Pros: The Navigator offers immediate feedback on alignment. It’s compact, lightweight and attaches directly to any putter. At $60, it’s cheaper than most lessons and new putters.
Cons: Users must be careful not to bend the lightweight aluminum aiming arms.
Who’s it for: Golfers looking to aim their putter down the target line on a more consistent basis. It’s great for the putting green or the carpet at home.
It is said that a golfer’s putting stroke is as unique as their fingerprint. So while it’s true that most strokes can be classified into a few general categories (strong arc, slight arc, straight back/straight through), every golfer moves their putter from Point A to Point B a different way. This is where the Navigator looks to find its place, maximizing a golfer’s aim and accuracy on the green regardless of their stroke type or the putter they use.
There’s also a great back story about the development of the product, which you can read about here.
Here’s the company’s boastful video on how the Navigator works.
Designed to improve a golfer’s aim in 5 minutes or less, the Navigator succeeds, at least for myself, where many other training aids do not. The positive effects begin to take effect immediately, as promised.
In order to test the claims that the Navigator can improve a golfer’s stroke in 5 minutes, I set out to gather the data to prove, or disprove that statement. I used SAM Puttlab to test my aim and direction before and after using the Navigator. The putter used to gather the data was a Cleveland Classic 2, 35 inches long, with a 71 degree lie angle and 3 degrees of loft.
Before using the Navigator, my aim on average was 2.5 degrees open to my target. My variance ranged from 1.17 degrees open to as much as 3.43 degrees open, a difference of 2.26 degrees. While those numbers don’t initially sound too high, they’re not very good.
On a straight 10-foot putt, a ball that starts on a line that’s 2.4 degrees open to the target will miss the hole on the right by 4.63 inches. As a reference, the diameter of the hole is only 4.25 inches. That means the putt will be missed by more than one cup to the right.
After using the Navigator, my aim was 0.1 degrees closed to my target on average, an an improvement of 2.6 degrees. My variance was -0.63 degrees closed to 0.28 degrees open, a total difference of 0.91 degrees. That was an improvement of 1.35 degrees.
If you look at the two bars on the right side of the charts, you can see that my aim initially was in the 58th percentile while my consistency, or how close I was to aiming the same way each time, was in the 59th percentile.
After using the Navigator, my aim improved to the 95th percentile and my consistency improved to the 94th percentile.
A second effect that the Navigator had, above and beyond my aim, was on my club face alignment at impact. Before using the Navigator, my putter face was on average 0.8 degrees open at impact and my variance was -0.18 degrees closed to 1.92 degrees open, a total difference of 2.1 degrees. These numbers put me in the 71st percentile while my consistency was only in the 58th.
After spending five minutes with the Navigator, my club face angle at impact, on average, was completely square and my range in club face angle was -0.46 degrees closed to 0.76 degrees open, a difference of 1.22 degrees. In this case, my face angle improved to the 88th percentile, and my consistency improved to the 91st percentile.
The Navigator produces immediate results, and at $60 it won’t break the bank. Its ready-to-use design allows golfers to go from setup to practice in just a few seconds, which sets it apart from its larger and more complicated counterparts.
In my experience, golfers are always more likely to use a training aid they can covertly slip in their bag. It’ll be there when they want it, and if their results are anything like mine they’ll want to practice with it a lot.
[wrx_buy_now oemlink=”https://www.dirtylarrygolf.com/” oemtext=”Learn more from Dirty Larry Golf” amazonlink=”http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00UC3X83G/ref=as_li_qf_sp_asin_il_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=B00UC3X83G&linkCode=as2&tag=golfwrxcom-20&linkId=EZQF64YLGACSIOY4″]
Top-3 men’s golf polos at the 2018 PGA Fashion Show in Vegas
GolfWRX’s fashion expert Jordan Madley picks her top-3 favorite men’s polo shirts from the recent 2018 PGA Fashion Show in Las Vegas. Enjoy the video below!
I tried the great Golfboarding experiment… here’s how it went
Corica Park Golf Course is not exactly the first place you’d expect to find one of the most experimental sports movements sweeping the nation. Sitting on a pristine swath of land along the southern rim of Alameda Island, deep in the heart of the San Francisco Bay, the course’s municipal roots and no-frills clubhouse give it an unpretentious air that seems to fit better with Sam Snead’s style of play than, say, Rickie Fowler’s.
Yet here I am, one perfectly sunny morning on a recent Saturday in December planning to try something that is about as unconventional as it gets for a 90-year-old golf course.
