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.
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
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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
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.
$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
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!