Review: The Pill
Summary: The Pill gets golfers focused on what's most important in putting: face angle at impact.
A training aid with no bad side effects
Pros: The Pill is idiot-proof; you set it on its edge to practice your putting or on its side for chipping and bunker shots. If your stroke is off, The Pill won’t lie. It’s affordable, portable and easy to use.
Cons: The Pill looks like a fat Necco wafer or an Oreo cookie with dimples. Your friends will give you loads of grief for honing your stroke with a silver dollar pancake wannabe, even after you take their money.
Bottom Line: If you want to become a better putter, you have to develop a solid stroke and strong mental approach. One way to do this is to use smaller targets for your practice. Aim your ball at a smaller hole and the regulation one’s 4.25-inch diameter will seem wider. The Pill, which is roughly half the width of a golf ball, was built on the same concept. Roll it well and your stroke is in good shape. Cut across it and it will wobble or spin out.
The Pill is so simple that instructions aren’t necessary. All it requires is time. My suggestion is to work between The Pill and your favorite golf ball so that the stroke that you develop when training is subsequently transferred to the ball that you will use on the course.
Plain and simple, The Pill product measures face angle at impact. Too many amateur golfers get ball-bound when addressing putts. It doesn’t matter if the golfer is on the practice green or putting during the course of the round: it happens. The Pill has the potential to free golfers from that tendency.
When practicing with this product, golfers can line up The Pill to a preselected target, and then align themselves to that target at address. A simpler way is to pick a target once you square yourself to The Pill…or better yet, don’t pick a target! Strike The Pill as a child would, without care for its destination. All that matters is your stroke and the reaction of the little disk.
The Pill is sold on the company’s website. For the curious ones, a single Pill may be purchased for $12.95. A sleeve of Pills saves you a bit of cash at $39.95, while a dozen Pills (a chipping set) are available for $129.95. A Pro Set of Pills, including 50 of the little guys, sells for $497.50.
The Pill offers a series of videos on its website, for the benefit of the customer. There’s an introductory video that shows how to align the disc for one and two-Pill drills. Another video shows how an inside-out swing path causes an open club face and a pushed putt, as well as a quick fix for the problem, while the subsequent video reverses the problem and examines how a closed club face may be caused by an outside-in swing path, with pulled putt as the bottom line.
There’s also commercial footage that shows the Pill’s ability to be used for chipping and sand play. The golfer lays The Pill flat, on the round side, then plays a routine recovery shot. The device either spins back-to-front (when contacted properly) or erratically in a sideways fashion, if the club face or swing path were not square to the target line.
The Pill promises to do one of two things: roll out or spin out. It does both when it should. The Pill is a modified golf ball and reacts to a putter-blade strike as any top-shelf orb would. If you have the time to use a chalk line or a set of pins and a string to visually lay out a straight putt, The Pill will serve you well as an alignment tool. If the line and The Pill appear to be misaligned, you’ll know that your eyes deceive you.
I made an effort to replicate the chipping and explosion shots practiced in the aforementioned video. You need to be quick with the eyes to look up and determine the spin, so it’s best to work with a partner (or a video camera) to monitor your path, face alignment and spin outcome.
Looks and Feel
The surface of The Pill is dimpled like a golf ball. It feels like a golf ball and is not distracting in any way. The Pill employs a Surlyn cover that offers a different feel from a premium tour quality ball; you’ll notice this most in the sound, which offers more of a click echo than heard with a urethane cover. For golfers who don’t use premium golf balls, the sound won’t present a problem.
I struck The Pill with anser-style and high-MOI putters and found that the product sounded and felt as would an actual golf ball. Understand that it wasn’t similar to or like an actual golf ball, but as an actual golf ball would feel.
The question the consumer must answer is, does the value of the The Pill justify its cost? I’d stake my reputation on the efficacy of The Pill, but I won’t give you a money-back guarantee. Could The Pill 2.0 have an alignment line on it, or would that be overkill? How about a Pill with a softer, tour-ball cover? There is room to grow for this teaching aid.