Are you missing way too many putts and beginning to lose the will to live on the greens?
If so, here’s 5 potential reasons as to why and how you can finally start to change your fortunes...
#1 You Use Your Eyes
Yes, the reason you’re missing lot of putts is because you read greens with your eyes.
Let me explain…a gentleman called Mark Sweeney has devised a system called Aimpoint Express which can only be described as a revolutionary new way to read greens…
And instead of using your eyes to read your putts, you use your feet.
I know, sounds a little weird and when I first heard about it, I was incredibly skeptical…so stay me with and you can see for yourself if it’s something that could work for you.
So, what’s it all about?
In a nutshell – our eyes often deceive us.
We rely so heavily on our eyes for pretty much everything we do, but at times our visual sensing system can actually become distorted.
So, this system devised by Aimpoint guards against this possibility and once fully understood, may allow you to get a better read more often.
The first part to this I believe is the trickiest and will take you a little bit of time to get your head around.
It certainly was for me…
The reading on the level (as above) will be between 0% and 5%. So 0% being a flat putt and 5% being a severe side slope.
So, lets assume you place the level on a right to left slope which gives a 2% reading. In practice you would stand on this slope and the aim is to for you to get a feel of what 2% feels like (like the picture above).
And you would do this for every severity of slope, so then when you are out on the course you can quickly stand on the slope and instantly be able to assign each slope with a number.
Getting Your Aimpoint
So, once you are able to easily detect the break by not using your eyes. (This won’t take too long)
The next part is to then assign the percentage to an aimpoint.
You may have seen Adam Scott (and a number of other tour pros) holding up a number of fingers before they address the putt.
Well, this is them doing just this.
The percentage slope effectively identifies how many fingers you hold up to get your aimpoint.
So if it’s a 1% slope from left to right, you would hold up one finger, line it up on the on the pin and then your aim point would be on the left edge of your finger.
If it’s 2,3,4 or 5%, you would line up your right finger from the opposite edge of the hole (right edge for left to right putts).
Please see the below picture which is 2% from left to right – this equates to a left edge putt.
If it was a 3% break – 3 fingers.
And so on…
Where you stand to gauge the slopes will change depending on the length of putt as well.
- For short putts (3-6 feet) you stand with your feet at the ball (toes pointing at the hole) to gauge the slope. It’s important to stand at the ball and the same place every time.
- For medium length (7-20 feet), you gauge the slope by placing your feet halfway down the putt. Beware though – the rules in golf say you cannot intentionally stand on your intended line, so you have to gauge the slope on the low point of the putt. If it’s a right to left breaker, stand left of the ball.
- And for lag putts, you explore the first three sections of the putt and take the biggest percentage to assign your aim point.
Speed of Greens
As you are probably aware. The speed of the greens drastically effect the amount of break you will allow for.
For example, you will allow more break for greens for which are faster.
So the Aimpoint Express system also teaches you how to allow for these variables with their calibration techniques.
This Aimpoint Express system may sound a bit weird and a tad confusing to begin with, but it literally only took a 30 minute video for me understand it entirely.
This system is being used by hundreds of tour pro’s so I can assure you it works and the whole read should take no longer than 10-20 seconds once you get going.
So if you are having real issues reading the greens – I really suggest looking into this.
Aimpoint Express Step By Step Summary
- Purchase digital level as links above.
- Using the level in practice – calculate percentages of different variances of side slope.
- Stand on the different slopes to gain a feel to each percentage.
- Learn how many fingers to hold up depending on the slope to aquire your aim point.
- Learn where to stand to gauge the slope depending on the length of putt.
- Go out onto the course and put it into action.
I think it’s hard in a blog post to understand the entire picture, so I would suggest if this is something that interests you, then purchase the video on Amazon (link above) to get a deeper understanding on the concept.
#2 You Under Borrow
One problem I see with the golfers I play with and something I used to do a lot myself, is under borrowing far too often.
In other words – not allowing enough break.
And I believe one of the fundamental issues of this, is a misunderstanding of your aim point on putts with a significant amount of break.
Look at the picture below of this putt which has some break from right to left.
(Please note that this putt in the picture doesn’t actually break as advised, I have just used this picture as an example because it shows a good angle)
As you can see, the blue circular line represents the break of the putt. This is the line most golfers will visualize whilst reading the green.
The apex point which I have marked is basically the point where the ball is at its furthest away from an imaginary straight line between the ball and the hole (black line)
So in the picture this is about 3 inches outside the right of the hole.
And it’s this apex point is what causes the confusion – a lot of golfers believe that this point is their aim point…(I know I used to)
Which gives them the belief that this putt has about 3 inches of break…
On a putt such as this, it’s important to note that the ball will break before it even gets to that point, so by aiming at that, you’ll under borrow and the ball will finish way too low. (This is assuming you had the correct read to begin with)
And as you can see – the actual amount of break on this putt is about 4-5 inches.
This example I have given here has a relatively small amount of break but putts which contain a greater amount of movement, the difference between the apex point and your aim point can be up to 2-3 times more.
I think this is quite a big misconception with golfers and something I definitely got wrong at the beginning of my career.
