Most of you struggle with your golf short game because you swing the club too far inside on your takeaway. When we videotaped the best short game players we found when the club reaches parallel to the ground on the takeaway the club was parallel to the target line.
So how do we learn the “On Plane” takeaway? Put an alignment rod on your toe line parallel to your target (Photo 1). Then dress-rehearse the takeaway several times, where you stop when the club is parallel to the target line and above the alignment rod (Photo 2). This takeaway blends the right amount of inside takeaway with the proper attack angle coming back into contact.
Many of you hit behind the ball because the club is coming in too shallow from your inside takeaway (Photo 3). That causes the chunks you leave short and skulled balls across the green. Some of you might be swinging the club outside the plane (Photo 4), but usually this doesn’t happen because the deeper divots you make don’t lead to many good shots.
Once you have mastered this takeaway, try to hit the ball with that specific length swing, as I’m doing in Photos 5-7. We call that “Blocked” practice. You really shouldn’t hit to a target when you are working on your technique, but just work on proper contact and hitting the ball on the intended target line.
Now that you are comfortable with this technique, you can start using other clubs and other swing lengths to hit to various targets. But what you have done in ingraining the proper takeaway that will lead to better contact.
Shawn Cox is Director of Golf at the Grand Golf Club in San Diego, California
TaylorMade Golf Company, an industry leader in product innovation and technology, today announced Original One Mini Driver, a new metalwood that pays homage to the brand’s history and utilizes many of the most important product technologies in the company’s long lineage of industry-leading metalwood performance.
EVOLUTION OF THE MINI DRIVER
TaylorMade first entered the category with the introduction of SLDR Mini in 2014 and enhanced the product the following year with the faster, higher-launching AeroBurner Mini – both utilizing predominantly steel in their construction. While both offered the company’s Speed Pocket technology, Original One Mini Driver is designed to deliver a new level of speed, forgiveness and visual appeal never-before seen in this category.
UNDER THE HOOD
With Original One Mini Driver, engineers have utilized key product technologies found in many of the company’s most notable metalwood offerings intended to deliver a faster, more forgiving and adjustable product. It all starts with a revolutionary tri-material construction, comprised of a titanium body, 50g steel sole plate and TaylorMade’s instantly-recognizable carbon composite crown. The combination of these three materials creates an ultra-low CG for distance and playability.
Additional features in Original One Mini include Loft Sleeve with ±2 degrees of loft adjustability; Twist Face Technology to provide the ultimate path to straight distance; and Inverted Cone Technology to promote ball speed on off-center hits
WHO IS IT FOR?
Like its predecessors, the Original One Mini Driver is targeted at golfers of all skill levels. It has been engineered to provide an option off the tee that delivers the accuracy and control of a fairway wood but with more distance and forgiveness. Faster swing speed players may additionally benefit from ease of use off the turf with Original One Mini Drivers’ combination of a medium face depth with ultra-low center of gravity location for extreme distance and excellent playability from fairway lies.
WHERE IT FITS
From a performance perspective, the Original One Mini Driver with its 275cc head (9 percent larger than AeroBurner Mini) will fit directly between a driver and a fairway wood. Some golfers will opt to play the club in addition to their current fairway woods, while others may choose to replace a longer fairway wood that was mainly being used off the tee. Most golfers will still keep the regular driver in the bag as the club that ultimately delivers the most distance.
Available for preorder starting April 16 and at retail beginning May 1, the Original One Mini Driver USD) will be offered in 11.5 or 13.5 degree lofts and come equipped with Mitsubishi’s Diamana F Limited shafts in 55g (R), 65g (S) or 75g (X) flexes at 43.75 inches at a D3 swing weight. The stock grip is Golf Pride MCC Decade grips in black and blood orange. The Original One Mini Driver will also be available through TaylorMade’s custom program, allowing for numerous additional custom shaft and grip options.
Silvies Valley Ranch, a 140,000 acre eco-resort featuring four stand-alone award-winning golf experiences will open for its second full golf season on May 1. Recognized by major golf media including Golf Tips for its creative approach to the golf experience including a unique goat caddie program, The Links at Silvies Valley Ranch intertwines amazing golf opportunities with the natural vegetation and expansive views of Frontier Oregon.
