Tuesday, July 3, 2012

AimPoint Bubble Review

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One of the fascinating parts of learning about the game is when good golf instruction adapts over time to find more accurate information. While most golf instruction fanatics prefer accuracy of information first and foremost, the applicability of that information should also be given tremendous consideration. While information may be great in theory, it does the golfer little good if they cannot reasonably apply that to their own game. From there, we should seek to make the applicable information more efficient and easy to execute.

My putting instructor, David Graham (http://www.efloridagolf.com/david-graham.htm), went over a new method to learning AimPoint green reading earlier this year. The older method of walking around the putt in a circle, finding the high anchor, finding the low anchor, etc, is still applicable to reading greens. However, a new method has been developed to make AimPoint easier to execute and take much less time. I actually still use some of the techniques to the older method from time to time, in particular locating the high and low anchor points. And, the old method of walking around in the circle does help with training yourself to feel the slope with your feet. But, the new method has probably increased my accuracy and efficiency by tenfold.

One of the issues I’ve come across in discussing AimPoint with other students is that many students do not realize that you MUST practice AimPoint if you want to get better at it. Learning to feel with your feet takes practice just as learning how to improve your takeaway in the backswing takes practice on the driving range. The same goes for diagnosing the amount of slope, deciphering what the aim looks likes from different putting distances, getting a routine down, trusting the read, and basic troubleshooting.

Many people who have learned AimPoint don’t understand that and they think that they can just bring it out on the course and have no problems. If they would spend their putting practice focusing on AimPoint instead of blindly hitting some putts or putting some sort of putting stroke training aid device, I believe they would understand putting much better and would sink more putts.

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Recently I was introduced to AimPoint’s new product, the AimPoint Bubble. It’s a rather simple bubble level device that helps detect the slope. It retails at $40 and can be found here http://aimpointgolf.3dcartstores.com/

Here’s a little demonstration of the AimPoint Bubble by its inventor, Stephen Aumock.



Originally, I had some skepticism about the AimPoint Bubble because the price point was not a lot less than the Husky Digital Bubble Level that I own that I use for AimPoint. However, I had some issues with the Husky Digital Level as well:

1. It requires batteries.
2. It’s about 1 foot long and is a little cumbersome to carry around.
3. It does not easily find the zero line.

The first thing you will notice about the AimPoint Bubble is that it is small in size. It’s about the size of a silver dollar. In fact, if you are practicing AimPoint on the course, you can use it to mark your ball (obviously, it’s not legal for play). It is also a basic level of sorts, so it does not require any batteries or any electrical power.

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When using the Husky Digital level, the idea is in order to find the zero line, you want to want to get the reading of the slope as steep as you can. But, I have found issues with that and unless you understand how to feel with your feet, you can produce some fairly inaccurate reads using the Digital Level.

I think the issue with the bubble levels is that the bubble lays horizontally. The AimPoint Bubble lays on top of the ground. Plus, it has directional measurements on the bubble which are applicable to using AimPoint.

While Aumock shows us how to use the AimPoint Bubble a certain way. I tried it in different fashions. For starters, I would put the Bubble where the ball is located and point the 0-line on the bubble at the hole. If it’s a planar slope putt, the Bubble will give you a read directly on that putt. So if you have a putt that is 60° down (aka 2 o’clock), if you have the bubble where the ball is located, the Bubble will be located at 60°.

Again, it’s not legal for play. But, I would use this for practice to help better understand my skill level with AimPoint. Sometimes I would flip the Bubble over so it wouldn’t show the break. Then I would go thru my routine of calculating the break and then I would flip the bubble over and see what it says. I would also use Aumock’s method in the video and try to see if I could guess the zero line.

What I found was I have a tendency to read towards 90° (3 or 9 o’clock) too often. And I also read too much break when I was actually directly on the zero line.

Probably the greatest part of the Bubble is that I was surprised by its accuracy. Not only from a slope direction perspective, but also in slope steepness. The little arc markings are spot on for determining the percentage of slope.

If own the Husky Digital level, you can still use it. The AimPoint Bubble only measures the slope to 4%. So if you are looking for readings on slopes more than 4%, you could use both in conjunction with each other.

The only complaint I have heard is that due to the small size of the AimPoint Bubble that a spike mark could throw off the reading. While that could be true to a degree, I’ve found from owning the Husky and the Exelys Breakmaster, that alterations in the green from spike marks and ball marks actually reek more havoc because they are electronic. Not that I think it really matters because I go by the old carpenter’s rule of ‘measure twice, mark once.’

In the end, the AimPoint Bubble really surprised me with how well it works and I recommend it for AimPoint users.





3JACK

4 comments:

Keith said...

Richie -
I found this http://www.better-golf-by-putting-better.com/fall-line-putt-reader.html a year or so ago and it works great. The reader is only $14.00 and it is the size of a hole. I works great as a practice target.
Keith

Neil said...

Richie,

I recently had a 2 hour Fundamentals lesson with Mark Sweeney. I just bought a Husky digital level today and took it out to the practice green.
How the hell do you use it to measure the zero line?
In our lesson, Mark used one and it gave him accurate reads consistently. Today, for me, it kept flickering from one reading to another.....very frustrating.
Also, what setting is used for our purposes in Aimpoint?
I pressed the buttons to convert to slope % but what further setting is required for a consistent read?

moggy said...

Hi. Is anyone selling the AimPoint Bubble in the USA? It is not on the site mentioned earlier? Thx

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