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3BaysGSA PUTT: Editor Review

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All golfers inherently understand that to score well, they need to putt well. We all know the cliché, but we don’t always listen to the voice in our head telling us to go to the practice green instead of the practice tee.

A repeatable, consistent stroke will always give a golfer the best chance to drain those putts to save par, drop a birdie or even make that bogey putt that keeps the round going. The best way to achieve a repeatable stroke is by understanding your current stroke and making improvements. The 3BaysGSA PUTT, a lightweight putting analyzer designed to deliver key feedback about your stroke, is one of the ways to help you achieve that consistent, reliable putting stroke.

The PUTT is available now for $199 and you can learn more on its website. Unlike other swing analyzers on the market, there are two different products: the GSA PUTT for Android and the GSA PUTT for iOS. You need to purchase the appropriate product for your device, which also includes the free companion smartphone app that can be downloaded from the iOS and Android app stores. 3Bays also has a swing analyzer designed for the full swing, but this review is focused only on the 3BaysGSA PUTT.

Pros

  • Accurate representation of the putting stroke.
  • Great collection of key data points.
  • In-app video integration.

Cons

  • Only analyzes the putting stroke (but does it well).
  • Requires separate hardware for iOS and Android.
  • Works on tablets, but not optimized for the larger screen.

The hardware

GSA PUTT Hardware

The PUTT packaging and hardware is very solid. When you first open the box, you get the feeling you’ve purchased a high-end product. It is one of the nicest presentations I’ve seen yet. The box includes a carrying case, a micro usb cord with a wall adapter for charging and a quick start guide. The PUTT fits securely in the top of your club instead of attaching to the shaft like other analyzers. It is extremely light, weighing just 9.8 grams and appears solid enough that if you accidentally drop it, it won’t instantly shatter. Since the sensor is at the top of the shaft, some golfers might find the sensor could be in the way depending on their grip and position. The only time I had any issues was when I was practicing at home with my watch on my wrist. At the range or the course, the sensor was not in the way.

The real magic is what is inside the case. Because 3Bays decided to focus on two separate devices — one designed for high-speed capture (GSA PRO) and one designed for low-speed motion capture (GSA PUTT) — the PUTT includes very delicate sensors that can detect even the most subtle movements during the swing.

Device setup, golfer and putter info

Setting up the PUTT was simple. You need to download the companion app first, then power up the device. You can expect the same process as pairing other Bluetooth devices and the smartphone app will guide you through the process. I didn’t have any issues pairing the first time and have not experienced any issues pairing or staying paired with the device. If you have any issues, there is a nice help section within the app.

Like most motion analyzers, PUTT will deliver more accurate results if you take the time to fill out your profile and putter information. For the golfer, you should at least enter your height, but you can enter your gender, weight, handicap and name.

The putter data is very important. You can select the head type from a variety of options including mallet, Anser-style, center-shafted, futuristic and others. Length, loft, lie and head weight are other data points you can modify. The more accurate you can be with this data the better, but don’t worry too much if you can’t find the specs on the lucky gamer you’ve had in your bag since you were a kid. You can also change the color of some of the elements and set the distance, speed and force units, which is a nice feature.

App and swing path animation

GSA Putt MainPUTT includes a free app available for iOS and Android. For iOS, you need to have a 3GS or newer running 5.1 or later, and for Android you need to be running 2.3 or later. For this review, I’m focusing on the iOS experience. One thing to note is that these apps will run on tablets such as the iPad, but they are not universal apps and are not designed specifically for tablets. That means instead of presenting the golfer with an interface that leverages the large screen, you’ll see a magnified iPhone app. 3Bays is considering tablet-optimized apps in the future, but is focusing resources on new products for now.

After you pair your PUTT, the app goes directly to the swing screen. Once you enter your basic specs, all you need to do is roll putts. To make sure it registers, line up your putt, pause for one second and then start your swing. The app will automatically analyze the data and present the swing path animation on the screen. You can keep putting, the app will continuously record your swings.

