The Perfect Putter – Putt Like You Train

The Perfect Putter – Putt Like You Train

Post image for The Perfect Putter – Putt Like You Train

Win a Perfect Putter

You can win your very own Perfect Putter. Check the end of the article for details.

Effective Practice = Improved Performance

By Dave Wolfe
I guess that’s my spin on the old practice makes perfect adage. With golf, just practicing is not enough. We all know that it is totally possible to practice your swing without any resulting perfection. Blasting through a large bucket with a lousy swing is not somehow going to produce a good swing. Good, effective practice produces positive results.

Applying repeated sky marks to the driver does not.

Few of us practice putting as much as we should, and when we do practice, we may not actually be helping our game. Think about this scenario. You are on the practice green with a couple of balls. You drop the balls at your feet, read the putt, putt the first ball, and miss it left. Now knowing that it breaks left, you adjust your aim, and still miss left with the second, but by less this time. You adjust again and sink the third ball, feeling proud and confident in your improved putting ability.

Truth is, you seldom get two, let alone three, shots at a putt when you are playing a round. You read it wrong the first time, and you missed. You actually couldn’t get the break right until you rolled two balls. You made the third, but did your ability to see the break and read the putt actually improve with that practice session?

Learn To Read: It’s Fundamental

The first thing to do if you are really having trouble reading putts is to get help from an instructor. I am a firm believer in the AimPoint green reading system. I’ve taken a few classes, and I believe that the system just plain works. Don’t just take my word about AimPoint though, ask Adam Scott, Isaac Sanchez, or Stacy Lewis. Here is a photo I took at this year’s Fry’s Open showing Hunter Mahan and his caddy John Wood getting some green reading instruction from AimPoint instructor Peter Brown.

Mahan_Brown_AimPoint

Though I believe that my reads have improved because of AimPoint, practicing reads is still a bit challenging. When practicing, I don’t always know if I am making the correct read, and then executing the putt with a correct stroke.

Sure, the obvious feedback is that the ball goes in, but the ball also has a chance to go in if you make a bad read and then compensate with a bad stroke. I made the putt, but I didn’t really improve my reading, or my putting. The tight integration of reading and putting makes it difficult to practice either effectively.

What I really needed was a way to separate practicing my reads from practicing my putting mechanics?

The Perfect Putter “Putts” Perfectly

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So how can you truly know if you made the correct read and the correct putt? One way that you can check your read is by rolling balls at your target with your hand. If you have ever tried this, you know that it is very challenging to have one roll match the next. How will you know if your proposed read of six inches left is accurate if you are spraying balls all over the place? You need to know that the roll is accurate to assess your read.

That’s where the Perfect Putter comes in to the conversation. On the most basic level, the Perfect Putter is a metal ramp that rolls golf balls. It’s not challenging to use. You place the Perfect Putter on the green, place a ball on the ramp, and then let the ball go.

No moving parts, other than your ball, I suppose. If you want the ball to roll farther, place it higher on the ramp. You can figure out how to make the ball roll shorter. The ramp is even calibrated so you can ensure that you place the ball exactly where you want, time after time.

The Perfect Putter performs a very simple, yet potentially powerful job. It rolls the ball straight. Every time, exactly the same. Unlike the practicing golfer, there is no way that the roll of the ball from the Perfect Putter can be influenced by how the ball impacts the club. The Perfect Putter can’t slightly change its swing arc, or ball position. It can’t unknowingly cut across the ball at impact, imparting spin on the ball.

The Perfect Putter consistently rolls the ball perfectly.

Perfect Putter-06

 

How will this help me putt better?

Improve Your Reads

Let’s say that you have taken a class covering the AimPoint Express Read methods. You now know where you should be aiming based upon your read. Normally, to practice this read, you put a tee in the green at your target spot and start hitting balls with your putter. What you are actually testing are two variables, your swing and your read.

The Perfect Putter takes your swing out of the equation. You can now aim the Perfect Putter at the target from your read, place a ball on the ramp at the appropriate distance calibration, and roll the ball. If it goes in, you know your read was correct. If it was incorrect, you know right away if you under or over read the break.

