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DJ’s new putter has a “T-line,” and the reason explains exactly why you need to get fit

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In 2017, Dustin Johnson used a TaylorMade Spider Tour Black that had no sightline on the crown. At the 2018 Sentry Tournament of Champions — where he happened to win by 8 strokes — DJ had two, perpendicular sightlines on his Spider putter; TaylorMade calls it a T-line. And if the reason why he changed putters doesn’t explain why you need to get fit, I’m just not sure what does.

Here’s what happened in an account from TaylorMade:

“[Dustin Johnson] was struggling with his putting end of last season, punctuated by his lost lead in China after struggling on the greens. Keith Sbarbaro [his fitter and VP of Tour Relations] met with him in Carlsbad at the putter lab to solve his woes. The Tour team built 12 identical Spider Tours, each with different sight lines (long, short, dots, etc.). He hit 5 putts (flat, 15 footers) with each sightline in the lab. The putters with the long lines he was aiming upwards of 10 inches left of the hole. The short line model(s) he lined up left edge. The one he used all last year with no line was 1 inch left of center, but the “T-line” model was right at dead center nearly every putt…”

It’s amazing to me that the World No. 1 golfer, who won four times in 2017, could be aiming upwards of 10 inches left of the target. I don’t care if it’s an old-school 8802-style putter with no sightline, that’s eye-opening to hear a golfer of his caliber can be that far off with his aim from 15 feet. It just goes to show how much the look of a putter, and the alignment lines, can have an affect on your aim. And it also explains to us mortals that we should be doing the same test for ourselves before buying a putter.

Apparently, DJ needs a “T-line” to aim properly. But every golfer is different. Next time you have access to a putter fitting, or any alignment feedback device, take advantage of it. Try different putters, models, styles and sightlines to see what works best for you… it just may save your putting.

Related: Dustin Johnson’s Winning WITB from the 2018 Sentry TOC

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He played on the Hawaii Pacific University Men's Golf team and earned a Masters degree in Communications. He also played college golf at Rutgers University, where he graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism.

25 Comments

25 Comments

  1. Stephen Finley

    Feb 21, 2018 at 11:47 am

    Or, you could figure out what’s actually wrong with your eyeline-to-putter-to-target relationship and simply adjust your setup. Or turn your head a little as appropriate. I’m serious. Eyeline at address matters. Not all of us have a thousand bucks to try four or five different ridiculous expensive putters through four or five fittings, and I don’t know how that’s the best solution anyway.

    One wonders how Nicklaus or Jones ever could’ve made a putt without all this. And yet they did.

  2. Joe Wessendarp

    Feb 6, 2018 at 4:12 pm

    TaylorMade might re-think its use of “T-line” unless licensed by trademark owner.

  3. Kyle

    Jan 27, 2018 at 10:10 am

    So it takes DJ until 2018 to get the proper putter, and I’m supposed to think that means I should get fit?
    If it was that simple, shouldn’t DJ have had the right putter years and years ago? If anything, this makes me less confident a single fitting would be successful…

  4. Rybo

    Jan 27, 2018 at 7:29 am

    So DJ aimed 3.1798* to the left with the longer sight lines, seems quite reasonable from a visual perspective. And maybe his stroke path matches the 3* aim left producing a square face at his target line. Edel has been stating these visual issues for years and there have been entire books written on how different visual aspects effect performance.

    Everybody thinks Tour guys dwell over every aspect of their equipment. Nothing could be further from the truth. If something looks good and/or feels good they will put it in play. A chagne to an alignment line is a tweak compared to a change in length, lie, shaft offset, hosel location, weight, etc etc etc.

    @rusty – both stores in Naples have straight 15′ putts, just need to know where they are!

  5. TeeBone

    Jan 24, 2018 at 11:46 pm

    So the #1 player in the world can’t aim a putter unless it has a special “T” on it? I think I’d seek out an optometrist before a fitter.

