Inside a super high-tech putting studio
Golfers from all over the world come here to fix their putting woes with popular Tour coach Phil Kenyon
Forget putting on real greens. The artificial stuff is just as realistic, and even better when you can track every component of every putt using 2D and 3D technology. Just ask Rory Mcilroy, Justin Rose or Tommy Fleetwood. They have all visited the Harold Swash Putting School of Excellence, warming up for The Open by booking a lesson with its director, Phil Kenyon.
It helps that the purpose-built facility is based at Formby Hall in Southport, less than five miles from Royal Birkdale. But what you may not know is that the 650sqft indoor studio is equipped with the largest collection of putting coaching software in the UK. Zen Green Stage? Check. SAM Puttlab? You bet. They can even hook you up to something called Golf Biodynamics, which makes you look like an extra from Star Trek. All the gadgets and gizmos cost a small fortune combined, but every one serves a purpose. 1 Zen Green Stage The world’s first computer controlled multicontoured putting surface. Measuring 16ft in length, the adjustable platform comes with six cups and interchangeable USGA spec speed carpets, which can run up to 15.5 on the stimp. Built-in wifi connects to a phone or tablet so coaches can add uphill, downhill and side-toside slopes of up to 12% in variation, including double-breaking putts. 2 Puttview Working in conjunction with Green Stage, Puttview shows you how to hole any breaking putt by calculating and projecting an accurate light path. Coaches can also take advantage of a sketch function by drawing graphics and instructions onto the putting surface. 3 SAM Puttlab Accurate to within 0.01 of a degree, this contraption uses ultrasound to track 28 parameters of the stroke, including clubface alignment, duration and rhythm. Instant graphical and numerical feedback is provided after every putt, which can then be compared against the average PGA Tour performance. 4 Quintic Ball Roll Used for fittings, instruction and R&D, this gizmo uses a 260 frames-per-second camera to measure the dynamics of the golf ball and putter head from set-up through to the first 16 inches of the putt. Think Trackman, for putting. 5 Golf Biodynamics This 3D system uses an electromagnetic motion detector to track the orientation of the upper and lower body throughout the stroke. The results can identify any issues relating to posture, flexibility, stability, strength or power. 6 Perfect Putter Forget chalk lines, Perfect Putter creates the perfect roll every time by highlighting the correct speed/line combination of any putt. Simply align the device to your intended start
line, pre-set the distance of the putt, and then drop the ball from the Euler spiral (the bit which looks like a slide). It’s the perfect tool for green reading and visualisation, plus it also doubles as a stimpmeter.
7 Mi Putting Template
The cheapest gadget but arguably the most effective. The template, which comes in four degrees of curvature (12, 15, 18 and 21), provides a visual representation of both the face and path by projecting the perfect arc.
Similar to SAM Balancelab, this wireless pressure mat gauges centre of pressure, balance and weight distribution at set-up and during the stroke.
9 GASP Lab 5
Four high-speed cameras capture set-up position and movement dynamics. The footage can be matched and viewed at different points in the stroke to highlight cause and effect.