Noted golf teacher Harvey Penick was a wise man. Among his students was one of the best putters in the game, Ben Crenshaw, but he advocated that all those who play the game to pay ample attention to the short strokes. “A great putter is a match for anyone. A poor putter is a match for no one,” he was famously quoted.
Penick was a prominent teacher in the last century but his advice remains as valid today. The greatest putters in the game always seem to be the ones hoisting the most trophies.
And if you think the emphasis on putting by coaches is dated, that is hardly the case. In recent years there has been a massive surge in instruction, training aids, and other equipment and accessories related to putting. You only need to head out to the PGA and LPGA TOURs to see the number of players now working with coaches that specialize in just the short game.
At one point during an LPGA event earlier this year, Canadian-based putting coach Gareth Raflewski of London, Ontario could count eight of the top ten players on the leaderboard as his students. He works with more than two dozen tour members.
Of course, you are best to work with a golf coach privately to enhance your putting abilities, but you can also find great ones like Raflewski, Phil Kenyon, Harold Swash, John Graham, and more on social media where they often share nuggets of information.
Here are some recent thoughts shared by Graham, who works with recent PGA TOUR winners Charles Howell III and Graeme McDowell:
“The best putters on tour separate themselves from the field mainly in the 4 to 8-foot zone. You better be practicing your green reading and distance in this area. Distance control is not just about lag putting. It’s also about matching the speed and read.”
“I think too many players put too much weight in practice producing confidence. It’s a reason players mainly practice what they do well. Practice should be more difficult than the game. Practice should be measurable. The goal is making you better not making you feel better.”
I guess that means we all need to get to work if you want to be a good putter, not only in choosing the right equipment, but also the right accessories to help our practice routine.
To that end, we thought we would look at some putting related products available to anyone. So, if you want to put a little more effort into your putting game this year here are the training tools and accessories you may want to consider adding to your arsenal.
A lesson might not hurt either, but we’ll leave that to you and your coach to work out.
WellPutt Putting Mats
This French company is producing some of the best putting mats in the market. Offered in a variety of lengths and width with green speeds ranging from 8 feet to 12 feet on the stimpmeter. Specialized models also show putting stroke arc and custom models are also offered so you can add your own personal touches.
If you are willing to spend a few thousand on improving you putting, this is worth a look. This highly immersive measurement tool is growing in popularity among coaches and tour players alike. You can use Capto for full stroke analysis indoor or outside and the depth of the data it provides seems to be growing all the time. Besides giving feedback on what the club is doing, it provides input on how your body affects the stroke as well.
Looking for ways to measures you putting stroke? Blast Motion is an affordable tool that can be used by both coach and consumer. The lightweight sensor easily attaches to your putter and provides accurate feedback on a wide variety of metrics through an associated app. Check your tempo, face rotation, lie angle, loft angles, backswing length, and much more with their very easy to use software.
This portable practice tool from England demands precision and has gained massive popularity in short time. It’s different than past putting cup trainers used for indoors in that you must have a very precise speed and line in order to get your golf ball to hold in the small groove that is the target. Excessive speed will also result in a putt returning to you at the length it would normally roll past the whole to help you dial in your touch.
The Perfect Putter
It’s hard to train your putting if you don’t know what a straight putt is. The Perfect Putter makes that easier to determine by providing a way to get a perfect roll on the golf ball, unlike what any human can consistently perform. It is available in various levels of models to suit specific needs. It can also be used as a Stimpmeter to check green speeds.
Visio Putting Template
Designed by putting coach Harold Swash, Visio Putting templates (there are four models) help the golfer grove their putting stroke and arc. Golfers can work with them indoors or out, in concert with other training aids, and help match up the sweet spot of their putting to the ball at impact. The template also helps the player get the face square to the start line at impact.
Visio Elevated String Line
These are available from a variety of manufacturers, but each generally has the same purpose. Golfers can use it as a reference for the line on where they want to start their putt or assist their face alignment practice. The 230cm length can be adjusted for putts of varying distances.
Eyeline Golf Putting Mirror
The Classic Eyeline Putting Mirror has been around for more than a decade and a half now and has often been imitated. The design is large enough to help you check on various alignment aspects, including your eyeline, putter face and your shoulders. You can add tees to make gate drills to check your start lines. It is durables and comes with a travel bag.
Yes, a simple trip to the hardware store can help your short game. For under $10 a yard stick is an effective practice aid. Simply place your ball in the hole at one end, line up your putter and try to stroke the ball and keep it on the full length of the stick. It’s not as easy as it seems but a squarely struck putt with a good path (what you want) will do the trick. A popular training aid among Canadian National Team members.
P2 Putter Grips
The line up of P2 putter grips to continues to grow. Now with more shapes and weight option than event, golfers can get the advantage of their unique internal shaft alignment that promote a more repeatable wrist angle in a style they prefer. More players seem to be finding success with these grips as they begin to become adopted at the top amateur and professional levels.
Heading into their 20th year as a company, GolfLogix continues to be a leader in the app space, providing GPS distances and scoring on your portable device while adding more features all the time. The latest, Putt Break, allows the golfer to see a visual representation of the green slopes and get an accurate read for how to play that putt. Simply mark the spot where your ball is and where the hole is located and it calculates where to aim. That feature only legal for practice and non-handicap play.
The Putting Arc
This patented training aid has been on the market for a long time and now comes in multiple styles to accommodate travel and even the addition of a an eyeline mirror. It promotes an inside to square putting stroke and the manufacturers claim more than 1300 professional wins by users since 2002.