  6. Kurt

    Jan 24, 2018 at 5:15 pm

    You can statically align the putter at address but the moment you start your backswing you lose all that alignment and depend on your putting stroke to realign the putter at impact.
    Might as well only have a dot over the sweet spot and hope for the best.

  7. Ian

    Jan 24, 2018 at 3:01 pm

    Pretty sure the whole world calls it a T line.
    Manufacturers talk golfers like the golfer is a moron.

  8. Jerry

    Jan 14, 2018 at 6:04 am

    Hard to believe DJ was not properly fit for aim previous to this year – shame on his fitter. If he done an Edel fitting, he would have known how the shape, hosel, offset, and slghtlines affect aim – sightlines are subtle changes to your aim.

  9. dlygrisse

    Jan 10, 2018 at 2:12 pm

    I have often believed most of the obnoxious alignment aids you see on putters now days do more harm than good. I have always putted best with a small line or dot.

    • Stephen Finley

      Feb 21, 2018 at 11:26 am

      From a marketing perspective, all they have to do is give the buyer the impression and/or expectation of “better” and “improvement.”

      That goes double for all the complex heads, Jetsons looks, etc. I’m continually amazed at what kinds of features and designs pros seem to think they need to hit the sweet spot on a _putter_, for God’s sake.

  10. Rusty

    Jan 10, 2018 at 12:51 pm

    Honestly, two largest PGA superstore, Golf Galaxy (former Golfsmith) in Naples Florida doesn’t have STRAIGHT putting surface from 15 feet. Each putt brakes from 15 feet. It amaze me each store has 500 different putters to sell and they can not make putting area absolute level. Any idea how to fit/test 15 putters? Anyway, you need perfect facilities to do that.

    • Christopher

      Jan 25, 2018 at 4:53 pm

      The problem with stores is they often have raised putting surfaces to test putters on, and they’re not always built for heavy traffic. So they may be flat to start off with but they often wander as they get older (as they’re not on solid surfaces) and see more use. Obviously there are some exceptions, but if you can find a store with a flat training aid to practice three footers that will give you feedback, you should be able to find what suits you best (if you don’t have a local fitter).

  11. Realist

    Jan 9, 2018 at 1:38 pm

    I have a much cheaper alternative.
    1.) Put a line on the ball
    2.) Line the ball up with your aiming spot/point
    3.) Use whatever putter you own and just line the ball line up to putter line

    Putting 101 – No gimmick edition

    • Jerry

      Jan 14, 2018 at 6:00 am

      The line on the ball does not work for a lot of people. In other words, it probably will not work for most. The eyes play tricks on you, and everyone sees things uniquely.

    • Stephen Finley

      Feb 21, 2018 at 11:36 am

      And I have a question or two for the alternative _and_ original solutions:

      1. Since even the swinging of a putter is on not a straight line but an arc, how does a straight line on the putter not interfere with that and even influence a player to take the putter back on an inappropriate straight line that is out of whack with what the human body does and how a putter swings in plane?

      2. For people who put lines on balls, what happens when you’re two degrees off from, say, 15 feet in setting the ball perfectly on line? Do you back off and reset if you notice it? How does it not complicate things (and slow down play) to put yourself in a situation where now you have one more task during a putt, and if you get it wrong, presumably you’re almost guaranteed to miss the putt? And how do you make the straight line on the ball match up with the curving arc of a properly swung putter?

      I’m seriously asking.

  12. Steve

    Jan 9, 2018 at 12:56 pm

    What makes me laugh about this is, where can an amateur golfer find a fitter, who will make them 12 different versions of a specific putter they like just for fitting purposes. The best putter fitting I’ve experienced is for an Edel which I bought just over a year ago, it was awesome but we have since fell out and it’s in the naughty bag. However the next putter I bought was still based on what was found in the Edel fitting and we getting along well at the moment. Also don’t think I’m a poor putter who’s looking for his next fix, according to my stats recorded on garmin gps I averaged 30 putts per round last year, which isn’t bad for a 7 handicap. I think proper fitting for amateurs for any club can be a difficult thing to find (In the UK anyway).

