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No Sight line / dot. What are the benefits?


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#61 Beatings

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Posted 19 September 2011 - 07:02 PM

this is very interesting as i have been putting with an old ping anser and have recently bought a white hot #9 to try


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#62 newportbeach

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Posted 11 November 2011 - 09:29 AM

Great thread that deserves a bump for those that may have missed it.

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#63 Tomed

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Posted 14 December 2012 - 07:52 AM

+1 on a putter with absolutely nothing on it. i have researched this subject more than anyone would, and have concluded this is indeed the right direction to go. i have found one putter without sight lines, or any lines at all, that has unlocked my natural putting. it's the ping j blade. the closest i got to a no sight line putter was with an old spalding tpm putter with pencil shaft. however, it had a dot and was black. i found the dot and the high contrast (white ball, black putter) was overly stimulating and i could not putt naturally with it.

my conclusion on this matter was influenced in part by a post on this site by a fellow from the "united states golf academy", although when you search the web for united states golf academy, there is no such thing.... it was also influenced by a long post by geoff mangum. lastly, it was majorly influenced by jon karlsen's work entitled performance putting. below is what i collated from these three sources. perhaps it will help you?

-------------

This study assessed how shaft weight influenced putting accuracy and subjective perception of swing parameters. Three putters of different shaft weight (100, 420, and 610 gm) were tested by 24 club players. Distance and deviation in direction were measured, and subjective ratings of the putters recorded. Subjects hit the ball further with lighter shafts. The mean distance hit was 100.2, 99.3, and 98.1% of the target distance for the normal, medium, and heavy putter shafts, respectively. Subjectively, the medium heavy putter was rated best on "overall feeling" and it was also rated better than the normal on "feeling of stability in the downswing." The heaviest putter was rated as too heavy by 23 of 24 subjects. There were no significant differences between the putter clubs in directional putting accuracy. The major findings are that the golfers putted 2.1% longer with the 100 gm shaft than with the 610 gm shaft and that the perception of overall feeling of the putter club was not related to performance.

Aiming:
Based in part by material authored by Geoff Mangum, and material I have written based on my insights as an “elite” player.

Do we align by squaring the putter face to the back of the ball in relation to a target or by aiming a putter’s sight line down our intended target line to a point in the distance beyond the ball?

The United States Golf Academy have measured over 30,000 putting strokes - about 2,000 players on their PuttLab system. 92% perform better with their eyes closed during the stroke (elimination of visual interference). Less than 40% can aim the putter within 2 degrees of their chosen target with an alignment aid on the putter. This improves to 70% without the visual references on the putter.  Only 60% can match the line on the putter to a line on the ball (within one degree), and it is much worse when the sight line is in the cavity behind the face. This improves to over 90% when there is a line on the ball and no line on the putter and the golfer is forced to square the face to the line on the ball (again within 1 degree). Straight sight lines are the problem as they see it.

Visually, the eye loves edges and contrasts more than shapes or regions. The visual experience of the putter at address is only partially the putter. It is also the ball. So, typically, you are faced with a sphere and a slab, and the two are usually highly contrasting in brightness (white ball, gunmetal grey slab). Thinking about this visual relationship in terms of spatial awareness is mostly relating the putter and ball to a direction, rather than a distance or a location. Usually, the target is not within the field of view when looking down at the ball-putter, but is some feet off to the side out of view. Hence, the putter-ball relationship is almost always exclusively about direction. To have an effective and helpful aiming assistance on the putter means promoting the squareness of the face to the ball and the centering of the putter head’s sweet spot behind the center of the ball.

The trick with aiming is to SQUARE the putter's face to the intended LINE thru the ball. Just locating the putter's sweet spot "behind" the ball does not square the face to the line thru the ball. So, independently, you have to look at the putter face-ball relation, be aware of the line thru the ball, and assess whether the face looks perpendicular to the line. If so, then this is the direction your stroke needs to go.

With this in mind the aiming features of a putter ought to help set the sweet spot directly behind the ball and help you assess whether the face is then square to the line thru the ball. Common sense tells us putter manufacturer’s aiming features ought to help relate the putter face to a target and we judge aiming features for effectiveness. During a recent trip to the PGA Tour Superstore there wasn't a single new putter on the floor without an aiming feature. Therefore, aiming features are deemed as common sense for putting. But, as previously indicated by the US Golf Academy research, sight lines are a problem.

