Monday, November 15, 2010

When I was employed by Science and Motion, the builders of PuttLab, we spent some time consulting with a well known putter manufacturer. They were using PuttLab to determine the influence their putters might have on players and their putting strokes. They had purchased a putting robot to use the measured results as a baseline for the test groups. One afternoon I got a phone call from the company complaining that our equipment was off. They had hooked PuttLab to the putting robot and got the following results.

At the top we are looking at the position of the putter relative to the red target line. You can see it was perfectly square. The Path View shows the putter swinging on a path about 4 degrees to the right of the target line. The end result is the putter sqaure to the target but 4.4 degrees closed to the putter path. The representative of the company said that the system must be off as the path direction was not perfectly straight and all the putts had gone into the hole. This was very distressing to a company who spent a great deal of money promoting a sqaure to the path putting stroke. I explained to the technician that the robot made all 5 putts was no surprise. Since the face at impact is 4 times more influential on direction than path, with a perfect face on a 10 foot putt it would take a path of 6 degrees right or more for the putt to miss to the right. He had set the robot up to the target line without any calibration and then he attached the putter so it was perfectly square to the target line. The results were 5 made putts but not from a “perfect” stroke. With this explanation he was able to meet the needs of the company, but with a little less belief in the system. Moral of the story focus on face position and let the path take care of itself.

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