GOLFTEC’s Nick Clearwater tests his putting stroke at the PING Putting Lab
by Ryan Gager
Imagine stepping into the world of cutting-edge technology and golf science to uncover the secrets behind a perfect putt. That’s exactly what happened when GOLFTEC’s Nick Clearwater paid a visit to the renowned PING Headquarters and the illustrious PING Putting Lab. In the video, PING Director of Golf Science, Erik Henrikson takes Nick through a PING putter fitting, to see where he stacks up against some of the best putters in the world, including PGA Tour professional Victor Hovland. Fresh off his recent victory at the BMW Championship and his run to the Tour Championship, Hovland’s putting prowess has everyone’s attention. See if Nick can manage to etch his name on the PING putting leaderboard next to Victor’s in this edition of Data Driven.
The Data Dive: Putting Under the Microscope
In this quest for putting supremacy, Nick underwent the iPing test. iPing, a cutting-edge technology utilizing inertial sensors in an iPod Touch, meticulously measured Nick’s putting stroke. The data revealed some intriguing insights. Face angle at impact, tempo, lie angle, and shaft lean are the areas tested.
- Face Angle: The difference between the face angle at the end of the backswing and impact was a point of emphasis. Nick’s tendency is to close the face by around five and a half degrees. Since he repeatedly holed putts, this indicated that he was likely aiming a bit to the right of his intended target understanding that he comes through with a closed face. Also, as Erik pointed out, a certain amount of variation is normal, and the goal is to achieve consistency.
- Tempo: Nick’s tempo, measured at 1.9, was right in the middle of the bell curve, reflecting a balanced rhythm. The average tempo they see at PING is 1.8, so this places Nick at a scratch level in terms of repeatability.
- Lie Angle and Shaft Lean: The analysis showed that Nick might benefit from a slightly flatter lie angle, and since his hands were a bit forward at impact, they could add some loft to the putter. Adjusting these factors could help enhance his performance on the green.
Stroke Type, The Leaderboard and Putting Your Putting to the Test
Nick’s putting style was categorized as “slight,” meaning he has a slight arc in his putting stroke. This classification led to recommending a putter like an ANSER, something in the middle of the road when it comes to toe hang, for Nick. Nick was pleased to hear that, as that’s the style of putter he currently plays.
The famed leaderboard showcasing top players’ putting handicaps provided a tantalizing benchmark. Nick, with a putting handicap around scratch, found himself among an impressive group, although he fell short of getting his name on the list today. The putting handicap measures repeatability, and Nick’s performance demonstrated the value of consistent putting. This leaderboard featured golfers with impressive plus handicaps, including Victor Hovland with a +5.6, further highlighting the significance of repeatability in putting.
While the lab offers invaluable insights, real-world testing is equally essential. The Proving Ground outside the lab allows golfers to experience putting on real greens. Pairing lab analysis with outdoor experience ensures that the fitting process is holistic and effective. The stress test involves putting under pressure, mirroring real-life golfing scenarios.
Nick Clearwater’s visit to the PING Putting Lab offered a sneak peek into the world of golf science, technology, and expert analysis. The quest to out-putt a PGA Tour pro like Victor Hovland was an enlightening experience, as it showcases just how good guys on the PGA Tour putt. Whether you’re chasing a club championship or aiming for personal improvement, remember that the magic behind a perfect putt lies within the realm of cutting-edge golf technology and the expertise of passionate professionals.
To learn more about getting a personalized putter fitting, find your local GOLFTEC today and talk with an experienced GOLFTEC Coach. We have the technology, knowledge and experience to get the proper putter in your hands.
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