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Aimpoint as Poor Science
Aimpoint as Poor Science, and Templeton is better but ...
Physics profs make terrible putting instructors. What ridiculous hubris to think that juggling a few standard formulae from their graduate school notes or a colleague's textbook can actually engage the perception and movement skills of REAL putting situations!
But of course golfers are absolute STOOGES for anyone claiming to solve golf skill issues with "science" and "numbers" with a substitute for skill. Grow up, folks. Science doesn't work like this, at least not in the form of a "modeled" green and putt (i.e., a dumbed-down cartoon simplification of real greens to a perfectly flat and uniformly tilted surface that comes only in INTEGER slopes and green speeds and distances in jumps of 2.5 feet or 5 feet and nothing in between). Aimpoint is not real physics -- it's a "model" version of real physics that gives calculations of "model" putts, and these calculations are NOT the aim for your specific putt on your specific green or your specific touch.
And the "model" is a "guess" at what physics the physics really is and how dumbed-down it can be to make the calculations easier -- so it's REALLY IMPORTANT that the person designing the "model" know in great detail what really matters for putting skill. That means you cannot design a good "model" for putting without knowing and having real experience with golfers and their actual TOUCH skill, their ability to AIM, their ability to STROKE where the putter face aims, and their ability to PERCEIVE what matters for reads: slope, contour shape, green speed, fall line orientation, level in gravity, perpendicularity, distance, elevation change, and ball delivery pace at the hole. You know, the stuff Hogan and others refer to as "know how" and skill.
So that's TWO BIG WRONGS in aimpoint: 1. general "science" numbers aren't real for this or that specific putt OR specific golfer AND 2. that's not the way to learn and practice SKILL for perceiving slope and green speed and fall line and break etc. in combination with skilled movement for aiming and stroking where aimed and stroking with tempo-rhythm for controlling pace and delivery speed at the hole ("touch"). Golfers need THEIR PERSONAL aimpoints for their personal SKILL in reading SPECIFIC REAL PUTTS.
Here is a detailed explanation of the 8 main mistakes in the Aimpoint system and the 11 "assumptions" used in the calculations of the aimpoints that render the aims all "general only" and not specific to the green, the putt or the golfer holding the chart:
Okay, so you don't really want to know about skill? Please ....
Okay, so you want every possible edge you can get? Well, at least get an edge that's CORRECT and USABLE and that doesn't make real SKILL harder to learn and perform.
If you're hell-bent to use a chart when reading putts, try H.A Templeton's BETTER charts and aim points from his book Vector Putting: The Art and Science of Reading Greens and Computing Break (1984). This book at least will run you thru all the REAL physics missing from the aimpoint charts and give you charts with better detail and distances and uphill-downhill adjustments than aimpoint, calculated with a more realistic "touch" delivery speed. Just reading the book will give you lots to chew on that will eventually morph into real "know-how" in your game and real skill reading putts without a flippin' "cheater chart".
This is Templeton's 1984 chart for aiming points for a Stimp 10.5 green speed for slopes from 1% to 6% grade in distances stepped by 2.5 feet, with uphill and downhill adjustments for faster uphill putts with less break [lower right - small number] and slower downhill putts with more break [upper right + small number]:
Here's a chart that shows Templeton's aims for slopes 1% to 4% on Stimp 9.5 green speed:
And if you want to go to the next level and get BEYOND both Sweeney and Templeton and the false-god "putt by numbers" sort-of science, here's a lot of information on my website compiled by teaching putting for over twenty years and making sense of this goofy science approach for real golfers facing real putts with over forty years of physics and twenty years of neuroscience applied to putting skills:
My approach uses general science to get "ballpark" aims (with better physics than Sweeney by the way, and "as good physics" as Templeton), and then uses the brain science of "action" (reading perceptions processes in light of the golfer body's movement habits and processes for touch, aim and stroke movement) to "fine-tune" the ballpark read so it fits the exact green and putt situation in terms of the exact golfer and his touch and aiming skill and stroking skill.
And my stuff is free, but perhaps that's why golfers in general misunderstand how the past 22 years of TEACHING PUTTING and the past 40 years of STUDYING PHYSICS and over 20 years of STUDYING AND APPLYING THE NEW NEUROSCIENCE to the four skills of putting might separate my approach from an amateur golfer and retired Air Force Colonel without teaching experience who designed a "model" with road-tested physics to calculate breaks in general and from a statistics guy without physics and without teaching experience who made up a "model" using borrowed "academic" physics from a college professor in an office in British Columbia for calculating break in general.
So, you should read Templeton's book as a basis for "know-how" and skill that allows you to judge the flaws in aimpoint and to know a better system and to come face to face with the bottom line: you need what I teach, which is the skills in perceiving the reality of the green and putt (slope, contour shape, green speed, fall line direction, ball distance, ball delivery pace, etc.), the skill in aiming at any target, the skill at stroking the ball where aimed, and the skill at controlling delivery speed of the ball at the hole ("touch") consistently and accurately. These are the real golf skills.
Just ask me for the Templeton book by email to firstname.lastname@example.org and I'll send you the link for downloading the PDF I created by scanning this out-of-print book.
Putting Coach and Theorist
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