The resort’s 18-hole designs, Craddock and Hankins, which were named among the top four best new golf courses to open in 2018 by Golf Digest, have matured over the last year and are in prime condition to host avid and novice golfers alike.
New this year, the world-famous Silvies Valley Ranch goat caddies will be available to assist players on both short courses at the property – McVeigh’s Gauntlet, the 7-hole challenge course, named Best New Golf Experience by Golf Magazine in 2018, and Chief Egan, the 9-hole par-3 course.
“The four courses at Silvies are shaping up nicely for our second full season of golf,” said Sean Hoolehan, golf course superintendent. “I’m grateful to work with an owner who respects the land and provides the opportunity to care for these award-winning courses in an ecological and sustainable way. We’re looking forward to welcoming players from across the country to Silvies Valley Ranch this season.”
Silvies Valley Ranch unveiled a host of golf packages for the 2019 season that offer a variety of ranch experiences to complement the golf getaway experience at Silvies Valley Ranch.
Silvies Valley Ranch opened to guests in May 2018, its first full season of operation and has made its mark as a new frontier for travel and golf in a largely unexplored area of the Pacific Northwest.
With luxurious Western-inspired accommodations, fine dining options from an award-winning chef, an extensive Scotch collection, and one of the largest spas in Oregon, the boutique eco-resort is a must-see destination for families, couples, buddy trips, corporate groups and visitors across the globe.Visit the golf packages page for more information.
There is a place to relax and unwind in the American West, a bigger-than-big ski destination in the northern Rockies that slips into flip-flops and T-shirts when the snow melts and summer arrives. It’s called Big Sky.
Located an hour’s drive south of Bozeman, a trendy little town of tidy brick buildings known for its gastropubs (local ales, bison burgers) and Museum of the Rockies (dinosaur boneyard), Big Sky Resort loomed into view after the 1992 release of A River Runs Through It, the fly-fishing epic starring Brad Pitt that was filmed on the nearby Gallatin River.
Unmatched for alpine splendor, Big Sky is dominated by Lone Mountain, a 11,166-foot, Matterhorn-like peak that pierces the sky and ranks among the tallest peaks in the Madison Range. On a typically sunny day, the play of shadow and light on its slopes and ridges is mesmerizing.
Big Sky recently embarked upon a 10-year, $150-million development program intended to catapult it into the league of the West’s top mountain resorts, including Aspen, Colorado, Jackson Hole, Wyoming, and Sun Valley, Idaho. In addition to its massive size and rustic charm, it has one distinct advantage: the resort is only 18 miles from the northern boundary of Yellowstone National Park, the nation’s oldest park and the most active geothermal region on earth.
Despite the anticipated growth, Big Sky Resort will always be a “more rawhide, less chiffon” getaway for those who crave outdoor adventures as much as golf. The list of activities includes hiking, mountain biking, rock climbing, whitewater rafting, paddle boarding, sporting clays, zipline tours, and fly-fishing on blue-ribbon trout streams. Wildlife? You’re likely to see elk, mule deer, bighorn sheep and brown bear during your stay.
Big Sky will always be a “crunchy granola” kind of place that attracts fitness-oriented enthusiasts, but the recent emergence of golf as a major pastime in this exalted landscape is drawing players to a trio of vacation-worthy courses.
In ascending order, there’s the Arnold Palmer-designed course at Big Sky Resort, a lightly bunkered, 6,800-yard layout circa 1973 that stretches across the valley floor. Moose frequent its bushy streams, which are forks of the Gallatin River. The gently rolling fairways are generously wide, but a thick collar of primary rough will snare errant shots. If you’re looking for a sporty warm-up round to shake off the rust, Big Sky, a straightforward parkland-style layout known for its speedy, tilted greens, is a perfect place to let out the shaft and get acclimated to the altitude. Walkers are welcome, but at 6,300 feet above sea level, make sure your lungs can handle the thinner air before setting out.
Settle into one of well-appointed guest rooms in its clubhouse or book a golf package, and you can gain access to Spanish Peaks, the tony four-season resort community set below a curtain of jagged mountains. The centerpiece of the 3,500-acre community, 70 percent of which is preserved as open space, is a majestic spruce-beamed clubhouse that resembles Yellowstone’s Old Faithful Lodge. Managed by Montage Resorts (a future 5-star hotel is planned), the clubhouse is a stone’s throw from a splendid Tom Weiskopf-designed course routed in a secluded valley below the serrated Spanish Peaks. Weiskopf roamed the land on horseback over 10 years ago to get a feel for the flow of the terrain before charting the holes through a rolling, wooded valley dotted with specimen fir and spruce trees.
