Putting Direction: What did you know and when did you know it?
When you are putting without a training aid, you get incomplete information. The information is pretty good for distance; you see how far the ball went and you felt your stroke that produced it. But direction information is at best confused. Because there are two factors involved in producing the direction of a putt, you don’t know exactly how much the aim was wrong and how much the stroke was wrong. You just don’t know if the aim was correct. You just don’t know if the stroke was correct. Because the ball doesn’t tell you. If you watch to see if your ball goes on the intended line (over a chosen spot for example), you still won’t know how much aim and stroke each contributed to the error. When you get the ball started on the right line, aim could have been one degree closed and stroke one degree open, for example, so you still don’t know. In every case, you won’t know how much your aim and stroke each contributed to any error.
Here is a little thought experiment. If aim were known to be perfect, then any error in direction could be attributed to stroke. If stroke were known to be perfect, then aim could be blamed. But no one has perfect aim or a perfect stroke without a device, a training device or a cheating device. If you cannot measure error, you cannot make corrections. Measurement of aim or stroke is the only way to make some headway against these errors. Measurement of both is even better. PuttStraight is used for improving stroke by bypassing the aiming factor. The club face is measured at address, impact and throughout the stroke. Aim is not a factor in these measurements.
I define stroke accuracy as the deviation in the club face direction between address and impact. In other words, how much the club face has opened or closed at impact compared to address. There are various ways to measure stroke accuracy. Without a doubt, PuttStraight is the easiest and most accurate way. But there are other ways that work less well. No matter how it gets done, both address and impact have to be measured. You could start by putting a target line on the floor or carpet and then lining up to that. That’s a good start, but it’s not very accurate. The club face has to be exactly 90 degrees to the target line. The naked eye can’t judge any angle very well, so it’s better to put another line on the carpet at exactly 90 degrees to the target line. Then you can line up the club face to that second line. That gets pretty close to exact, but it’s still not perfect. Then when you hit putts after aligning the club face to the 90 degree line, you watch how much the balls veer from the target line. This gives a measure of the error in the stroke; aim has been taken out of the equation. It tells you how accurate your body motion was. With this set up, you can work on your stroke, but it’s still not a perfect measurement. Floors are not perfectly smooth and flat; the rolling ball soon goes a little off even on a perfect stroke. Therefore you must check the ball direction soon after impact, and be able to see slight deviations. This procedure works, and it’s much better than nothing, but it’s time consuming and somewhat inaccurate compared to a device that measures exactly and immediately without an elaborate set up. And, it’s not so easy to put lines on a carpet or green.
PuttStraight shows exactly the deviation of the club face between address and impact, in real time, without hitting or chasing balls, and without lines on the floor. You are also going to be able to see the club face opening and closing during the stroke.
PuttStraight also shows the length of the backswing, so it can be used for training backswing length. It seems better to produce the backswing length you expect so you don’t have to suddenly swing harder or easier during the stroke.