In today’s technological age there are people who just run out and buy the “latest and greatest” product and buy whatever is considered the best. Then, there are those who comb over the details and get exactly what they what. I would be the latter of the two. So when I had a chance to review the BreakMaster I was curious to try it out. I took the time to watch the 13 minute DVD that came along with the BreakMaster to help me learn the benefits of this device before I tried it out.
Armed with the guide sheet that came with the BreakMaster, I headed out to the putting green. I noticed in the guide that the examples shown were based upon a putt breaking to the right with the arrow on the BreakMaster pointing due East, so I searched for a putt on the green that gave me this angle. I found a putt that had a 1 degree break due East and hit two balls each from 3, 6, and 9 feet away. Using the guide I placed a tee in the ground for each putt as a point of aim. I intended to hit every putt with enough speed to barely fall in the hole, but I hit all of them about a foot or so past the hole so they all stayed on the “high side” of the hole. My weakness is left to right putts so I decided to try it the other way.
I found a putt that was indicated by the BreakMaster to have a break of 1.9 degrees due West. The guide said the putt would break between 16-18″ from 6 feet away so I set myself up 6 feet away and placed a tee in the ground 17″ to the right of the hole and hit two putts.
Both of these putts can be seen in the photo as missing the hole by 6″ and 8″ inches with the 8″ miss struck slightly firmer than the other. My first thought was that the device didn’t work correctly. Then I decided to look at the break at different points of the putt by placing the BreakMaster at two foot intervals along the line of the putt.
In checking the angle of the putt at two foot intervals, I found variations in the putt. The angle slightly changed, according to the guide, uphill putts tend to break less and downhill putts break more.I found there was some uphill influence in the putt, which would explain why I wasn’t get the putts closer to the hole.
For my final test I found a downhill left to right breaking putt. The BreakMaster indicated that it was 2.8 degrees to the Northeast. I went to 8 feet away and placed a tee in the ground 30 inches to the left of the cup. After several putts I found that they were all pretty close to the hole and holed 2 out of 12 putts. Again left to right putts are my weakness.
After using the device for about thirty minutes, I got a good feel for it. Reading putts is not an exact science because there are so many variables(break, slope, speed of greens, weather, ect..). The Breakmaster is a great device for training your eyes to read a putt, and will help in getting a better understanding how a putt will roll. The DVD and the booklet go in to length on how you can use the device to map your own course’s greens, and gives an example of how to use sites such as Google Earth to custom make your own yardage booklet
The BreakMaster is legal in accordance with the USGA to use in “practice and non-competitive rounds”. The list of Professional Golfers and their Caddy’s who use this device is a virtual “who’s who” in Golf. Obviously you wouldn’t use it in your Saturday foursome, and it’s best done when you have some extra time to do it. Notah Begay states that he spends about three hours using this device to map greens. An example of which is in the manual here(near the bottom): Manual
I would highly recomend this device for people who struggle reading greens or someone who plays the same course often and wants the upper hand in reading the greens. As someone who plays weekend golf at several different courses, I wouldn’t find much of an opportunity to use this device. I will however, take this with me when I go to the practice green to help train my eyes on how to read putts.
The BreakMaster Digital Green Reader is avilable at most golf retail outlets with a suggested retail price of $79.95.