Want to putt like a pro? Time to train like one!

The latest practice aid from Zenio

Golfmagic correspondent
Tue, 8 Dec 2009

Want to putt like a pro? Time to train like one!

putting
Zenio attachments on a normal putter

His private life might be in turmoil right now, but Tiger Woods remains the best player in the world by some considerable distance. And we all know why. It’s not because he can hit the ball miles. It’s not because he controls his irons so well. It’s not even because his short-game is so good. No, the reason he is No.1 is that he is the best putter in the game. Bar none. Which makes it all the more puzzling that putting is the part of the game the average player works on less than any other.

If you hit 35 putts in a round of 85, that’s 41% of your strokes taken with the flat stick. Forty-one percent! So while we bash drivers on the range, the smart player heads to the putting green. And if the European Tour is anything to go by, the smart player goes armed with a ZENIO system.

Since it was launched in Dubai last month, interest in this putting training system has mushroomed. Tour players, coaches, club-fitters and mental trainers are all raving about it… and with good reason. We all understand the benefit of data recorded in a high-tech putting lab, particularly rhythm, face angle, point of impact on the face and loft at impact. After all, if you know what exactly what’s happening in your putting stroke, you’re better placed to fix it, right?

But what if you could get all that information instantly? And what if you could get it as you practised on a real green rather than having to be indoors putting on a piece of carpet? Now that would be something.

The ZENIO was developed by Dr Richard Jaekel, who has spent nearly a decade on the European Tour working with players and coaches to find out what they wanted to know about their putting. Dr Jaekel then used the latest sensor technology to develop a system that delivered it. For such a complicated piece of equipment it’s remarkably simple. A device the size of a matchbox clips onto your putter, a sensor pad is stuck to the face and all the data from your stroke is transmitted to your phone, PDA or even laptop via Bluetooth. That’s it. No wires, no labs, no fuss. Just the information you want, presented graphically in a way you can clearly understand.

putting
Built-in chart enables the user to plot their progress

Best of all, each session of seven putts is saved and added to your database of putting stats, enabling you to build up a long term picture of your putting and clearly identify the areas that need work. And you can do this for different types of putts (uphill, downhill, breaking left, breaking right) from three different distances (5ft, 10ft, 20ft). After a few months you’ll be able to clearly see those putts that you enjoy, and those that cause problems. You can compare each session with your previous best on that particular putt and even test yourself against the benchmark of a Tour player.

And it’s not just a training tool. You can also use the ZENIO as a putter-fitting device by measuring performance with putters of different head shape, weight and length. This is particularly useful for players who switch between a variety of different putters and can’t decide which one is best. And if you’ve ever tinkered with your grip, stance and posture (and wondered what difference it makes) the ZENIO can also tell you what works best for you.

Dozens of players have tried out the system already, with many purchasing their own units. A number of National Federations having also signed up to use the system as part of their coaching programmes, while many European Tour coaches are also using it to monitor and improve the putting performance of their clients. A mobile web platform is also currently being developed by the company that will enable players to upload their stats (where they can be remotely accessed by a coach) and even download customised tips and drills.

At €699 it’s not cheap, but if you take your game seriously and really want to improve it’s an investment worth considering. Many players think nothing of shelling out for a new driver so why not use the money in a more constructive way and address the one area of the game where you really can match the professionals? For further information visit www.zeniosports.com