By ED TRAVIS
Much has been written over the years about putting— proper alignment, stance, setup plus how to hold the club and the best club grip and then there’s the weighting of the head and shaft…should it be face balanced or toe down and if toe down how much?
How about the path of the stroke? Should it be straight back to straight through or back to the inside, squaring at the ball and finishing with the putter traveling back to the inside? Oh, did I mention shaft length and how it affects everything about how you putt?
The topic of putting is studied by some for an entire lifetime and even they readily admit they still don’t know everything there is to know. When you have some time find a putting “guru” and ask him or her about ball compression, cover hardness, Surlyn versus urethane and how the type of a face insert changes the roll.
We at Northeast Golf however are sure of one truth about putting. The more you practice the better you will become and hopefully be able to answer some of these questions for your game.
When the weather cooperates a beneficial practice routine can be as simple as an hour after work at your local club but for much of the year it is too cold or snowing or just plain unpleasant spending time outdoors when you have to be dressed as though you were going skiing rather than putting.
An indoor practice putting mat is a solution and those with realistic surfaces that give feedback similar to a real putting green will make a difference to your putting whether you are looking to never miss a three-footer or two putt every time from over 20 feet. Here is a selection of several models covering a range of prices to fit most any budget.
Birdieball – Classic Indoor Putting Green
The base is made from a patented ½-inch thick aerated foam and a surface that putts like real grass. The Classic offers practice into and against the grain and the five sizes (4 feet x 10 feet to 4 feet x 18 feet) come with a choice of three speeds from slow to medium to fast. Corresponding Stimpmeter readings are respectively 9-10, 10-11 and 11-13. Included are six precut holes with cups and flags and rubber bumpers for each end which form a U-shape to contain the ball.
Also in the package are six shims to create breaking putts over the entire length of the putt or just around the cup and there are six reducers that decrease hole diameter to improve accuracy. The Classic rolls up for storage and lays flat when unrolled and Birdieball also adds to the package a putting mirror for help with alignment and eye positioning.
The 4 feet x 10 feet model is $311.98 while the largest, 4feet x 18 feet, is $398.98.
PuttOUT Tour Studio
The Tour Studio from PuttOUT is a 12-foot by 3-foot mat with graphics to aid correct alignment, five targets marked on the surface and measured 10-foot markings. The training system’s primary tool is the Premium Pressure Putt Trainer, a cup sized parabolically curved ramp with a “micro-target” on the slope that stops the ball when it is struck with exactly the proper speed and line. Missed putts roll up the ramp are returned to the player by the Trainer the same distance as they would have travelled past the hole.
For added help the Trainer has a small hole to fits an included alignment stick that extends down the line of the putt. The Tour Studio comes with a PuttOUT Putting Mirror having an anti-scratch coating and steel base, plus there are training gates to aid starting the ball on the correct line.
The complete Tour Studio is $475.99.
The folks at PUTTR know putting practice can be less than exciting, in fact some may consider it boring, so they have developed a smart putting green that connects to an app on your phone to provide crucial statistics with a course-like practice routine. The green unrolls from the storage box that has a computer with analysis software tied to an onboard camera which, using a Bluetooth connection to a PUTTR app, shows statistics, proper putting drills and games plus allows competitions with others.
The storage box/technology center has a USB charger in the rear so your phone or tablet can rest on top of the box to be easily visible while the battery is replenished. Variable tee positions allow practice of straight and breaking putts up the slope where the end of the green mat is contained in the box.
The PUTTR Twosome right now has a special price of $899 with shipment in April of 2022. A range of other models is also available.
Pro Putt Systems Green Monster
If your needs call for a large putting practice green that accommodates several players at the same time the Green Monster covering 194 square feet is the answer. The six-cup surface allows putts up to 18 feet long and is suitable for both indoor and outdoor use. The base is comprised of interlocking panels—50 in total—covered with a quality putting surface that rolls up for storage with a 10-year warranty.
The Green Monster assembles and disassembles without tools and easily portable for change of location room to room or out into the backyard. Single and double breaking putts can be created with a kit which Pro Putt sells as an option.
The entire package weighs 435 lbs. and sells for $4,723.
The P7 Home Series from PUTTVIEW combines interactive practice with entertainment using an overhead projector that produces aim lines on to the 6 feet x 10 feet artificial green. Control of the projections is provided by a tablet remote that also analyzes putting performance. Priced at $9,980 the P7 bundle is assembled in the home by the user and offers guided practice routines for multiple players. The software is interactive and includes actual ball path, competitive games plus putting statistics all of which are fully customizable with templates matched to individuals.
The green has a variety of putts integral to the design and a slope of up to 3% for uphill straight and breaking putts.
Software included with the Home Series allows both free and guided practice with several predefined practice sequences offering a challenge to players of every skill level.