If you practice this way, you will effectively be able to assess and likely improve your reads. Yes, you do still need to practice, but your practice will be far more productive.

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Improve Your Putting

Let’s change gears and look at the other side of the putting story, actually putting the ball. Once you dial in the read with the Perfect Putter, you can now practice the putt, knowing with confidence that you are aimed at the right target. If you are missing the cup, you now know that it is because of your stroke, and not your read. This too should focus your practice, and yield improved results. Identifying the problem is a critical step toward fixing the problem.

Let me give you an example. In my garage, I have a 10-foot practice green. I recently had to move it around and when I got it back into place, I was sure that it wasn’t level. I checked it with a bubble level, and it looked OK, but balls I putted were just not rolling straight.

When the Perfect Putter showed up at my house, the first green I used it on was my practice green. Low and behold, it rolled straight. Long story short, I realized that I had picked up a bit of a cut across the ball when putting, adding spin at impact that looked like break when it rolled. The Perfect Putter helped me to realize this, and fix this previously unknown flaw. I blamed the green, but it was me, and I never would have known without the Perfect Putter.

 

About the Perfect Putter

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The Perfect Putter is a simple tool, but there is a whole bunch of engineering and precision in its construction. First, it is durable, made of non-corrosive 316 stainless steel. The steel sides of the Perfect Putter are bolted together at numerous positions, ensuring that the tracks that the ball rolls upon are straight, and parallel to each other. This thing is built to last.

The tracks can either be used in their bare metal form, or sheathed with the recommended silicone rail covers. It will work with or without the covers. You will just need to compensate for speed a bit if you go cover-free as the calibration is set for with-cover operation.

Speaking of calibration, the Perfect Putter also functions as a stimp meter. Now you can really know what your green speed is at your home course. This should help your reads as well.

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The Perfect Putter – Premium Pack includes some useful upgrades for your Perfect Putter. First, it comes with the Perfect Putter. Additionally, you get a ramp extender for practicing long range putts, or practicing on really slow greens. You also get their set of stainless steel putting gates. These four gates vary in size from the widest Beginner gate to the nearly-ball wide Perfect gate. These gates alone are great practice tools. You also get a carrying case that everything fits into. I also fit an elevated string line into the case, which pairs nicely with the workings of Perfect Putter.

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Who Would Benefit From The Perfect Putter?

My impulse answer to that question is everyone who putts would benefit from using the Perfect Putter. How can you not benefit from practicing with such a tool? Maybe you don’t use AimPoint to read greens. You still, hopefully, use some system to read greens. The Perfect Putter lets you know right away if your reads are correct, or if you should be looking into different reading strategies.

I think that the Perfect Putter should be a part of the arsenal at every teaching facility. Every facility should have one, if not every instructor. Instructors can use it to show their students exactly where to aim, and then also more effectively diagnose swing issues when the student misses the putt. Speaking from my experience using the Perfect Putter, knowing that the read is absolutely correct allows the golfer to really focus on improving putting mechanics.

On a synergistic side note, when I was on the practice range at the Fry’s Open, I saw one of the people working with a tour pro with a Perfect Putter case slung over his arm. As it turns out, there are quite a few players on the tours using the perfect putter as part of their practice program. There are a whole bunch of professional testimonials on the Perfect Putter site, but this is one of my favorites:

The Perfect Putter is a fantastic product. It takes reading greens to a complete different level. In fact, if you are trying to read a green without it is as if you were handcuffed. It is a superb, a must have device that should have been around when I was playing for a living.

Martin Hall, Host of the TV show ¨School of Golf” on the Golf Channel. 2008 PGA National Teacher of the Year

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The Only Flaw With The Perfect Putter

There is only one thing preventing The Perfect Putter from being something that I would recommend that every golfer should buy, and that’s the price. Don’t get me wrong, I truly believe that using the Perfect Putter while practicing putting will allow all golfers to improve their putting. However, the Perfect Putter’s premium materials and construction carry a premium price tag.