Historically, the Wilson 8802 blade style putter was used for decades on tour.  This putter did not have an aiming feature. Dave Pelz is famous for his two-ball putter. He claims vision experts suggested the design to him based on vision science. So since then, aiming features have become prevalent in the game and hence, virtually 100% of putters at retail include an aiming feature.

Does an aiming feature help square the face to the selected line thru the center of the ball? Not especially. The front edge of a putter is an edge line and one can use this visual relationship to judge perpendicularity. So, is it a straight line aiming feature or is it a perpendicular line that we can best use to aim our putts? This is the essential and fundamental question.

Fundamentally, one wants visual aiming aids on the putter to facilitate two things: 1) sweet spot of putter to sweet spot of ball and 2) square thru the ball on intended line of putt. Of these two, square thru the ball is the more important, since locating the sweet spot is usually just seeing the middle of the putter from heel to toe and orienting it equally thru the ball. Getting square right is more important and ought to be what the golfer is worried about.

For an aiming feature, a simple single line pointed into the ball's center is about as simple as it gets. And this is precisely what is found on 95% of retail putters. But the line of the edge itself really will suffice as is the case with the old Wilson 8802. So let's examine perceiving perpendicularity a bit to get a better handle on what's best.

Which is easier? Sensing perpendicularity with a ball and an edge, or a ball and an edge plus a line aimed at the center of the ball perpendicular to the edge? The point of this is it seems common sense would tell us that judging perpendicularity of the ball and edge would get easier and more consistent as relevant helpful cues are layered in (aiming features). The brain is pretty good at judging whether something is perpendicular or if it is slightly off. It is certainly better at judging 90 degrees than it is judging say 78 degrees. The brain works pretty well at lines and right angles.  There is also the consideration of overload of visual complexity and sorting out what is most important when.

Finally, when the stroke really comes down to the moment of truth at impact, people want some visual assurance. Let’s face it, a putt is emotional. You want the putt to go in – desperately! As result, you need a crutch – an aiming feature. There’s got to be reason behind why 100% of retail putters have aiming features, right? Aiming features help you putt the ball better right? Or, are you being preyed upon by putter manufacturers - manufacturers who have evidence in clinical psychological research? Research which shows that a person feels good about owning a putter with a line on the back of it, or of having two balls on a big slab in back of the putter face, or having two bars on a big slab in back of the putter face.

The eyes follow site lines on the back stroke and your subconscious tries to keep the putter on the line, leading the hands to manipulate the club head.

After putting this paper together on 12/10/12, I went to the PGA Store to find a putter without sight lines. They had hundreds and hundreds of putters. There was only one putter without sight lines. A Ping J Blade. It was used, and I bought it for $49. I took it out on 12/11/12. I spent zero time practicing anything, just hit the first tee. At the conclusion of the round I had a total of 26 putts. Four birdies, all in a row… I haven’t had that happen in a while. In fact, my largest birdie streak of all time has been five, twice. This day I got up and down when I needed to and shot a two under par total for 18 holes. I left two or three birdies out there, all in the heart but short!  Why short? Perhaps the putter weight is not correct (read the first paragraph in this paper about putter shaft weight).
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#64 gib15

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Posted 11 February 2013 - 02:01 PM

Late add to this post but I agree with the no sight line theory, and am going back to that pronto.

About 10-12 yrs ago I took a lesson from John Elliot jr, a top 100 golf digest teacher at the time. He had me putt a few putts with my lined putters, then went into the shop and got a Newport Cameron and had me use it, my stroke freed up a ton and since I had a problem striking the putts on the heel, he said to move ball out a little toward the toe, if I had a line on the putter that would have screwed me up, but w/o a line it was easy.

Boy I wish I had kept that putter! But I am going back to one this week, or something similar.

Also, I think a no line putter helps you focus on proper speed more, at least that's what Loren roberts told me when I worked at tpc at southwind many moons ago. He said he set up on a general line and just put his effort into imparting proper speed on a putt.
As I recall, he has made a few in his career so that makes a lot of sense.

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#65 nova6868

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Posted 11 February 2013 - 03:59 PM

I've always wondered about putter sight lines, because I have an upright putting stance and don't view the line from straight above. I always wonder how well I can actually "line up" that line.

