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The Big Review – PuttPucks Putting Aid

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Of all the areas of the game that we all know we should practice more, it’s putting. The trouble is that putting practice just doesn’t have the allure of spanking one down the middle with a driver, puring an iron or fizzing in a wedge and watching it rip back.

We all know that practicing putting is the quickest way to lower your handicap but too many of the drills that we are told to do are just mindless repetition, not much fun or seem to have little relevance to actual putting. This is were the PuttPucks comes in.

The PuttPucks is 600 grams of finely machine aluminium with two outer rings around a center disc. There is also a poker chip ball marker (while stocks last). You can choose from a wide selection of colors, the standard colors are blue, silver and red which makes the PuttPucks look like a roundel from an RAF Spitfire. Given that I grew up next to what was a fighter base for the Battle of Britain, I didn’t see any need to change the colors. The build quality is superb, the separate pieces practically form a single disc when slotted together.

So how do you use it?  First off, it’s a rebound target, i.e you putt at the puck and watch at what angle the ball comes off. While this sounds pretty obvious considering its shape it’s actually pretty good. The idea is that you putt towards it from a relatively short distance and try to get it come straight back to you. While it’s not that hard to hit a hole sized target from a few feet, it’s actually quite a challenge to hit it dead-center. That you have a large target to aim at means that you’ll boost your confidence but you have to be unbelievably precise to get the ball to bounce straight back repeatedly. One of the direct effects of this practice is that not only do you develop a better idea of your aim point but you get used to taking a stronger and more confident stroke at the target. Since the vast majority of putting woes comes from being overly tentative this psychological side-effect has a marked improvement on putting, especially on shorter putts where practice with the PuttPucks makes you used to making aggressive putts at a hole sized target.

Secondly, it’s a series of targets. The beautifully engineered pieces disengaged to make 3 different sizes to aim at. The largest is the same size at the hole. The middle target is a ball width smaller so putts that hit this target would go in the cup. The smallest target is exactly the size of a ball and is reserved for the most precise and accurate drills. Altering the size allows you to emphasize accuracy on different length putts. Usefully, the PuttPucks website has a series of drills and games to improve both aim and distance control.

The third option is one reserved for the putting green and in some ways is the coolest use of the PuttPucks. As it fits into a hole on the green, you can reduce the size of the hole using the outer ring. For all the putting gadgets you can buy, the gold stardard is – can you get the ball in the hole? The sound of the ball hitting the bottom of the cup is what we all want and with the size of the hole reduced your focus becomes pin sharp and getting the ball in the hole is a real acheivement. After practising with the hole reduced, when you take it out the hole really does seem to be the size of a bucket. The only proviso with this is that your putting green cups need to be set up in the same way as the normal cups. If your club protects the side of the hole by not inserting the cup to the full depth you won’t be able to use the PuttPucks in the hole as it will sit above the putting surface.

The only negative that you can say about the PuttPucks is that most of what you can do with it, you can do with ordinary things like coffee mugs or egg cups but the PuttPucks is a brilliant putting aid – it helps with accuracy, confidence and precision and is very easy to use and it is designed to take the abuse of being hit – not something that you can claim for a mug. The vast majority of putting aids require too much setup or make you perform actions that are only vaguely related to getting the ball in the cup but everything you do with a PuttPucks is directly related to putting and you can use it anywhere: on the course, at home or even in the office (so long as no one catches you!). If you’re looking to improve your putting or you’re looking for a present for a golfer that has everything, you really don’t need to look any further than a PuttPucks. Highly recommended.

For more information, visitwww.puttpucks.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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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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