This Might Be The Coolest Training Aid We've Tried This Year... But It Isn't Perfect

This Might Be The Coolest Training Aid We've Tried This Year... But It Isn't Perfect

Unless you’re already a great putter, one of the fastest ways to lower your handicap is to increase your proficiency on the greens. For example, If you go from 36 to 29 putts per round, well, that’s seven strokes off your score. That turns a 92 into an 85, and an 82 into 75.

Of course, if putting is by far the strength of your game, then you might not be interested in the product I recently tested - the GloPro Firefly, an innovative putting trainer that clubfitters, golf instructors, and many golfers would find very useful. 

I came across the GloPro Firefly at this year’s PGA Merchandise Show in Orlando. They were in a small booth, and each time I went by, I noticed a golf pro or two there, checking it out. They seemed intrigued, and I witnessed more than one making an order on the spot. 

The GloPro Firefly ($149.99) is a system that combines a clamp, laser light, and a glow-in-the-dark pad that traces the beam. The clamp fits on the shaft of your putter. The laser goes in the clamp and points down. From there you can put a ball on the pad on an indoor putting green, or simply make putting strokes over the pad without a ball. In either case, the laser traces your exact stroke in real time.

The inventors of the GloPro Firefly got the idea from swinging a 9-iron in tall grass. They were a bit surprised to see the exact path of the clubhead wasn’t what they expected, which led to creating something that could do this for putting. A family member who worked in medical research helped find the materials to create GloPro Firefly, which records a line marked on the pad that disappears after a few minutes. You can either take a picture of it, or simply remember what it looked like. In any case, it gives you a real time picture of your putting stroke.

So the big question, of course, is how do you use this information? Well, it can tell you a lot. Do you have much of an arc or do you tend to go pretty straight back and straight through? You might have a combination of both - an arc going back and a straight follow through or just the opposite. Can you retrace your path when you change direction? How long is your stroke, both back and through? (If you're promoting a pendulum stroke, for example, without a ball, the back stroke and through stroke should be fairly even.)

According to GloPro founder Anthony Metzger, the first thing to look for is are you pushing or pulling your putts? From there you can start to make adjustments, with or without a coach or instructor, which makes it one of the best golf training aids for instant, useable feedback.

I used it to confirm a change I made a couple of years ago. When I made a right-handed stroke, the laser line was all over the place, and my through stroke was a big push, which confirmed why most of my misses were right of the hole as a righty. But when I tested it left-handed, my strokes were consistent and almost straight back and straight through. They were even length on both sides, and the arc was very slight. And I could repeat it almost every time. 

Putter fitters can use this to dial in different types of putters - changing out heads, shaft types, weights, whether they are face-balanced, etc., to come up with a combination that produces the best and most consistent strokes. Instructors naturally can teach off this too, to correct flaws they see in your strokes in real time.

Obviously this isn’t the only tool for measuring putting strokes. The SAM PuttLab, for example, can measure pretty much everything about a putt, including skid, loft, and exactly how the putter is contacting the ball. It costs thousands of dollars. There's also PuttLink and Capto EZ, which are also good systems in their own right.

But if you’re just looking to dial in a great stroke, the GloPro Firefly is an inexpensive, unique tool that gives you instant feedback.

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