Once you are ready to review your swings, you’ll see that you have two views on the screen. The top view displays your attack angle. The bottom view displays your face angle. There are many other data points, but I like that 3Bays highlighted these two metrics because they are two of the most important pieces of data in the putting stroke. You can tap the play button to view an animation of your stroke. You can auto play the animation at full, 1/4 and 1/16th speed and you can zoom in close allowing you to see even the most subtle moves during the swing. If you turn your device to landscape, the view changes to show a bigger view of the animation.

Data and accuracy

GSA Putt DataI tested the PUTT outside on the putting green and inside on a putting mat with guide lines. I also leveraged video separate from the app, as well as other swing analyzers to help test the accuracy of the data. We all know a $200 analyzer is not going to be as accurate as the larger commercial systems, but PUTT does provide very accurate data that will be useful to the majority of golfers looking to improve. The sensors picked up my stock stroke exactly as I expected. When I tried to manipulate the stroke with subtle movements such as taking the club back outside or coming back into the ball inside, the app picked it up with really good accuracy. Downward angle of attack and upward angle of attack also registered accurately. The app presents eight data points including consistency, tempo, face angle, attack angle, downswing time, backswing time, impact speed and swing path distance. The one data point that really stands out as unique to other analyzers is the swing path distance. The app presents a colored graph showing the distance of your backswing and your follow through. You can also view historical charts showing your consistency over time.

In addition to using the PUTT to help improve my swing, I also used it to help me decide to switch putters. I’m not advocating using the PUTT instead of a proper putter fitting, but I did find it very interesting when I stacked two of my putters against each other, I found that my old putter actually allowed me to square up the putter face much more consistently than my current putter. While this type of comparison testing isn’t the No. 1 purpose of the product, it is a nice bonus.

PUTT packs a lot of great information, data and path animations into this app. For me, I’d like to see a redesign and a streamlining of the app to make it more intuitive. It is a solid app and there are some nice design features, such as super smooth swipe gestures to move between swings. However, I believe there is an opportunity to further enhance the experience especially as the company considers rolling out a version of the app that truly capitalizes on the screen real estate available on tablets.

Video

I love seeing companies squeeze every ounce of functionality out of our devices. Integrating video into the app is a no-brainer. It is one of the most common ways to understand, learn and improve your swing. 3Bays recently joined the list of swing analyzers to integrate in-app video with their most recent PUTT app update. From the main swing screen, you can tap on the camera icon which will pull up the video recording screen. You can choose to record continuously, or just one time. The video can be recorded in landscape or portrait mode, but I’ve found landscape provides me to be close-up but still see the full path of the putter back and through. The video is automatically in slow motion, and although limitations in the frame rate of smartphones won’t turn this into super slow motion, it is good enough to give you a sense of what is going on during your stroke. The video playback screen allows you to swipe through the video, draw annotations and also displays the attack angle and face angle at impact.

Help

3Bays spent time including quite a bit of help information within the PUTT app. You can tap the help icon in the navigation bar, which pulls up an overlay allowing you to see information about each element on the screen. They have a nice Connection Wizard to walk you through the pairing process and helpful tips on how to pair your PUTT.

There is a golf tips button in the app, which loads the 3Bays website. However, the tips are limited right now and are only covering the full swing and not putting. I like it when swing analyzers include tips, but it isn’t one of the top-10 features I’m looking for. There is a wealth of resources available these days to help us learn about the golf swing, and more importantly, many teaching pros out there who are able to give us personalized instruction. Leveraging the data and insights available through the PUTT app with your local pro really creates the best of both worlds.

