BirdieBall Giant Putting Green - (Gadget Review)
Posted 16 March 2011 - 09:35 PM
Big thanks to BirdieBall for providing me with a very large putting green to review.
BIRDIEBALL GIANT PUTTING GREEN OVERVIEW
I've wanted to try a putting green in my office space for a while, but never could get myself to pull the trigger. I may be a gear junky, but I tend to be cheap at the same time. BirdieBall's Giant Putting Greens are by far the most budget conscious greens I've found, and that's what initially drew my attention to them.
Not so with the BirdieBall Giant Putting Greens. They're just that, giant. The putting green I received is 4 feet wide and just over 14.5 feet long. (originally they were going to send me an 18 foot green and I'm glad they didn't, I don't think I have room for it at home or in the office)
In selecting my green I also liked that they offered a variety of stimp choices from 9-13. I selected a bi-directional, dual stimp green. When putting toward the two cups the stimp is 10-11 and when putting toward the single cup the stimp is 11-12. This dual stimp is definitely very noticable when putting on the green.
Never having setup a putting green before, I was anxious for the box to arrive and to start pulling things out and get putting. When the box arrived it was clear that this was no small putting green. The box is just over 4 feet tall, and measures 14x14" - Which just so happens to fit perfectly in the back seat of our small sized 4-door sedan.
At this point I'm also realizing just how big this green is. The front room at our studio/office started to seem a bit small with the green in place:
Sliding the cups into place and putting the flags into the cups was a breeze.
SETUP SCORE: 30/30
At first I was a little timid about stepping on the green. My first thought was I was going to ruin the surface and flatten it out, but my purpose here is to review the green and find out what happens, so I stepped onto the green. Under foot it's pretty squishy, but feels good. Stepping off it quickly came back to shape. I was worried that I'd be putting on one end, walk to the other, and have huge divots where my feet had been, but this was not the case. The green always bounced back to shape and where I stood made no difference when putting over that same spot later.
I noticed a few times when putting straight down the middle that my ball seemed to hold a line abnormally. Upon examining the green more closely I noticed a few lines running parallel to the direction of my putts. I can't say for sure that the lines are affecting the ball's roll as I couldn't continually replicate a putt that followed the lines that I can see, and when closely examining the surface, I can't "feel" the lines with my hands, but it's worth noting.
At first adding contour seemed like a really fun idea that would make putting more "realistic." Not really the case. It felt more like I was playing a game of miniature golf. I think the shims are just a bit too thick and create too abrupt of contours. I know on their site BirdieBall suggests using the shims to attempt a "downhill" feel to your putt, and I think this could work. But, after attempting the "contour" idea and turning my green into a "miniature golf" setup, I tossed the shims to the side.
PERFORMANCE SCORE: 40/50
APPEARANCE AND QUALITY
At first look, the putting green looks like a large piece of foam, almost like you'd take camping to sleep on. The ends of the green are "capped" with what looks like plumbing/pipe insulation foam. The shims are simple, but by no means do they look like a finished piece, rather more of an after-thought.
Unrolling the green and putting in the cups and tossing some golf balls on it, the green comes to life. When putting on the green I never thought to myself, wow, I wish this green looked nicer. Sure, someone could probably find ways to make it look like a $1,000 green, but in the end, that just didn't matter and I don't question for a second setting it up in our studio's front room where potential clients might walk by and see a putting green.
The quality of the green is solid. The green traveled between home, office, friend's places, and back to the office. At different times I've had up to 5 people at a time taking turns putting for a few hours. The green does show a little bit of wear in the sense that it looks to be "bedding" down in a few spots where you normally stand to putt. I haven't noticed this change my putting yet, and according to the instructions, if I take a stiff bristled broom and "sweep" the green it will pop right back to life. And if I really want to, I can even adjust the stimp by sweeping more in one direction or the other.
APPEARANCE AND QUALITY SCORE: 16/20
TOTAL SCORE: 86/100
For a putting green that you can pickup through BirdieBall's website today for only $149.99, I really don't think you can go wrong. There a lot of other options out there, and most cost a significant amount more and often don't come close to the size of this green.
I love that the green is as wide as it is. You can put across the green at different angles to the hole which helps keep me from getting bored of the exact same putt with just variations on distance. The fact that the ball is able to physically drop into a hole without having to go up an incline first is great. I truly do feel like the putting I'm doing at home or in the office is directly translating to my putting on the course - and to me, that's what truly matters in a practice putting green.
A side note worth considering on BirdieBall's longer greens - you can practice your chip shots on these greens as well. I tried a few different times and found the bounce to feel fairly realistic and it allowed me to really practice controlling super shot chips.
All-in-all, I really enjoy putting on the green. I don't know if I could ask for too much more. There are a few minor things that could be easily improved, and at the same time, without those improvements, I don't hesitate in suggesting this green to anyone looking for an at home surface to practice on.
Posted 17 March 2011 - 03:04 AM
Posted 17 March 2011 - 03:07 AM
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