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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: Putting Perfecter

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Putting can be one of the most frustrating parts of the game, it mystifies scratch golfers as much as high handicaps and can make anybody tremble over a three-footers. It’s one of the biggest factors in scoring, especially for the club-level player, but it’s often one of the last things people actually work on. Let’s be honest, it’s a lot of fun to pound drivers on the range, am I right?

But if you are seriously looking for a simple tool to help get you into the proper address position, the Putting Perfecter is a great one to start with.

The beauty of the device is in its simplicity. Fitting under your arms and across your midsection, it “locks” the player into the proper position to create a pendulum putting stroke. After giving it a shot and hitting putts for just a few minutes, then going back to putting without it made me feel like I was much more connected.

Don’t think it’s just for putting though.

Funny story, when I first took it out to work on my putting, I used it for about 30 minutes and then moved onto my chipping. After a few trips around the putting green I tried chipping with the Putting Perfecter in the same position and “WOW” same connected feeling was produced—it was perfect for working on low-flying “runners.” I was excited to tell my friend about it, until I went home and realized they actually advertise it to help with that too. Guess I’m not as clever as I thought…

No matter how you use it, the Putting Perfecter is a simple and effective training tool that can be carried in a bag to be used before or after a round, takes NO time to set up (a big plus), and is light—so you don’t feel like its dragging you down if you actually keep it in your bag. Since it’s a putting tool, you can even use it indoors very easily. If you are someone that struggles with consistent address position on putts or disconnecting when chipping, I believe the Putting Perfecter is a great tool to try.

For more information check out the Putting Perfecter website.

 

 

 

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Accessory Reviews

WRX Spotlight: Uther Supply golf towels

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Product: Uther Supply golf towels

Pitch: Via Uther: “Uther cart towels use the highest quality material and construction which have been tested to perform season after season…Uther’s unique blend of moisturize wicking, soft microfiber is 3x more absorbent than cotton and 5x more durable…Waffle pattern to easily remove even the most stubborn dirt in club grooves and golf ball dimples…Uther is the creator of the fashionable golf towel. Features unique sublimated prints and designs that make a fun accessory for both men and women golf bags.”

Our take on Uther Supply golf towels

Most golfers have a “logo” towel hanging on their bag today. Typically you’ll see the name of a course the golfer has visited, or an OEM name. Uther Supply towels, however, are different. Uther (pronounced “other”) Supply Founder Dan Erdman described his inspiration for this unique line of golf towels in an interview with GolfWRX a few years back:

“When you work in the back shop and storage facility, you handle a lot of golf bags. I just noticed rows and rows of bags that all look the same and I thought it made a lot of sense to inject some personality into it. You know, people go crazy for how all the pros personalize their wedges and their bags. They buy towels and bag tags from courses like TPC Sawgrass and Pebble Beach to personalize their stuff, but in the end it all kind of blends together… I thought we could really add something to the marketplace.”

They have certainly succeeded in creating a new type of towel in the marketplace. We used them over several rounds of golf, in various conditions to put them to the test.

Meant to be shown off, Uther golf towel designs are creative and clever, with some of the most popular being the “Happy Gilmore inspired” Cart Towel and “90s coffee cup” Tour Towel. There of course, are many others to choose from.

Of course, let’s not forget that the primary function of a towel is to clean your golf equipment. That might seem easy but we at WRX have ordered some custom towels from other manufacturers in the past and were disappointed in the performance. Uther’s towels, however, succeed in both form and function. They’re stylish, but they also are an excellent functional towel. You’re like to be impressed at how light they are as well. These aren’t bath towels, but rather high-quality microfiber blends that Uther says are 3x more absorbent than cotton.

As far as cons, if we’re nitpicking, you may need to find a larger carabiner clip for some golf bags if you want to hang your towel in a more prominent place. These are made to show off, after all.

Prices range from $28-$35 USD and are available for purchase at uthersupply.com, Dick’s Sporting Goods and Golf Galaxy in the US and Golf Town in Canada.

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Accessory Reviews

WRX Spotlight: Adidas Forgefiber Boa golf shoes

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Product: Adidas Forgefiber Boa golf shoes

Pitch: From Adidas: “Designed for protection from the elements, these golf shoes have enhanced cushioning to return energy on every swing. The shoes feature a spikeless outsole that flexes with your foot and has strategically placed lugs for outstanding grip and balance. An innovative closure system is built for micro-adjustments so you get the exact fit you need.”

Our take on Adidas Forgefiber Boa golf shoes

Golf shoes are curious creatures existing in a strange place? No? Finally free of the gravitational pull of traditionalism, shoe styles are finally at a place where form follows function. And while you may pine for the days of saddle shoes aesthetically, your feet (and likely your golf swing) surely do not.

While the shoes are also available in gray/white and black/white colorways, we tested the bolder dark marine variant.

Now, “good” footwear, as we are constantly wont to admit, is highly subjective. As of yet, you can’t test two pairs of kicks on a TrackMan and determine which is superior (rumored featured of TrackMan 5). So leaving aside aesthetics and how you like your shoes to fit, we provide the most valuable information, that is, regarding stability, cushioning, and traction. However, in this case, it’s also worth noting the closure system does allow for a more precise fit (and one that stays in place) than lace-up shoes do.

With respect to comfort, first of all, anything Boost is going to be comfortable, and these shoes are no exception. And whether you refer to the “Forgefiber in the upper features heat-pressed, TPU-coated fibers…stitched in” to the upper (as Adidas does), or merely the sensation that the Forgefiber Boas provide a solid foundation during the swing, the truth is the same: sound, stable here.

A look at the Puremotion outsole showcases some serious spikeless technology that also offers performance on par with the very best in spikeless footwear.

A final word: These shoes are no porous sieve, either, as you might be concerned they could be on first glance. Adidas’ Climastorm technology in the exterior yields a respectable level of water-repellency.

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