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GolfLogix President Pete Charleston on new Putt Breaks function, technology in the game

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Popular GPS and club-tracking app, GolfLogix now includes Putt Break Maps, which show players where their approach shots will roll and how their putts will break. This marks the first time recreational golfers will have access to similar information as contained in the putting green portion of professional golfers’ yardage books.

Putt Break Maps are sold as in-app purchases with annual, monthly and two-day purchase options for each mapped course. Putt Break Maps are available for over 5,000 courses currently, and the company is adding more than 200 new courses each week using a proprietary mapping process.

I spoke with Pete Charleston, President of GolfLogix, about his company’s new technology, specifically, and the use of technology during play more generally.

BA: Can you talk a little about the history GolfLogix and how you decided to develop Putt Breaks?

PC: My partner Scott and I founded GolfLogix back in 1999, and we partnered with Garmin, and we came out with the first handheld GPS device, which was sold directly to golf courses. Then, when the USGA and R&A changed their stance on electronic measuring devices…we transitioned into selling that same Garmin device with our software at retail. We were hugely successful. We had [Peter} Kostis and {Gary} McCord pitching our deal. We had one of the most successful infomercial campaigns ever.

Then, mid-2008, it was one of our best years, the first phones started coming out with GPS on board. And we sat there are were like, “man!” Why would anyone spend $300 on a device when they can get the same information from an app on their phone? So we went full bore. We were the first company to launch a golf GPS app (in 2009). The first iPhone came out right about the same time, and we launched on that in early 2009. Since then, we’ve been really the No. 1 app for golf. We’ve had over four million downloads…We’re a company who keeps investing in our product and making it better. We’re not just collecting people’’s money.

To kind of take us up to current, about two years ago, we heard about Tour pros using…green contour books. We kind of dug in and got our hands on one and said, “Why can’t we do this for the average golfer?” A year-and-a-half, two years later, we launched…Putt Breaks at the PGA Show. We basically have taken this extremely accurate data–accurate to three centimeters–and taken each green on each course and turned it into a digital putt reader.

BA: And what does Putt Breaks look like in practice?

PC: So there’s two new features included in the GolfLogix app (the paid version). Now it automatically pops into Approach Mode. In Approach Mode, you’re able to see what’s in front of you. You’re able to see the green. You’re able to see the contours. So from 175 yards out, you know exactly what the green does, so you can pick and choose what to avoid. For example, if you’re got a back left pin and the green really falls off, you can aim for the front or middle of the green. So, for the better golfer, it’s unbelievable at helping plan approach shots. And for the average or higher handicapper, at the very least they can know whether to take more or less club.

Then as you walk or drive up to the green, it jumps into Putt Mode. In Putt Mode, you simply walk up and drag the ball and cup to where they are and basically hit “read my putt.” It rotates your view and shows you from behind your ball exactly what the putt does. So it’s just like what the pros have. You can see with absolute certainty whether the putt is going left or right, uphill or downhill…It’ll change your life out there.

Our goal is to eliminate the three-putt…There’s nothing worse than when you’re out on the golf course–whether you’re scratch, or 10 or 20–everybody,some days on some holes, can’t see the putt. We take that guessing game out of it. You know with certainty where the putt is going.

BA: I think it’s interesting that one of the elements of the anti-technology argument is the whole “Well, if we allow rangefinders in competition, it’s really going to slow things down.” But your technology, other technologies, if used reasonably by the golfer, is only going to speed up play.

PC: Most people, can’t read greens. I didn’t start playing until I was 30. I’ve gotten decent, but my biggest challenge is reading greens. I just don’t see the break. And it’s frustrating, because I’m a good putter…if I have a great caddie that tells me to putt to a spot. But sometimes I look at these putts, and either I don’t know, or I’m not sure, but either way you’re not putting a confident stroke on the ball. Next thing you know, you’ve got that damn five-footer.

We did a tremendous amount of focus group and user testing out there. And you’ve got three groups [low, mid, high handicappers]. That five, six, seven handicap. This is a gamechanger for them, because they’re already decent putters. Now you give them a tool that takes the guesswork out of it…we were seeing improvements of three, four, five strokes per round.