So if you find yourself finishing low on putts with break too often, then this could be a big reason as to why.
#3 The Hole is Too Small
Ok, before you start blaming the green keeper’s…this has got nothing to do with their hole cutting skills.
This is down to a concept called ‘PUTTING CAPTURE SPEED’.
You may of heard of short game guru Dave Pelz…Well he came up with the idea that the perfect speed putt would finish 17 inches past the hole (providing it missed)
Well that theory has now been debunked by some clever guys at Aimpoint using basic mathematics…
They have discovered that the size of the hole severely shrinks the harder you hit it…
”No shit Sherlock”
No, but I mean severely and this may make you re-think how hard you hit your putts forever.
This is a capture speed and relative hole size diagram from Aimpoint which shows you the relative size of the hole depending on the speed you hit your putt.
So, a normal size hole is 4.25 inches in diameter. (Providing the Green keepers know what they’re doing)
And a putt which would have gone…
– 0 inches past the hole has the whole 4.25 inches to play with. Therefore the ball could hit any part of the hole and it would go in.
That’s pretty obvious right?
But now it gets interesting…
– 0.5 feet and the hole shrinks to 3.8 inches. Hit the extreme lips and it wont go in, even at this slow pace.
– 1 foot and the hole closes to 2.6 inches. Hit the lip and it’s missing.
– 2 feet – 1.9 inches. Ball has to be easily inside of the hole even at this relatively slow pace.
– 5 feet past and you’ve lost 90% of the hole. So basically unless the ball hits the dead centre of the cup, the putt wouldn’t drop going at this speed.
And this 17 inches theory which was previously brandished around would give you around 48% less hole. So if you hit a putt at this ‘perfect’ speed you are effectively cutting the hole in half.
So what is optimum?
The guys at Aimpoint believe that between 6 inches and 1 foot past the hole is the optimum pace you should aim for when putting.
This allows some leeway if you slightly under hit it and still gives you a big chunk of the hole to play with…
So what can you take from this?
– Stop smashing it at the hole – you are rapidly diminishing your chances of holing the putt. Those ‘must make’ putts that everyone seemingly feels the need to wack at the hole is counterproductive. Of course, leaving it short is a big no-no but 6 feet past wont work either.
– ‘Never up never in’. What about ‘too much up never in”? – A putt which is going 6-8 feet past has virtually no chance of going in.
– Start becoming more precise in your practice sessions. One idea – is you could mark a spot which is a foot past the hole and aim to get your putts past the hole, but within this range.
– Always spend time hitting putts before a round to gauge the speed. Even if it it’s your home course that you play very regularly. The speed can vary a lot from day to day and as use you’ve seen if you are out by a foot or two, you are drastically reducing the size of the hole.
– If you’re that guy that keeps moaning about lip outs, you’re most likely hitting your putts too hard.
#4 You Don’t Aim on Your Intended Line
If you look at most of the best putters in the world, they all have one thing in common.
Grip, pace of putting stroke, length of stroke etc, can all vary quite a lot, but in the main, good alignment is the one thing that most of the best putters do very well.
So what is good alignment?
First of all it’s highly critical that the putter face is aiming where you want to start the ball. If this is off and you put a good stroke on it, the ball won’t start online…
What a waste.
Or on the other hand – you may be forced to make some kind of sub-conscious compensation during the stroke to square the face up.
This includes feet, hips, shoulders, forearms. Ideally you would like to get all of these in sync running parallel to your target.
This is something I have been working on myself since purchasing The Alignment Mirror… I found I was getting very open at address which was causing my path to get too much from ‘out to in’.
I found I was either straight pulling them or sub-consciously opening the face at impact to compensate and then missing them right.
It’s important to realise that Your path will usually follow your body alignment, so the better your alignment, the better your path and face will be and you’ll get a lot more putts starting online.
This is really not a hard fix. Nowhere near as complex as other parts of the game, so this is an area I believe you could improve relatively quickly.
With the equipment we have at our disposal – I don’t think there’s any excuse getting this wrong, it just requires a bit of attention and application.
If you want to learn more about The Alignment Mirror that I am using, you can see my review here.
#5 Because You Are Human
Here’s some stats from the best humans that currently play the game and as you can see…
THEY MISS A LOT.
(These stats are taken from 60th place on tour, so roughly average)
– They miss over 40% from 8 feet.
– They miss over 50% from 10 feet.
– They miss nearly 70% from 10-15 feet.
– And only 18 putts all season were holed from 25 feet plus.
So, I would like you to leave this article with these numbers firmly lodged somewhere in your mind.
I believe that knowing these is critical for your mindset when it comes to putting.
Far too many golfers heap loads of pressure on themselves from these kinds of ranges, when in reality, you are actually expected to miss…
And I believe lowering your expectancy can work wonders on the greens…
Lower Expectancy = Less tension = better stroke.
Lower expectancy = Increased ability to accept misses.
I hope these points have helped you. There’s some things on here that I have definitely struggled with and continue to work on, so I hope some of this resonates with you and you can start to take your putting to a new level.
Where do you think you really need to improve to miss less putts? Great to hear your thoughts in the comments section below.