Interesting discussion.


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#66 the man with no aim

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Posted 12 February 2013 - 12:06 PM

Naked is the way to go, it free's you up to swing/stroke the putter on your intended path, as we all know, how much a putt breaks is down to speed hence, I see no line to a putt merely a path, I don't look down at the putter head when I practise stroking a putt either, I look at the hole after all, its where I want the ball to go.  I spot mark my intended path, and let the putt go with enough to roll 6" past the cup.  Its simple, stress free and most importantly, just works.  Here's my current gamer at address, simple isn't it.

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#67 theothertwo

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Posted 19 January 2014 - 01:40 PM

Great topic, I've always putted with a sight line and then later on with a sight dot.  Started with a Ping Anser 3 and currently using a Slighter Seattle with a sight dot.  I just recently got an old Anser Scottsdale remake and it has no dot or line and I noticed, the head is also just slightly smaller than the Anser 2 or other Ansers so I will give this "no dot - no sight line" putter a try.  We'll see.
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#68 sheldonjhacker

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Posted 19 January 2014 - 02:24 PM

I'm liking the new odyssey MXM #6 with small line...or the Scotty select newport with nothing

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#69 msd71

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Posted 19 January 2014 - 07:47 PM

Versa 1 is good for this.

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#70 rorer719

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Posted 19 January 2014 - 08:22 PM

i can't imagine putting without a line........


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#71 dxb

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Posted 20 January 2014 - 01:52 AM

Interesting topic.

I have paintfilled the sighline on my GoLo S the same yellows as my Iomic grip.

Will now try it with  no line at all, easy enough to replace

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#72 MrWolf

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Posted 20 January 2014 - 06:39 AM

Nice to see this thread still going. I think this is still a very relevant topic to a lot of players.

What I don't understand is with there being a reasonable amount of evidence that sight lines, particularly those on flanges, can actually be detrimental to aiming, why does almost every OEM continue to use this alignment aid above all else? I can't think of any major putter manufacturer that uses a sight dot, and only a few offer either a naked head or a sight line on top of the putter. There are always a few tour, or custom exceptions, but generally speaking the sightline in the flange reigns supreme.

Is this a case of manufacturers just doing what they always do? I wonder if they actually do their own research to see what works best for golfers.
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#73 dxb

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Posted 20 January 2014 - 07:21 AM

 Eagle006, on 20 January 2014 - 06:39 AM, said:

Nice to see this thread still going. I think this is still a very relevant topic to a lot of players.

What I don't understand is with there being a reasonable amount of evidence that sight lines, particularly those on flanges, can actually be detrimental to aiming, why does almost every OEM continue to use this alignment aid above all else? I can't think of any major putter manufacturer that uses a sight dot, and only a few offer either a naked head or a sight line on top of the putter. There are always a few tour, or custom exceptions, but generally speaking the sightline in the flange reigns supreme.

Is this a case of manufacturers just doing what they always do? I wonder if they actually do their own research to see what works best for golfers.

Perception probably.

If you put yourself in the shoes of your 'average' putter purchaser then you would think in most cases that some sort of visual alignment aid would help, I mean it just has too right?

I know that evidence quoted in this thread goes against that grain (seewhatididthere?) but golfwrx are not your 'typical' golfer I don't think.

OEM's therefore will not want to alienate their biggest target market by removing something that people think are going to help them sink more putts.

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#74 Golf64

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Posted 20 January 2014 - 08:45 AM

I try to find a putter that has no/very small sight line. All those lines screw me up. The putters always look closed/aiming to the left for me. Therefore, always on the look out for 'naked' putters. Also, I make sure when putting, nothing is showing on my ball. No lines, logos, etc........
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#75 JGalls

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Posted 20 January 2014 - 08:49 AM

Big fan of a topline.  It allows me to line up the ball, match with top line and not get distracted with a flange line.

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#76 Fourmyle of Ceres

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Posted 20 January 2014 - 08:52 AM

I suspect a lot of high-$$$ custom putter makers would be out of business if it were easy to buy a "clean" looking putter from the big name mass production brands.

And I swear every year Scotty Cameron putters get more naff. It's like Scotty is just sticking ugly stuff on there and laughing at how people will buy his putters no matter how much of a visual design abomination they become.

