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GolfSpy Barbajo

The Putting Stick - The Key To Nailing Those 5 Footers?

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The TPK Golf Putting Stick®                                                

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“Every putt is a straight putt. Even if it curves 6 feet to the hole, you have to hit the ball straight on the line you choose.”

                                                -Vlad Gribovsky, owner of TPK Golf & The Putting Stick®

 

The Putting Stick® looks deceptively simple: a 46” long, 1” wide green stick with a mirror & stand assembly on one end. The object?  Putt the ball so it stays on the stick for all 46 inches.

 

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Easier said than done.

 

So It's A Stick, Right?

 

Green reading aside, putting is mostly about alignment, a square face at impact and speed. Miss any one and the ball ain't hitting the hole.

 

The Putting Stick® force feeds you proper putting alignment, a square face at impact and an accelerating stroke.  Miss any one and the ball ain't staying on the track.

 

Should be easy, right?

 

Heh, heh.

 

My first few tries with the Putting Stick® careened off the track like a Nascar pileup: complete failure. My inner monolog was all “What the hell good is this thing?”

 

Then I read the instructions.

 

For proper alignment, place a ball at one end of the stick (there's a dimple) and take your normal putting stance.  Then look at the mirror on the other end. If properly aligned – eyes over the ball, standing square to the target -  the ball will be perfectly lined up with a stripe etched down the center of the mirror. 

 

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Just a little off and the ball will appear either left or right of the line, and there's no way on Earth the ball will roll down the track.

 

Once properly aligned, you'll need to putt with a square face at impact and an accelerating stroke.  If you're decelerating or if the face is off-kilter, there's no way on Earth the ball will roll down the track. 

 

“The Putting Stick® gives you immediate feedback,” says TPK Golf owner Vlad Gribovsky. “Are you lined up properly? You know right away.  Is your stroke accelerating? Is the putter face square at impact? You know right away.”

 

Setup: Pain or Bliss?

 

Depending on which Putting Stick® you use, setup is either Very Simple or Caveman Simple. 

 

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The mirrored version features a 3-piece mirror assembly (white plastic base, mirror bracket and mirror) that takes roughly a minute to put together.  The green stick slides into the white base easily.  Put it on the floor and you're good to go in about 2 minutes, if you dawdle.

 

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Bliss!

 

The Pro-Version is even easier.  It's just the stick itself with a small mirror built in to the putting surface to help alignment.  Lay it on the floor and go. The Pro-Version also fits nicely in your golf bag for use at the practice green.

 

The full-mirrored version has instructions on the box and an instructional DVD.  The Pro-Version instructions are on a flash drive.

 

 

“Let It Roll, Baby, Roll…”

 

I set up the mirrored Putting Stick® in my family room on a putting mat and started rolling.  My first attempts were miserable - my “natural” putting stance had me all kattywompus, so much so that it felt downright unnatural to stand with the ball lined up with the mirror.

 

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“Most golfers think they set up with their eyes over the ball, but they don't,” Vlad told me.  “The mirror gives you that immediate feedback.”

 

Roger that!

 

Once aligned, the next trick is to square the putter face at impact with an accelerating stroke.  A moveable rubber plug at one end of the Stick serves as a backswing guide that can be adjusted for the length of putt you're practicing and for different green speeds. 

 

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Again, if you're the slightest bit misaligned, if you decelerate or if the putter face isn't square at impact, the ball won't make it down the track.  And because you're trying so hard, it takes a while to develop what could be considered a “natural” feeling stroke.  You're paying attention to every little muscle movement, resulting in clunky and mechanical strokes. 

 

My first session was frustrating – I couldn't get 1 ball out of 10 down the track.  But with more practice I discovered a few things.

 

As mentioned, the first five minutes were spent wrestling with my out-of-alignment natural setup.  With practice I found the proper setup becoming more natural and automatic, which led to a few balls rolling the length of the Stick.

 

Next, I started feeling a smooth, square, accelerating stroke, leading to a few more balls rolling the length of the Stick. It was a subtle, but definite transition from conscious incompetence to conscious competence.

 

Yeah, But Does It Work????

 

Several sessions with the Pro-Version at the Minnesota Golf Academy indoor putting green provide a definitive YES!

 

At each session my goal was simple: get 5 in a row down the Stick. After clunky starts, proper alignment - eyes over the ball - started getting easier. Soon the putter head squared up and I had a nice, accelerating stroke. And then...

 

BAM! 5 in a row down the Stick.

 

Next step: move the Stick and putt normally.

 

BAM! Nailed 10 of 10 from 5 feet

 

Big deal? Maybe not, but the stroke felt natural and automatic.  Line up, square up, putt. Wash, rinse and repeat.

 

At 10 feet I nailed  8 of 10, then 6 of 10 from 15 feet.  Of the 6 misses, 2 or 3 were slightly off line.  The rest were just short. Not bad for indoors, but the real test comes in January in Florida. 

