BETHESDA, Md. — It can be easier to find a needle in a haystack than the perfect putter at a pro shop, but Ping’s new app for the Apple iPhone 4 and fourth-generation iPod is working to change that.
The iPING App, which will be available to download free on iTunes starting June 20, utilizes the accelerometers and gyroscopes found in Apple's devices to measure your putting stroke's path, your tempo and the face angle of your putter at impact.
The app works in conjunction with a specially designed PING cradle ($30, sold through golf retailer’s websites) that clips an iPhone or iPod onto your putter shaft. Once your device is attached, iPING measures how much your putter rotates during the forward portion of your stroke, and then categorizes your swing into one of three types: Straight, Slight Arc or Strong Arc.
Ping's research shows that players who create little or no rotation of the putter swinging forward (Straight) benefit most from face-balanced putters, while toe-down putters are most effective for players who rotate the face a lot (Strong Arc). Golfers classified as having a Slight Arc get the most benefit from putters that are balanced in between. Later this summer, Ping putters will feature shaft labels of Straight, Slight Arc and Strong Arc to help you match your putter to your stroke type.
So instead of spending hours trying all the different putters in the shop, the iPING app will help you hone in on the putters that will enhance your stroke.
Once you find the putter of your dreams, iPING can be set to one of three modes—Measure, Practice or Compare—to help you improve.
In Measure mode, the software captures your putter-head rotation, face angle at impact, and tempo, then stores it and gives you a Putting Handicap based on the consistency of your stroke. With time and practice, your Putting Handicap should go down.
In Practice mode, only one of the three stats is measured so you can concentrate on improving that part of your putting.
Compare mode lets you see how your stats match up against your friends or Ping staff players like Lee Westwood, Hunter Mahan and Bubba Watson. You can also share your results on Facebook and Twitter.
At the end of the day, the iPING app and cradle are not going to tell you exactly which putter to buy, but they certainly can help you narrow your choices. It's also an affordable, easy-to-use training aid that should appeal to anyone looking to roll the rock just a little more consistently. See-Try-Buy: Learn more about Ping gear and schedule your fitting with GolfTEC or Golfsmith. Related: Follow David Dusek on Twitter | Facebook