Just when you think the iPhone couldn’t possibly do anything else to make your life easier, it does. And if you’re a serious golfer, the latest release of Ping’s putter app (iPing) last month might have just made your life on the course this summer a little more enjoyable.
What it is
iPing is a state-of-the-art iPhone app that measures five parameters of your putting stroke (lie angle, face angle, tempo, stroke type, consistency). Once the app is downloaded, you need to go out and buy a cradle/holder from a Ping retailer. After you insert your iPhone into the cradle, you attach it to your putter, follow some simple directions, start putting, and the app does the rest of the work.
-iPing is free. If you like it, you can use it forever, and if you find it isn’t helping at all, you can delete it. Unfortunately, the cradle that attaches to your putter does cost money but if you know someone that already has one, you won’t have to spend a dime.
-If you’re really serious about your putting stroke, this app is great. A lot of people know what they need to do to become a better putter but there is no way of telling if they are actually doing it. iPing provides you with concrete statistics that show you exactly where your hands are, how your club is swinging and what the putter head is doing at impact.
-iPing logs all of your sessions. You can use it once, go work on your putting stroke for a week and then use it again to see how you’ve improved (or haven’t improved), which is a very convenient feature.
-The app is free but the cradle isn’t. The piece of plastic that attaches to your putter probably cost 30 cents to make but Ping is selling it for $30. Depending on how desperate you are to improve your stroke, the money may be well worth spending.
-While iPing certainly provides a great deal of data regarding the putting stroke, the data is really only useful if you have some technical knowledge about the short game. If you aren’t familiar with terms like “impact angle” or “lie angle” it’s difficult to draw any conclusions about your stroke and if you consistently see some unwanted habit continuing to occur, it’s difficult to fix without understanding proper technique.
-Unfortunately, this app will not work with the iPhone 3 (or 3GS). The app is available from the store on any iPhone but the cradle that attaches to the putter and holds the phone will only fit the iPhone 4, 5 or an iPod touch.
-The part of the app that allows you to compare your putting stroke to notable tour players like Hunter Mahan or Bubba Watson certainly is interesting but it’s essentially useless.
Putting is about what you feel comfortable doing. Hunter Mahan’s stroke works for him but it probably won’t work for you. Trying to duplicate another players parameters will probably only cause more trouble.
iPing certainly has some value if you use it the right way. It can help you improve your putting stroke but if you’re the average guy who drops some balls on the putting green, doesn’t pick a line and just putts in the general direction of the hole then it’s going to be a waste of money.
If you have some knowledge of proper technique and you really do want to get better, you may want to check it out.