Routed at nearly a mile and a half above sea level, this beguiling layout, stretching to 7,200 yards, offers risk-reward scenarios at nearly every hole. Greens are subtly contoured and very swift. The bunkers are beautifully sculpted and well-placed. The front nine, set at lower elevation and more heavily wooded, gives way to a rollicking back nine that’s reminiscent of the Scottish Highlands, the fairways pitching and tossing across rolling alpine meadows.
Weiskopf, ever the clever strategist, built an 18th hole with two greens that plays either as a par 4 or a par 5 depending on how the course is set up that day. To settle bets, he also designed a short, entertaining 19th “Bye” hole.
A short hole is a fun way to end the round, but the best and biggest reason to visit Big Sky is to experience The Reserve at Moonlight Basin, a literally breathtaking Jack Nicklaus-designed world-beater debuted in 2015. Walled in by towering crests and stretching to 8,000 yards from the tips, Moonlight Basin has over 1,000 feet of elevation change. Spread across more than 800 acres and linked by 10 miles of cart paths, the course is grand-scale in a Himalayan kind of way, with near limitless mountain views in all directions, including massive peaks in the Madison Range and a pleated wall of Spanish Peaks. You can hear the silence: the layout possesses a quietude not often found on modern courses. By round’s end, Moonlight Basin, quite simply the most spectacular mountain golf course in America, will leave you gasping for superlatives. It’s also wild: The golf carts carry bear spray.
There are lengthy drives from green to tee at Moonlight Basin, and no one completes a round in under five hours, but that’s part of the experience. Instead of a yardage guide, there’s a Trail Map. The topsy-turvy layout offers more than jaw-dropping views as it rambles across rugged mountain foothills. Each hole is strategized to reward bold play while giving players of lesser attainment plenty of bail-out room. Conditions are uniformly firm and fast. Not every hole is an architectural triumph—the terrain is unyielding—but there are several holes that are by turns incredibly challenging and totally unforgettable. As an aside, the slick bentgrass greens are anything but an afterthought—they have plenty of movement and command respect.
The par 4 opener makes quite an impression. From a series of top-of-the-world tee boxes slotted into a hillside hundreds of feet above an angled fairway, the tee shot, a forced carry over a gulch, is aimed directly to Lone Peak. Players must select a club that will put the ball in play, a theme repeated throughout the round. Like Jack in his prime, you can tee it high and let it fly, but distance must be squared with accuracy. There are no guardrails at Moonlight Basin. The golf course is embraced by oblivion. Bid wayward shots a hearty “hasta la vista.”
The par-4 fifth hole plays to an infinity-edge green that clings to the side of a mountain and hangs above a yawning abyss. It resembles a hole you might see in one of those outlandish fantasy golf calendars. The stunning par-3 seventh, backdropped by Fan Mountain, plunges downhill to a two-tiered green staked out by mature Douglas fir and spruce trees.
While the magnificent 590-yard 15th hole skirts a pair of central bunkers and climbs to the high point of the course at 7,500 feet, the gargantuan par-5 17th, which tops out at 777 yards, is an overland journey that takes its place among the grandest three-shotters in the nation.
After the round, drop by the Moonlight Basin Tavern, which serves excellent pub fare, pours an array of regional microbrews and stocks more than 75 fine whiskies.
One caveat about Big Sky golf. Make haste. The season is short. Locals claim they’ve seen snow in every month of the year, but from early June through late September, players can expect warm sunny days, clear blue skies and a huge WOW factor.
BEYOND THE COURSE
Legends of Golf
Experience Big Sky at its best by booking the destination’s exclusive Legends of Golf package. The program features three nights in a private residence, a round of golf at Big Sky Resort, and a round each at the otherwise-private clubs at Spanish Peaks and The Reserve at Moonlight Basin. Rates start at $308 per person, per night based on quad occupancy. www.lonemountainland.com
Family Fun & Fine Dining
As a family-friendly resort, kids may have the best of it at Big Sky. The Ramcharger chair lift ascends from Big Sky’s village plaza to ‘Adventure Mountain,’ a summertime playground where kids can try their hand at archery, bungee trampoline, disc golf and other games. Would-be prospectors can dump rubble into a sluice and sift for tiger’s eye, amber, amethyst and other gemstones. (Montana is the Treasure State).
