Why Do Golfers Straddle the Putting Line? (AimPoint Explained)

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Putting is arguably the most important aspect of golf.

In fact, almost half the strokes in a round of golf are taken with the putter in hand.

Becoming a good putter of the ball is largely down to mastering the skill of reading greens, and there are multiple ways to go about this.

But, why do golfers straddle the putting line?

Essentially, it’s a component of a green-reading technique called AimPoint.

In this article, you’ll learn everything you need to know about the AimPoint putting technique, and how you can apply it to your game.

Why Do Golfers Straddle the Putting Line?

Golfers straddle the putting line to help understand how a putt is likely to break on the green, using weight distribution between their feet to estimate the degree of slope. This is part of a putting technique called AimPoint, developed by Mark Sweeney, which helps golfers consistently read greens.

why do golfers straddle the putting line

What Is AimPoint?

AimPoint is a tour-proven method of reading the break of a putt.

The method was created by Mark Sweeney, who at the time was an amateur golfer with a simple goal: make more putts. By incorporating his background in software development, he created the technique which has since been adopted by over 75,000 amateurs and 200 pros.

Which Pros Use AimPoint?

AimPoint has been used by over 200 pro golfers, including several world number ones:

  • Adam Scott
  • Justin Rose
  • Brooks Koepka
  • Lydia Ko
Adam Scott famously uses the AimPoint putting method

How Does AimPoint Work?

The AimPoint method follows a three-step system:

Step 1: Reading Putts With Your Feet

The first thing to do is straddle the putting line. Stand between the ball and the hole and face the hole, feet shoulder-width apart.

The human body is highly tuned into balance via weight distribution, and can naturally detect a slope by feel in the feet. By straddling the putting line, your goal is to estimate the amount of break in the putt by feeling the slope with your feet.

Focus on the horizon and feel the severity of the slope by the amount one foot is above or below the other – most AimPoint golfers use a scale of 0 to 6 degrees.

At first, this step will seem challenging and it will take some practice before you can start accurately assigning a grade to the slope.

Step 2: Using Your Fingers to Find the AimPoint

Stretch your arm out in front of you and hold up the number of fingers corresponding to the number you chose in step 1. Line up the edge of your finger with the hole.

The outside of your finger gives you the precise spot to aim your putt at – the AimPoint.

You might initially be surprised by the amount of break the AimPoint method suggests you play for. However, most amateur golfers miss their putts on the low side of the hole as they under-read the break. The video below illustrates this:

Step 3: Making the Putting Stroke

The third and final step is simple (in theory!)

Make your putting stroke, starting the putt at your chosen target with the correct pace.

With good speed control, along with the consistency of the AimPoint method, you should begin to see more putts drop.

Does AimPoint Work?

AimPoint is by no means a guaranteed method for success.

However, it’s a repeatable system that can help golfers read greens consistently, giving them a better chance of making more putts.

If you’d like to try out AimPoint for yourself, consider booking a lesson with a local pro. As the method relies largely on feel, it’s best taught in person.

Mark Sweeney, the creator of AimPoint, explains the method in this video:

Can You Straddle Your Putting Line in Golf?

As mentioned previously in the article, the first step of the AimPoint method involves golfers straddling the putting line.

Previously, the USGA Rule 16.1 stated that you could not touch your putting line. However, this rule was removed in 2019, so you can straddle your putting line while reading the putt.

Why Do Caddies Straddle the Putting Line?

A significant part of a caddie’s role is to help the golfer read their putts by assessing the break of the greens.

Many pro golfers who use AimPoint will work through the steps with their caddies, giving them a secondary point of reference when reading the putt.

In other cases, players will have full trust in their caddie to go about the AimPoint process, while the player focuses on the putt itself.

This gives the player confidence in the line, which is particularly important in high-stress tournament situations.

Putting FAQs

Putting is a difficult skill to master, with a number of moving parts impacting how often the ball drops into that tiny hole!

Below are some frequently asked questions when it comes to mastering the greens:

Can I Touch the Line of My Putt?

As mentioned previously in the article, the USGA Rule 16.1 states that you could not touch or interfere with the line of your putt.

However, in 2019 this rule was changed. Now, there is no longer a penalty for merely touching the line of play on the putting green.

Nevertheless, it remains illegal to improve your line of play on the putting green according to USGA Rule 8.1a.

Where Should You Look When Putting?

When making a putting stroke, golfers tend to either stay focused on the strike with the ball, slightly ahead of the ball or at the hole.

There are examples of pro golfers in each category. Ultimately, it’s up to personal preference.

Consider practicing all three methods to find out what works best for your game.

Why Do Golfers Remove Their Glove to Putt?

While the glove plays an essential role in the golf grip elsewhere on the course, putting is primarily about feel.

Neither a rule nor etiquette, golfers remove their glove when putting simply to get more feel between the putter and their hands.


In conclusion, golfers straddle the putting line in order to feel the break of the greens.

This action forms part of a putting technique called AimPoint. The method involves using weight distribution to feel the slope gradient, and find the spot to aim the putt towards.

The method is used by thousands of golfers worldwide, including over 200 pro golfers, and is designed to improve putting consistency.

If you fancy giving AimPoint a go, consider reaching out to your local golf pro!

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Hailing from the South West of England, Jake has been playing golf for over a decade. He founded Pitchmarks with the aim of helping everyday golfers like himself learn more about the game, through instructional content and honest gear reviews. He has a degree in Architecture and a passion for golf course design, along with a lofty goal to play the world's top 100 courses.