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#77 MrWolf

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Posted 20 January 2014 - 09:39 AM

 dxbrobbo, on 20 January 2014 - 07:21 AM, said:

 Eagle006, on 20 January 2014 - 06:39 AM, said:

Nice to see this thread still going. I think this is still a very relevant topic to a lot of players.

What I don't understand is with there being a reasonable amount of evidence that sight lines, particularly those on flanges, can actually be detrimental to aiming, why does almost every OEM continue to use this alignment aid above all else? I can't think of any major putter manufacturer that uses a sight dot, and only a few offer either a naked head or a sight line on top of the putter. There are always a few tour, or custom exceptions, but generally speaking the sightline in the flange reigns supreme.

Is this a case of manufacturers just doing what they always do? I wonder if they actually do their own research to see what works best for golfers.

Perception probably.

If you put yourself in the shoes of your 'average' putter purchaser then you would think in most cases that some sort of visual alignment aid would help, I mean it just has too right?

I know that evidence quoted in this thread goes against that grain (seewhatididthere?) but golfwrx are not your 'typical' golfer I don't think.

OEM's therefore will not want to alienate their biggest target market by removing something that people think are going to help them sink more putts.

I would agree. It goes to show though that, in spite of their marketing guff, OEM's will naturally do what's best for sales, not what's actually best for the golfer. I liken this to longer, lighter driver shafts. It might work for a small minority, but generally speaking I don't believe that development is in the best interest of the majority of golfers who probably be better of going with a shorter shaft. Unfortunately that sort of thing doesn't sell well, hence the reverse.

The new Ping Karsten TR putters are another good example. According to the write up;

'...using qualitative data over years of product testing, looking at "what is most important to you for alignment," cluster analysis yielded 4 preferred styles of alignment among golfers.  There will be outliers who like goofy stuff (my words, not theirs), but generally speaking golfers fall into these categories:
  • Anser style: clean, single line on the flange.
  • Putter that frames the ball well (Piper, Tomcat, 2-ball, etc.)
  • Mallet with clean lines (this is where the Sydney wasn't that popular, leading to the Nome, also Shea, Craz-E, etc.)
  • Alignment to the face (Karsten TR Pal, Grayhawk, Anser T, etc.)
So what do Ping do? They slap a sightline in the flange of every single model in this line up anyway. It's laughable really.

 Fourmyle of Ceres, on 20 January 2014 - 08:52 AM, said:

I suspect a lot of high-$$$ custom putter makers would be out of business if it were easy to buy a "clean" looking putter from the big name mass production brands.

And I swear every year Scotty Cameron putters get more naff. It's like Scotty is just sticking ugly stuff on there and laughing at how people will buy his putters no matter how much of a visual design abomination they become.

I think this is true, but it seems none of the OEM's have the guts to break the mold and depart from the norm, for reasons touched on above.

As for Cameron, whilst I don't wish to turn this into another 'bashing' thread, I do tend to agree. I like a lot of the putters he's made over the years, but his recent designs have become more and more ghastly. The new 2014 putters with the massive red cross in the flange are simply hideous and again, I'd love to know what testing he has actually done to show that sight aid is a benefit to golfers, rather than it just being something different and much more noticeable on TV.
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#78 indyvai

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Posted 20 January 2014 - 11:53 AM

It's far from a one size fits all generalization about site lines... However, people who solely use site lines to aim are often those who don't aim correctly and compensate with adjustments to their stroke.

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#79 502 to Right

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Posted 20 January 2014 - 04:24 PM

I have spoken with a higher up from one of the better known putter makers and he said the reason you don't see more putters without any lines is because they don't sell--period.  Since putter companies are first in the business of making money, they make putters with lines.

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#80 RainShadow

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Posted 20 January 2014 - 05:06 PM

I always prefered the sight oval like on the old TP Mills putters. Very easy to line up.
Good comment earlier in the thread about sight lines on the flange making the putter face appear closed. I've noticed that I push more putts with a line on the flange than with the oval or dot.
Interesting conversation.

