Since putting is fully one half of the game of golf, it makes sense that half of all your practice should be with the flat stick. (For those of you who hadn’t thought about it, consider this: Half of all the par strokes on a course are for putting. Par 3: one stroke to get on; two for putting. Par 4: two to hit the green; two for putting. Par 5: three to reach in regulation; two for putting.)
Drive for show. Putt for dough.
There’s another maxim to consider here also: Practice doesn’t make perfect. Perfect practice makes perfect.
If you’ve ever been to a PGA Tour, Champions Tour or LPGA event, you’ll see the pros hard at work on the practice greens with their caddies and coaches, relying on their experienced eyes to detect small flaws in alignment, angle, position and tempo. They know that a good putting stroke is the difference between playing on the weekend and a missed paycheck.
You and I, however, generally don’t have the advantage of working with our own personal putting coaches. We do, however, have a wide variety of putting trainer gizmos.
The Putting Technologies Precision Putting Trainer is a simple device that’s designed to address many putting issues, including alignment, face angle, ball position and smoothness of stroke. It consists of a yellow rod on a clamp which you attach to your putter shaft and align with its face. A second, ladder-like structure hangs swinging from the rod, and lines up perpendicular to the clubface, showing the putting line.
As you stand over the ball, the yellow rod should run parallel to the face. If your club face is open or closed on your grip, you’ll see it immediately. Ball position is correct if the hanging ladder appears bisects its circumfrence. The ladder element also has a red stripe running along its length. If your eyes are properly above the ball, the red stripe disappears from view.
In making your stroke, the ladder’s top should remain relatively level, whereas a large rocking motion would indicate a certain lack of smoothness. The yellow top of the ladder also offers a stroke line.
Overall, this is a pretty useful tool for working on the details of your putting game. The Precision Putting Trainer offers a lot of feedback and is light enough to leave your “feel” unaffected. Some other devices I’ve tried are so heavy as to be actually detrimental. It comes in a neat plastic tray that will easily fit into your golf bag.
I’ve done some good work with the Precision Putting Trainer over the past few months—albeit on the sun room carpet. I think it’s helped with my alignment, and in keeping the face steady. But I’m still waiting to see if this translates into better scoring on the course.
My one complaint—and the reason it didn’t get an A—is that I found it frustratingly difficult to align the yellow rod with the face of my putter. It shouldn’t be so hard, but it’s tricky. Its my own clumsiness, I suppose, but every time I tried to adjust it a minute bit, I ended up moving it a mile.
Still, a very good putter training product.