The putting stroke is the shortest in the sport, but it's also the most important. You'll use it on most every hole you play in your life. Every other club is optional. That means having a sound putting stroke that holds up under pressure is the best way to improve scoring.
However, standing over the ball, it's hard to assess your stroke. Fortunately, technology has come along that can quickly and simply provide important feedback on every putt you stroke. The 3BaysGSA Putt product (MSRP: $199) is best-in-class when it comes to capturing and analyzing your putting stroke -- and, frankly, it can be addicting.
The technology behind the product is simple and similar to other swing-tracking products. There's a small, Bluetooth-capable sensor that goes in the butt end of your putter grip, aligning it with the club face using an arrow on the device. You'll pair that device to your phone or tablet, then download the 3BaysGSA Putt app for your particular mobile operating system. When you fire up the app, it'll guide you to connect the device to your phone, and then off you go.
From there, it's up to you. Take your normal putting stance -- it doesn't matter the length of putt or your target -- and wait for the flashing blue LED light on the top of the sensor to turn solid. Then putt. After the putt, the sensor will immediately send data to the app, which is laid out beautifully and simply on your screen.
The app visualizes your stroke from two views:
1. From above, showing whether you pull back and accelerate through the stroke by taking the putter inside or outside, keeping the putter face open or closed at impact;
2. From the side, showing the angle of attack to the ball.
3Bays goes even further, giving you a replay of your putting stroke that can be slowed down to one-sixteenth the original speed. After you hit 20 or 30 putts with the 3BaysGSA Putt, there's enough data there that you can identify a "best putt," or the one that looked and felt the best to you and maybe went in the hole. The app can then show you replays of other putts compared to that one and give each future putt a score of how consistent each subsequent stroke was with your best effort.
The 3BaysGSA Putt is a simple product with an easy-to-use accompanying app, but it offers powerful insight into the most important aspect of your game.
(The company actually produces a similar product for the full swing, but we didn't test that. And make sure that you buy the right 3BaysGSA sensor for your mobile platform, be it Android or Apple's iOS.)
With just a few minutes of effort here and there, you can check-in on your putting stroke to make sure everything is on the up and up. Actually, if it's going well, up and down.