It’s called Golfboarding, and it’s pretty much exactly what it sounds like: an amalgam of golf and skateboarding, or maybe surfing. The brainchild of surfing legend Laird Hamilton — who can be assumed to have mastered, and has clearly grown bored of, all normal sports — Golfboarding is catching on at courses throughout the country, from local municipal courses like Corica Park to luxury country clubs like Cog Hill and TPC Las Colinas. Since winning Innovation Of the Year at the PGA Merchandising Show in 2014, Golfboards can now be found at 250 courses and have powered nearly a million rounds of golf already. Corica Park currently owns eight of them.
The man in pro shop gets a twinkle in his eyes when our foursome tells him we’d like to take them out. “Have you ridden them before?” he asks. When we admit that we are uninitiated, he grins and tells us we’re in for a treat.
But first, we need to sign a waiver and watch a seven-minute instructional video. A slow, lawyerly voice reads off pedantic warnings like “Stepping on the golfboard should be done slowly and carefully” and “Always hold onto the handlebars when the board is in motion.” When it cautions us to “operate the board a safe distance from all…other golfboarders,” we exchange glances, knowing that one of us will more than likely break this rule later on.
Then we venture outside, where one of the clubhouse attendants shows us the ropes. The controls are pretty simple. One switch sends it forward or in reverse, another toggles between low and high gear. To make it go, there’s a throttle on the thumb of the handle. The attendant explains that the only thing we have to worry about is our clubs banging against our knuckles.
“Don’t be afraid to really lean into the turns,” he offers. “You pretty much can’t roll it over.”
“That sounds like a challenge,” I joke. No one laughs.
On a test spin through the parking lot, the Golfboard feels strong and sturdy, even when I shift around on it. It starts and stops smoothly with only the slightest of jerks. In low gear its top speed is about 5 mph, so even at full throttle it never feels out of control.
The only challenge, as far as I can tell, is getting it to turn. For some reason, I’d expected the handlebar to offer at least some degree of steering, but it is purely for balance. The thing has the Ackerman angle of a Mack Truck, and you really do have to lean into the turns to get it to respond. For someone who is not particularly adept at either surfing or skateboarding, this comes a little unnaturally. I have to do a number of three-point turns in order to get back to where I started and make my way over to the first tee box.
We tee off and climb on. The fairway is flat and wide, and we shift into high gear as we speed off toward our balls. The engine had produced just the faintest of whirrs as it accelerated, but it is practically soundless as the board rolls along at full speed. The motor nevertheless feels surprisingly powerful under my feet (the drivetrain is literally located directly underneath the deck) as the board maintains a smooth, steady pace of 10 mph — about the same as a golf cart. I try making a couple of S curves like I’d seen in the video and realize that high-speed turning will take a little practice for me to get right, but that it doesn’t seem overly difficult.
Indeed, within a few holes I might as well be Laird himself, “surfing the earth” from shot to shot. I am able to hold the handlebar and lean way out, getting the board to turn, if not quite sharply, then at least closer to that of a large moving van than a full-sized semi. I take the hills aggressively (although the automatic speed control on the drivetrain enables it to keep a steady pace both up and down any hills, so this isn’t exactly dangerous), and I speed throughout the course like Mario Andretti on the freeway (the company claims increased pace-of-play as one of the Golfboard’s primary benefits, but on a Saturday in the Bay Area, it is impossible avoid a five-hour round anyway.)
Gliding along, my feet a few inches above the grass, the wind in my face as the fairways unfurl below my feet, it is easy to see Golfboards as the next evolution in mankind’s mastery of wheels; the same instincts to overcome inertia that brought us bicycles, rollerblades, scooters, skateboards, and more recent inventions such as Segways, Hoverboards and Onewheels are clearly manifest in Golfboards as well. They might not offer quite the same thrill as storming down a snowy mountainside or catching a giant wave, but they are definitely more fun than your standard golf cart.
Yet, there are obvious downsides as well. The attendant’s warning notwithstanding, my knuckles are in fact battered and sore by the time we make the turn, and even though I rearrange all my clubs into the front slots of my bag, they still rap my knuckles every time I hit a bump. Speaking of which, the board’s shock absorber system leaves something to be desired, as the ride is so bumpy that near the end I start to feel as if I’ve had my insides rattled. Then there is the unforgivable fact of its missing a cup holder for my beer.
But these are mere design flaws that might easily be fixed in the next generation of Golfboards. (A knuckle shield is a must!) My larger problem with Golfboards is what they do to the game itself. When walking or riding a traditional cart, the moments in between shots are a time to plan your next shot, or to chat about your last shot, or to simply find your zen out there among the trees and the birds and the spaciousness of the course. Instead, my focus is on staying upright.
Down the stretch, I start to fade. The muscles in my core have endured a pretty serious workout, and it’s becoming increasingly difficult to muster the strength for my golf swing. It is no coincidence that my game starts to unravel, and I am on the way to one of my worst rounds in recent memory.
