The Perfect Putting Stroke
Former Vandal’s invention is making the cut
driver isn’t just the biggest club in any golfer’s bag, it’s also the
club most likely to drive a golfer bonkers. To help make sure your
drives find the fairway and not just the bunker, the woods or your own
shin, here are handful of tips about swinging a driver from some of the
Gem State’s finest golf pros—along with a selection of a few of our
favorite new drivers now available for the 2011 season.
While competing as a member of the University of Idaho men’s golf team, D.J. Thompson was often intrigued—and sometimes frustrated—by the art of putting.
Cleavland Launcher DST
As he practiced his short game, he usually did so in search of the “perfect” putting stroke.
Once he transitioned from collegiate golfer to professional tournaments on the California-based Golden State Tour, he began to fully understand the importance of putting.
“When you play professional golf for a living, you live and die by your putter,” Thompson said. “I realized that I usually cashed a check when I putted really well. But some of the most frustrating rounds that I experienced were when I hit the ball well and did not make any putts.”
Discouraged by his inconsistency, Thompson decided to take matters into his own hands.
“I never really liked any of the putting aids that were on the market because they did not show me exactly what I should be doing. So I invented my own,” the former Vandal explained. “I wanted to practice the exact same stroke from day to day, month to month and year to year.”
Thompson created an innovative product that he had first envisioned while playing for the U of I—a putting simulator that is now known as the Z Factor Perfect Putting Machine.
Upon developing the simulator, which began as a handmade wooden model, Thompson first attempted to sell versions at the Nationwide Tour’s Albertsons Boise Open in 2004. Much to his surprise, golfers of all ages and skill levels were interested and willing to buy it; eventually including sales to an array of pros like Chris DiMarco, Jerry Kelly, Woody Austin, Peter Jacobsen, Bob Tway, and Jay Haas. And it’s been growing in popularity ever since.
“More than 60 PGA Tour members have purchased the machine throughout the past few years. The fact that many of these players have provided unpaid testimonials of the product, while also actually paying for it, shows that it is credible,” Thompson said. “It takes a lot for a tour player to pull out his or her wallet when they receive a majority of their merchandise for free.”
So what is the Z Factor’s secret? Thompson believes the Perfect Putting Machine allows users to finally understand how a tour professional feels when standing over putts and swinging the putter. Users attach their putters to the simulator and are guided through a fundamentally sound putting stroke.
Some of the most frustrating rounds that I experienced were when I hit the ball well
and did not make any putts.”
“Amateurs are able to step, per se, into the body of a tour player and feel what they do as they putt,” Thompson said. “They can hold onto their putter as it moves through a perfect stroke in order to understand how their own bodies should move throughout the entire duration of the putting stroke.”
The simulator also adapts to teach either square to square (STS) or inside-square-inside (ARC) putting techniques.
The STS method focuses on stroking the putter straight back and straight through on the target line. The putter’s face must always be pointed at the target to ensure a consistent stroke each time. By using the Perfect Putting Machine, golfers learn the muscle memory of the stroke so they’re able to perform well on both practice greens and golf courses.
Meanwhile, ARC putters generally stroke their club inside the target line on the backstroke, before returning the putter to square at impact and then following through inside of the target line while finishing the stroke. A majority of professional golfers putt in this manner. The Perfect Putting Machine helps users adapt to this method in order to obtain a more natural, relaxed putting technique they can rely on for years to come.
Thompson is confident that his product will improve players’ putting capabilities.
“Users will have 100 percent confidence knowing they are practicing the exact same three dimensional strokes as a tour player,” Thompson said. “The Perfect Putting Machine teaches golfers how to putt correctly and how to maintain their particular strokes forever.”
Text by Chris Lewis
Photography courtesy D.J. Thompson