this putt to go in?
What putts are the toughest to make?
What putts are the easiest to make?
Why is speed so important?
That and many other questions that can now be answered much more accurately.
So, teaching people where to aim and how to read greens is only part of the equation.
3. Practice, practice, practice.
This is really where it's at. You need to practice because:
A. It helps you develop better feel with your feet.
B. Helps with understanding how to calculate the read faster and more accurately.
C. Helps get your routine down quicker.
D. Helps you develop more trust with the reads and the speed required to make the putt.
E. Helps with the execution of the putt.
4. 3Jack's way of figuring out the perceived read
Part of the issue one will face with AimPoint is being able to figure out what the read looks like. Let's say I have a putt that says 6 inches outside the right edge of the cup. That 6 inches will look different from 20 feet away than it would 5 feet away or 50 feet away.
One thing I do is I will walk up to the cup and stand nearly over the cup. I will then try to figure out what the distance looks like at the edge of the cup. In this instance, I may see that 6 inches from the right edge of the cup is where this lighter green colored spot is.
Then, I will focus on that spot as I walk back to my ball and that is the point where I will aim at.
5. Classifying User Errors
Here's how I classify my errors on putts missed (provided that they are a physically makeable putt).
General Read Error - This the worst of the errors to make because you are giving yourself almost no chance of making the putt. A good example is if I have a putt that I read to break to the right and it breaks left...that's an error.
After awhile, those type of errors will become less and less. But, you might still find these errors if you read a break to the right and it is straight or if you read a 1-way break and it has a double break to it.
For instance, Sunday on #13 at Eastwood Golf Club, I read a 10 inch break to the right and what it did was it broke to the right and about 3 feet to the cup it broke slightly left and then straightened out. That's a 'general read error' in my book. I didn't notice the slope going the other way the last 3-feet to the cup. But, that's more acceptable than a reading a putt to break one way and then it breaks the other way.
Calculation Error - This is when you make the general read correct, but your calculations are a bit off. You might read the putt at 6 inches, but mis-calculated the amount of slope and it actually breaks 10 inches. Or you might think you are at 4 o'clock on the fall line, but you are actually at 5 o'clock, and thus your read of 36 inches is actually at 10 inches.
For those who understand the fragmenting concept, sometimes I find that I screw up the math because I forget the numbers. But again, practice makes perfect.
Execution Errors - When the general read and calculation is correct, now it comes down to execution. There are a bunch of execution errors...here are some of them:
Perception Error - your perception of 6 inches outside the left edge is actually 10 inches outside the left edge.
Aiming Error- Perception is correct, but you aimed left or right of the target.
Speed Error - Putt hit too hard or too soft.
Mis-Hit Error - Putt hit off the toe or heel moves the ball off-line.
However, one of the great aspects of AimPoint is that it is designed for the putt to go to the middle of the cup. So even if you are off on any of these aspects of execution, you can still have a shot at making the putt. I just like to classify the errors to help with my AimPoint skills.