Also located at the head of Ramcharger is Everett’s, a handsome log dining room set at 8,800 feet that features locally sourced American alpine fare at its finest. (The demi-glace morel mushrooms served on butter-grilled sourdough are alone worth the ride up the mountain). More casual dining is available on Everett’s spacious deck, which features stupendous mountain views. Accommodations at Big Sky are available at multi-bedroom chalets, lodges and cabins as well as The Summit, one of the finest slope-side hotels in the Rockies.
CLUB DOWN FOR ALTITUDE
It’s important to remember that shots will fly farther in the thinner air of Montana’s mountains. This is especially true for strong players. Light hitters who don't carry the ball more than 150 yards on their drives won't notice an appreciable difference in the length of their shots at higher altitudes. However, golfers who hit the ball hard, resulting in a steep launch angle, high trajectory and extended carry time, should figure on roughly 2% added distance per 1,000 feet above sea level. Club selection must be adjusted accordingly.
Players should spend time at a distance-marked practice range to determine how far each club travels. Because each course In Big Sky is situated at well over a mile above sea level, power hitters can subtract 10 percent from marked yardages. For example, from 150 yards, select the club you hit 135 yards. Lofted shots that hang longer in the air will travel farther than low, boring shots.
Don't trust your visual frame of reference on Big Sky’s courses. Players accustomed to "eye-balling" distances on their home turf will be fooled at higher altitudes, where the air offers less resistance to the ball's flight. Gauge your distance for each club on the range--and club yourself accordingly on the golf course.
The official schedule has been set for the 2019 Troon Challenge presented by Callaway Golf. Now in its 17th year, the Troon Challenge is Troon's largest amateur golf event, attracting more than 1,600 golfers competing in regional qualifying events across the United States. From May through November, regional qualifying events will be held at over 34 facilities in 11 different states. Two-person teams in both Net and Gross Divisions will compete to qualify for spots in the Troon Challenge National Finals, to be held in Scottsdale, Ariz. December 6-8, 2019. The Troon Challenge National Finals will be played at The Phoenician Golf Club and Troon North Golf Club’s Monument Course — two of the top ranked golf courses in Arizona.
Regional qualifying events kickoff May 5th at Lake of Isles in North Stonington, Conn. and Shadow Hills Golf Club in Indio, California. Entry into qualifying events includes green fee, cart, practice balls, Callaway golf balls, an Ogio shoe bag, an official AHEAD Troon Challenge hat, event prizes and a post-tournament awards reception.
“Last year was a record year for the Troon Challenge with more than 1,600 regional golfers vying for a chance to come to Scottsdale for the Troon Challenge Finals at Troon North,” said Kris Strauss, senior vice president, sales and marketing, Troon. “This year, with over 34 regional qualifying events in 11 states, we know 2019 will be even bigger and better. We are looking forward to seeing how the exciting qualifying events unfold and hosting the 2019 Finals at The Phoenician and Troon North.”
“We certainly couldn’t pull off events of this scale without the support of our loyal golf guests, Troon Cardholders, host venues and of course, our sponsors such as Callaway Golf, Golf Genius, Experience Scottsdale, AHEAD, Pepsi and Ship Sticks,” added Strauss. “To all involved, thank you, and we look forward to a great Troon Challenge season!”
TaylorMade Golf Company has announced the highly anticipated release of P•7TW irons, a premium players set designed and crafted in collaboration with Tiger Woods.
P•7TW irons combine the inherent minimalism of precision forged muscle back blade-style irons with technology and exactness of TaylorMade’s Milled Grind sole and tungsten weighting for flight control and unique feel specific to Tiger.
“Consumers have never had the opportunity to play irons like mine…until now,” Woods said.
Performance Through Precision
No player on the planet scrutinizes golf equipment quite like Tiger Woods, so the design and creation of his irons presented a significant challenge for the design team. With Tiger’s keen discernment top of mind, TaylorMade’s team spent countless hours unpacking decades of learnings from Tiger and Mike Taylor’s previous design experiences, all of which have led Tiger to the high level of performance and craftsmanship he demands today.