The Perfect Putter Standard Pack costs $239, with the tested Premium Pack costing $299. I think that the Premium Pack is the way to go, as you get the putting gates, the case, and a stand that helps stabilize the unit. Regardless, this is an expensive tool.

In no way am I saying that the Perfect Putter is overpriced. I’m just saying that it’s expensive. Though I am not privy to their manufacturing costs, the stainless steel construction, along with the multiple machined bolts, and precision construction likely does not come cheap.

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$239 for the Perfect Putter is probably a fair price, but it is still a lot of money for most people to spend on a putting aide. Will it help your putting? I feel confident that it will, but it’s probably out of most golfers’ golf budget.

I’d like to drive a Mercedes, but my job says that I should drive a Honda.

That’s what I would really love to see, the Honda version of the Perfect Putter. Perhaps there’s was way to keep the manufacturing tolerances, but to build it from a plastic polymer rather than steel, thus dropping the unit cost down to the $50-ish range. It may not be possible, but if there was a less expensive version, it would almost be a mandatory purchase for the golfer looking to improve his or her putting.

However, let’s address the price from a different direction for a moment. How many golfers will buy a new putter when they are looking to improve on the course? How much do they spend on that putter? Golfsmith currently has 118 putters in the $100-$250 range, and another 34 putters above $250. Keep your old putter, spend that money on a Perfect Putter, and perhaps a lesson or two.

 

The Perfect Putter

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If the price is not an issue for you, I would recommend that you seriously consider adding the Perfect Putter to your training tool contingent. If you are an instructor, or in charge of instruction at your facility, you should probably order one today.

The ability to see exactly how the ball will roll on the green is extremely valuable. You don’t need to trust your read when you practice, you can see if you read the putt right or wrong immediately, and definitively. If you practice your reads with the Perfect Putter, your reads will improve. Plus, if you know the read is correct, but you didn’t make the putt, you can be confident that the issue lies with your putting stroke.

The Perfect Putter’s premium construction does carry a premium price tag, but the premium construction also means that you will not likely need to replace the unit any time soon. As long as it’s not abused, the Perfect Putter should last a long time.

For more information, check out the photos, testamonials, and videos at their website: www.theperfectputter.com

 

Win a Perfect Putter

You can win your very own Perfect Putter. Just leave a comment below talking about your system for reading greens and how you would incorporate the Perfect Putter into your practice sessions. The winner will be chosen at random and notified on 11/28/14. Good Luck!

Golf Forum – Golf Blog (MyGolfSpy.com)

Gadget Review: Laser Putt

Gadget Review: Laser Putt

Post image for Gadget Review: Laser Putt

Written By: Dave Wolfe

Seeing is Believing

There is a pretty good chance that you are a visual learner. The last time I did some research into educational methodology, students who learned best through visual input made up about 65% of the standard classroom, with the auditory and kinesthetic learners combining to make up the other 35%.

Those who thrive on visual content definitely have an advantage too since 90% of the information that enters our brain is visual, with 40% of all nerve fibers connected to the brain coming from the retina. We are definitely visual beings. Perhaps that explains our seemingly universal fear of the dark. That anxiety seems justified after getting cut off from our main sensory source. Plus, we know that the dark hides monsters…

WIN A LASER PUTT

You can win a Laser Putt of your very own. Once lucky commenter below will be chosen at 8:00PM Eastern on Friday, November 1st. All you need to do is to watch the Laser Putt instructional videos and leave a comment about which drill you think will help your putting the most. You can earn one bonus entry if you follow Laser Putt on Twitter at @laserputt.

You must be a MyGolfSpy Newsletter Subscriber to Win. If you haven’t done so already, Subscribe Now.

Good Luck!

We  rely upon our eyes to help us process the world around us, with our binocular, facing-front eyes really helping us to align ourselves in our three dimensional world, additionally assisting us with perception of depth. That is, until we decide to take up golf.

