Can a Golf Putter Training Aid Really Help Your Game?

You might be considering trying a golf putter training aid if you want some help with your putting. Let's be honest, what golfer wouldn't love to improve? Dozens of choices for putting aids are available.

Putting aids come in a number of styles, including putting tracks, strings and rails; handheld gizmos to help you read breaks; and bands, bars, braces and other contraptions designed to maintain the optimal triangle between the shoulders, arms and the putter grip. But among the most popular putting aids are the devices that resemble actual putters. Many people consider them to be the classic golf putter training aid.

But, can it really help your game? Or, are these devices just so much marketing hype and nothing else? In a minute I'll discuss one particular training aid and let you know what I found out.

To begin with, it's important to realize that the better golf training aids are actually able to improve your game. An effective device (one of the specific types of golf training aids) can help almost anyone's putting stroke become more pure and consistent. That's why even professional golfers use them and famous golf instructors endorse them. No one would put their earning ability or professional reputation on the line to use or endorse a golf tool that didn't work.

Putting is all about two things: feel and reading the line properly. A golf putter training aid that resembles a putter can't help you read breaks, but it sure can improve your stroke and feel. This type of training device works by giving you feedback on your tempo and letting you know whether your stroke is too "handsy" (your wrists are breaking down during your stroke).

I recently tried one of these golf putter training aid devices for myself. Lately I've been struggling with putting, so I borrowed a friend's Refiner® hinged mallet-type training putter. Here's what I found out:

The Refiner® golf putter training aid is hinged in a way that will show you where your putting stroke is going awry. If your tempo is too abrupt or fast, or your stroke's path is off-plane, the hinge breaks down right away. The device gives you instant feedback. If the hinge never starts folding and the shaft instead remains straight, you know you stroked it purely. Any flaws in your putting stroke become obvious, whether they involve your tempo, timing or path. This type of instant feedback can help you learn how to swing your putter smoothly and with an even, rhythmic tempo. With practice, you learn what works (the shaft remains straight) and what doesn't (the shaft hinges).

The hinge on the Refiner's® shaft is user-adjustable. This golf putter training aid comes with a combination adjustment/divot tool, but I wasn't able to make any changes to the hinge tension on the device I borrowed. Unfortunately, my friend used his adjustment key as a divot tool - until he lost it one day. I would have liked to try adjusting the hinge to see what happened when the tension was higher and lower, but oh well.

After five minutes on the practice green with the Refiner®, I had learned that my tempo was off - too jerky on the takeaway. I practiced with it for more than an hour, trying to achieve the type of consistently smooth putting stroke the Refiner® requires in order for the shaft to stay straight. Eventually I was able to keep the shaft straight nine times out of ten. When I picked up my regular putter my stroke felt smoother and a higher percentage of my putts started dropping in.

After a little research I found out that the Refiner® can alert you to all sorts of common tempo issues, including a jerky takeaway, a too-abrupt transition into the forward stroke, and decelerating into the ball. It's effective, and it's affordably priced. Although the full MSRP is $60, you can find a Refiner® putting aid online for as little as $40 - possibly less if you run into a special sale.

The list of professional golfers who use the Refiner® golf putter training aid is pretty impressive and includes Padraig Harrington, Vijay Singh, Boo Weekley, Fred Funk and Steve Pate, among others. If you're willing to put in the practice, this golf putter training aid can help you learn the proper putting rhythm and tempo.

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