Utilizing this critical information, the team spent hundreds of hours testing, relentlessly fine-tuning and creating nine design iterations through years of development to create the perfect set of irons for Tiger. When players look down at each individual iron, they’re looking at the culmination of every range session, event, victory and major championship from Tiger’s illustrious career.
P•7TW irons were not crafted as a set — rather, each head has been individually and meticulously engineered to meet the highest of performance demands. TaylorMade’s R&D and product creation teams studied decades worth of club specifications and worked directly with Tiger to refine every sole, every contour and every groove. With an emphasis on precise trajectory control, incredible workability and smooth turf interaction, each iron has been meticulously shaped to meet Tiger’s discerning eye. Each P•7TW iron utilizes many of the same design elements such as blade lengths, face height, CG progression, sole geometry, score lines and tungsten weighting, etc., that Tiger himself has in the bag.
“It’s no longer necessary to try to blend a set together from 50 different clubs; we’re able to replicate each one with consistency, from club to club, set to set, every single time,” Wood said.
Milled Grind Soles
In the past, Tiger would need up to eight “identical” hand-crafted builds of each iron in order to find just one that he could put in play. Now, utilizing the same machining process used for TaylorMade’s Milled Grind and Hi-Toe wedges, P•7TW irons feature fully milled soles (for the first time ever in a TaylorMade iron) to eliminate variations head-to-head and set-to-set— ensuring absolute precision in every individual piece.
“With Milled Grind, knowing that I’m getting essentially the same set that I just wore out is huge. I no longer have to hit hundreds upon thousands of golf balls to find a set.”
It is not widely known that Tiger uses precise amounts of tungsten weighting behind the sweet spot of his irons to improve their feel and performance. In golf, tungsten is typically used to achieve a specific CG location—however, Tiger Woods is no typical player. Instead, by optimally placing tungsten within the head of each P•7TW iron, they deliver a unique blend of feel, flight and control for Tiger to play his best.
A Premium Experience
Golfers will begin their journey with P•7TW with a premium unboxing experience. Constructed from carefully selected materials, every detail of the P•7TW box has been carefully considered to unveil these irons in a way that pays tribute to the heartfelt collaboration of Tiger Woods and TaylorMade Golf.
Available for preorder now and available commercially beginning May 1, the P•7TW will be offered in 3-PW (RH only) and come equipped with True Temper Dynamic Gold S400 Tour Issue shafts and Golf Pride’s Tour Velvet Cord grips. The P•7TW will also be available through TaylorMade’s custom program, allowing for numerous additional custom shaft and grip options.
When Golf Tips first tested the Knuth Golf High Heat driver in early 2018, the feedback was loud, clear and long: This club was something special, especially for mid- to high-handicappers who tend to venture away from the center of the club now and again. Then we got hold of the 5-metal a couple months later and saw the same game-breaking magic in play.
Now we’re in love with the 3-metal, both off the tee and the fairway.
Especially the tee, when we absolutely, positively have to get the ball in the fairway — far, far down the fairway.
The High Heat story is getting told more and more these days, for good reason: The clubs do exactly what they’re purported to do, with the data to back up the assertsions.
Here’s the gist.
Inventor Dean Knuth had worked for years to crack the last true riddle in the modern driver and fairway metal design world: How to get the same performance on off-center strikes as on the still-too-small sweet spot (for most of us, anyway).
Knuth’s mix of focus and engineering acumen and patience, coupled with careful testing of various head and face materials, resulted in what he called “focus Optimal CG Game Changer and Fire Zone Face Technologies.”
In brief, he came up with a way to expand each club’s sweet spot to the entire face by reducing the average thickness of the toe and heel areas by 30 to 40 percent.
For instance, the Knuth Golf High Heat driver produces ball speeds of 1.41 times the average swing speed (known as the “smash factor”) compared to the major brands’ average of 1.3. That translated into more than 20 yards extra distance.
Knuth took the USGA’s changes to the “CT” rule — the amount of time a ball can stay on the face of a club, from 257 to 275 microseconds — and pushed those numbers toward the High Heat’s perimeter, to an average of 267 on the toe and 266 on the heel. That’s why Knuth has dubbed High Heat’s full-hot-face effect “257+ Technology.”