 

Bona Fides:

 

The poster child for the Putting Stick® is PGA pro Bo Van Pelt.  Back in 2011, Van Pelt was working with teaching pro Mitch Crum.  Bo ranked 144th in putting stats that year, and Crum put him to work with an early Putting Stick Pro prototype.

 

According to Crum, Van Pelt couldn't roll even one ball down the Stick, and was ready to quit.  He kept at it, eventually improving his stroke. A year later Van Pelt ranked as high as #3 in putting statistics.  Crum says Van Pelt still uses the Stick today, sending 50 in a row down the rail before teeing off. 

 

Should You Buy It?:

 

Cold, hard cash for the Putting Stick®? I'd say YES!  It provides a real benefit for improving alignment and stroke.

 

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If you have alignment issues or struggle finding a consistent, repeatable stroke, the Putting Stick® can certainly help you. Ten minutes a day forces proper alignment and gets your eyes over the ball. And the challenge of getting that damn ball down the length of the stick will keep you motivated all winter long.

 

The Putting Stick® won't teach you to read greens, but it will help you hit the ball on the line you do choose, and at the speed you want. 

 

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You can buy the Putting Stick® at tpkgolf.com

 

The mirrored version is $79.95, the Pro-Version (with a built-in mirror) is $69.95. 

 

BIG NEWS!!!  We have 3, count 'em, THREE Putting Sticks to give away to luck forum members this week (1 mirrored version and 2 Pro-Versions).  

We're going to have some fun with this one!!!

 

CLICK HERE TO ENTER!!

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Nice review.  I think this is something that could really help my game......especially being able to use it during the winter months.

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If the surface the stick is on isn't level, how will the ball stay on the stick anyway?

 

Good question - there's a bubble-level on the stick to help level it out.  It's remarkably easy to keep it level, even on carpet...

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One thing to add - this appears to be the kind of training aid with staying power.  The more you use it, the more grooved your stroke gets, but as we all know with putting, you may "have" it for a while, but you never really get to "keep" it...

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One thing to add - this appears to be the kind of training aid with staying power.  The more you use it, the more grooved your stroke gets, but as we all know with putting, you may "have" it for a while, but you never really get to "keep" it...

I find that true for every aspect of the game...lol.

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Worked with the Pro-Version again today, after a few days off - this time with a different putter.  Amazing how quickly you can lose it and then how hard you have to work to get it back.  That's the thing with the Putting Stick -- you have to WORK at it.  It's NOT easy -- but after about 10 minutes or so I could get 3 or 4 out of 5 to go down the stick, and that translated into better putting from 5, 10 and 15 feet. 

 

It's a great training aid, but it makes you earn it.  It's not a quick fix but rather something you'll use all the time.  

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You know there are unlimited possibilities with that thing especially with you guys in the frozen north. You could have little dollar matches with your buddies with that thing and then try it after 2 or more adult beverages. But the more you play those little games with it (sober) it may help you improve

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You know there are unlimited possibilities with that thing especially with you guys in the frozen north. You could have little dollar matches with your buddies with that thing and then try it after 2 or more adult beverages. But the more you play those little games with it (sober) it may help you improve

My thoughts exactly.  I can see my bro-in-law and I trading dollars back and forth all night with this thing.  And yes adult beverages would be involved.

 

Or course I would need to practice with it for a week or two before I tell him I have it :)

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LOL hcky spoken like a true hustler practice with it a couple of weeks before you present the game exactly what I would do  :)

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LOL hcky spoken like a true hustler practice with it a couple of weeks before you present the game exactly what I would do :)

Haha! And have it all packed up in the box like it just came in the mail. Read the instructions like it's the first time.

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One more day to enter our Putting Stick Giveaway -- check out the review above and click the link at the end to enter.  We have 3 Putting Sticks to give away - so enter for your chance to win this unique and very effective putting aid!

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Good answer Blade heck play it to the hilt act like you just got it for a present with the line "what the heck is this thing and how does it work?" Priceless! :)

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Nicely done Barb.......coulda used some practice on it before today's round.

 

Will be getting your stick out today Foz -- you'll be a killer on the green!  Just remember it's not easy - it's not supposed to be.  Getting that ball down the stick takes a LOT of practice and will feel really, really weird at first.  Tell you what, getting 3 or 4 in a row down the line makes you feel a mile high!

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Will be getting your stick out today Foz -- you'll be a killer on the green!  Just remember it's not easy - it's not supposed to be.  Getting that ball down the stick takes a LOT of practice and will feel really, really weird at first.  Tell you what, getting 3 or 4 in a row down the line makes you feel a mile high!

The way I've been putting lately, I will def take my time learning the Putting Stick.....no where to go but up......and in!

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