BA: Right. You’re talking about more birdies. These are the people that can make the putt if they know the break.

PC: Yeah. And then eliminating the three-putt. The most surprising part: I had a guy who was a +1 handicap. He finishes the round…shoots like 68…says, “I think I saved three strokes today…When I looked at [the app] I was unsure [about the putts]. It confirmed I read them right, and I putted with confidence.

In the past, GolfLogix…we’ve never been in the lower handicapper’s bag, unless they were stat freaks. Now, all of a sudden, this is a tremendous tool for them.

BA: Yeah. You hear the best players talk, and it seems without that baseline of confidence and commitment, you’re not going to hit consistently good shots or putts.

PC: It’s been a fascinating project, and we’re really looking forward to our first golf season. We’ve got about 5,000 courses mapped, and we should have another 5,000 courses done this year…We’re investing incredibly heavily in this technology. No one has it at this scale.

BA: Your mapping process: This is all going to locations, boots-on-the-ground stuff?

PC: Yep. No satellites. Satellites are generally plus or minus two yards, and that doesn’t work on the putting greens. We have 3D scans at every course, accurate to about three centimeters

BA: So what about the murmurings at the USGA and their concern over the use of yardage books and green mapping? I mean, the way I think about it, whatever happens at the professional level should be dictated by the tours. But for the amateur, and I guess if you’re in the USGA, you’ve gotta submit to their rules, but for the average golfer in the casual round, we’ve gotta have bifurcation. I don’t know why anyone would want to take something like this out of the hands of the average golfer.

PC: It makes no sense. We’re at a time when people have less time to play. We’re trying to get younger people to play golf. One of the biggest challenges, and I don’t care how much time you have, if it’s not fun and you suck, this game is hard to keep coming back and playing. So, anything we can do as a company, and anything any of these companies can do to bring in technology that helps golfers play better, score lower, and have fun out there so they keep coming back…it’s a no-brainer. The industry has gotta change in that way.

BA: Yeah. The reality is, handicaps aren’t dropping. Yes. We fixate on distance on the professional level, but somehow there’s this bizzare equivocation that everyone’s bombing it and shooting under par at their local club, but obviously that’s not happening. I don’t know why we want to take anything off the table.

PC: Yeah. The USGA, obviously, just took a stand on electronic measuring devices, and they’ve been more positive about allowing them in play…USGA-sanctioned play. And for us, all we’ve done is digitize the green-reading book the Tour pros are using.

I was talking to ASU’s coach, and he says his players have come to rely on books, and he says it really speeds up their process.

BA: Even at the professional level, the thought that taking the books away will speed up play is odd. As far as I can tell, they’re not there flipping through their books for half an hour. It’s all the other processes. Thank God they have that information, because if they didn’t, imagine how long it would take.

PC: Our goal is to give golfers a quick read so they don’t have to walk around the hole five times. We’ll reduce the amount of three-putts, which is also going to save time.

BA: Right. OK. Back to the app. What are the price levels?

PC: We have a standalone Putt Breaks membership within the app, which is $29.99 per year. Then for $49.99 per year, we have our premium features and Putt Breaks combined.

BA: Good stuff. Thanks, Pete.

You can find GolfLogix on the web here.

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16 Comments

16 Comments

  1. ski_co

    Feb 26, 2018 at 4:09 pm

    Just wait a few years and you will be able to get a robot that will play the round for you.

  2. Peter Renggli

    Feb 21, 2018 at 11:01 pm

    You will never be a good putter when you not able to really read the green properly this means: line is influenced by speed. (Learn with AimPoint Express)

    • SK

      Feb 22, 2018 at 2:38 am

      If you can’t discern the undulations in the green you are incompetent to play half the game of golf. AimPoint, Putt Breaks and rangefiners should be banned from the game of golf. It’s bad enough having hot balls, bulbous drivers, trampoline face irons and rube goldberg putter designs. Golf should be played naturally in nature and not overwhelmed by destructive technological horrors.

  3. steve

    Feb 21, 2018 at 6:57 pm

    Golfers in general are not only gullible, they are dummies too. They are unable to read a green and then compute the proper path to the cup over the rolling terrain. It’s too complicated for the incompetent mind and body.
    Par putting is 36 (2 x 18) and about half the scoring game. Most everybody concentrate on the big sticks and not the puttering tool. Practice putting on the practice green is an incidental activity for most rec golfers. A GPS-based green map is total futility.

