Your Path is Key
During our offseason, a plethora of gizmos, gadgets and golf equipment funnel through our facility door. We all know the golf industry is cluttered with training aids. There are new ones popping up with each passing month. With time as the enemy, it is impossible to test each one for effectiveness and impact on a golfer’s performance. However, an intriguing product fell into our possession: AI Golf’s Gatekeeper.
As a putting training aid, the Gatekeeper gave us a perfect opportunity to test it out. AI Golf’s slogan for the product, “Your path Is key”, is certainly the focal point of the training aid. Let’s take a look and see if the proof is in the putting.
Endorsed by Stewart Cink, eight-time PGA TOUR winner and 2009 Open champion, the Gatekeeper has four main goals:
- Promote perfect path
- Minimize face rotation
- Create perfect tempo
- Provide instant feedback
The Gatekeeper offers a unique twist and design. Its “removable cuff” design is integrated into the attachment clasp. This feature allows the device to be used on virtually any putter. Additionally, the Gatekeeper can be used at different heights along the putter shaft. These options make it extremely easy to use and setup.
From a visual standpoint, there is a hint that the designers took inspiration from Star Wars. Remember the Imperial shuttles? Well, the Gatekeeper’s retractable alignment tracks fold up and down just like the wings. This offers a sleek, compact design that is ideal for storing in your golf bag.
The key component of the Gatekeeper is the swinging pendulum feature. With multiple ball size options, golfers can utilize this feature to put their skills to the test. The goal is simple: make a stroke where the swinging pendulum passes through the gate. Doing so provides instant feedback for putting stroke consistency.
Check out AI Golf’s website for further details regarding the product.
“Putt” To The Test
At MyGolfSpy, we have simple goals while conducting lab tests. First, to gain insight into how a product or training aid performs. Second, to educate ourselves and our readers. Third, to feed our enthusiasm to learn about items within the golf industry and to then turn that information into publications for our readers. So we assembled a testing pool to try out the Gatekeeper.
Eight putts were hit by each tester from five, 10 and 20 feet. We recorded total putts with and without the Gatekeeper. All putts were hit using an Odyssey Triple Track 2-Ball and the Gatekeeper’s beginner ball size.
Overall, the testing pool had four fewer total putts without the Gatekeeper attached to the putter. The biggest difference was at five feet where testers made a total of eight more putts without the Gatekeeper.
Interestingly, from 10 and 20 feet, the testing pool saw a slightly better performance while using the Gatekeeper. Each distance produced two more putts made with the Gatekeeper.
Much like Most Wanted testing, we also gather subjective feedback from our testers but that subjective feedback does not influence testing results. It’s simply a means to reflect consumer feedback.
- If you are looking for instant feedback on your stroke path, the Gatekeeper provides that. Testers were able to tell immediately if their path was good.
- A majority of testers thought the overall design was distracting. From the alignment track to the swinging ball, some were not sure where to focus.
- Testers said the instant feedback did help them. They were able to focus on making a better stroke and, with that, their focus increased more as they putted from 10 and 20 feet.
Key Takeaways – The Gatekeeper
1. Performance at Five Feet
Here’s where the greatest performance differential exists. Testers made 124 total putts at five feet without the Gatekeeper and 132 total putts with it. This eight-putt differential is certainly worth noting. Eighty-four percent of the testing pool made more or the same number of putts from five feet when not using the Gatekeeper.
2. Signs of Potential Benefits
From 10 and 20 feet, testers made an average of two more putts when using the Gatekeeper. That’s nothing spectacular but it is a suggestion that improvements could be made over time. Our testing pool said they were more focused while putting from these distances with the device promoting perfect path, better tempo and instant feedback. Putting from farther away, testers appeared to see potential benefits quicker than anticipated.
A third of the testing pool saw an increase in putts made while using the Gatekeeper. Although a small portion, these results are supporting evidence of potential performance gains, mainly from 10 feet. Those who made more putts using the Gatekeeper were seeing two to four more putts made.
Closing the Gate
Based on the small data set, there is minimal evidence of immediate impact on performance. Yes, there are signs of potential benefits, especially from 10 and 20 feet. However, a training aid is a training aid. More often than not, you won’t see immediate results or enhancements to your game. It requires dedication and constant use, just like honing your golf game as a whole or being disciplined in your workout routine. Neither happens overnight. It takes time and repetition.