Bottom Line

There are many ways to roll putts. But one thing is constant: we have to deliver the putter head square at impact to sink more putts and lower our scores. 3Bays understands that offering a product aimed at only one part of the game has its limitations. They are looking at alternatives, such as packaging both products together, but at the time of this post, do not have any official plans. That said, 3BaysGSA PUTT is a solid product that provides golfers of all skill levels a very accurate picture of their putting stroke and plenty of data to help understand what is going on, allowing you to make improvements and hopefully sink more putts.

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When he is not obsessing about his golf game, Kane heads up an innovation lab responsible for driving innovative digital product development for Fortune 500 companies. He is also the co-founder of RoundShout and creator of Ranger GPS, the free iOS GPS app for the driving range. On a quest to become a scratch golfer, Kane writes about his progress (for better or worse) at kanecochran.com and contributes golf technology-focused articles on GolfWRX.com.

4 Comments

4 Comments

  1. charlie

    Nov 14, 2013 at 1:07 pm

    would be nice to see a comparison to the iPing. for 200 bucks this thing better be head and shoulders better, and i’m not convinced it is.

  2. pablo

    Aug 6, 2013 at 10:40 pm

    Another ‘con’ – can’t use it with a belly putter.

    • Kane Cochran

      Aug 7, 2013 at 9:50 am

      Great point, Pablo. It would definitely mess with the anchor point and it would even turn off the device! Thanks for the comment.

  3. ed everett

    Aug 4, 2013 at 9:12 am

    a great web site for new products before the salesman stops by

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Accessory Reviews

GolfWRX Spotlight: Crossrope weighted jump rope & app

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An 18-hole round of golf averages out to just under five miles of walking, which on its own is a good workout. Once you throw in some potential uphill trekking you get some serious cardio too, but if you all looking for a quick workout between rounds of golf look no further than Crossrope.

Crossrope – The details

Crossrope is a system of the weighted jump rope that allows you to quickly switch the weight of the ropes you are using to boost your workout—they range from 1/4 lbs all the way up to 2 lbs depending on the kit you start out with. There is an accompanying app that helps you go through multiple workout routines and is available free, or you can upgrade to the entire library of workout routines along with more workout tracking options.

This is NOT your middle school jump rope

The handles are heavy duty and feature precision bearings to allow the rope to move smoothly around as you go through a routine. They are also ergonomic and fit into your hand naturally, which making gripping easy, something that is really nice when you’re swinging a 2 lbs coated steel cable around. The handles also come with a fast clip system to make changing cables depending on your selected workout easier too.

The ropes themselves are made from braided steel and are almost impossible to tangle, allowing them to be easily transported and stored when not in use. All in you are getting a premium piece of workout equipment that is effective and easy to store—hard to same the same thing about a treadmill.

When it comes to a workout, skipping rope is one of the most effective cardio workouts you can do, and with Crossrope, you can get both cardio and low impact weight training when using the heaviest ropes, and follow along with the guided workouts.

As someone that hadn’t used a jump rope in over a decade, starting out lighter was a nice way to ease in before moving up, and I was pleasantly surprised how easy and fun some of the workouts in the app were. If you are looking for a fun way to add something to your workouts, or you just want to try something new to get you into golf course walking shape, this could be right up your alley. To learn more check out crossrope.com

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Accessory Reviews

WRX Spotlight: Athalonz EnVe—The best golf shoes you’ve never heard of

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One of the coolest parts of being in this part of the golfing world is being able to shed light on smaller companies that typically get overshadowed by their bigger corporate brothers.

So, this post is about one of those products that is definitely competitive against top golf shoe companies, and it’s made by a company called Athalonz, which is based out west in Arizona. Typically known for its innovative baseball cleats and insole packages, Athlonz newest addition takes the patented design to the world of golf with the EnVe golf shoe.

These have started appearing on the world long drive circuit due to the amount of traction they get, allowing players to swing harder. So for the last few months, I have gotten to wear them and see if they are as good as the company claims.

