Alignment Aids have taken on a new life
with the popularity of mallet putters.
Aiming accurately is important. However, knowing where to aim is more important. Alignment Aids can help with the first part, but not the second.
With the larger putter head, club designers have more space behind the putterface to experiment with different geometrical shapes.
However, the main advantage of a mallet putter is that it is possible to locate the centre of gravity low and behind the putterface.
This helps to:
The Rules of Golf for a putter head require that:
With the average putter head measuring about 4 inches in heel-to-toe width, designers have a sizeable area behind the putterface to work with.
The question to ask is whether there is a design feature that is superior to all the rest? Certainly the two-ball concept has been a front runner.
However using a circle for aiming does not make as much sense as using a straight line.
Imagine how difficult putting and aiming would be if the putter head was shaped like a tennis ball.
My view is that the top line of the putter is critical to accurate aiming. Anything that helps you see that the putterface is square to your aimline (target line) without the shaft impeding your line of sight is an advantage.
Certain putter manufacturers, drawing on the expertise of eye specialists, have enhanced the contrast between the putter head and the grass. The idea is that the higher the contrast of the leading edge, the easier it is for you to square up the putterface at address.
Aiming alongside the ball as everyone knows is fraught with difficulty. It is not the optimal position to attend to the task. From behind with binocular vision you can pinpoint your target with greater accuracy.
This thought lead to the creation of the Easy Alignment Stand Up putter. Because the putter is able to stand up on its own, you can line up your putt from behind.
There are as many alignment aids as there are putters. From Seemore's patented design lining up the black bottom portion of the shaft between two white lines and covering a signature red dot on the heel of the top line to Yes!Golf's Groove Tube putter.
Being able to aim accurately is important. However, knowing where to aim is of greater importance. If you read a putt as left-to-right, when the putt breaks right-to-left, no amount of help from your putter is going to correct this error of perception.
As golfers we are always looking for an easy way to putt better. Sometimes we forget that the putter is not the answer, but merely a tool. If your putter has a sharply defined leading edge, then you have all that you need for aligning your putterface perpendicular to your aimline.
The danger of elaborate alignment aids is that they can prove distracting during play. In place of putting without thought, you can become too mechanical by concentrating on an overload of visual clutter.