Until you’ve had a round with 18 one-putts, you can always putt better. And while it’s wise to never over-think putting, the 2018 PGA Show had a couple of putting training aids worth a look.
A Laser Light Show
The product with the most wow-factor was Putt View, a company out of Hamburg Germany (shown above). They have an indoor/outdoor laser system that provides “augmented reality” for putting.
Their system scans the green to understand its slope and elevation. Then it uses those scans to light up the path of the putt for you — just like you see with the pros on TV. The lights also highlight the various bumps, breaks and ridges in the green, which looks pretty cool.
Using a tablet, you indicate where the ball sits on the green and select the hole at which you’ll putt. Then by selecting different settings, the system shows you the full break of the putt for perfect speed, or where you need to putt it straight to make it, or even where your feet and shoulders should align.
The guy in the photo above worked for the company as their designated show-pony putter. He could roll it. I watched their demo for 8 or 9 minutes, and he hit putt after putt exactly on the light line with perfect speed. (I think he missed two putts out of the 50 I saw, all taken outside of 15 feet.)
The fact that this lighting system is strong enough to be used outdoors is unbelievable. But it’s a true commitment if you want to own a Putt View — the system starts at cool $15 grand.
Blast Golf is a couple years old as a company now, with Brad Faxon its spokes-face. They produce an electronic tracker that installs onto the grip end of a club, which then syncs with a phone or tablet app. The tracker provides timing, tempo and path data immediately after each stroke or swing.
Blast had a demo station set up with a putting guru who talked on a PA system while volunteers tested it out (seen above). The pro would tell everyone watching what the volunteer was doing right or wrong based on the numbers. I volunteered, hit 5 putts (made all but one thank you) and found the feedback interesting, especially the info related to change-of-direction pace.
Blast’s new introduction at this Show is a joint venture with TaylorMade, which includes one of their Blast sensors built in to the “Spider Interactive” putter. That putter/sensor combo is $399, a hundred bucks more than a Spider without the sensor.
On a Perfect Path
A little less expensive ($160) and more of a practical training tool is the PerfectStroke Putting Aid by Mark Officer (pictured).
Now, I’ve seen path tracks, rulers you roll a ball down, gizmos you rest your putter against. But this putting aid actually trains your muscles to make a stroke on a slightly arced path.
How? The two bars raised above the base are shaped with a slight arc. You run your putter against the lower bar or the upper one to get a feel for the shape of a proper stroke. But when it’s time to train, the goal is to touch neither one of the bars. They sit apart from each other with enough space for the shaft of the putter and about a quarter-inch above and below. So if you start looping your stroke at all, you’ll scrape the shaft of the putter against the bars. It’s simple instant feedback.
Putting talent might be something you are born with. I’m not sure if using a light-up line, or a pace sensor, or a tool that limits your take-away will help you in the end. But it’s fun to try.