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Can 3 lines on a golf ball actually help your score?

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I’m a player who doesn’t take a Sharpie marker to my ball…ever. No lines, no initials, etc. Nothing. I stab it with a pencil a few times and hit it.

20 years ago, I can remember a day when marking your ball with a straight line was a serious thing. Brad Faxon was the first person I saw who did it—he putted the teeth out of it for like 30 years. So there had to be something to it, right? Shortly after, the ball-marking industry blew up—colored Sharpies, perfect line devices, and everything in between was littered down aisles of your local golf store.

To be honest, that stuff never had any value for me. It just added one more variable I had to track, all while having enough trouble just making a putting stroke.

Now, I have always been a streaky putter. I either make everything or never hit the hole. The dispersion is that wild. So for the first time in, well, ever, I decided to see if learning how to actually aim might help. At 43, my instincts aren’t as sharp as I’d like them to be, and I can’t afford to rely on the golf gods touching me on the shoulder once or twice a year.

So, as with anything, I started digging in, wanting to find the simplest place to start. Low and behold, I’m watching golf on TV, and I see Phil Mickelson with three lines (Triple Track) on his Callaway golf ball. As a person who sees Phil as someone who is always looking for the next thing, I started to poke looking into what Callaway was up to.

Officially, this is what the Triple Track Technology I saw on Phil’s ball is

“Triple Track relies on Vernier Hyper Acuity, which aims to improve alignment compared to a regular side stamp alignment aid. It’s a similar technology to that used in landing strips in aircraft carriers, which is dependent on the ability of the brain to process small differences in alignment detected in the eyes. Also used in gun sights, Vernier Hyper Acuity exceeds the limits of the naked eye, with multiple reference points allowing golfers to align their ball more accurately.”

-GolfWRX.com/PGATour.com

I was a huge fan of the 2-Ball putter. For me, it was a mindless way to line up and ultimately put my stroke in a position where I felt “everything happened in front of me.” What that phrase means to me is simply, I can look at the hole, trace a line back to my ball, and fire. I putted well that way for a while.

This video is my finally giving this Triple Track idea a whirl. Callaway got me with the 2-Ball 15-20 years ago, so who’s to say this won’t be any different? Truth is, I have a good putting stroke and sound fundamentals—I just regularly have no idea where the ball is aimed.

Straight putts are where I like to start, and that’s what I did here. The next test will be the golf course, but from the ground level, I was pleasantly surprised at what I discovered.

For those that are curious, this is a Triple Track line test, not a Callaway Chrome Soft test. That’s for another day, but the discovery here symbolizes something other than spin and ball speed. This idea represents something that may actually improve your actual score. Everything we talk about day in and day out could help you score lower, but it’s not as simple and easy to measure as this is. If there is something simple that I can do to make a few more putts across the board, that means more to me then a lot of awesome clubs, shafts, grooves, etc.

That idea gets me in the hole quicker. For me, that’s the point of this whole thing.

This test ends with the ultimate goal…the ball (with the idea attached to it) goes in the hole. Is it a direct effect? A placebo? Who knows? But I do know I keep track of my putting more than anything, and if, after four or five rounds, I find those numbers improving, it’s a hard fact to argue.

Enjoy the video below.

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Johnny Wunder is the Director of Original Content, Instagram Manager and Host of “The Gear Dive” Podcast for GolfWRX.com. He was born in Seattle, Wash., and grew up playing at Rainier G&CC. John is also a partner with The Traveling Picture Show Company having most recently produced JOSIE with Game of Thrones star Sophie Turner. In 1997 Johnny had the rare opportunity of being a clubhouse attendant for the Anaheim Angels. He now resides in Toronto, On with his wife and two sons. @johnny_wunder on IG

22 Comments

22 Comments

  1. Realist

    Sep 1, 2020 at 9:26 pm

    Not a chance…too many long winded answers. Practice might help…my gosh
    People expect greatness with a purchase. Learn to golf your ball. I can buy a great pen doesn’t mean I’m gonna be Shakespeare

  2. HKO

    Aug 25, 2020 at 4:34 pm

    if lines or any markings on the ball ever helped the game of golf, w’all would have been playing in PGA.

  3. Ray Koobatian

    Aug 20, 2020 at 1:24 pm

    The three lines remind me of a range ball. One line should be enough. For me the arrows on the Titleist ProV1 and ProV1x are enough.

    • Paintman

      Aug 21, 2020 at 1:15 pm

      Good for you !
      I have a distortion of depth perception in my right eye vision. Had to get a waiver for it to join the military.
      This Callaway tech helps a bit.
      Thank You !

  4. Randy Braden

    Aug 20, 2020 at 12:09 pm

    I use triple track technology and think it helps with putting as well as in the tee.

  5. Sherm

    Aug 20, 2020 at 7:54 am

    It’s putting not rocket science(sorry Bryson).If you think it helps it will.If you don’t think it helps it won’t.

  6. Leftshot

    Aug 20, 2020 at 2:13 am

    First of all, your methodology was flawed. You already skewed the results by the order of your progression. With each putt you get feedback and learn. Thus one would expect improvement with the third set versus the first, even if you changed nothing.

    Second, five putts per set is too few to be statistically significant.

    Third, as others have noted, you did a better job of aligning the ball tracks on the third set versus the second. Since this was done before the triple track putter was behind the ball, this difference in aligning the ball was independent of the putter.

