by Mark Sweeney, AimPoint Founder
“What Is AimPoint” is a question that I don’t get to answer very often, because people usually say, “Oh yeah, the green line.” About 6 years ago that would have been OK, but now that answer makes me cringe. AimPoint is not a graphic on TV, that was just one of many possible applications of the underlying AimPoint knowledge base.
AimPoint is about the entire interaction between mind, putter, ball, and turf.
Green reading is the foundation, then aim, motion, speed, routine, strategy, and mental focus are the other pieces of a system that must be maintained in a delicate balance for what we call “putting”.
The most common mistake I see people make is to assume AimPoint now is just about picking a line. They learn the read, then go off thinking everything will automatically fall into place. For some players that works, because they already have good aim, motion, and speed–Stacy Lewis being a prime example. Stacy has 8 LPGA wins including 2 majors since learning AimPoint. For the majority of players though, the overall system still has to be balanced.
For example, few golfers hit their putt where they are looking or where they are aimed. So when you give new AimPointers the correct line, they often will hit the putt somewhere else and miss. The read is correct, but their aim or motion is out of balance. And even when read, aim, and motion finally get balanced, speed is the primary cause of missed putts. And after working with players to develop touch and feel, I quickly realized that training someone speed and timing is a completely different challenge than training them to read greens. It truly is a trip down the rabbit hole and is very dependent on individual thought patterns and mental focus.
Mastering any skill, especially one like putting with multiple interacting, moving parts, requires a guided journey through the learning process. The process begins with a Honeymoon stage where you learn under the direct guidance of an instructor, then as soon as you’re on your own you enter the stage that Dr. Bhrett McCabe calls The Fog. This is when you experience frustration and confusion while making mistakes and developing new skills. In order to reach a level of Mastery, you have to get through The Fog, and unfortunately many people never do.
This picture illustrates the process. At the beginning you can clearly see the mountain (Mastery) and it seems very attainable. Then your begin the journey down into The Fog which many people never come out of. But with persistence and guidance you can get through it and reach a level of Mastery, how high you go depending on your level of persistence and drive.
My goal as an AimPoint instructor is to guide you to whatever level of Mastery you desire. We start with learning to read greens properly, but then quickly have to address equipment fit, aim and motion, timing, mental focus, strategy, and development plans. So if it’s your goal to become a truly great putter, remember that all the pieces have to come together in harmony, not only the read. It requires knowledge and skill. More importantly, you’ll have to work through some frustrations before you achieve your goal. Those that persist eventually realize the meaning behind the #makeeverything mindset.