Finally, a reason to use your cellphone on the course that won't earn you icy stares around the old clubhouse. Golfing accessory manufacture Ping this week announced an iPhone / iPod touch cradle that clips onto your putter, using the company's iPing app to quantify your putting handicap number. The system measures your stroke type, impact angle, and tempo, comparing them against your friends and some pre-entered golfing pros. Al Czervik would be proud. The app itself is free, but the cradle will run you $30 -- both will be available online, later this month. It's certainly cheaper and a lot less bulky than systems we've seen, but don't take it from us -- listen to teaching professional Jeff Ritter in the clip below.
New iPing putter app targets consistency for better putting
PING®, a company with a legacy of putter innovation and success, introduces the iPING™ putter app – a free, wireless, go-anywhere putting improvement tool that identifies a player's stroke type, analyzes their impact angle, and measures their tempo. After a series of putts, the iPING app records the golfer's consistency in each area and establishes a Putting Handicap™ (PHcp™), which gets lower as the player improves their consistency, the key to holing more putts.
The iPING app is a free download from the iTunes® App Store™ for the iPhone® 4 and the smaller iPod touch® (4th gen). The iPING app works in conjunction with a PING cradle ($30 MSRP), which holds the mobile device and clips onto the putter shaft just below the grip. Cradles are available for either the iPhone 4 or iPod touch (4th gen) due to the different sizes of the devices.
The iPING app will be on iTunes on June 20th. PING cradles will be available on the same date through key golf retailers' websites. Other PING retailers will offer the cradles in early July.
The iPhone 4 and iPod touch (4th gen) are the only mobile devices that contain both accelerometers and gyroscopes – the key technology features that allow iPING to measure and record data. The accelerometers measure linear acceleration, while the gyroscopes detect rotational speed.
"Innovation takes many forms," said John A. Solheim, PING Chairman & CEO. "My father, Karsten Solheim, started PING with a single putter design. The engineering principles of that design and subsequent models ignited a revolution in golf club design and putter fitting. The Anser putter, which he designed in 1966, still dominates the Tours today more than 45 years later. The iPING app continues in our long tradition of innovation by allowing golfers to analyze their putting strokes more closely than ever. It works like a launch monitor for putters by measuring key aspects of your stroke. It will help every level of golfer see better results by adding more consistency on the putting green. Besides that, it's a lot of fun to use and has several other features."
The iPING app analyzes and displays a golfer's consistency onscreen using three criteria:
STROKE TYPE: Stroke type is the classification of a player's closing angle, the amount of rotation of the putter face during the forward stroke. PING's research found that golfers can be categorized as one of three stroke types: Straight, Slight Arc, or Strong Arc, measured in degrees of face rotation. (Straight has very little or no rotation; Strong Arc has the most.) The research shows that players tend to be most consistent with a balance of putter that matches their stroke type. Face-balanced putters work best for Straight strokes while toe-down putters are most effective for a Strong Arc.
IMPACT ANGLE: Impact angle is the putter's face angle at impact, relative to address, measured in degrees. PING's data shows that even the best players in the world do not necessarily have a 0 impact angle average, but all are highly consistent.
TEMPO: Tempo is a measure of the duration of the backswing relative to the forward swing and is expressed in a ratio: 2 to 1, for example. The average tempo will vary among players, but the best putters have extremely high consistency in tempo.
MEASURE MODE: In Measure mode, the golfer hits five putts and their stroke type, impact angle and tempo are displayed for every putt in that session and stored. The iPING app calculates a consistency score, and then averages the scores over time to build a Putting Handicap (PHcp). As the player improves their consistency, they'll watch their PHcp come down.
PRACTICE MODE: In Practice mode, the user can isolate one aspect of their putting that's lacking in consistency – tempo, for example – for extra attention. Stroke type, impact angle, and tempo are displayed for individual putts.
COMPARE MODE: In Compare mode the player can compare their results with previous sessions or with those of their friends. They can even do side-by-side comparisons with several PING tour pros, whose results are pre-loaded into the iPING app.
Users can also share and compare their results through social media, Solheim said. "The social aspect and the ability to form a community around it is another exciting feature of iPING," he said. "Golfers can share their results by emailing friends and posting sessions on Facebook® or Twitter®. We expect golfers to fully embrace these features as they develop fun and friendly competitions using iPING and their mobile devices."