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|The Dead Aim Putter design integrates a patented alignment aid into the putter head. (Courtesy of Dead Aim )|
Everybody wants to practice the full swing. Even Tiger Woods has been accused of neglecting his putter during his most recent swing change.
But putting sets good players apart from great players, and great players from legends.
Today's putters come loaded with sightlines and alignment aids. Few if any putters, however, come loaded with game-improvement and practice features like those found in the Dead Aim Putter ($150; belly version $190).
You may have seen commercials for the Dead Aim Putter featuring The Golf Channel's Frank Nobilo. These promotional spots highlight not only the alignment aids built into the putter head, but also some additional practice aids that fit onto the Dead Aim and make it the most versatile flatstick on the market.
The Dead Aim's putter head is hollow behind the soft, all-metal face, and the bi-level construction is key to the patented alignment aid. When the player's eyes are directly over the putter head, the lines on the top and bottom parts of the head match up seamlessly, as viewed through three holes on the top level. In addition, there is a dot visible through each of the holes, and when the hands are in the proper position, the dots are dead-center in each hole.
Also available from Dead Aim is a small laser pointer ($50, or $190 for the putter and laser). The laser mounts into the holes the top of the putter head and shoots down your putting line. It tells you immediately if your alignment is off.
Also available is a gadget called the Center Strike Clip. It clips onto the Dead Aim head so that there are little bars on either side of the sweet spot. If you miss the sweet spot, not only does the ball shoot offline, it also makes a rattling noise (the nickname of the device is the rattler). This is a high-tech version of wrapping a couple of rubber bands around the putter head to promote contact on the sweet spot.
I took the Dead Aim mallet out to the practice green of my home course for a round. On the practice green, I loved the alignment aids and had fun demonstrating the laser to my golfing buddies. (I'm known as "Mr. Contraption" for good reason.) And I felt confident heading out to the still rough, shaggy early-season greens.
On the course, the soft feel of the CNC milled face was excellent, but I found myself distracted a bit by the sophisticated alignment aids. Rather than focusing on the ball and on just making a confident stroke, I realized I was obsessing on getting the lines matched up and the dots in the center of the holes. As a result, I sort of steered a most of my putts. Consequently, this steering got my hands involved and the head started over-rotating. The Dead Aim doesn't have a lot of heel-toe weighting, so this slight rotation was hard to fight.
The lesson learned was to practice more with the Dead Aim to become more accustomed to the various alignment aids. I assume that more concentrated work with the Dead Aim would alleviate this problem.
In other words, practice on the practice green, but not on the course. Just like with your full swing, once you're on the course, it's time to stop "working" on your swing and just play.
Dead Aim is arguably the most complete, technologically sophisticated all-in-one putting system on the market. You can practice with it and with the various accessories, and then take the same club onto the course.
The trick is to stop the practicing once you get out to the real greens. Don't let yourself get distracted by all the bells and whistles.
For more information, visit deadaimputters.com.
April 23, 2013
Kiel Christianson has lived, worked, traveled and golfed extensively on three continents. As senior writer and equipment editor for WorldGolf.com, he has reviewed courses, resorts, and golf academies from California to Ireland, including his home course, Lake of the Woods G.C. in Mahomet, Illinois. Read his golf blog here.
Putters have evolved tremendously in the past couple of decades, especially with respect to visuals: larger, strategically weighted heads with multiple alignment aids are now common. Cleveland Golf has taken alignment aids to a new level -- a brilliantly simple yet effective new level. The Smart Square Putter combines parallel and perpendicular lines for alignment with a firmer copolymer insert to create a remarkably effective mallet.
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