Sink More Putts! PGA Master Instructor Joe Hallett Has the Key
If you’re asking yourself why PGA and LPGA touring professionals Adam Scott, Justin Rose, Stacy Lewis, Lydia Ko and others hold out a finger (or two or three) on the green before putting, they’re applying AimPoint, a putting technique where golfers read the slope of the green to determine the correct aim for their putts. AimPoint involves using a combination of visual and tactile cues – first using your feet to measure the amount of slope in the green, next using your fingers to signal the direction and degree of break in the putt, and then putting with precision at the ideal speed.
“AimPoint is something that literally every player of every level can learn, and it can benefit their game,” says PGA WEST® Golf Academy Instructor Joe Hallett who teaches the putting method to golfers. An award-winning PGA Master Professional, Hallett divides his time between La Quinta and his home base in Nashville, Tennessee.
Software developer and avid golfer Mark Sweeney invented AimPoint; Hallett recalls the spark that inspired its creation when Sweeney was watching the British Open, and observed that nearly 30 players all had the same putt and missed.
“The weird part is that not only did they all miss the putt, they missed it in the same way, so he went on this quest to solve how players could read their putt and know where to aim, which resulted in AimPoint,” says Hallett. “Some players think it’s too complicated but it’s not. I always say that if you can stand, bend an arm, and hold up a finger, you can read a putt.” “In fact,” Hallett jokes, “AimPoint works wherever gravity is present.”
It also doesn’t require hours of training; golfers who learn it start practicing it everywhere. “You go to the grocery store, and you get halfway up to the sliding glass doors. You turn sideways and say to yourself, ‘yes, that’s going to break about a foot.’ Of course, people may look at you a little strangely,” he quips.
The AimPoint Express approach—an offshoot of the original which doesn’t require using an AimChart—is popular among many professional golfers on the PGA and LPGA Tours. Hallett has worked with—among others—LPGA pros Inbee Park, Juli Inkster, Lizette Salas, and Stacy Lewis. Hallett went to an Alabama LPGA event to catch one of Lewis’ practice rounds. It was there, he witnessed Lewis and her caddie using AimPoint, which she had learned from her college coach. Hallett contacted Mark Sweeney, flew down to meet him and the rest is history — today, Sweeney considers Hallett one of his senior instructors in the method.
Should caddies learn AimPoint? “Absolutely,” states Hallett. “The better he or she reads the putts, the more birdies their players make.” Still, he acknowledges that change doesn’t come easy for anyone, caddies and players alike. Nevertheless, he says, what matters is what’s between your ball and the cup. “That’s what matters all the time.”
Hallett has also coached golfer and philanthropist Jordan Thomas. Thomas, who lost both of his legs in a boating accident at age 16, placed among the top five players last year at the USGA’s inaugural Adaptive Open. When training with him, Hallett recounts, Thomas often sees other golfers on the green trying AimPoint and cheers them on with a teasing “Hey, if I can do it, you can do it.”
Whether it’s learning AimPoint or improving other aspects of your golf game, Hallett champions the diverse course layouts, terrain and golf experiences at PGA WEST.
“Knowing AimPoint in advance of playing at PGA WEST will give you an advantage, but it’s something that you can learn out here too because this is kind of the Disneyland of training areas,”
Hallett says. “And it will make you better when you get back home.”
Hallett and other PGA WEST® Golf Academy instructors recently taught an AimPoint Expo for PGA WEST Club Members. Director of Instruction Bryan Lebedevitch and Hallett are also in the process of creating Top 100 golf school experiences that include AimPoint instruction (the first one launches May 6-7, 2023; for information, contact the Golf Academy via the website, call (760) 564-7144 or e-mail Academy Administrator Eddie Gutierrez at email@example.com.