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#81 theothertwo

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Posted 21 January 2014 - 02:54 PM

 RainShadow, on 20 January 2014 - 05:06 PM, said:

I always prefered the sight oval like on the old TP Mills putters. Very easy to line up.
Good comment earlier in the thread about sight lines on the flange making the putter face appear closed. I've noticed that I push more putts with a line on the flange than with the oval or dot.
Interesting conversation.

I agree, I am going back to my Slighter Seattle with just the dot.  Nice avatar by the way, Late For The Sky?
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#82 Fourmyle of Ceres

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Posted 21 January 2014 - 03:15 PM

 Eagle006, on 20 January 2014 - 09:39 AM, said:

The new 2014 putters with the massive red cross in the flange are simply hideous...

...and much more noticeable on TV.

If you'll pardon the brutal out-of-context excerpt I think the above says it all.

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#83 Hstead

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Posted 21 January 2014 - 03:43 PM

I aim a putter without lines best.  That is why I have gone to the likes of Edel, Byron, and Low Tide.  It is hard to find a putter without lines for sure off of the rack.

I apologize for forgetting his name, but there is a member of this site and he is prominent on puttertalk that teaches out of Indianapolis I believe.  He is a teaching pro that uses SAM a lot and he has found that approximately 70% I think it was aim a naked putter best.  I think he name is Barr?  Something like that.  He has a lot of data from SAM to back up his claim that most people actually aim a naked putter better.
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#84 Scotty1140

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Posted 21 January 2014 - 05:29 PM

 Hstead, on 21 January 2014 - 03:43 PM, said:

I aim a putter without lines best.  That is why I have gone to the likes of Edel, Byron, and Low Tide.  It is hard to find a putter without lines for sure off of the rack.

I apologize for forgetting his name, but there is a member of this site and he is prominent on puttertalk that teaches out of Indianapolis I believe.  He is a teaching pro that uses SAM a lot and he has found that approximately 70% I think it was aim a naked putter best.  I think he name is Barr?  Something like that.  He has a lot of data from SAM to back up his claim that most people actually aim a naked putter better.
Bruce Rearick I believe.

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#85 502 to Right

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Posted 21 January 2014 - 05:36 PM

It is Bruce Rearick indeed.  His ID name here is Bargolf.  See his post #15 on page 1.

Edited by 502 to Right, 21 January 2014 - 05:36 PM.


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#86 J-Tizzle

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Posted 21 January 2014 - 05:51 PM

Just saw this topic, I wonder if this is why the Versa has been so popular and why people say it works so well for them??

I have always felt that if I like up the line on the ball with the line on the putter I'm way off track (which leads to some confident strokes right??).  So maybe my new 330M Versa will fit the bill for me and allow me to use more feel and instinct to line stuff up than the robotic usage of the lines?
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#87 Scotty1140

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Posted 21 January 2014 - 06:11 PM

I have one naked putter and a handful of putters with flange lines. I notice no difference in my putting between them. Maybe because I only use the flange line to initially line up to the ball rather than intended line of the putt?

Now, put an alignment aid on the top line of the putter and that throws me off. That's a bit too close to the ball. Draws my attention away from the ball.

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#88 Hstead

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Posted 21 January 2014 - 07:51 PM

Thanks for the help fellas, I only fugged 75% of his name up.  That is good for me.
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#89 dxb

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Posted 21 January 2014 - 11:32 PM

Well as above, I removed the luminous yellow paintfil on the back of my GoLo S last night.

It was a bit of a hack job and I had actually just painted straight over the gloss black that it came with, so I removed that as well, leave the machined line but it is now the same colour as the rest of the head.

Using the highly scientific 'swinging it in my lounge without a ball' method it feels and looks good.

Might give it a whirl tonight on the practice green, have to swing by the club to pick up some tickets.

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#90 MrWolf

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Posted 22 January 2014 - 05:51 AM

 dxbrobbo, on 21 January 2014 - 11:32 PM, said:

Well as above, I removed the luminous yellow paintfil on the back of my GoLo S last night.

It was a bit of a hack job and I had actually just painted straight over the gloss black that it came with, so I removed that as well, leave the machined line but it is now the same colour as the rest of the head.

Using the highly scientific 'swinging it in my lounge without a ball' method it feels and looks good.

Might give it a whirl tonight on the practice green, have to swing by the club to pick up some tickets.

Let us know how it goes.

///OGA Member #13 - 'The Man from Blighty'///

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