GET IN THE HOLE!!!
In a par round of golf, 50% of a golferâ€™s expected strokes are typically allotted to putting. Reducing the number of putts in a round is almost always the fastest way for an average golfer to lower his or her score. Consistently reducing the number of putts in a round is a guaranteed way to drop your handicap index. The way to reduce the number of putts in a round is to practice, practice, practice, and then practice some more. But what is the most efficient way to practice putting? The folks at The Big Putt have taken the strategy of â€œpractice something harder so the routine will seem easierâ€ and designed a putting aid around it.
The Big Putt is a smooth, oversized white ball that outwardly resembles a small billiards cue ball. The Big Putt has no dimples and a diameter of 1.95 inches (4.95 cm), compared to a diameter of 1.68 inches (4.27 cm) for a regulation-size golf ball. While that difference may not seem significant when looking at the numbers on a computer screen, they are definitely significant when The Big Putt is sitting side-by-side with a regulation-size golf ball. Moreover, unlike some random oversized ball such as a tennis ball, The Big Putt is made from the same materials as a regulation golf ball and is designed to feel just like a regulation golf ball when stuck with a putter.
According to the manufacturer, The Big Puttâ€™s larger size and lack of dimples magnifies mis-hits and provides immediate feedback while it, at the same time, â€œpromotes a smooth stroke and requires the golfer to accelerate through impact.â€ The manufacturer also claims that practicing with The Big Putt will make subsequent putts with a regulation-size ball easier because the hole will appear enormous by comparison. While many putting practice aids are available that promote using a smaller hole with a regulation-size ball, the manufacturer of The Big Putt asserts that its product is superior for two reasons: first, reducing the size of the target results in unnecessary tension in the putting stroke; and second, The Big Putt is portable and can be used on any practice green with regulation-size holes.
HOW WE TESTED IT
The Big Putt was tested for several practice sessions on real grass practice greens over a period of approximately two weeks using techniques suggested by the manufacturer on its website and in the included DVD. The condition of greens during the practice sessions ranged from aerated and recently sanded, to greens that rolled true and moderately fast.
WHAT WE THOUGHT
A few things about The Big Putt can be stated with certainty. First, The Big Putt balls feel like a regulation ball off the putter face. They have a soft feel and appear to roll true. Second, the oversized balls do appear to force a golfer to accelerate through the ball during the putting stroke. One of my personal putting faults is the tendency to decelerate my stroke the just before impact. Using The Big Putt has seemed to reduce the frequency that problem. Third, The Big Putt balls are fun. I donâ€™t know why or how (and Iâ€™ll leave the speculation to the self-anointed amateur Freudians out there), but putting with the oversized balls is surprisingly satisfying. Finally, from a psychological standpoint, the hole does seem larger when switching to a regulation ball after using The Big Putt.
Of course, the key to any putting practice aid is whether factors like feel, perception, and fun translate into more putts falling into the hole. Testing of The Big Putt by THP produced mixed results. Sometimes it seemed as though the larger balls made it easier to subsequently sink putts with regulation balls. Other times, however, the consequent success (or lack thereof) with regulation-size balls seemed merely coincidental. In the end, it was difficult to determine if the success (when there was success) was the result of using The Big Putt or from simply practicing more.
Of course, such is the nature of putting that even small, undetectable changes to the stroke or putting surface can affect the outcome of a putt. (I will refrain from delving deeper into my personal putting theories out of fear that I will end up sounding like Jeff Goldblum in the movie Jurassic Park when he attempts to explain chaos theory to Laura Dern. Also, I donâ€™t really have any deeper personal theories on putting.) However, sporadic short-term success in testing combined with use of The Big Putt by PGA Tour pros Jim Furyk, Paul Azinger, and Fred Couples suggests that the product may benefit some players – especially those golfers more in need of psychological, rather than mechanical, assistance with their putting.
JUST THE FACTS
WHO (is it for?): Golfers who want to lower there score by improving their putting, but may not have found success by simply spending time on the practice greens using regulation balls and traditional drills.
WHAT (can it do for you?): If it works for you, it can help train your mind to believe that, when you are using a regulation-size ball, the hole is huge.
WHERE (can you use it?): Virtually anywhere you practice with a regular golf ball. But it works best on real grass practice putting greens.
WHEN (can you use it?): Any time you practice putting.
WHY (would you want to use it?): Because fewer putts mean a lower score; because it is portable; and because it is fun.
HOW (does it work?): The larger size makes it more difficult to sink practice putts. If you can get better with the larger ball, putting with a smaller ball will seem easier by comparison. And confidence on the putting green is critical to success.
LONGSHANKS RATING: Par.
Price (MSRP): $29.95/?29.95*
Price (Street): $29.95/?29.95
In the package:
3 â€œBig Puttâ€ Balls
1 Logo Nylon Drawstring Pouch
1 Alignment Aid
1 Permanent Marker for Use with the Alignment Aid
1 Instructional DVD
*U.K. customers have an option to purchase a â€œStarter Packageâ€ for ?9.95, which includes 1 Big Putt ball, 1 Drawstring Pouch, and 1 Instructional DVD.
North America: https://www.thebigputt.com
United Kingdom: http://www.thebigputt.co.uk