A few bad putting rounds can make a golfer desperate. If you are anything like me, I imagine that many of you have more putters than you do any other golf clubs. They are fun to buy, but we also do so while searching for that magic wand. Bottom line – bad putting can be bad on the wallet.
Of course, there are a myriad of training devices available for putting practice as well. A new product, Putter Wheel, made its way to my golf bag a few weeks ago and I’ll be sharing some thoughts on it today.
About Putter Wheel
Never HIT your putt again. Learn to ROLL it like a wheel with PutterWheel!
True to its name, Putter Wheel is a cut away golf ball that resembles a car tire as much as it does a ball. The basic premise behind the product is that it won’t roll straight without a perfect strike from a putter. In addition, it’s designed to train the eyes to align properly to the hole. The company highlights a few reasons why they think it would be a useful addition to your practice routine.
PUTTING IS IMPORTANT
- Putting is half the game.18 holes X 2 putts per green = 36 strokes = exactly 1/2 of par 72. Enough said.
FEEDBACK IS CRITICAL
- Ok, so putting is important. How do you improve? We will not tell you how to stroke your putt. There are great PGA professionals, books videos etc. for that . However, you cannot improve your putting stroke without precise feedback. Unlike a full swing where a poor swing is obvious – feels bad, looks bad, you can see if you are slicing or hooking, too high, too low, etc., a poor putting stroke on an 8 foot putt is not as obvious. This is where the Putter Wheel helps.
Any putting stroke error is greatly amplified by the unique Putter Wheel design – the wheel shape removes the complete 360 degrees of symmetry causing it to wobble, curve and even fall down. This immediate feedback mechanism allows you to try different techniques, putters, grips, etc to find what works best for you until you can roll the Putter Wheel smoothly.
SEEING THE LINE
- Standing over the Putter Wheel, you immediately notice that it points in a very specific direction. In fact, if you point it properly, it feels like all you have to do is hit it squarely and it will hit the center of the hole. There is very little ambiguity about how you need to stroke it. This is the feeling you want to have standing over a putt on the course. ?Practicing with the Putter Wheel will ingrain this mindset in your putting. The design simplifies both lining up the putt and seeing the track to the hole when you are standing above it with one thought, send it on its intended path.
TAKING IT TO THE COURSE!
- ?Now that you’ve improved your stroke through the feedback of the Putter Wheel, gained confidence, and now see that track to the hole, you want to take it to the course. Putter Wheel provides a unique alignment template what allows you to easily draw two parallel lines that are the exact width of the Putter Wheel on our game balls. Now when you are standing over your putt on the course, you can confidently and seamlessly put that practice to work
Description and General Thoughts
Putter Wheel, three of them to be exact, came in a sleeve, much like normal golf balls. In addition to the three wheels, there is a plastic dual line alignment stencil and a soft carrying pouch included in the package. The product name, Putter Wheel, is boldly displayed down the center of the device, acting just like an alignment aid on a regular golf ball. That’s a pretty short description, but there isn’t much else to say. Simplicity at it’s very finest!
Putter Wheel has a unique feel and sound to it that was quite unlike any normal golf ball I’d used. It was much softer, almost cushiony. Since it is a practice aid, I don’t think that’s a vitally important point, but it is worth mentioning.
How it Works
As I noted, Putter Wheel is extremely quick and simple to put to use. There’s no set up – just find your nearest putting surface, set it down, align it towards your target and take a stroke. I was able to use it successfully on an artificial putting surface and hilly practice green.
What you’ll find is a device that gives almost instant feedback on the quality of your putting stroke, as well as where you hit the ball on the face. When I say instant, I’m not exaggerating. Poor strokes immediately cause the wheel to wobble, leading the device to either stray offline or even fall over altogether. Here’s a graphic that represents exactly what occurs with both good and bad strokes.
In addition to feedback on the quality of your putting stroke, the straight sides of the wheel allow the eyes to easily align the device at a target. Over time, you can mark lines onto a normal ball, using the included stencil, that resemble the two straight sides.
Does it Work
In a word, yes – almost frustratingly so. Poor strokes will be glaringly obvious to the user, much more so than using a golf ball. It certainly exposed the lack of quality behind my lag putting stroke. In fact, I struggled to even keep the Putter Wheel standing on most putts over 40 feet. I found it easiest to use for short to mid-length putts, with my ability to keep the wheel on line decreasing as my stroke lengthened. That being said, Putter Wheel will go in the hole just like a normal ball if the user executes. I was able to sink a number of putts with it, some short and some longer.
Regarding miss-hits, many of the equally bad putts I took using a standard ball at the same time as the Putter Wheel still found their target and fell in the hole, while the wheel could end up five feet offline. That certainly showed the sometimes random nature of putting. We can certainly still makes putts without perfect execution. However, for true feedback on the putting stroke, we can’t always judge ourselves by whether or not the ball goes in the hole. That seems backwards in a sense, but it does add up that learning to deliver a square face to the ball every time will increase our chances of making more putts.
Putter Wheel is one of those products that I’d rather see labeled as a ‘feedback aid’ than a training aid. While the straight sides, in concert with the included line stencil, may help train the eyes with alignment over time, the primary use of the product is to show how well you’re striking the golf ball with the putter. From there, my best advice would be to see a professional to cure any issues you may see come up. For pure, immediate feedback, I’m not sure I’ve seen a product that can keep up with this one. It left me speechless, sometimes exasperated, more than a few times as I tried to keep it on line with longer putts.
Putter Wheel sells for $39.95 on the company’s website, www.putterwheel.com.