  4. Jack Nash

    Feb 21, 2018 at 2:13 pm

    Sky Caddie reborn? Remember the days of yearly GPS charges? Then others came out with free courses. Sky Caddie then kind of disappeared. Now they’ve started up again (GPS), but just for the green. Like on Tour where the game slows because people are looking at green books, now they’ll pay for a course green reader via an app. Whatever happened to just green reading? Walking up to a green you got the lay of the land. You wonder why fewer people are taking up the game because of expense. I’ll still do my green reading the old fashioned way ty.

  5. Robert Parsons

    Feb 21, 2018 at 12:57 pm

    It’s just not affordable for guys that don’t play very often. And they would be the guys that would benefit most from the putting green part of the app.

  6. Jack

    Feb 21, 2018 at 12:54 am

    Don’t know why people think range finders will make things slower. It’s always faster than the guy who is asking other people hey how far is this? Or hitting the GPS and double checking the distance. Or walking around looking for sprinklers then pacing back to the ball.

    That said, the map looks complicated, but should be easier with use. Knowing pro’s have this (well on book made by a caddie), no wonder are so good at knowing the breaks! If it even tells you how to putt it, then wow. Huge advantage to whoever uses this.

  7. David

    Feb 20, 2018 at 8:12 pm

    Great product that really works for approaches. Knowing if you have short-side help or if short-side is dead is a BIG advantage on an unfamiliar course. The green-reading stuff is less helpful. I have used the full product on one course in San Diego county and it was perfectly mapped, but it’s honestly just too big of a pain to use for putts. They just need an overall map that you can access for putts instead of a map where you have to place the flag and then place your putt.

  8. Bananana

    Feb 20, 2018 at 5:35 pm

    Great…. now all I need to find is the best putter…. any suggestions? 🙁

  9. George

    Feb 20, 2018 at 5:08 pm

    Great, Just what the game needs. More technology to slow it down.

  10. the dude

    Feb 20, 2018 at 4:49 pm

    oh well….so much for my imaginary “drop a bucket of water” routine……..

  11. the dude

    Feb 20, 2018 at 4:45 pm

    yeeee haaawww!!…let’s tack another 45 min (minimum) to an already 5 1/2 hour round!!!

    • James T

      Feb 20, 2018 at 5:22 pm

      The article claims it’ll make golf faster. No more looking at your putt from 4 sides and then doing it again, throwing in a plumb bob or two.

  12. James T

    Feb 20, 2018 at 4:08 pm

    The app did not show the option for buying just one course for two rounds for $2. Is that no longer available?

  13. James T

    Feb 20, 2018 at 12:02 pm

    Unfortunately, there are about 15-20 golf courses in my immediate area, several of them famous for U.S. Open Qualifying or designed by Arnold Palmer, but none have the greens charted by GolfLogix. I have put in a request and notified some friends to do so, as well.

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Equipment

Brian Harman, Patton Kizzire Winning WITBs: 2018 QBE Shootout

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Brian Harman

Driver: Titleist 917D2 (8.5 degrees)
Shaft: Accra Concept Series X-flex

3-wood: Titleist TS2 (13.5 degrees)
Shaft: Fujikura Speeder Evolution II 661 S-flex

5-wood: Titliest 917F2 (15 degrees)
Shaft: Fujikura Speeder Evolution II 757 S-flex

Hybrid: Titleist 818 H1 (21 degrees)
Shaft: True Temper Dynamic Gold

Irons: Titleist 718 CB (5-9)
Shafts: True Temper Dynamic Gold Tour Issue S400

Wedges: Titleist SM7 (46, 50, 53, 60 degrees)
Shafts: True Temper Dynamic Gold Tour Issue S400

Putter: TaylorMade Spider OS CB

Ball: Titleist Pro V1 (2017)

