“SmartGolf’s Smart Putter brings laser-precision to your putting stroke”
There are a lot of ways to deliver the golf club to the ball. As long as the club face is square though impact, though, the shot will likely be good.
Same goes for putting. These past decades have seen an explosion of putter styles and putting strokes. But as long as the putter face travels through impact squarely, the ball will travel on the intended line. A perfect read and perfect speed won’t make many putts if the putter face is open or closed just a fraction of a degree.
SmartGolf’s Smart Putter ($300) trains laser-precision into your putting stroke using an actual laser and Bluetooth technology.
Although the concept underlying the Smart Putter is simple, the technology is not. Basically, the Smart Putter is a face-balanced mallet putter with a laser-pointer embedded in the face. Practice with the Smart Putter entails addressing the ball with the laser shining dead-center at the back of the ball, and making a natural putting stroke. An array of lights on the top of the putter head also tells you if the head is tilted too far back, forward, toe-up, or toe-down.
If you want to fully exploit the whiz-bang technological capabilities of the Smart Putter, you can also download the SmartGolf app, and the Smart Putter will transmit stroke data to your phone to keep track of your tendencies, progress, and changes over time. There’s even a virtual green on the app you can play a game on.
After a few minutes practicing with the Smart Putter, I realized my take-away sort of drifted wide, to the outside of the ball. So I focused – laser-like, if you will – on just keeping the laser pointed directly at the back of the ball in the take-away and through contact. To help with alignment, I hovered the putter above the ball and angled it down toward the hole to set my stance, then put the putter behind the ball.
This practice has, I believe, helped me make an awful lot of putts this past couple of months. My set-up and alignment are much more consistent than they used to be. And when I miss, I evaluate my take-away and correct it on the next green as I imagine a laser trained on the back of the ball.
Now, I play with a mallet putter, so I wondered whether players with different types of putters (different styles, weights, etc.) would also benefit from the Smart Putter.
I put this question to James Kim, CSO at Smart Golf, and really appreciated his detailed, well-reasoned response:
“The LED level indicator and laser aiming components guarantee a firm and a precise stroke. However, these helpful components aren’t for one use only, rather they help golfers develop the ‘right’ muscle memory. This muscle memory can ensure the golfers to carry out that ‘right’ putting stroke they developed with the Smart Putter. Of course, the different sizes and weight of different putters come into effect, but it is the base gesture and muscle memory that acts as the foundation of a great putting stroke. Especially for beginners who are more liberal when it comes to changing clubs, Smart Putter can be a deadly weapon on the green with the power turned off.
“The LED and laser, alongside the precise analysis, is the most effective tool and equipment to furnish our putting skills. Why not use them to build the foundation muscle memory and view it as such, rather than a quick cheating on the spot gadget?
“I’ve served in the US army, and as a trainee, we practiced virtual shooting and rifle handling with digital m16s which was quite different in size and weight to a standard rifle of the Army. How come? To get us used to the basic marksmanship and to build that muscles that will help us in real situations with real equipment. Just because we aren’t with the equipment that we favor does not mean we can’t improve our movements with better technology.”
Makes sense to me. Also, according to the SmartGolf web page, USGA conforming testing is ongoing, so the Smart Putter might end up being conforming (with the laser turned off, of course), too.
The only drawback to practicing with the Smart Putter that I experienced occurred while practicing in my living room. You see, the LED beam is irresistible to my cat, and no matter how solid your putting stroke, it is impossible to hole many putts while a cat is pouncing on the ball.