Combined with a low and deep center of gravity, the High Heat is fashioned for amateur golfers, especially those lamenting the loss of distance that has crept into their games as the decades stack up.
The data is similar for the 3-metal too and 5-metal, too, as well as Knuth Golf’s brand new hybrids.
Golf Tips testing bore that out.
With the driver, what felt like slight toe hits resulted in powerful mini-fades that landed near the 250-yard marker. Center strikes, of course, were even more impressive in impact explosion, ball flight height and carry distance.
The testing continued with one big fly after another. Even definite heel shots stayed on line — on a string with, again, solid carry and roll-out distance. With the High Heat driver, strikes went from underwhelming to overachieving, swing after swing.
When Knuth’s fairway metal and hybrid versions came out, we gave them a spin, too, and got the same sweet power-packed sensation with each swing — even those that were clearly on the toe or heel. Our latest testing with the 15-degree 3-metal, in particular, took us aback; when faced with tighter driving targets and the need for less than full-on distance, pulling this handsome, larger-headed-than-usual club gave us confidence over the ball, which led to a smoother, slower swing — and explosive impact, pleasingly piercing ball flight and virtually no chance at a slice. Instead we got a dead-straight to slight draw movement. And even to a decent headwind, our tee shots cleared 220 yards; downwind, closer to 235.
For fairway strikes, the High Heat 3-metal performs beautifully, too. Again, swing easy and let Knuth’s hard work kick in.
For golfers tired of swallowing hands-ful of over-the-counter or prescription pain meds before and after every round, there’s a new high-tech device called Oska Pulse that will allow pain-free practice, play and recovery with no side effects.
Afrer all, pain is an issue with all athletes, including golfers. Many undergo surgery, rework their swings, and end up on pain meds. Oska Pulse is a portable, wearable and affordable PEMF machine that reduces inflammation and relieves pain. It is doctor approved, FSA/HSA spending account reimbursable, and over half of users reduce or eliminate meds their inherent risks.
Oska Wellness is a pioneer of technology-driven wellness solutions that help people live more active lives with less pain. Oska Pulse is clinically proven (via a double-blind placebo study) to reduce inflammation, increase circulation, improve mobility and alleviate pain.
It uses Pulsed Electromagnetic Field (PEMF) technology, which is commonly used in doctors’ offices and demonstrated in thousands of clinical studies to work at the source of pain by accelerating the body’s ability to repair injured cells and increasing blood flow. By addressing pain at the source rather than simply masking it, Oska Pulse is ideal for acute or chronic pain, including back, knee, neck, joint, muscle and more.
PEMF technology has been a trusted solution for pain management and tissue regeneration in clinics for decades, and works at the cellular level to accelerate the body’s ability to repair injured cells. Healthy cells convert nutrients into energy by efficiently moving ions through their membranes. When cells are distressed from pathogens, trauma, starvation or toxins, this ion movement is more difficult, and the cells’ metabolic productivity is reduced. A safe, low energy Pulsed Electromagnetic Field is used at a precise frequency to restore the cell’s efficiency, allowing it to perform its function. Once only accessible through doctors’ offices and therapy centers, this effective technology is now available for home, office, car and on-the-go use through Oska Pulse.
Every putter manufacturer stresses the importance of FEEL. Words like “soft feel,” “muted feel,” “firm feel,” “softer sound and feel,” “old school feel,” and “gentle feel” are used to describe the feel of the putter’s impact with the golf ball. All golfers know and understand that sensation, both the good and the bad. Impacting the ball at or near the putter’s sweet spot feels good.
A GolfWorks study1 by Britt Lindsey confirmed that virtually all tour professionals and low handicap players are the best sweet spot hitting golfers.
What is a sweet spot? The sweet spot is that the small area on the striking surface of a golf club that must contact the ball if maximum power and control are to be attained. (Collins English Dictionary).
When putting, to hit the sweet spot, the golfer must align the center of the golf ball with the centerline of the putter. Almost every putter has a black or white line on the top of the putter to help aim and align the putter’s sweet spot with the golf ball. As an observer, from a distance, it is easy to see when other golfers have or have not aligned the ball and putter sweet spot.
Surprisingly, when you check out the teaching pros on YouTube or watching your friends putt, you will discover that almost everyone fails to really align the golf ball’s centerline and putter’s sweet spot.
