Since the days of Marco Polo, the Far East has been a source of mysteries, full of new wonders and…OK, that intro seems a bit much for today’s context, but nonetheless, I think a lot of GolfWRX readers in English-speaking countries will appreciate the many interesting golf gear available here in Korea. With that said, I would like to share my experience with one of the most effective putting aids I have seen here in Korea, and something I haven’t seen anywhere else. Just say NO! to three putts with the ‘3 putt killer’ Direction vs Speed What aspect of putting would you say is more important – direction or speed control? If you have three-putted as often as I have, I’d venture that you chose the latter. And most pros I spoke to also agree that speed or the amount of “weight” you put on a ball is more often the deciding factor of a good putt. I consider myself a semi-serious golfer and put in a fair amount of practice towards both putting accuracy and distance control. I have bought many training aids over the years and have always had a large putting mat at home and the office for those days I couldn’t make it out to a practice green. But looking back, I realized that all of my putting practice revolved around putting towards a hole or a target for accuracy. I couldn’t recall a single training aid or a putting lesson that really taught me how to control my putting distance. Most often, I would hear “it’s a matter of practice” but nothing more specific than that. In addition, practicing longer lag putts necessitates that I visit a real putting green, and even then I would only be getting accustomed to that particular green speed only to start all over again on another course. I had thought I was a pretty good putter from within 6 feet, but my score wasn’t reflecting it. Simply, my problem was not that I couldn’t make 6-footers, but that I was leaving too many 6-footers from the hole on my lag putts. (Sturdy and portable to take anywhere, the Puttist allows lag putt practice of up to 50ft) Enter the Puttist The Puttist is a portable and rechargeable digital putting aid that helps golfers build muscle memory to consistently roll the ball to any distance between 6ft to 50ft. It is also labeled the world’s first”putter meter” as it uses a putting surface of only about a meter long. Attached to the end of the putting surface is a smart sensor, an innovative technology that translates the force of the impact and displays the distance the ball would have rolled on a real green. Similar to other putting mats of this size, the Puttist requires only one ball that allows you to stay relatively in place without having to go and fetch the ball from the hole after each putt. This provides a more effective putting session because I can save time while focusing more on maintaining the feel for the putt, stroke after stroke. In addition to being easier on my back, the machine also offers a variety of putting games that mocked challenged me to putt better. For example, one game presents 7 random distances between 3~9 meters, and only the putts that go past the hole (but not beyond 50cm) are considered as successful putts. Like the saying goes,“never up, never in.” In terms of accuracy, the LED shows whether your putt was slightly pulled or pushed with an arrow if you miss the center of the “hole.” (Puttist offers three speed settings of Slow, Average, and Fast at about 8, 10, and 12 on the Stimp meter) I have been using the Puttist for over a year now, and I still find it tough to walk by without having a go at one of its games. The immediate feedback of whether a putt was successful or not, coupled with a visual total score after each game made for a powerful motivator. To this day, I have yet to get the Holy Grail score, which requires the perfect distance right on the number, seven times in a row. Eventually, my body began to form its own baseline sense of “putting distance,” and I was able to visualize the amount of backswing and follow-through I needed to register a certain distance on the Puttist. That’s all well and good as a game, but does this help on an actual course? After all, the green speed on golf courses will vary on any given day with some being painfully slow, while others may be as fast as glass. (LPGA star In-Kyung Kim says the Puttist has helped her to win the 2017 Women’s British Open Championship) The answer soon became evident on the practice greens before a golf round. While I was hitting some practice putts, I learned that the ingrained “feel” for distance only needed to be tweaked a bit to get accustomed to the different speeds of the green. For example, if my 10-foot putting stroke only rolls eight-feet, I’d simply adjust to hit my putts to 12 feet for that day. In this simple manner, I was able to decrease the number of 3-putts from five or six times a round to almost zero, since I was now effectively lagging all my putts to tap-in distances. And it didn’t matter whether the greens were fast or slow as I just had to adjust for the new speed and let my ingrained muscle memory roll the ball to the distance I wanted. To be sure, I wasn’t making one-putts any more than what I was used to. But the immediate absence of three-putting visibly improved my score. I am sure there are many putting training aids out there that help golfers, but the Puttist was the only one I have encountered that helped to control my putting distance. (Dr. Kim Dong-guk says he was motivated to invent the Puttist to stop 3-putting, while finishing his Doctorate atthe Korean Advanced Institute of Science and Technology in advanced sensor technology) As for the price, it is about 170,000 KRW, which would be about $150. Personally, I think it is well worth the price, as golf lessons aren’t cheap these days. And even then, it is difficult to learn the feel for distance, as it isn’t something that can be taught easily. The Puttist has now entered its 10th year in existence and has been voted as one of the best golf training gadgets here in Korea. And with Winter just around the corner, I predict we are going to be seeing a lot more of each other. Now if I can only find an equally good putting aid that helps me to read the breaks on the green, I’d be golden come spring… Any thoughts? Stay tuned for more golf gadget updates from Korea!