ORLANDO -- It has always been amazing that putting analysis and instruction haven't gotten more attention, given that the putter is a club used on every hole and accounts for something like 40 percent of a typical player's score.
We've seen a rise in putting coaches and putter technology in recent years, finally. Now, in addition to setting up your own home swing simulator to hone your swing all winter in the garage, you can perfect your putting stroke, too. Enter the Putting Shark, part of the P3Pro Swing simulator.
Putting Shark looks like a normal putting mat you might see in the boss' office with a coffee cup or an automatic ball return at the end. The difference here is that there are swing sensors on the "tee," just like in the P3Pro Swing simulator. Instead of measuring all the data involved in a full-swing launch, the Putting Shark sensors measure the data involved in a putting stroke, based on club path and clubhead speed from four inches behind the ball to four inches on the follow-through.
Face angle, swing path, clubhead speed, angle of attack, sweet-spot deviation--all the pertinent data is there. I learned, for instance, that my putter face was 1.5 degrees open at impact when I tried the Putting Shark. I also noticed a right-to-left swing path--a longstanding habit that I obviously still haven't corrected. This is the kind of information that is invaluable, and sometimes hard even for an instructor to see. It's a smart way to improve your putting mechanics because, well, the numbers don't lie. Putting Shark's suggested retail price is $379 (www.puttingshark.com)