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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

WRX Spotlight: Swag ball markers and divot tool

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Product: Swag ball markers and divot tool

Pitch:  From Swag: “Swag is the brand that isn’t scared to push the limits in a conservative sport that isn’t evolving to meet changing styles. We like to listen to music on the course, we want to be bold, we love having fun, we love golf, and we’re going to express that both on and off the course. We aren’t going to try to sell you on how great our proprietary materials are and we don’t need to rely on clever marketing to sell more. We’re a no BS company. What matters is that our putters feel good and in turn make you feel good when putting. We have some crazy ideas, we love to tinker, and we experiment on how to perfect everything we do.”

Our take on Swag’s ball markers and divot tool

Swag Golf is creating some of the most sought after products on the market right now, with their funky headcovers and putters all being in high demand. Well, the companies ball markers and divot tool are no different, both of which are easily identifiable as coming from this emerging company who create high-quality products.

The Skull is the companies flagship symbol, and their Stainless Steel Skull Marker their most recognizable marker. The skull marker features black and fluorescent paint, with the bright sunglasses on the marker giving it a vibrant look. 100% CNC milled, the tool contains the companies name engraved on the back of the marker.

A variation on the Skull Marker is the companies Rainbow Skull Marker. Just in case the black and fluorescent paint job on the former wasn’t flashy enough for you, Swag’s Rainbow Skull Marker will make sure to get you noticed, containing the same features as their Skull Marker with a Rainbow PVD finish.

Moving away from their Skull Marker’s, Swag’s St Paddy’s Day Cap Marker is more than worthy of a mention. Identical in size to a bottle cap, the St Paddy’s Day inspired marker features a hand polished golden finish, with the word Swag in green written on the front, while on the back the words “Swag Golf Co.” as well as the company’s philosophy “Don’t give a putt” featured.

The company describe their bottle cap/marker as not being the first bottle cap/marker on the market but “the best one” out there. While I can’t confirm how true that statement is, I can certainly say it is an excellent one.

Swag’s first divot tool is the DTF Divot Tool. Get your head out of the gutter, that stands for “Down To Fix”. The device comes in a black and lime paint job, and an impressive weight of 49 Grams which should ensure that it doesn’t go missing on you.

The divot tool, like their ball markers, is 100% CNC milled and made from 303 Stainless Steel. For a Swag product, the writing and branding on the tool is quite minimalist, and it is as clean and sharp looking a divot tool as I’ve seen from the 2019 releases.

As always with Swag products, the only issue is the limited releases and how quickly the items go, which is no surprise considering the unique products as well as the quality provided. They are, however, continuing to create and release more and more products and their website, as well as their social media sites, are all well worth keeping a close eye on if you’re looking to snag some of the companies top gear in the future.

 

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Accessory Reviews

WRX Spotlight: Swag putter covers

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Product: Swag putter covers

Pitch: From Swag: “Swag is the brand that isn’t scared to push the limits in a conservative sport that isn’t evolving to meet changing styles. We like to listen to music on the course, we want to be bold, we love having fun, we love golf, and we’re going to express that both on and off the course. We aren’t going to try to sell you on how great our proprietary materials are and we don’t need to rely on clever marketing to sell more. We’re a no BS company. What matters is that our putters feel good and in turn make you feel good when putting. We have some crazy ideas, we love to tinker, and we experiment on how to perfect everything we do.”

Our take on Swag putter covers

When it comes to loud, inventive, standout putter covers, Swag never disappoints. Their new series of covers are certainly out there, and the contrast of their range, attention to detail, and excellent all-around quality make these putter covers a must have — if you can get your hands on them.

To start with, Swag’s Lincoln cover is a a real standout. The cover features a bright green background with President Lincoln looking the part in dark shades in the company’s own version of the $5 bill. The detail of the blade putter cover is excellent, with the bright green being the eye catcher and the unmistakable figure of Abraham Lincoln as the centerpiece.

The company also seem very proud of their creation, letting folks clearly know in their description of the cover that it is “not legal tender.” (Just in case you found yourself confused)

The company’s pink Flamingo cover is also a personal favorite, featuring bright colors and cool summer breeze feel. The great detail on the bird with its dark shades, vibrant colors and background of the palm trees make it an ideal cover as we head into the summer months. But it isn’t just the designs. The quality of the fabric and stitching lends for a durable and plush feeling cover too.

It’s worth noting that Swag enthusiast and team member Kevin Streelman is rocking one of the latest Swag putter covers. The American is currently gaming a Swag 2019 Handsome Too Tour with a double fly milled face, and the 40-year-old rocks the Chicago style deep-dish pizza cover to accompany the flat-stick.

Swag is without a doubt a no BS company, and in their putter covers, they have certainly delivered in their aim to be bold and experimental. Perhaps the only disappointment is that all their limited edition putter covers are already sold out, which is an ode to how clever and engaging their designs are. The covers range in price from around $75-$125, and as the company continues to push the boundaries, here’s hoping for more releases in the near future.

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Accessory Reviews

WRX Spotlight: Garmin Approach Z80 laser rangefinder

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Product: Garmin Approach Z80

Pitch: From Garmin: “See the game differently with the Approach Z80 laser range finder with GPS. Laser ranges are accurate to within 10,” so you can take dead aim at the flag. See a full-color CourseView and Green View overlay in 2-D, showing distances to the front and back of the green, plus hazards on more than 41,000 courses worldwide.”

Our take on the Garmin Approach Z80 Laser Rangefinder

In terms of laser rangefinders, the Garmin Approach Z80 does all the little things well and then packs on a bundle of additional features, which makes the product unique.

For starters, one of the coolest features of the Garmin Approach Z80 is the 2D hole layout that appears on the left-hand side of the screen. The image serves as a virtual map of the hole, and offers you a great view of what’s in store next should you either pull or push your shot, making it one of the best rangefinders on the market for use on your tee shots. The rangefinder also allows you to enter your average driving distance, which will automatically suggest where your tee shot should land.

For approach shots, this rangefinder gives you the distance to the front, back and flag which shows up at the bottom of the screen. The Z80 can also provide distances to hazards and bunkers which is very useful for tight pin locations. When locking onto the flag, the rangefinder provides a yellow arc which once more presents you with a view of where you could end up if you hit your number but miss your target.

The rangefinder goes into standby mode after it hasn’t been used for five seconds, a feature which is extremely good for battery life. Once fully charged the ApproachZ80 will easily last you from 3-4 rounds. However, the standby mode does cause it to take slightly more time to load up when using, but we’re only talking 10-20 seconds.

The PinPointer feature which the Approach Z80 features is also very beneficial in that an arrow on the screen will direct you to the hole, whether you’re facing a blind shot, or are out of position. It’s worth noting that the PinPointer feature is also advantageous in that it gives you the yardage to the hole and not just a guide, despite you being unable to see the flag.

All in all, the Garmin Approach Z80 is a top rangefinder with an innovative 2D map of the hole which gives you a tremendous amount of power in that you can not just visualize the hole quickly but also possess a powerful tool for shots off the tee. The small size of the rangefinder is also a major plus, as is its light weight of just 8oz. At $600, it wouldn’t be considered an economical purchase, but in terms of the innovative technologies and benefits, it could still be considered value.

 

 

 

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