Pitching a mini-tantrum after three-jacking a green is not the norm for mild-mannered Stacy Lewis. In fact, the fifth-ranked golfer on the LPGA Tour in putts per greens in regulation (third overall in the world golf rankings) rarely three-putts at all, so when the newly crowned 2012 ShopRite LPGA Classic champ smacked her putter after such an uncommon occurrence during her final round on Sunday, inquiring minds were quite curious.
“I know people don’t like this, but I kind of slammed my putter after my three-putt on 12, and honestly, it relieved me so much,” Lewis said after carding an even-par 71 to capture her third career victory at 12-under. “It got all the tension that was in my hands. I was so stressed out and it just got all my tension out, and from 13 on, I felt great. I kind of got my rhythm back and got my feel back.”
Despite the uncharacteristic three-putt, Lewis has been putting on a clinic with her flat stick of late, and she credited the AimPoint Technologies approach to interpreting putting surfaces with her success.
“It’s just a greens-reading method,” Lewis said of the system that its proponents — who include numerous LPGA and PGA touring pros as well as top instructors — claim can help golfers of any skill level accurately predict optimum putting parameters and putt trajectories from any point on a green to any other point.
Lewis explained that the methodology that company founder Mark Sweeney developed “really helped me understand the contours of greens and how they work, how the ball — it’s kind of the direction it goes off of certain types of mounds and types of greens. Just helped me really understand the complex of the greens.”
With putts on Stockton Seaview Hotel and Golf Club’s Bay Course that broke four or five times, Lewis averred that “you had to kind of really understand how it was going to work its way down there.”
The approach might intimidate those of us with math anxiety, as Lewis acknowledged “there are a lot of numbers.” But she added that a chart can help players read within an inch how far each putt will roll.
“It’s really helped me on the short putts to know, especially when you got like a right-edge putt versus [one] just outside or just inside,” she said. “I mean it really has helped me trust my reads, and also you have to have really good speed with it. So it’s made my putting a lot more consistent.”
The AimPoint concept, which teaches golfers how to identify slope and how that affects break, among other lessons, is all about Newton’s simple theory.
“Learn that putting is predictable and discover the most effective and reliable ways to determine the direction and precise amount of break for any putt, all based on gravity,” Sweeney says on AimPoint’s website.
Perhaps Michelle Wie, who missed her fourth straight cut last week after posting a miserable 12-over that included 67 putts in two rounds, ought to consider AimPoint. After all, the former pre-teen phenom can’t do much worse than the 133rd place in Putts per GIR and putting average (almost 32 putts per round) she currently holds.
In the meantime, it’s difficult to argue with success, and that’s exactly what Lewis has enjoyed the past two years. The fourth-year tour pro, who won the 2011 Kraft Nabisco Championship and had 11 top-10 finishes last year, has two victories in 2012 already, to go with four additional top-10 closes. Along with top-ranked Yani Tseng, the new No. 3 in women’s golf has to be considered a favorite heading into next week’s second major, the Wegmans LPGA Championship.