Trusting The System
by Jamie Donaldson, AimPoint Level III Instructor
When it comes down to any shot you play in golf we all understand that trust in our decisions is a solid foundation to play from and success tends to show up may more often when we’re clearer in our mind . Any good golfer will tell you that. In contrast, how often after miss-hitting a shot do we run the “ I knew that wasn’t enough club so I tried to force it “ story, Or “ I couldn’t see the line so I just hit the putt firm and straight and hoped” Or ‘’my instincts were screaming at me to trust myself but I talked myself out of it.” We all have stories along those lines I’m sure.
What we’re continuing to do at AimPoint is teach the player a system for deciding what line the putt needs to be started on in order to hole it at correct speed (we suggest up to 12” past ). The system is based on following a simple process which is outlined below.
We showed you a way of gathering information which when added together, helps the process of reading any putt, on any green, at any time. Once the information gathering process is complete, it is just a case of then using the AimChart to predict break amount ( 20 seconds total). Each stage merely requires you to trust in your ability to gather the information…but what we’re finding after conducting many many classes and observing/listening to many students using the system, is we need to add greater clarity and awareness of ourselves into the equation so as we can become more and more proficient and really start to trust our decision making.
Before AimPoint, we’d all have been using just our eyes for the whole read so it’s no real surprise that the first trust issue begins once students are shown what 5,10,15,20ft distances look like. Very common to hear comments along the lines of “ is that 20ft ? it looks shorter/longer” or ‘that looks way too much break’. These are early challenges to our sense of trust, and true for any of us being presented with new information, we need to get really comfortable with gauging distance. It is just like updating our out of date map and literally bring ourselves up to speed with cutting edge accurate information.
It’s too easy for us all to simply continue to guess! So we need to be disciplined and be way more precise in gauging distance. We also need to question what we’re actually seeing when we guess….how valuable is it? Looking back, there was a time when everyone believed the world was flat…that’s what it looked like to people! And yet now we automatically know the world is round to the point we never question it.
We can’t see the curvature…but we know it’s there!
So with that in mind, don’t guess or automatically believe what your eyes tell you. Pace it out as a double check until you are satisfied that you are really accurate at ‘seeing’ distance. And be honest with yourself…do you REALLY know how far a putt is just by looking from behind? We know for a fact that once at address, distances seem shorter to the eye, so then is not the best time to be double checking if your distance estimation is accurate. We trust our gauging the distance by eye and pacing on the fairway so its no different on the green.
At the midpoint we are feeling the slope, it’s our ability to judge pressure in the standing stance through our feet .
You don’t need to look for high point or see a straight putt, or look at the hole or even the ball at this stage. We’re just sensing what our feet are feeding back to us, getting a sense of how the slope feels and just by getting yourself into a quieter space (reducing that internal chatter etc) you can be out of position at this stage and still make putts.
So trust your feel again – and commit.
Big breaks happen when weight is in the heels and smaller breaks happen when weight is in toes, rocking and moving head will vary centre of pressure so stay still and focus on feeling where your weight is.
Make your decision fairly quick!
We’ve found that if you start playing out your story about the upcoming putt in your mind or relating slope to what you expected to see, busy thinking fires up and tends to distort our clarity of decision. I liken this stage to judging wind… we do that on most shots out on the course and we commit to our decisions… this part of the system is no different at all. Instead of looking at trees and dropping grass to guess wind strength we are feeling slope….so make a decision and commit to what you feel.
That’s the last feel part of the read done, now we look to the ball to estimate what angle we are crossing the slope, and now we have our read amount from the AimChart.
Again it’s important to now not double check with our visual guess of break amount. This is pointless and only increases the chance of clouding our mind… you have seen AimPoint working in practice so its time to aim and shoot, commit and rely on your feel for distance control.
With a clearer mind (less thoughts on your mind) at this stage the more likely you are to focus on one thing…. Holing the putt and not getting in your own way!
So TRUST is key during the early stages of learning AimPoint. Yes your eyes will try and convince you the data isn’t accurate regarding distance and slope….Yes you’ll have thoughts pop into your head which really challenge the data you’ve collected….and Yes when putts don’t all drop it will be easy to lose faith in the system and go back to guessing with your eyes. As thinking beings this is all a natural reaction to new information which contradicts what we’ve believed to be true for a length of time. You aren’t alone.
AimPoint will challenge you early doers….our advice is to commit to the information gathering process…..read the chart….and get in and hit the putt regardless of what your thinking is telling you. Second guessing, delaying the shot, talking yourself into tweaking start line will, just like in all areas of your game, bring inconsistent results.
Trust the system….trust what your body is feeling….and you’ll start to putt with an increased sense of freedom. The evidence will speak for itself….
Jamie Donaldson– European Senior AimPoint Instructor