'AimPoint Can Be Villainised When People Misunderstand It’ - PGA Pros Defend The Popular Method After Viral Video Lights Up Social Media

With the challenge that the putting surfaces pose at Pinehurst No.2, players are pulling out all the stops to navigate the greens... and so they should!

Justin Rose performing AimPoint at the US Open and a viral social media post about AimPoint
Is AimPoint a problem, or should we be encouraging players to use the method that works for them?
(Image credit: Getty Images)

It wouldn't be US Open week without an influx of reaction to the speed of the greens, and this week the heat appears to be on AimPoint. A viral video, shared on social media by Gabby Herzig, appeared to show two players surveying their putt using the popular green-reading method – and there was plenty of strong reaction.

In the post, Herzig explained "I've been anti-AimPoint since my junior golf days, when girls would stomp all over my line to read their 4-foot putts. We've reached a new level of disgrace. Literally what is happening here".

Well, in the interest of balance, we reached out to two PGA pros, Ben Emerson and James Jankowski and asked for their opinions on the matter...

I Think It's A Little Bit Unfair To Have A Pop At AimPoint!

Ben Emerson is one of Golf Monthly's Top 50 Coaches, and PGA Fellow Coach, who himself uses AimPoint in his own game. He has an interesting take on the debate, suggesting AimPoint might not be the culprit in this situation.

"AimPoint is actually designed to be quicker. When I see people being slow when using the method, I genuinely think they would be slow whatever they were doing.

"When I use it, I know I am quicker, and it saves me going around the green or around the flag so many times."

Justin Rose using AimPoint to read a putt

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Part of the rationale for adopting this method is to gather further information and evidence that could give you a better chance of making the putt, as opposed to using feel or reading the line with your eyes.

Ben explained, "Sometimes I look at a putt and think it's going left... my eyes lie to me a lot! The confidence I get from AimPoint means that I have something to fall back on".

With that in mind, is it any wonder that players are taking a little extra time over their putts at Pinehurst No.2? Think about it logically, so much has already been said about the carnage created by the speed of the greens, and pair that with the fact that players are attempting to win a US Open title under the most immense pressure, so can we really be shocked that they want to make sure under the circumstances.

Ben added "You know that there are thousands of people watching you, and that this means a lot to every single person that's playing, and the last thing you want to do is second guess yourself.

"If anything, why aren't you taking longer? They all must be thinking it, because the last thing they want to do is de-green a putt. Especially if you have a five-footer for birdie, you don't want to race it past and leave yourself a four-footer coming back – nobody wants that".

Scottie Scheffler reading a putt at the US Open

(Image credit: Getty Images)

The video posted on social media also poses questions about the quality of television coverage at golf events, as I believe we should be asking why we are seeing two players go through what is essentially a pre-shot routine when we could instead be watching players crush it off the tee or play sublime bunker shots.

Ben agrees with this sentiment, and admits it can be frustrating. "Think how many good shots we could be watching right now, but instead we are watching two guys read a putt. I am already bored.

"From a coaches stand-point, we want our players to get better at any cost. If someone gets on well with AimPoint, who is to say that is wrong.

"I think it's great to have a system out there, that is designed to speed things up and is designed to give you a bit more confidence on your putts, so why would you not want to do that".

AimPoint Is Sometimes Villainised

James Jankowski is also a Golf Monthly Top 50 Coach, and specialist putting expert. When coaching his students, he believes finding the best method is the most important thing.

"When I am coaching people, I am looking for their best method to read a green, whether that's visual, seeing curves, or using their feet to calculate.

"A lot of the time, AimPoint can be villainised when people misunderstand it. If you speak to any AimPoint certified coaches, they will tell you that when it is used properly it's not a slow method. You can literally do it in next to no time at all".

Tom Kim reading a putt, assisted by his caddie, at the US Open

(Image credit: Getty Images)

When being faced with greens that are as challenging as those being used at Pinehurst No.2 this week, James also agrees that you can understand players being extra careful and that focus should be shifted towards the television coverage.

"What they have shown in the coverage is someone going through their pre-shot routine, so why are we seeing that? We don't really want to see that.

"It's interesting sometimes, when you can hear discussions between player and caddie, but in that instance [viral video], it has just been villainised a little bit unnecessarily".

Keegan Bradley using AimPoint to read a putt

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Interestingly, the sentiment from both coaches was very similar to the opinion I hold myself. Firstly, we don't need to watch people carry out their AimPoint routine, but that doesn't mean they shouldn't be allowed to do it.

Players are competing for huge sums of money, on the biggest stage, and attempting to manoeuvre their way through a series of greens that are fiendishly difficult. Despite being a stickler for pace of play, I struggle to lay blame at their door in this scenario, as it seems perfectly logical that keeping the ball on the green and giving it the best chance of finding the cup is the best (and only) way to win a Major Championship.

Barry Plummer
Staff Writer

Barry Plummer is our Staff Writer, joining in January 2024 after seven years as a PE Teacher. He now writes about instruction, working closely with Golf Monthly's Top 50 Coaches to provide hints and tips about all aspects of the game. As someone who came into golf at a later age, Barry is very passionate about supporting the growth of the game and creating opportunities for everyone to access it. A member at Sand Moor Golf Club in Leeds, he looks forward to getting out on the course at least once a week and making up for lost time in the pursuit of a respectable handicap.

Barry is currently playing:

Driver: Ping G425

Hybrid: TaylorMade Stealth 4 Hybrid

Irons: Mizuno JPX 921 4-PW

Wedges: TaylorMade RAC 60, Callaway Jaws MD5 54

Putter: TaylorMade Spider Tour

With contributions from