Custom fit putters & technology have become inseparable bedfellows. The role of technology is increasingly important to fitters and expected by consumers. Until now, putter fitting has been a dark art with shady variations in the definition of what it means to be custom fit.
CUSTOM FIT PUTTERS & TECHNOLOGY OVERVIEW
Whichever technology is used there is no perfect solution, yet. Below we look at each of the most widely used technologies used by those that offer putter fittings and offer a brief summary of what each option provides.
The most well-known is probably Trackman. Relatively new, the Performance Putting application is only available on Trackman 4. It would seem the primary application for the technology is practice as opposed to fitting. It merges video with data such as club delivery, ball launch and speed control and includes information on slope and stimp. Trackman uses radar technology and is especially useful with regards to D-plane.
Science&Motion has lead the field in putting data and technology. Again, the emphasis is often on coaching and training than fitting. In fact, in order to get the Putter Fitting Module, you need to advance past the Basic package to the Coaching, Coaching Plus or Studio editions. More than 50 putting parameters are measured and can be benchmarked against their database of users. Their EasyFit Protocol is based on putter length. Their Perfect Fit Protocol is based on length, head balance, loft, lie and grip. SAM PuttLab uses ultrasound technology.
QUINTIC BALL ROLL
Quintic Ball Roll uses a high-speed camera to track the putter and ball through impact with 45 different parameters measured. The basic setup includes the ability to capture impact at 360 frames per second. In order to measure the club, you need to spend a little more. The data acquired is primarily based on what happens to the ball after impact. The technology is used to optimise 5 key areas: Face Rotation, Face Angle, Impact Ball Speed, Launch Angle and Ball Skid. Up to 9 factors are considered for each area. Quintic is especially useful when considering ball roll and spin.
CAPTO is an Italian product that uses a high accuracy sensor and software which can be used indoors or outdoors. The sensor measures more than 40 parameters and weighs just 62 grams. It is attached to the shaft of the putter and software is used to make sense of the data. Its an impressive bit of kit which includes magnetometers, gyroscopes, accelerometers, thermometers, a barometer and a hygrometer!
Like all the others, an incredible amount of data is gathered including stoke length, duration, the accuracy of putter orientation, timing, tempo, face and loft angles. What sets this technology apart is the ability to see on the backstroke and forward stroke when the clubface is square to the target. Where the CAPTO weighs 62 grams BioMech Putting Sensor weighs just 18 grams! BioMech is a great solution as its focus is primarily the club – which is great for putter fitting. Similar to CAPTO, it is both portable and compact but much better value. We use BioMech in our putter fittings. Purchase a BioMech from The Golf Tailor here.
CUSTOM FIT PUTTERS & TECHNOLOGY SUMMARY
Trackman and SAM PuttLab appear to focus more on coaching, training, and practice with fitting being possible. Quintic Ball Roll is comprehensive and not as elegant as the others. It has the most comprehensive fitting process but to take advantage you will need an equally adjustable putter to easily adjust for all eventualities. CAPTO is brilliantly simple yet adds 60 grams to your putter… not ideal when trying to make a fitting as you probably will remove it when finished. BioMech seems to be a tidier solution in a similar vein to CAPTO.
CUSTOM FIT PUTTERS & TECHNOLOGY CONUNDRUM
Technology is great and the aforementioned products can be used to assist in fitting. The elephant in the room is: The only way to make the most of the technology is to have an equally capable and elastic and interchangeable system that corresponds to each parameter being measured. This is where having all the latest tech falls flat. It is utterly useless for fitting if it is not combined with equipment solutions that can be easily manipulated to address what’s been identified.
Most mainstream equipment companies simply cannot offer the variables which need to be adjusted in order to effectively use the collected data. The one exception? Edel. Every conceivable component can be swapped to ensure that the end result is a made to measure putter that is as unique as you and your putting stroke.