Aiming a putter at a target would seem to be pretty easy, but even elite golfers often miss the mark.
According to research conducted by TaylorMade, more than 50 percent of golfers fail to point their putter at their target. That’s a big problem because, according to Paul Demkowski, TaylorMade’s product-development manager for wedges and putters, hitting a 14-foot putt just 1 degree offline means the ball will miss the hole.
Historically, feedback from tour pros played a significant role in determining alignment aids, but other outlets are being utilized more and more. For example, TaylorMade enlisted the help of sports-vision specialists at the University of Indiana to create the half-ball-width white line that tops the new Spider X putters. Scotty Cameron makes the alignment dots and lines on the Phantom X mallet putter the same high-contrast yellow that is often used on firearm sights.
Counterintuitive as it might seem, companies also learned alignment aids should not always be placed directly in line with the sweet spot.
“The light bulb went off for us over the last couple of years when we had Rory (McIlroy), Dustin Johnson and Jon Rahm in here and we noticed they hit a lot of their putts off the toe. The data we collected also showed that 65 percent of the impact locations we collected were toe-ward.”
For that reason, alignment aids often appear to be in the center as a player looks down in the address position, even if that place is a little toward the heel. Gwk
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(Note: This story appears in the April 2019 issue of Golfweek.)