I don’t think that it is a novel declaration when I say that alignment is important in golf. We can even ignore ones physical posture alignment issues, and focus upon how miss-aligning to the target creates issues in targeting and even swing mechanics. This is true for the full swing as well as the putting stroke. As an eyes front creature, our perception of the world gets a bit distorted when we turn 90° from the target.

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Let’s focus on the putting green. We all have a pretty solid gauge of distance and line when we face the target, but when we turn sideways and address the ball we lose some of that orientation. Many of us have tried to use the line on the ball to aim our putts at the target, only to feel that our aiming must have been wrong once we turn and address the ball. It’s natural to feel this way and it speaks to the frequent contradictions (hit down to make the ball go up) found in our golf mechanics. Basically, our eyes are set in such a way that we are better suited for beer pong than putting.

So what do we do to be sure that we are processing visual information accurately on the course?

The simple answer is visual aids. The line on the ball is one visual aid, as are the various alignment aids on your putter. We look for visual clues on the putter that will help us be confident that we are correctly aligned to target. Think about the hoopla about Cleveland’s new Square-ball putter. In my interpretation, their design is all about how squares are more conducive to correct alignment than balls. For some golfers, I bet squares will be. Different alignment and design components on a putter impact aiming differently for different people. I am sure if you had a chat with putter maker David Edel he could talk at length about visual clues and aligning your putter.

Can We Train our Eyes To See Better?

We have all been there, standing over a putt, questioning our alignment. What if there was a way to be sure that where you think you are aiming and where you are actually aiming are the same thing? You could drop a chalk line, or run an elevated string, but both of those techniques alter the putting environment and create visual crutches that do not directly reflect the dynamics of our swinging club. The line and the string end up being a just another part of the topography.

What we really need is a way to have a “chalk line” or “string line” visual aiming and alignment aid correlate with the position of our swinging club. At the same time, we need the line or string not to physically interact with the club or the ball. What we need is a laser.

What we need is Laser Putt.

Laser Putt Unit

Laser Putt represents a different take on the new category of high tech putting trainers. Most of those trainers have a sensor that attaches to your club, and then the data is recored on your smart phone, necessitating a lag between the stroke and the feedback about the stroke.

Laser Putt gives you immediate visual feedback; before, during, and after the stroke. Check out this overview video, showing what Laser Putt is all about:

I was very impressed when I saw that intro video. But hey, I’m a sucker for lasers in general. I dove a little deeper into the Laser Putt site and watched the longer instructional videos as well. The Laser Putt really seemed to be a training aid that could help golfers with their putting alignment issues, as well as one that could provide immediate feedback about stroke mechanics. The Laser Putt definitely warranted further exploration.

Ease of Use

The Laser Putt is a high tech training aid. Remember, it has lasers. However, it is not complicated to use. The lightweight unit easily attaches under the putter grip with a simple clamp and tension knob closure. One of the potential issues with any alignment aid is how easy is it to actually align it with the putter. Unlike the iPing cradle and some of the other mount-to-club sensors, the Laser Putt can be easily adjusted after mounting to be sure that it is correctly aligned. Above the clamp, the laser unit is attached by a ball and socket type joint. This allows you to change to orientation of the laser by moving the head of the unit while keeping the clamp attached. Laser Putt is easy to get aligned correctly.

Laser Putt Parts

The unit has a total of two buttons, one for the green laser line, and the other for the red laser pointer. Both of them have auto shutoff features to save battery life, but they do not shut off so frequently that it becomes bothersome.

Laser Putt also includes a vinyl template that is used for some of the drills. One of the cool features of this tool is that it has copies of the drill instructions printed upon it. You don’t need to find the manual to remember what you are supposed to do. You roll out the guide, and then look down.

AlignmentGuide

Although the Laser Putt website is not part of the product package, it does contribute to the ease of use category. Laser Putt definitely put some time into the site prior to launching the unit. They give you explanations of the drills, along with very detailed videos about how to use the device. It’s obvious that they want you to use the Laser Putt correctly, effectively, and with ease.