Why? Aligning a ball and putter should be easy - not really! A technical phenomenon, a Parallax Effect, visually misleads the golfer into believing that the centerline of the golf ball is aligned with the center line of the putter.
To understand the Parallax Effect, let’s take a step by step analysis of the putter aiming and alignment process.
With the ball on the green, the golfer tries to visualize the probable trajectory of the putt. After making the read, the golfer usually picks an intermediate point along the anticipated line to aim the putt.
Next, the golfer addresses the golf ball. Looking down on the golf ball, the golfer envisions the ball’s centerline. If the golfer looks direct down on the golf ball, the golfer will visualize the true centerline of the ball.
However, if the golfer does not look directly down at the golf ball, they will experience geodesic distortion skew2 – in plain English, the perceived ball’s centerline is shifting slightly closer to the golfer. The perceived centerline shift is about 0.010 inches for every degree the sight line is off of vertical.
For example, if the line of sight is 86°, rather than 90°, the perceived ball centerline is 0.040 inches closer to the golfer.
Eye Position Above Ball
Parallax Sweet Spot Error
Vertical above Ball
0 inch error
72° (Parallel to Shaft)
After visualizing the golf ball’s centerline, the golfer positions the putter behind the golf ball. If the golfer aligns the putter’s centerline with the perceived ball centerline, the putter’s true sweet spot will be slightly misaligned with the real center of the golf ball.
The slight misalignment, between the golf ball and the putter’s sweet spot, will adversely affect the putt’s distance and accuracy. The greater the misalignment error, the higher the probability that you will need more putts to complete your round of golf.
If you want to ‘aim to make’ like the pros, you will need to adjust your putt process for the Parallax Effect. Hitting the golf ball consistently with the putter’s sweet spot will “feel” great and assure you will make more putts.
1 Putter Moment of Inertia, Britt Lindsey VP-Technical Service – The GolfWorks
2 An apparent change in the direction of an object, caused by a change in observational position that provides a new line of sight
Woody Stillwagon is Director of Development for AcuAim Golf, LLC
Ask any teaching pro what is the number one golf fundamental to work on constantly and consistently, and they’ll reply “alignment.” That’s why Sight Ball is such a simple and effective sight for sore swings.
Sure, there are plenty of alignment tools to add to your practice arsenal, but few involve the ball itself, beyond that little putting stripe or line either built into the cover or drawn on with a Sharpie. Sight Ball takes those alignment marks into three-dimensional territory, giving golfers a variety of ways to incorporate it into their routines, with every club in the bag.
Harry Briggs, Sight Ball’s inventor, developed the acronym “F.A.S.T.” for Focus, Accuracy, Stance and Training. That about covers it.
Each ball is marked with six bold red “targets” of circles at each “pole” of the sphere, with crosshair-type lines at right angles within them. This allows a quick-glance reference for any element of alignment — ball position at stance, club face to target line, center of club face to center of the ball, feet to target line, etc. — and a consistent way to check those positions as you work on different shots.
Golf Tips testers came up with several ways to put Sight Ball through its versatile paces:
Place the ball with one “target” pointing directly up, and you’ve got an apt focus point for maintaining a steady head and spine angle through the swing
Align four crosshairs to your target, square the face to them, and you’ve got a failsafe check on whether you’re opening or hooding the club at address
Keep the face and those lines at right angles whether you’re employing an open stance for pitches and chips, a slightly closed toe line for draw bias or a square toe line for most full swings, and your eyes won’t lie to you.
On the practice green, use Sight Ball to better read breaks, align the putter face to the chosen target line and work on center-face strikes to and through the ball
Another putting plus: Use the top “target” to make sure your dominant eye is properly positioned directly over the ball so you’re getting an accurate sense of direction with each stroke
Transfer the mental image of spot-on alignment with the Sight Ball to your regular in-play ball — or, put a Sight Ball into actual play during your round. One or two approaches from the fairway or pitches or chips around the green will tell you whether your alignment is still off-kilter
Briggs sells Sight Ball in packs of three for $7.50 or six for $15, and if you’re really serious about practicing full swings with it, you can even buy a bucket’s worth (36 balls) for $70. Just have your shag bag handy because you don’t want to lose ’em.