    Because of these methodology problems, no valid conclusions can be made.

    • Leftshot

      Aug 20, 2020 at 2:30 am

      One additional point.

      You are putting from an indentation on the putting surface (a small hole that cradles the ball). This makes it easier to align the tracks than under game conditions. This is significant. In real life conditions, it is sometimes impossible to precisely align the tracks as you would like without moving the ball to a slightly different location or pressing the ball into the green. Either is not allowed by the Rules of Golf.

  7. Jon D

    Aug 19, 2020 at 9:54 pm

    Agree with previous comments that it looks like the natural alignment with the first two putters is closed a bit. The putts made have a path that seems to be open a bit…putter is aimed left, but path to the right causes the ball to go straight. The less square for putter and path at impact, the harder it is to get the timing right…which may be why the player says that they are “streaky”.

    Last putter made it seem the putter and path were more square to the target. Whether that is small sample size or real would require more digging. There is something to markings impacting alignment (along with putter shape, hosel, etc) because it provides different visuals. Perhaps this is happening in the third set.

    Would be curious to see what the numbers are from a SAM PuttLab with 7 balls in each set.

  8. Mark

    Aug 19, 2020 at 6:25 pm

    I thought you lined up the ball more consistently at the target with the 2ball putter than you did with the other putter where it was aligned to the left a bit.

  9. chip75

    Aug 19, 2020 at 5:08 pm

    Providing you can set the ball correctly the only thing Triple Track does is show if you’re aligning the putter and the ball on the same line. We know generally most golfers can’t read putts, most under-read them and pull or push the ball on line subconsciously, so this might help give feedback in that regard (and help those who misread putts and go with their misreads), but not much beyond that unless you’re really working on improving your putting.

    Personally, I like the blank side of the ball, I liked trying to use lines, but getting the ball to settle became a pain (and you can’t “help” the ball to sit right) and if you’re eyes aren’t in the right place it can look weird once you address the ball and you think you need to start the process over again. The blank ball can alleviate that.

  10. CactusGolf

    Aug 19, 2020 at 3:03 pm

    Will it help your score? Maybe. Will it slow up play? Absolutely.

    • Kourtney Knowles

      Aug 20, 2020 at 1:57 pm

      Not if you make the putt the first try haha.

  11. talljohn777

    Aug 19, 2020 at 2:55 pm

    Every putt is straight. If you do not start the ball on the intended line it will not go in the hole. Therefore, these alinemate aids on both the ball and the putter should absolutely improve your ability to start the ball on your intended line.

  12. Mel

    Aug 19, 2020 at 1:12 pm

    Great experiment. Have used a line on the ball for a while. Your experiment proved that the line on the ball isn’t going to help unless its actually lined up at the hole. Great articles, great job and I look forward to hearing how the triple track ball works for you.

  13. Dave Hall

    Aug 19, 2020 at 1:10 pm

    Useful video test. Reasonable, informal protocol. Leads me to wonder if I can, as a caddie, legally line up a putt for my player by positioning the line on his or her ball with the direction I want them to send it. (Need to check my detailed version of 2019’s Rules of Golf.)

  14. Robert Coppersmith

    Aug 19, 2020 at 1:01 pm

    Good video. Now look at it again yourself. Maybe its the camera angle, but you seem to have a tendency to line the ball up slightly left. Your putter is straight. What does that say about your alignment in general? Maybe a professional putter coach could give you an answer.
    Play well.

    • Richard

      Aug 19, 2020 at 1:09 pm

      This is why drawing lines on your golf ball should be illegal, and also, it slows play down tremendously. Your caddie is used to help you find the break. And finally, slope books should be illegal, another area that slows golf to a crawl!

      • St1800

        Aug 20, 2020 at 12:24 am

        Ditto, As Jack said, part of the challenge is “figuring it out”. Lines on the ball, green reading charts, and putters up the forearm are not “in the spirit of the game”.

        Too many out there spending an inordinate amount of time employing these crutches. Does a quartrerback have a chart in the game to figure out the trajectory he should throw the ball on? A pitcher?

        All these aids should be banned.

        See it, feel it, hit it.

  15. James

    Aug 19, 2020 at 12:57 pm

    Would like to see results with Triple Track putter and a non triple track back. Nice experiment, thanks.

  16. Paulo

    Aug 19, 2020 at 12:26 pm

    Any compensation you have grained into your stroke should actually cause more misses when the face is perfectly square at address . Not to say the tech doesn’t work though

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Whats in the Bag

Hudson Swafford’s winning WITB: 2020 Corales Puntacana Resort & Club Championship

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Driver: Ping G400 LST (8.5 degrees)
Shaft: Aldila NV 60 TX

3-wood: Ping i25 (14 degrees)
Shaft: Aldila Rogue 125 MSI 80 TX

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Shaft: True Temper Dynamic Gold Tour Issue X100

Putter: TaylorMade Spider X Tour
Grip: SuperStroke

Ball: Titleist Pro V1

 

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Driver: Callaway Mavrik Sub Zero (8.5 degrees)
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Shafts: KBS $-Taper 125S+

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Grips: Iomic Sticky 2.3 Black

 

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#5 Hideki Matusyama (.458% AVG, 27.951 SG) 


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