Review of Proaim Putting Practice Aid
When you think about it golf in theory it is basically made up of two halves, 36 long shots and 36 putts.
Hands up who spends as much time practicing their putting as they do their long game? Short game? Or is it five minutes on the putting green once in a while?
I am sure for the majority of golfers the easiest way to shave a few shots off their handicap is to improve their putting... enter Proaim virtual alignment system.
Retailing at UK£49.95/US$59.95 you get a funky pair of glasses, a hard plastic case to store them in and a 40 page booklet "How to Putt Like the Pros." In fact the booklet is only half about putting, the other half is about such things as etiquette and rules. I suspect most people will take a glace through this once and then get on with the interesting part of the package.
The glasses look a bit high tech and ten years ago you might have felt a total idiot wearing them, today with players like David Duval wearing wrap around sun glasses they're perhaps not quite so alien looking as once they were. They're made of plastic and give the impression of being fairly robust.
Basically the right lens is offset 45 degrees and orange "laser like" lines are reflected onto the lens so where ever you look you see the alignment grid. The brighter the light the brighter the orange lines show... sunshine is best. Indoors without bright lighting they're a bit dim but still visible.
What does it do?
Using a technique called Optical Imprinting, the golfer can use the virtual grid to help keep the club head within the lines of the projected grid, by seeing the proper head position, club face alignment and swing path all working together. In this way it is possible not just to imprint the muscle memory quickly but imprint it with the right movement.
First thing I noticed was how much my head moved through the putting stroke, not good... the lines makes it quite clear. The other thing I immediately noticed was that when turning my head whilst in the putting stance to make final lining up adjustments, my head didn't go back to where I thought it was originally.. again obvious with the lines. Practice required there!
The main thrust of the proaim though is to ensure that your alignment is correct and that the putting stroke is going through on line, and again if I am being honest it's quite surprising how "unsquare" my putting stroke is.
That basically is what proaim does, shows you where you are going astray and then helps you correct it. I liked the instant feedback, you can tell immediately what's going wrong.
Like all practice aids it's not an instant miracle cure, you will have to dedicate time to get the most out of it, but have to say that I was impressed and I am sure with a little work that my putting stroke, alignment and consistency will all improve, thus taking a few less putts a round which is what we would all like to do.
I think the main benefit of the proaim for most people will be for short putts, especially those nasty 2-4 foot putts that are so easy to brush by the hole or lip out, if you line up correctly, put the putter through the ball squarely on a straight line, you can't help but hole more.
The promotional material quotes some interesting numbers, an improvement of 331% by a group of golfers... what is that quote about statistics?! That aside I do think that for a lot of golfers the Proaim will help with putting, both from a technical standpoint and also with a confidence boost too.
The Proaim is endorsed by Butch Harmon and used by such players as Darren Clarke and Mark Calcavecchia which adds some authority to it. Proaim is clever and it does work, and if you're looking to shave a few putts off a round then it's well worth considering.
For more information take a look at http://www.proaim.com