Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Working on AimPoint With David Graham - 10.23.11

As some readers may recall, I discussed how I wanted to really improve my AimPoint green reading skills and felt like I needed to work with an AimPoint instructor on a monthly basis or so individually to develop those skills.

On Sunday I got together with David Graham from the Faldo Golf Institute in Orlando. For anybody looking for a place to stay and to have a practice facility nearby, I highly recommend the Faldo Golf Institute as it is as good as it gets for a practice facility.

First off, I found the lesson to be tremendously helpful not only because of David’s teaching style, but the information presented made things a little more clear and easier to execute. That being said, I would highly recommend going to one of their group clinics, first. That’s because not only do the clinics teach the fundamentals, but I honestly believe that one of the things you really have to get down first is how to feel the slope of the green with your feet. When I first started doing it, I wasn’t doing it quite correctly and John Graham (www.johngrahamgolf.com) gave me some tips and demonstrated what I was doing wrong at the clinic. I then practiced feeling with my feet and it took a couple of months, but I started to really develop my skills in that area. In fact, I found it neat that I was reading an old Golf Digest article where the legendary Moe Norman said ‘You can see all you need standing behind the ball and can feel the slope through your feet when you stand over the ball.’

One of the first things David and I worked on was to check to see if I was utilizing the method to get the stimp of the greens correctly. I find this to be very important because not only do you need to have the correct stimp, but it’s a good way to practice AimPoint. Once I showed him that (I was doing it correctly), we got into a quicker and I believe easier way to get the slope. But once again, I really feel that you need to feel the slope by walking around in a circle first to develop your ‘feeling with your feet skills.’

In fact, I think that’s a bit of an overall important theme with AimPoint….you need to practice it. You don’t have to put in hours of practice each day. But, the more you practice the better you will develop important skills like feeling with your feet or knowing what 4 inches left of the cup looks like from 5 feet away versus 25 feet away. I remember I didn’t think you had to actually get on the practice green and practice AimPoint and that’s why I didn’t quite grasp it at first.

The next part we worked on was a little trickier and that was what I call ‘fragmenting’ the putt. Let’s say you have a 15 foot putt that breaks left. Let’s say the putt has a 3% slope in the first 5 feet of the putt. But in the last 10 feet it has a 1% slope. AimPoint has an advanced way of reading the putt so you can account for the 3% slope early on and then the 1% slope in the last 10 feet. Before I would probably read that as a 3% slope the entire way and it would give me a decent ballpark. But by fragmenting the putt, the read is more exacting.

The only difficulty with fragmenting the putt is that it takes a little while to get used to doing it because you have to do some math, but it’s mostly just addition and taking ½ of a number.

Finishing off, I went onto a few holes and hit some 80 yard wedge shots. I actually hit better wedge shots that I thought I would The 1st hole I hit one to 10 feet and one to 5 feet. We went over what we discussed. What was fun was that I slightly pushed those putts but they still went in. AimPoint works because it reads everything to make a putt that goes into the cup dead center. I think everybody would agree that nothing will be perfect, so if you slightly mis-read it or mis-aim it you do have some room for error and still make the putt.

One of the things David and I discussed, borrowing a line from Johnny Miller…is that AimPoint really ‘trims the fat’ from green reading. There’s no need to look for mountains, streams, the sun, getting behind the ball, crouching, plumb bobbing, etc. You can take that nonsense out and actually play faster because you have ‘trimmed the fat’ from your green reading.

We ended the day with me draining a 30 footer that I had to aim 45 inches left of the cup. That also made me recognize that essentially when I have to aim more than 18 inches outside of the cup, I tend to not aim high enough. Another thing I will practice.

This was a great experience and I’m excited about getting better and better at AimPoint working with David. If you would like to contact David to help you with your game and your AimPoint skills, he can be found at http://www.efloridagolf.com/david-graham.htm

For other information with regards to AimPoint, I would check out their Web site at www.aimpointgolf.com


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