PING Golf recently released an app that puts a wealth of personal
putting information in the palm of your hand—the iPING putter app for
the iPhone 4 and fourth-generation iPod Touch.
app is free, but can only be used with a companion cradle ($30) that
attaches to the putter shaft. In the words of PING, “It's a very cool
innovation that gets to the very heart of what we do at PING: help
people play better golf.”
So is the iPING app
just a gimmick in the vein of "too much information," or a truly helpful
tool that can make a positive impact on your putting performance?
Following is The Back Nine Insider's iPING putter app review.
The View from The Back Nine Insider
iPING app delivers a technological hat trick—it’s innovative, intuitive
and effective. You strap the device onto your putter shaft, press the
virtual start button and stroke your putt, and the results are
At first, you can simply stroke
some practice putts to get acclimated to the app, which measures your
tempo, stroke type and impact angle.
tempo is measured as the timing ratio of back stroke to forward stroke.
Your stroke type is calculated as Straight, Slight Arc or Strong Arc.
The impact angle is determined as difference between the putter’s face
angle at address compared to its angle at impact.
you play around with it a bit, it’s time to enter the “Measure” mode,
during which you stroke five consecutive putts with no need to look at
or interact with the device. Once you have completed your five putts,
the app reveals your aggregate results for tempo, stroke type and impact
this point, you can begin to ascertain your putting consistency. The
results are color coded, with green signifying “most consistent,” yellow
signifying “moderate” and red signifying “low consistency.” The app can
also record each five-putt session, building an ongoing “consistency
score” to ultimately measure your “putting handicap.” As you demonstrate
more putting consistency, you lower your handicap.
can also set the app to record and compare results for different users,
such as friends and family. You can also view corresponding putting
results from PING staff professionals such as Angel Cabrera and Bubba
To have all of this information in the
palm of your hand is remarkable and, quite frankly, revolutionary. Yes,
there are other systems and technologies that can offer similar
measurements, but none do it as cost effectively or conveniently as the
Of course, this all begs the
question: What do you do with this information? Well, collectively, the
information you gain is both a putting training tool as well as a putter
If your tempo, face angle or
stroke type are wildly inconsistent, you have a problem—but you also now
have a tool that can help you remedy the problem by measuring your
efforts to improve.
for example, if the app tells you that your stroke is Straight, you may
want to make sure that you have a face-balanced putter. Once you make
sure your balance fits your stroke, you may see the consistency of all
your measurements improve, including tempo and face angle.
make it easier for you to ascertain the best fit, PING will soon
release seven new Anser putters of varying balance properties, with each
identified by one of three different colored shaft bands marked for
Straight, Slight Arc or Strong Arc.
weight is another aspect of putter fitting, and it can impact your
tempo, so it's worth noting that the attached iPhone adds no small
amount of weight to the putter. It helps that the cradle attaches to the
shaft near the balance point of the average putter, so the added weight
is easy to control. Nevertheless, it’s fair to speculate how much the
added weight will impact the golfer’s tempo and total results (the iPod
Touch is considerably lighter than the iPhone, and I hope to test one
out soon, at which point I will update this review). That said, there’s
really no way around the added weight, not at this price and