Effectiveness

There are really two main components to the Laser Putt drills: Alignment and Distance Control

Alignment Practice

One of the greatest thing about this drill series is that it can be done in the comfort of your own home. You don’t even need a practice green, or even a ball. After you attach the Laser Putt and make sure that it is squared to your putter, you just need to swing it over the Alignment and Calibration Guide. If you have watched the video, you have witnessed the general procedure for this drill.

If you didn’t watch the video, what you are doing in this series of exercises is using the green laser line to groove your path, making sure that you are square to the target line, and the ball, through the critical hitting zone on the guide. Be yours a straight stroke or arcing stroke, the green laser allows you to track your progress through the process. There are additional drills to be sure that your stroke is balanced overall.

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For me, the alignment drill identified a new found tendency to roll the face shut through impact. I was practicing on my green in my garage, missing almost everything with a bend left immediately before the cup. I even got out the level to see if the garage floor sloped that way. Nope on that slope.

A little bit of green laser time and it was obvious manipulating the head and adding draw to the ball. Visually, it was very easy to tell when I made this error, or not. The immediate feedback was very helpful. Moreover, after practicing with the Laser Putt, I could really feel the fixed stroke’s presence on the course. While some of the content in Laser Putt’s third instructional video on Laser-In-The-Hole-Confidence gets a little sappy for me, the reps with the green laser off the course did pay dividends on the course. Admittedly, I felt more confident putting.

Distance Control Practice

You may remember that back in my article about Vacation Lessons at Kapalua, one of my putting lessons centered upon knowing how distance of backswing equates to distance of putt. We focused on 20″ backswings and gauged distance from there. I liked the idea, but my stroke felt awkward when I tried to line it up with the yardstick on the turf. The green and red laser combo for this drill is fantastic.

All you need do is twist the Laser Putt until the red laser is in front of the ball 10″, make your backswing, then when the laser hits the back of the ball, swing forward and hit the ball. No numbers. No yard sticks. Instead you have a bright visual cue telling you that you have gone 10″ so hit the ball now. I have typically resisted the change the backstroke length to change the putt distance putting methodology. I admit it, I’m one of those putt by feel guys for distance. I think that one reason for this is that before using the Laser Putt, I didn’t have a way to really visualize the length of the backswing. Laser Putt makes it easy.

It has been a fun testing process to see just how far a 10″ putt swing equates to distance wise once we start varying slope and stimp. This does represent a potential putting mechanics overhaul for me, but I think that I could be successful switching to this kind of distance system by using Laser Putt.

Top: Direct Overhead Sun Bottom: Early Morning Sun

Top: Direct Overhead Sun
Bottom: Early Morning Sun

The Issue of Daylight

There is one elephant in the room that must be addressed with the Laser Putt and that is how it performs in full sun. Very simply, it doesn’t perform well. The hard fact is that under bright conditions, the lasers of the Laser Putt get washed out by the ambient light. The people at Laser Putt know this, and in no way do they try to hide it. They suggest using it indoors, on overcast days, at dusk, and at other less than full sun times. It’s a limitation of the technology and the rules about laser usage. I addressed this concern to Laser Putt and this was the reply:

In terms of the brightness, we are compliant with being designated as a Class 3R laser product with an output of just under 5mW. This is the maximum allowable strength for this type of consumer product, and you can see how bright it is in twilight/indoor conditions but the visibility goes down in broad daylight because the human eye adjust easily to the super bright sun which easily overpowers manmade light. Laser Putt easily outperforms other puny 1mW laser products.
We installed a 635nm wavelength Red laser, which is more expensive than the standard 650nm red laser used in most other products — the technical specs are that it has nearly 2-times the brightness efficacy.We have done everything we can, within legal restrictions, to make the Laser Putt as strong and bright as possible.

We can also look at using the Laser Putt this way:

  • Morning Time: Excellent Visibility
  • Indoors: Excellent Visibility
  • Overcast Days: Excellent Visibility
  • Twilight/Evening: Excellent Visibility
  • Darkness: Truly Amazing Visibility
  • Strong Sunlight: No Visibility

The take home lesson on when to use the Laser Putt is anytime that it is not super bright where you are putting. Did you notice that I put darkness as one of the conditions? In general, lasers are never more fun than at night.

