Few things in golf are more annoying than hitting a slice … on a putt.
And, yes, it happens. That’s golf, the annoying game / addiction / psychosis — not always in that order — that we love / hate / love, also not always in that order.
How do you slice a putt? Easy. Simply have the putter face move right to left at impact. Not counting the occasional accident in which the ball somehow rolls on the intended line, the ball usually shoots left of the target or is blocked right. Either way, you can add another stroke to your score. Or, ahem, two.
The sliced putt had long plagued avid player and inventor Clay Judice. So, he tried to solve the problem using science.
“I was just designing a putter for me,” said Judice, of Lafayette, La., whose past golf equipment innovations include The Belly Putt, Offset Putter, Shaftlign Putter and Strokee putting aid. “That’s all it was.”
That’s how the Arcroll Arc Align putter ($279, Arcroll.com) was born. It is slightly sexier than a panel van, a rounded, squarish black mallet with a gooseneck shaft. It is roughly 4-inches by 4-inches although the tail end appears wider than the face because it’s curved.
What makes this hefty, heel-toe-balanced mallet work is its top-line art. In white is a design that looks like a torpedo split in half, or perhaps a lawn dart if you’re old enough to remember those. In between the halves is a long line emanating from the putter face’s sweet spot. A circle intersects that line at about the halfway point. As alignment aids go, this is the next best thing to crosshairs on a scope.
Enter two Arc Align surprises. One, that circle is the putter head’s center of mass. Two, and this is The Big Thing (hence the caps): The line that circle rests on isn’t a line, it’s an arc. This is so subtle.
“I wanted a well-designed, balanced putter that was easier to line up,” Judice said. “I decided to put an arc on the putter and see what it did. After I putted with it, I felt like this was something special. I went ahead and filed for my provisional patent right away.”
Judice calls the design Dynamic Arc Technology.
“If you follow that arc with the head once you start your putt, something unexpected happens,” Judice said. “The arc moves with the putter. If you swing the putter and follow the integrity of the arc, the putter face stays square to that arc. The arc and the face alignment are tied together. You can see the arc as you make the stroke.”
Judice likens watching the arc and the dot to watching a moon in its orbit. The arc helps guide the stroke and also helps those with the dreaded putting yips.
“You can watch that dot on the putter instead of the ball,” Judice said. “It takes away the anxiety.”
Judice had a problem looping his putter — swinging it back on an inside path on the backstroke, then looping it around to the outside during the forward stroke and, hence, slicing putts. “It’s always been an issue for me on short putts,” he said. “This has taken the loop out of my stroke and given me a proper inside takeaway. A putting stroke is a natural arc.”
To emphasize the arc on my Arc Align, I used a Sharpie pen to color the arc line yellow and sent Judice a photo. The yellow made the arc vividly pop and reminds me of what I should be doing with my stroke. Judice liked my yellow idea and may start making them that way.
The Arc Align is heavier than the blade putters I’ve been using (badly) of late but I like the heft. It feels as if it swings itself. I also like the lively way the ball releases from the face at contact. It’s a little bit hot — not home-run hot, just ground-rule-double hot, if I may use a baseball analogy. I like that on longer putts because it means less stroke, more hit.
“It has a high MOI (Moment Of Inertia),” said Chris Popp, director of instruction at Le Triomphe Golf and Country Club in Broussard, La. “It feels great and the optics make it very appealing.”
Popp, a former Louisiana high school state champ and University of Louisiana player, recommends holding the putter in front of you, parallel to the ground, and swinging it along the integrity of the path implied by the arc. “That’s where you can see it,” Popp said. “That’s where you see what your stroke path should be.”
Judice concedes that the putter head is sizable but says it was necessary in order to give the arc enough room to curve and perform its visual function.
Judice’s only reservation about the Arc Align’s original design was that he was afraid the USGA might not approve it because it was too effective. He’d been down that road before with his Belly Putt kit that turned regular putters into long putters.
“I had the Belly Putt going great,” he said, “and then the USGA outlawed anchored putting and my business shut down in a week.”
This time, the Arc Align (originally named ArcRoll) earned Judice notice from the USGA that his putter does, indeed, conform to the rules of golf.
Cancel one anxiety attack. And scratch the other one about those maddening sliced short putts, too, thanks to Arc Align.
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