    • KJ

      Jan 9, 2018 at 4:43 pm

      Exactly Steve. It’s not exactly “available” in the US either. In fact, the article states, “…it also explains to us mortals that we should be doing the same test for ourselves before buying a putter.” Huh? Is this author trying to tell me I can go into my local PGA Superstore and receive the same, or even remotely similar, care and treatment that DJ received from his TaylorMade rep? In all likelihood, I couldn’t receive this kind of treatment and consideration from my local pro, who would usually do adequate to good clubfitting. Does putter fitting make sense? Yes. Is it readily available for an amateur handicap golfer? Not really. I only know one pro anywhere near me who could perform putter fitting — Todd Sones — and his approach is more focused on length, lie angle, and type of putterhead recommended relative to a player’s natural path. I doubt even he would have anything that would replicate a “putter lab” with laser-type aiming analysis.

    • Stephen Finley

      Feb 21, 2018 at 11:41 am

      “Naughty bag.” I love it. Gotta remember that. I’m still using two of the same forged-blade putters — an Old Master 8802 replica and a MacGregor George Low copy — I was using as a plus-2 in my 20s and then as a pro (for a while, both teaching and playing), but I’ll confess thinking about a new putter on the odd week and taking the current putter into the shop just to show it that there were other pretty girls too, and it could be replaced. Always seemed to do the trick.

      The rest of your post is so right, too. One wonders how this over-over-triple-overkill approach to fitting could ever apply to even an avid and skilled player who wasn’t endlessly sponsored and funded.

  13. Sam

    Jan 9, 2018 at 10:09 am

    This site is turning into Golf Digest, every other article is about how you need to buy the latest because your gear is too many weeks behind

    • Stephen Finley

      Feb 21, 2018 at 11:42 am

      You can say _that_ again. Nothing like presuming endless funding on the part of players who work for a living.

  14. dbleAGLE

    Jan 9, 2018 at 8:53 am

    When spinter muscles tighten over that 3′ rt to lt breaking putt to win the hole all alignment marks on the putter fade out and it comes down to being mentally strong & making a good stroke without jabbing at it.

  15. Vince Ja

    Jan 9, 2018 at 5:22 am

    C’mon, the putter alignment is a false hood…if you rely on something visual behind the club face youre a fool. VJ

  16. Philip

    Jan 8, 2018 at 10:33 pm

    A golf putting fitting doesn’t need to be a special facility or professional – a golfer just needs to be objective and honest with themselves when they practice on a decent green (not a fake store putting green) so they they can decide on their gaming putter (of course, having a collection of 16 different types of used putters to go through at different lengths helps me out a lot), but I always come back to my favourite 2-3 putters. The thing is – we change over time and one should be double-checking regularly to ensure that they haven’t picked up bad habits or the speed of the greens have changed enough to make their gamer putter start working against them. That all being said – I have been trying for a few seasons to set up a putter fitting with a relatively close Edel facility, but they never respond – I think this year I’ll go over to the course and see if the facility listed on their website is still in operation – my 2018 golf season present to myself :o)

  17. COGolfer

    Jan 8, 2018 at 7:53 pm

    Unfortunately, for most of us putter fitters are harder to find than driver/iron fitters. I believe Club Champion does have fittings, but haven’t heard much about the process or results.

  18. steve

    Jan 8, 2018 at 6:09 pm

    Here’s the problem and more confusion.
    The sight line parallel to the putting line is only useful at static address, not during the putting stroke while looking at the ball.
    With only a sight line perpendicular to the putting line you must visualize a putting line that is perpendicular to the putter face.
    In either case, the path of your putting stroke overrides all static alignments. DJ’s “T-line” is a personal preference that seems to help him with poor address alignment.
    It’s puzzling because when you are standing at address and trying to align the putter you are gazing sideways for a putting line which is optically problematic. Oh, well ….

