Ping has introduced an application for your iPhone4 or iPod4 that allows you to attach your device to the shaft of your putter and monitor three key elements of your putting stroke-stroke type, impact angle, and tempo. Using the iPhone’s accelerometer and gyroscope the app produces data so you can see the consistency of your stroke in these three elements and even calculate a Ping trademarked Putting Handicap.
First thing you will need to get over is the fact that the application is free but you have to hand over $30 in your local golf shop for a plastic clip that cost them around 30 cents to produce in China that allows you to hook your phone up to the shaft. The new commerce paradigm in the digital age!
Second thing is that there are no “right” numbers in any of these putting parameters. This is a tuning mechanism-you are trying to find consistency in each category and determine what tweaks in your putting method can give you the consistency you are after.
The “Stroke Type” will measure the arc of your putting stroke, telling you whether it is a Straight, Slight Arc, or Strong Arc measured in degrees of face rotation. This can be used to help you get the right match of putter type to your putting stroke. The “Impact Angle” is the face angle at the moment of impact measured in degrees open or closed. The “Tempo” is the ratio of duration of backswing to forward swing to impact. This is particularly important to distance control.
The application allows you to measure these in practice mode where you can see all three parameters on each stroke or isolate it to one or two parameters if you like. In measure mode you have 5 putt sessions where it measures all three parameters and produces an on screen depiction of your averages in each.
I have found there is nothing about this application that is a panacea for bad putting. But for those of us who toil on the putting green hitting stroke after stroke it does provide empirical data to use from practice session to practice session to determine if there are some obvious inconsistencies in your putting method. It is the kind of corroborating evidence every golf wonk is looking for in the endless search for the perfect putting stroke.