I was in my garage practicing on the artificial green and I decided to turn the lights out to see what the lasers looked like. Super bright. So I tried the drills without the ball. The laser totally illuminates the alignment and calibration guide enough so you can see it in the dark. Then I ditched that plan and started putting balls, while still in the dark. All I really focused on was the lasers and the sound of the ball hitting the cup, or not. Again, it was a very powerful visual image. I loved using it in the dark. However, I make no claims for this being bad for your eyes or not. Eye doctor I am not…

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Longevity

I always equate longevity in a couple of ways with things like this. First, will the product last? Although we are dealing with potentially delicate electronics here, I get the feeling that the Laser Putt should hold up to normal usage. Think of it like your cell phone. If you do bad things to it, it will break. If you take care of it though, it will hold up for quite a while.

The Laser Putt designers have definitely put some thought into its design, and I think that too bodes well for it lasting. They specifically used a lighter weight plastic for the housing so that the impact of attaching the unit to the club would be minimized. For all of the coolness of the iPing app and cradle, there is no way that my putter feels the same with a heavy iPhone attached to it. The design of Laser Putt is well thought out, and I would be shocked if durability was not part of the design conversation. They do offer replacement or repair for the first 90 days should anything go wrong other than you being a brute with it.

The other part of longevity is usage. You have one, but will you break it out and use it? I think that the indoor, ball-free usage helps in this area. Soon, many of you will be racking the golf bag for winter. This little unit may be just the thing to keep your golf spirits up through the dark winter months. If all of your putting practice comes in the sunny outdoors on your lunch break, this unit is not going to help you much. However, if you hit the green after work, you could definitely be using this on an every session basis. I see myself using the Laser Putt as a part of my putting practice regiment as a way to fight the blahs of overcast winter days.

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Value

Laser Putt currently costs $109 (+shipping). That is a special discounted launch price down from the normal $157 MSRP. It has lasers; it’s going to have some cost associated with it. Is it expensive relative to other training aids out there? Not really, especially if you compare it to the traditional putting aid, consisting of a mirror and some tees, some of those low tech options will set you back a c-note. The price gets more competitive when you compare it to the new crop of high-tech sensors and devices out there.

Some of you will be immediately turned off by the price. I get that. You will probably leave a comment below about how its too expensive, and how you could do the same thing with two pencils, a stick of gum, and a dental mirror. Awesome. Bully to you.

In all fairness, I’m a little gun shy about pulling the trigger on any purchase from a new company. Things that give me confidence in Laser Putt as a company though are the quick and open communications about the product, the comprehensive website that was up and working at product launch, and the quality of the associated videos.  If you putt with it on a daily basis for a year, it comes down to about a quarter a session. What’s the value then? After two years?

You can also take some fiscal solace in the fact that Laser Putt runs on two AAA batteries.

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Summary

For me, the Laser Putt represents nearly everything that I would want in a training aid for putting. It gives you immediate visual feedback and can be used to address multiple swing issues that are faced by the majority of golfers. I think that it is very possible that after spending some time with the Laser Putt, you will figure out even more putting applications for the device. Can you use it in direct sunlight? Nope, but there are quite a few conditions when it works just fine. The strong visual signal that is associated with the putter, rather than the putting surface makes the Laser Putt unique in the market. Plus it has lasers, and that is just super cool.

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WIN A LASER PUTT

You can win a Laser Putt of your very own. Once lucky commenter below will be chosen at 8:00PM Eastern on Friday, November 1st. All you need to do is to watch the Laser Putt instructional videos and leave a comment about which drill you think will help your putting the most. You can earn one bonus entry if you follow Laser Putt on Twitter at @laserputt.

You must be a MyGolfSpy Newsletter Subscriber to Win. If you haven’t done so already, Subscribe Now.

Good Luck!

 

Golf Forum – Golf Blog (MyGolfSpy.com)