In one of my all-time favorite movies, “A Few Good Men,” Lt. Daniel Kaffee, played by Tom Cruise, walks around his house carrying a baseball bat because he does his best thinking with it in his hands. I prefer to hold a putter – I’ve got them in every room of my house – but I don’t actually hit many putts, in large part, because neither the carpeting nor the flooring is particularly putting friendly.
In short, it would be counterproductive to work on my stroke here. Luckily for me, I’ve also got a real grass practice-putting green, not in my backyard, but in walking distance for those times when I feel the need to stroke some putts.
But now, thanks to the coronavirus and current stay-at-home guidelines to minimize its effect, that putting green is closed and many of us are hunkering down at home. Still, we need our golf fix, right?
That has led to a run on indoor-putting devices (web sites note limited supply). Everyone from PGA Tour pros Dustin Johnson (and fiancée Paulina) to Patrick Rodgers to fellow media members Amanda Balionis and Kira Dixon have posted videos of themselves sharpening their short sticks inside.
There are several indoor putting devices to choose from if you scour the Internet, including models from Eyeline Golf, PuttOut Golf, SKLZ and Birdie Ball, just to name a few. They are all selling for roughly the same price, topping out at $169.99 unless you’re looking for a high-end synthetic turf model, in which case expect to dig deeper into your wallet.
Quarantine day ??? pic.twitter.com/MdMNHHGT5S
— Kira K. Dixon (@KiraDixon) March 25, 2020
I’m using the Perfect Practice Putting Green Mat, which has already proclaimed itself “the 2020 Social Distancing Golf Product of the Year” and has a hashtag I can get behind: #AlwaysBePutting. I’m enjoying it for a variety of reasons. Assembly was idiot-proof. Simply unroll the strip of carpet, connect together the four-piece wooden ball return, slide the backstop in the appropriate slot and you’re good to go.
I had one of these contraptions back in the day and they’ve come a long way. For starters, no electricity required and it’s portable so I can put it away easily or move it to another room if I choose. I like the measurement tape along the sides so I know if I’m practicing from 5 feet or 6 feet and and the lines help me groove a straight back, straight through motion.
Also, you practice putting up a slight incline and so I get immediate feedback if I decelerate, which I’ve been known to do. There is also a regulation hole to aim at on the left and a smaller hole that is quite the challenge on the right. Why the smaller hole? The theory is if you “aim small, you miss small.” Most importantly, it gives a consistent, smooth, straight putt.
— Patrick Rodgers (@PRodgersGolf) March 25, 2020
My wife and I have had some heated games of P-A-R since the putting mat arrived on Monday (after work hours for her, of course. This is called research for me!). At one point, she made the comment that this was the most she had practiced in a long time. Lo and behold, we squeezed in a late nine holes after work on Wednesday and she made everything she looked at – nothing but foam noodle.
“I may come out of this coronavirus thing a better putter,” she said.
To paraphrase Lt. Col. Nathan Jessup, played to perfection by Jack Nicholson in “A Few Good Men,” that is a truth that I cannot handle.