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Accessory Reviews

Talking with Alonzo Guess of Sunfish…and a look at the insane headcover they made for GolfWRX

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We last talked with Alonzo Guess of Sunfish in November of 2017 after the Nashville-based company launched a custom headcover and accessory builder on its website.

The company has been producing custom headcovers, yardage books, and other accessories since 2013 when it entered the market with its signature wool headcovers.

We wanted to see what was up, and Guess was kind enough not only to answer a few questions, but to design a pretty incredible GolfWRX driver cover using some raw assets we sent over.

BA: What’s new at Sunfish since we last talked? 

AG: 2018 was a great year for innovation at Sunfish. We worked hard to develop new design and construction techniques, and it has been really exciting combining these new creative elements into one of a kind headcovers and accessories. 2018 was our eighth year in business, but it was probably the most significant in terms of innovation. We’re excited to see where we can go from here!

BA: Looking at your websites, I know one of the new things you developed is something you call Photoflux. What exactly is Photoflux?

AG: Photoflux is our proprietary high-resolution printing process, that gives us the ability to apply to our products anything from photos to complex patterns to intricate logos. The level of resolution and detail is truly unmatched, and can’t be achieved with embroidery. We apply it to our leather and Duraleather products, even our hand-made copper ball markers and divot tools! Those are really exciting, because we can make custom copper ball markers with full color logos, on demand

BA: How the heck did you come up Photoflux?

AG: A customer ordered a scorecard holder with his family photo to be embroidered on each side. We made the piece and weren’t happy at all with the result. The embroidery process couldn’t do justice to the photographs. It was clear that there were certain limitations to embroidery, and we were motivated to overcome them. After months of trial and error, long hours and strenuous testing against sun, rain, and wear, we developed the current process.

BA: What are ways the Photoflux process can be used?

AG: Photoflux is perfect for applying photos, but can also be used for intricate logos or family crests. Really any graphic element can be expressed accurately using Photoflux, including shading. Recently we’ve had fun developing custom patterns such as tiger fur and using them as stripes on headcovers. The sky’s the limit!

Photoflux is best in concert with other design techniques, such as embroidery, laser engraving, and precision cutting and sewing. The featured piece (shown in this feature) incorporates Photoflux, precision cutting and sewing, laser engraving and embroidery. The result is as much artwork as it is a functional golf accessory.

BA: What are the limitations of the technology…what products can you apply Photoflux to?

AG: It’s great for leather and Duraleather headcovers, putter covers, scorecard and yardage book holders, alignment stick covers, cash covers, valuables pouches, wine bags, barrel style tartan headcovers…and even copper ball markers and divot tools!

BA: Tell me about this headcover you made for GolfWRX. I suggested the use of a graffiti wall, a GolfWRX logo, and skeleton hand holding up one finger to denote one club/driver, and you really went to town!

AG: So for the headcover you have, we used Photoflux to apply the graffiti wall image to the top of the cover (did you notice the ‘GolfWRX’ spraypaint in there? We threw that in there for you as an Easter egg!). On top of that, we embroidered the skeleton hand. For the stripe, we laser cut the outline of a typical urban skyline, and laser engraved the chain-link fence pattern over the top, than sewed that down. The bottom portion is a Photoflux image of GolfWRX that you sent over.

With so many new ways to decorate and manipulate the materials, we’re really excited about combining it all for our fans and customers to create really unique products. We feel the sky is the limit, and we hope this headcover illustrates that.

 

 

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Equipment

New XXIO Prime woods, hybrids, and irons aim for lightweight power

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XXIO’s latest club offerings, XXIO Prime, looks to offer easy distance and easy accuracy for the moderate swing speed golfer, according to the company.

XXIO Prime woods

xxio-prime

XXIO Prime Woods feature a new re-designed hosel structure, and reduced stiffness at the tip of the driver shaft, which is designed to help moderate swing speed golfers to close the clubface through impact.