Athalonz EnVe: Living up to claims

The main selling points of these shoes are focused on two things

  1. Design that delivers more power and stability
  2. Custom comfort that lasts all day

These are somewhat difficult to combine into one shoe, and though they are on the heavier side, Athlonz are completely worth it for the benefits. It is obvious that they made strides to hit each box on the list for a great shoe. The patented design has been adapted from their baseball cleat and introduces a spikeless golf shoe with a circular design that allows the player to gain traction through the golf swing. This gives a player the chance to swing harder and faster without losing their footing. They also offer insole packages that help with correct bodyweight placement to help add an extra layer of consistency.

Secondly, it’s very noticeable that there was plenty of thought given to comfort with a roomy toe and custom insoles to fit your style. Additionally, ankle padding helps to provide more stability and comfort.

On another note, they have a good sense of style with a more classic, casual take. In addition to the pictured white/brown color, there’s a black/grey colorway as well.

After multiple months of wear in all types of conditions, these shoes have performed great for me with all the traction I need and while feeling great throughout the round.

Verdict

I am a person who tends to support smaller companies when I can if they make good products. Any support for them goes a long way—especially in the golf business. Since these shoes will set you back about $150, I wanted to be sure they are worth it for the money and they absolutely are. Seriously, for anyone looking to boost their shoe game and help alleviate aching feet and ankles, give these a shot.

 

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Accessory Reviews

GolfWRX Spotlight: Nikon Coolshot 20 GII and 20i GII

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Every golfer should have an accurate, reliable, easy-to-use rangefinder. With the new Nikon Coolshot 20 GII and 20i GII, you get all of that and more in one of the smallest, lightest packages on the market.

Not only do you get a ton of features, but when you consider these devices start at only $199.99 for the 20 G II and then $229.99 for the 20i GII ( slope adjusted version ), you get one of the best values in a rangefinder from one of the most well-known consumer optics companies in the world.

Review: Nikon CoolShot 20 GII and 20i GII

First Target Priority and 8-Second Continuous Measurement: “First Target Priority” is Nikon’s way of making sure you are picking up the flag and not a tree behind your intended target. There is nothing worse than thinking you have your distance dialed in to then have a shot fly over the green. With how quickly it lets you know the ranger finder is locked, getting that distance and double-checking can happen remarkably fast.

In the eight-second continuous measurement setting, the rangefinder will continuously measure the field of view as you scan the target area for approximately eight seconds. This setting is great when playing unfamiliar courses or trying to figure out the exact spot to a dogleg, tree, or hazard on your intended line.

Bright, 6x Monocular: Nikon is known for its glass and multi-coating technology, from telephoto camera lenses to rifle scopes, if it’s Nikon glass, it’s going to be clear, fog-resistant, and high-contrast for easy viewing. From a viewing experience perspective, the Coolshot 20 GII’s 6x monocular has an adjustable diopter for sharp focusing, along with long eye relief—meaning you can keep your glasses (or sunglasses) on when acquiring your target.

Slope-Adjusting ID Technology: With the 20i GII you have the option to get the slope-adjusted distance for any shot thanks to Nikon’s ID Technology. The mode can be turned on and off by the user to comply with USGA rules to make it legal for tournament rounds. Having tested it out on hilly terrain it’s easy to see why so many golfers mis-club going into greens when elevation changes become a lot more dramatic.

Review

The Nikon Coolshot 20 GII’s size and weight make it ideal for anyone who regularly carries and wants the benefit of knowing distances but without having to worry about weight—it weighs about the same as a sleeve of balls.

The size allows you to hold the units stable. However, I could see for those new to the rangefinder space, it could take some time getting used to when first getting acquainted with it. The best bet for this is to take it to a range or just step outside with it on your next walk and get used to hitting targets before you take it to the course—plus it makes for a fun game to see how good you really are at estimating distances.

Overall, for the price and size, it is one of the best rangefinders on the market. Plus, with a five-year warranty, you can be assured of years of use with the Nikon CoolShot 20 GII rangefinders.

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