Walking off the 18th green, our foursome agrees that the Golfboards were fun — definitely worth trying — but that we probably wouldn’t ride them again. Call me a purist, but as someone lacking Laird Hamilton’s physical gifts, I’m happy to stick to just one sport at a time.
Review: The QOD Electric Caddy
If you want an electric golf caddy that doesn’t require that you wear a sensor or carry a remote — one that will be reliable and allow you to focus on your game, and not your cart — then the Australian-manufactured QOD is worth checking out.
The QOD (an acronym for Quality of Design and a nod to its four wheels) is powered by a 14.4-volt lithium battery, good for 36 holes or more on a single charge. It has nine different speeds (with the fastest settings moving closer to jogging velocity) so the QOD can handle your ideal pace, whether that be a casual stroll or a more rapid clip around the course.
The QOD is also built to last. Its injection-molded, aircraft-grade aluminum frame has no welded joints. Steel bolts and locking teeth take care of the hinging points. The battery and frame are both guaranteed for three full years. If you need a new battery after the three-year window, the folks at QOD will replace it at cost.
Its front-wheel suspension gives the QOD a smooth ride down the fairway, and the trolley is easy to navigate with a gentle nudge here and there. The QOD is always in free-wheel mode, so it is smooth and easy to maneuver manually in tight spaces and around the green.
The caddy also features three timed interval modes for situations where you might wish to send it up ahead on its own: when helping a friend find a lost ball or when you will be exiting on the far side of the green after putting, for example. The clip below includes a look at the caddy in timed mode.
Another area where the QOD excels is in its small size and portability. When folded, it measures a mere 17-inches wide, 15-inches deep and 12-inches tall, making it the smallest electric caddy on the market.
Folks Down Under have been enjoying the QOD for some time, but it wasn’t until a few years ago when Malachi McGlone was looking for a way to continue walking the course without putting undue strain on an injured wrist that the QOD found U.S. fairways. After first becoming a satisfied customer, McGlone convinced CEO Collin Hiss, who developed the product and oversees its production in Australia, to allow him to distribute and service the QOD here in the states.
The QOD has no self-balancing gyroscope, bluetooth sensor or remote control. Bells and whistles just aren’t its thing — though it does have a USB port for cell phone charging that can come in handy. However, if you are looking for a no-fuss workhorse to move your bag down the fairway, the QOD should be on your radar.
The 2018 model has begun shipping and will be on sale at $1,299 for a limited time. It normally retails at $1,499.
Details on Jordan Spieth’s switch to the new Titleist TS2 driver
Spotted: “Titleist CNCPT-01” irons, via Instagram
Phil Mickelson WITB: The Match
Why flaring your left foot out at address could be a big mistake
Charles Howell III’s winning WITB: 2018 RSM Classic
Did Justin Rose confirm his switch to Honma?
Bryson DeChambeau’s Winning WITB: 2018 Shriners Hospitals for Children Open
Review: Miura MC-501
Spotted: Callaway Epic Flash, Epic Flash 3-wood
Matt Kuchar’s winning WITB: 2018 Mayakoba Golf Classic
Looks like Little John Daly is a “Long John” as well
John Daly’s 15-year-old son is again the talk of the PNC Father/Son Challenge. JD and LJD first teed it up...
Adam “Pacman” Jones talks handicap, lowest score, shows off new clubs
The trick-shot artist, golfing dynamo, and general internet phenomenon that is Matty sat down for a quick nine questions with...
Tweets of the Week: Best golf posts from Twitter over the last week
Louis Oosthuizen cried tears of joy after winning the South African Open, while Patton Kizzire and Brian Harman triumphed at...
Exploring Ireland: Where to golf, drink and stay on the Emerald Isle. Pt. 2. Old Tom Morris Links, Donegal
In these series of articles, I will be taking you around the Emerald Isle providing you with great golf courses...
News1 week ago
Spotted: Callaway Epic Flash, Epic Flash 3-wood
Equipment2 weeks ago
Callaway Epic Flash, Epic Flash Sub Zero hit USGA conforming list
Equipment2 weeks ago
Jon Rahm’s Winning WITB: 2018 Hero World Challenge
Podcasts2 weeks ago
The Gear Dive: Ryan Palmer finally switches irons…after 9 years
News2 weeks ago
Ryan Palmer on switching irons, learning the game in Texas, and why he doesn’t have an equipment contract
Equipment2 weeks ago
2018 GolfWRX Holiday Gift Guide
Equipment2 days ago
Bargain Challenge: Putting together a set of clubs for $500
Equipment2 weeks ago
Bubba Watson has Ping G400, Blueprint irons in the bag at Hero World Challenge