Forged from Super-TIX PLUS Titanium, the new cup face includes a sweet spot that is noticeably larger than previous designs, which aims to increase distance performance significantly. The Super-TIX PLUS Titanium Cup Face is thinner, lighter and stronger than previous additions, creating a maximum COR across the face, which aims to increase ball speed and distance.

According to Chuck Thiry, Vice President of XXIO USA

“The speed increases, higher launch angles, and draw bias of the new Prime will show immediate results from swing one. It’s legit lightweight power for the players that absolutely need it the most.”

Featured in the XXIO prime woods is the SP-1000 shaft, with TORAYCA T1100G carbon fiber and NANOALLOY resin, which creates a strong but lightweight club. Along with the lightness in the shaft, XXIO has made weight savings in the grip and club head, which aims to produce woods that are both fast and easy to swing.

The XXIO Prime woods feature an expanded toe and narrowed heel, a tungsten-nickel inner weight that is low and deep, a lighter hosel repositioned closer to the center of the face, and reduced stiffness at the tip of the shaft, all with the aim of offering golfers with maximum forgiveness from their woods.

The XXIO Prime woods will be available from March 1 and will cost $579,99.

XXIO Prime hybrids and irons

The new XXIO Prime hybrids feature an expanded COR and a lower center of gravity, which is designed to increase distance and ball speed while delivering a straighter ball flight.

The hybrids from XXIO contain a Forged Maraging Steel Cup Face which includes a large sweet spot which aims to increase distance performance.

Just as with the woods, the XXIO irons also feature the Super-TIX PLUS Titanium Cup Face, though along with this, they also contain a CNC milled speed groove, which significantly increases the COR, creating a larger sweet spot, designed to provide greater distance, ball speed and accuracy.

Both the hybrids and irons include the SP-1000 Shaft, with TORAYCA T1100G carbon fiber and NANOALLOY resin. The hybrids and irons also feature weight savings in the grip and club head, with the aim of increasing swing speed.

With an expanded toe and narrowed heel, plus a crown step that moves weight low and deep, XXIO claim that this is their most forgiving suite of Prime hybrids. While with two high-density tungsten nickel sole weights and an overall profile that is 3mm shorter than the previous model, the company also claims to have created their most forgiving irons yet.

Speaking on the new XXIO Prime series, Chuck Thiry stated

“XXIO Prime is, quite frankly, the most unique and beneficial product ever available to moderate swing speed players. Period. People might think that is marketing hype, but they simply haven’t hit Prime yet.”

Both the XXIO Prime hybrids and irons will hit retail stores on March 1. The Prime hybrids will cost $379.99, while a single graphite iron will be available for $259.99.

 

 

 

 

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Equipment

SPOTTED: 2019 Mitsubishi shafts

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The Diamana shaft line from Mitsubishi Chemical is probably one of the most iconic in the sport. Released in 2005, Blueboard, Whiteboard, and Redboard, were the first generation of shafts.

Photos of the full fourth generation Diamana lineup, offering new materials and technology, along with new names, have surfaced in the GolfWRX forums. Like previous generations, each color shaft offers different ball flight and spin characteristics.

“RF” is the highest launching and spinning in the Diamana line, offering high launch and mid spin, while the “BF” is the mid-launch and mid/low-spin model. Finally, the “DF” is mid/low-launching and the lowest-spinning shaft in the lineup.

All of the fourth generation Diamana shafts use updated technologies and materials that you would expect from a premium lineup. DIALEAD pitch fiber is helps reduce shaft deformation, while still producing exceptional energy transfer.

Each shaft contains MR70 carbon fiber that is 20 percent stronger than conventional materials and Boron fiber for its compression strength and shaft reinforcement. ION plating has been done before in the Diamana line, in vacuum chambers — silver alloy ions are bonded to the shaft to give it a chrome-like finish that can’t be replicated by paint.

See what GolfWRX Members are saying in the forums.

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