Quick, name the club in your bag that helps your scoring the most? Ok, now name the club that changes the most in your bag. Is it the same one? If you answered ‘my putter’ then you haven’t found a flat stick that you want to marry have you? You continue to date other putters and secretly cheat on your current flat stick don’t you? Well if you struggle with the putter, there’s an app for that. PING now has an app that is specifically designed to help you with your putting game. I just had to do some THP testing on this app because I like to look for alternative ways to help my game beyond the required range time and putting practice and this certainly got my interest level up. So does the traditionally classic company have an edgy product that can help your putting game? Check it out.
Did You Know?
IPING was developed by PING’s engineers for all skill levels, not just the PING Tour pros?
From the Company
The iPING app includes a fitting component that helps club fitters select a putter model that best matches a golfer’s stroke type. Our “Fit for Stroke” concept of putter fitting makes choosing a putter easier by matching the model to the player’s stroke type. Every putter will have a color-coded shaft label: blue for straight stroke, green for slight arc, and red for strong arc. The primary function of the putter-fitting feature is to identify one of three stroke types for the golfer. Based on that result, the app offers a current list of PING putters matching the stroke type determined in the session. With this instant feedback about a player’s putting stroke, fitters can help golfers make informed purchase decisions on which putter model will improve their consistency on the greens. For more-detailed putter fitting sessions, the “Advanced Fit” feature offers recommendations for length, loft and lie.
• Calculates and tracks your Putting Handicap (Phcp) to help improve your putting
• Wireless so it can be used anywhere
• Analyzes your impact angle to improve putting mechanics
• Classifies your stroke rotation to help match you to the proper putter model for more consistency
• Measures the tempo of your stroke to improve control
• Compares your stroke to Tour pros and friends
I’m excited to test any portable technology aimed at making a golfer’s game better. Today’s society is very right now/instant gratification oriented and I’m no exception so the potential of the app definitely had me intrigued when I initially heard about it. After downloading it I began to dig into the app a bit and I first thought that it would make me a victim of ‘paralysis by analysis.’ Reason being is that there is a ton of info to digest and analyze however PING does a great job of structuring it in a way that makes it useful and not just a bunch of statistics and useless information.
After the app is downloaded you can then begin to put it to good use. Take the iPING cradle (sold separately) and attach it to your putter right below the grip. Now take your iPhone or iPod Touch and slide it into the cradle and voila, you’re in business! All you have to do now is tell iPING if you’re using a left handed or right handed putter or a long putter and then you can begin hitting 10′ putts. This distance allows for a nice mix of touch as well as power which lets the app determine all of the measurements needed to compile the data needed to tell you whether you’re a good putter or need to work on a specific aspect of your game.
Before I go on, let’s look at what the iPING app is looking for while you’re putting. It’ll be easier to define what it’s looking for rather than explain what it’s looking for. That way I can summarize at the end what I learned and you’ll hopefully remember what those terms were. So here’s your iPING glossary:
Stoke type- the amount of closing angle (face rotation from the start of the forward swing to impact). Less than 3.5* is straight, more than 7.5* is a strong arc, and between those 2 values is a slight arc.
Impact Angle- the face angle at impact, relative to address. For right handed golfers, closed/negative is left of address.
Tempo- ratio of back-swing time to forward swing time (to impact). This is generally about a 2:1 ratio – twice as long back-swing to forward swing.
Measure Session- set of five 10′ putts that are analyzed for consistency in stroke type, impact angle, and tempo. Green indicates very good. Yellow is good, and Red is not very consistent.
Consistency- calculated score for each session. Scores are on a scale similar to a golf handicap where + numbers are very good, low numbers good, and high numbers are not good.
Putting Handicap- the average of several consistency scores.
Truth be told, I couldn’t wait to start testing the iPING app out. In fact I started playing around with it the same day I got the iPING cradle. I mean who wouldn’t want to get instant feedback on their putting stroke without ever having to leave the house or your basement? So after attaching my iPhone to the iPING cradle, which I then connected to my putter, I began to set up the app to what I wanted to know. Fortunately the default option is almost everything but it’s good to know that you can only focus on a few things or one specific thing if you like. For instance, the 3 main things that are measured are stroke type, impact angle, and tempo. The default setting is to calculate all tree items but if you only want to focus on say, tempo, you can turn off the other two options if you like.
I decided that for testing purposes I wanted my results to be based off a wide sample of strokes vs. just a handful so I decided to do 20 sessions (5 putts = 1 session) which totaled over 100 putts. I think that this would end up showing me consistent results where the best and worst putts would almost be thrown out automatically and the remaining putts would represent the true sample by which I could analyze my putting game.
Using the app and interpreting the data is simple enough. All you have to do is make a putting stroke with a standard golf ball (harder foam practice balls work as well but be wary of lighter foam ones as they don’t always register with the app). Once you make contact with the ball, the gyro meter of the iPhone or the iPod takes over and registers a change in momentum which translates to an ‘impact’ for the app. After that the app does its thing and records that data. You need to complete the other 4 putts though before you see what the results of your session are. Make a bad stroke or got distracted by the family dog? No problem, you can delete putts in mid-session so those don’t get counted against your putting summary.
After your results are collected, that’s when the fun begins. At least for me it did. I like to see data which allows me to better understand it verses verbal feedback, and this app certainly doesn’t disappoint. Not only can you compare your results with your friends via email, etc you can also see how your results stack up against PING Tour staff from the PGA Tour, European Tour, and the LPGA Tour. This I thought was really cool because in looking at the individual Tour statistics, I found that most of them had similar consistency numbers, as well as tempo, but everyone had their own individual putting stroke and impact angle. To me it validated the fact that there isn’t one best single way to putt and that while one putting stroke may work for one person, that same stroke may not work for another.
Also, the iPING app will also recommend a style putter (PING of course) for you based on your data which you can then further customize to your specs that you input (height, stance, type of greens played, etc). I found this really interesting in that if you have a particular stroke some putters may not be the best fit for that stroke. For instance, I use a mid-mallet putter but for my particular stroke the app recommended that I use more of a blade putter which is what I used before. It may not be the be all / end all for someone who is looking for help in picking a putter but it certainly bears some thought right?
So what were my results at the end of my 100 putt journey? Here you go:
Stroke Type- Slight Arc (green)
Impact Angle- 0.9* Closed
Tempo- 1.9/1 (green)
As you can see these numbers are pretty good when you compare them to the defined terms earlier in the review. So why is it that I only seem to be able to average 34 putts/round? Beyond the fact that my approach shots aren’t close enough to the pin I think it has to do with something beyond my putting technique and fundamentals. Seeing as though it appears that it’s not my technique, I think it would fall along the lines of reading greens and the pace of putts. The iPING app not only helped me verify some things for my game, it also made me realize what I need to work on beyond the fundamentals. Bonus!
I really think the iPING Putter app will be a fixture to my game improvement regimen. It’ll be a perfect way to see if my putting is off because of tempo issues, impact angles, or even if my stroke type is beginning to change. While the app is free the cradle retails for $30 which I think is a little steep for what it is but something has to fund the app development right? If it was at a $15 price point or even at $20 I would say this is a tremendous value but it’s not so it’s just ‘ok.’ What’s invaluable is the information you get from using this app. It feels more like a game vs. a training aid which makes practicing, dare I say, fun. The app is very addicting to use and the data that you can get out of it is equally addicting. How can you fix something that you have no idea is broke? This handy little app will allow you to do just that. It can do everything for you except make the putt, although I’m sure that they’re working on that app now, too.