Tuesday, March 29, 2011

3.27.11 AimPoint Clinic Review

Sunday I attended an AimPoint Golf clinic that was being instructed by John Graham (www.johngrahamgolf.com) at DeBary Golf & Country Club.

We have discussed AimPoint's teaching quite a bit on the blog and forum and I even purchased a David Orr video (www.orrgolf.com) with Mark Sweeney discussing AimPoint's teachings.

AimPoint breaks its classes into three:

1. Introduction to AimPoint Golf

2. AimPoint Fundamentals

3. Advanced AimPoint

From what I can tell, the introduction and fundamentals class are two different classes with the Introduction being a lower cost and bringing in more golfers who are skeptics of what AimPoint offers. The fundamentals class is for the golfers who are AimPoint 'believers', but don't know how to execute AimPoint. We were in the fundamentals class on Sunday.

There was a lot of questions I had after the Orr video because often times I find videos can be extremely helpful, but being there live tends to make things easier to understand.

A couple of the first things we went over was the 'Geometry of a Putt' and then how to determine the stimpmeter.

Determining the stimp is vital to understanding AimPoint because if you're off, then the AimCharts and other measurements will be inaccurate. I remember when I posted the video above I had people reply 'no thanks, I'll just ask the course.'

The problem with asking the course is that you need to have faith that they actually give a damn and there are greenkeepers who will 'lie' about the stimp to keep the membership happy. I think the former is more prevalent with public courses and the latter is more prevalent with private clubs.

The latter is something I'm finding as with my research on 'legal pin positions' (No more than 3% slope on greens with a stimp of 9.5 or more, no more than 4% on any green slower than 9.5), is that many courses have greens that cannot help but have illegal pin positions. But that's because they were designed to not go higher than 8 on the stimpmeter. The golfing public falls in love with the stimp numbers and wants 'the fastest greens in town' and that can force the greenkeeper to juke the numbers.

In other words, I wouldn't take something that could really help my score at face value.

We then moved onto things like finding the fall line and what planar, crown and saddle slopes looked like. We also talked about how uphill putts and downhill putts effect the break. John also mentioned that the grain doesn't really effect the break...it effects the speed which thus effects the break.

Some of the problems I had with AimPoint going into the clinic were properly feeling my way around on the green in order to determine the type of slope and then where the fall line would be. I also found it hard to determine what something like 5 inches from 15 feet would look like versus 5 inches from 6 feet away. John did a great job with explaining how to better do those things.

I also didn't understand the anchor points and how to determine the break when you're just away from the anchor point. John explained that very well, too.

Lastly, we went into discussing 'crown' slope putts. One thing I believe from reading greens later this afternoon is that crown slopes are the hardest to read because they are so subtle. The saddle and planar putts are easier to see, but the crown putts can really fool a golfer. The Advanced class goes more into things like figuring out crowns and saddles and triple breaks.

The clinic was excellent and I highly recommend it to anybody who wants to really learn how to putt better. Not a single student at the clinic was anything less than bewildered and amazed by the accuracy of the reads and as far as what we covered, everybody came away with a super understanding. What else can one ask for?

Later in the day I played a round and tried it for myself. I feel the key is to log in some serious practice time on the practice green. It's not so much about understanding what 6 inches looks like from 18 feet away, but in the short term, get the routine down. It takes some time to get it down where you can figure out the green read, determine where to aim and then go into your practice stroke routine, remember where you aim and hit the putt.

Once you get the routine down, then I think you practice to get better and better at reading the green and so you can start to know what 3 inches from 21 feet looks like.


One thing that surprised me was that the AimCharts can be used to help figure out the read from more than 20 feet away. In fact, the new AimCharts are much better and also can be used to measure the inches away from the cup.

Also, if you can read the greens really well, I think it will naturally help the golfer's putting mechanics. As I've discussed with the golf swing, you really want to limit your compensatory moves in the golf swing if you can. With putting, if you're green read is poor, then I believe you will make compensations for that.

For instance, one of the golfers would aim left and then push the ball to the target. But, if you have the correct read and understand why it is the correct read, then if you miss your mark you start to better understand that your aim was off.

But you'll have to go to a clinic to understand that.

I'd like to thank John Graham, AimPoint Golf, DeBary Golf & Country Club and Director of Instruction Jeff Peterson for holding the clinic and allowing non-members like myself to attend.



Ronnie Martin said...

What do you mean by "legal" Rich? There are rules of thumb as to where the staff or committee might place a hole location but to the best of my knowledge there is not a defined standard as it pertains to being legal or illegal. I could be wrong.

John Graham said...


It was great seeing you again.

I'm glad I was able to help you this information that I think is simply the best for this part of the game.

Keep me posted with how it goes and let me know if any questions come up.


Rich H. said...

Ronnie - PGA Tour standards state that no pin should be cut on a slope of more than 3% if the stimp is 9.5 or more (which they usually are on PGA Tour). And no more than 4% whatsoever.


Agolfman said...

Really impressed with the quality of your posts. So, how goes your progress with the charts?