Patton Kizzire

Driver: Titleist TS3 (10.5 degrees)
Shaft: Fujikura Speeder TR 757 X-flex

3-wood: Titleist 917F2 (15 degrees)
Shaft: Aldila Tour Blue 95 X-flex

Hybrid: Titleist 913H (19 degrees)
Shaft: UST Mamiya Axiv Core X-flex

Irons: Titleist 718 T-MB (4), Titleist 718 CB (5-6), Titleist 718 MB (7-9)
Shafts: True Temper Dynamic Gold Tour Issue X100

Wedges: Titleist SM7 (48, 52, 56, 60 degrees)
Shafts: True Temper Dynamic Gold Onyx X100

Putter: Scotty Cameron Golo Tour

Ball: Titleist Pro V1x (2017)

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Bettinardi signs Eddie Pepperell

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Eddie Pepperell is a singular quantity in to world of golf, so it’s not surprising that the Englishman has taken a unique route to becoming a Bettinardi staffer.

20 months ago, the two-time European Tour winner walked into Core Golf in Thame, Oxfordshire, and bought four putters, including a Bettinardi Studio Stock No. 8.

Pepperell, who jumped from No. 513 to No. 38 in the OWGR since putting the Bettinardi in play in April 2017, won’t have to pay for his putters any more. He joins the likes Francesco Molinari, Haotong Li, and Matt Kuchar as a Bettinardi staffer, the company announced the today.

“I’ve tried a number of putters and time and again, it’s the one model I keep coming back to.” said Eddie. “Positively I won’t have to buy a Bettinardi putter again, but having bought four putters from Core Golf I’m just hoping I haven’t put them of business as a result!” he added.

It was after Pepperell’s British Masters triumph in October that negotiations to bring him on board began in earnest.

“Once Eddie stayed ahead of a strong field at the British Masters to win his second Tour title of the year with a Bettinardi putter, we decided to reopen negotiations and we’re delighted with the outcome. It means that we now have another top 50 player in the world playing Bettinardi putters…” said Executive Vice President, Sam Bettinardi.

Here are the specs for his Studio Stock No. 8, courtesy of Bettinardi, which also provided the photos below of Pepperell’s putter (pre rust).

Material: Mild Carbon Steel
Finish: Mercury Gray PVD Finish
Face Milling: F.I.T. Face
Weight: 358 grams
Length: 33.25”
Lie: 71 degrees
Loft: 3 degrees

A more recent (and rusted shot) below of Pepperell’s putter at The Open.

 

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Miura offers fully assembled custom club e-commerce service

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Miura Golf has announced that the company now offers fully assembled custom clubs direct to consumers through its website.

The new e-commerce platform was launched over Thanksgiving weekend, and it allows golfers to build an entire set of clubs custom to their preference. Golfers can choose from 10 different types of irons and custom make their club by choosing between different head, shaft and grip options. As well as the irons, Miura also provides golfers with the opportunity to custom make their driving irons, wedges and putter.

For Miura’s premium club, the MC-501 Chrome (4-iron-PW), customers have the choice between eight different heads, 13 shafts, and 14 grips.

Speaking on the new service, Miura Golf President Hoyt McGarity stated

“We are committed to introducing more golfers to the pure pleasure of hitting a Miura club. With miuragolf.com’s new e-commerce capability, it has never been easier for golfers to have such direct access to Miura products.”

Lawrence Place, CFO, spoke to the target consumer for the fully assembled custom club offerings

“Miuragolf.com is primarily for someone who already knows his/her specs or doesn’t have easy access to an authorized dealer. Our eCommerce offering is not intended to replace a full fitting at an authorized dealer, as we still believe that this is the best way to fit into a set of Miura’s.”

While long-time Miura enthusiasts may be wondering why the company chose this route now, it seems the answer is simple economics: demand.

On that subject, Will Miele, North America Sales Manager, said

“At this point, we wanted to be able to fulfill the demand for consumers who did not have an option to order full built sets of Miura products. So this phase one release gives golfers, who have their specs, the opportunity to go online and place a custom order. We highly recommend golfers seek out Miura dealers in their area through our dealer locator on our website and get properly fit.

“As we develop our website we will be adding features that will help consumers who cannot get to a local dealer a way to narrow down their options for better performance.”

The most expensive custom made iron options begin at $1,960, while the most affordable options start at $1,350. The custom clubs are available now at MiuraGolf.com.

 

 

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