by Mark Sweeney, AimPoint Founder
How is it that every known object in the universe obeys a prescribed set of rules for motion, but we as humans think we know better? The path that a putted golf ball travels on is pre-dertermined even before you hit it. It loyally obeys gravity, slope, and time and could care less what we as players see, think, or feel. Yet as golfers we have learned to believe in self-reliance on the putting green and to trust only our senses, mostly our eyes. We get behind a putt and think that our faulty sense of vision and incredibly poor understanding of physics are a reliable method for predicting break. What we must come to terms with if we want to advance to a higher level of putting is this:
The ball doesn’t care what you see
It doesn’t care what you think either. You may see the putt breaking left or think it must break left because water is on the left, but the ball is coldly indifferent to you. Once you’ve hit the ball, it has only one master–the laws of physics. In that sense the ball is the ultimate master of AimPoint. It will break precisely how much slope and time tell it to, a formula which is engraved into it’s very being. On the other hand, we as players do our best to estimate slope and distance, then apply that fixed formula to the putt in advance so we can send the ball on a path that will terminate in the hole.
We have to develop skill, the ball doesn’t
Those skills include learning the rules of break and the willingness to ignore what our eyes tell us and trust our feel for slope. It also includes learning to trust that the ball will do what it must do. This may be the most difficult skill to master–abandoning our well-developed sense of self-reliance in exchange for trust. Trust in your own ability to find slope, trust that the laws of nature haven’t changed, and trust that the ball will behave in a completely predictable manner even if it’s contrary to what you see. In short, you have to accept that your preception is fallible and does not control break or speed.
This takes time, but the first time you trust a read that you don’t visually agree with and the ball goes in, you will experience an incredible sense of relief that transforms into excitement. And this is our ultimate goal in putting, to read and execute the putt with the trusting belief that every putt can be made. This is what AimPoint is all about, aligning our minds as closely as possible with the laws of nature so that we can be good stewards of the putt. So that we can truly enjoy the game and play with the laws of physics rather than against them. This is the #makeeverything mindset.
Any posts that combine my love of physics with my love of golf make for a great way to start the day! Thanks Mark.
It seems to me that the relationship of the ball with the green is less than half a centimeter wide. So the only physics you need to concern yourself with is the ‘seeing’ the high/low side of a 5 mm wide path from your ball to the cup and the force you need to apply based on that terrain? Makes me laugh when announcers talk about the greens ‘breaking to the pond’ – illogical, no?