Wednesday, December 18, 2019

Directed Force Putter - Part 2

About 2 years ago, I did a blog post about the Directed Force putter. A lot has happened since then, and Directed Force has now become L.A.B. golf. There have been improvements to the original design, new grips, and a brand new Bl├ąd1 design. PGA pros have been seen using the putter, and the company is all over golf social media now.  With all that success comes the absolute hate by all the keyboard masses out there. Now, being someone who sells said product in the shop, I find what they say hilarious as it's clear most of the haters have never even touched the club. Of course, the biggest negative is the look of it - which we've covered before - but the second biggest bar to clear is the misunderstanding of the forces at play in the golf swing.

Let's talk about fine motor movement. These are the micro contractions your muscles and tendons perform to do things like say, pick up a broken eggshell or a shard of broken glass without smashing it between your fingers. The ones that allow you to thread a sewing needle or sip soup out of a spoon.  These are the same types of actions that keep the golf club from spinning in your hand (along with a good, tacky grip).  Nowhere are they more important than in the putting stroke and nowhere is it
more evident when you're nervous. 

"Um, actually, you putt with your BIG muscles"   No. you don't. You move the putter weight with your big muscles, but the only thing bringing the face back to square are your forearms and the forces they exert to keep it from flopping open or closed. Most people don't even realize they're doing it, but they are. These forces are the reason that players swear by big or funny shaped grips that say they "take the wrists out of play" blah blah blah.  The problem is that while they might work for a time, they're not fool proof.  They give a little more leverage to counteract these forces - for a time - then putting is off the rails again.  All muscles will eventually get used to something and get stronger. Then you have to compensate.  Don't believe me?  Try this: 

1. Go to a doorframe and stand in it.
2. With your hands down to your sides, raise them to the side so the backs of your hands touch the sides of the doorframe
3. Now try to raise your arms straight to the sides and "spread the doorframe apart" with the back of your hands for about 8 seconds as hard as you can.  Hulk smash!!!
4.  Now step forward and try to relax your arms and you'll find them slightly rising. You'll need to try to keep them down. 

Neat, right? Well, if you did it correctly anyway. It's the quickest way to illustrate what we all call "muscle memory".  Muscles get used to doing something a certain way, and they want to keep doing it. This is effectively what happens to golfers throughout their season/career/round. It's why you struggle to make swing changes and why they "feel weird". It's why you could putt lights out with a putter for months, then suddenly struggle. Why a change in grip size or head shape can work for so long then just kind of mehhhh out.  Back to the whole L.A.B. golf thing.....

With the head not exerting any additional torque, it's much easier to bring the club face back to square consistently. The majority of these micro adjustments go away and the "Big muscles" can take over FINALLY.

A few things to take away from an experience with this putter:

1. Not everyone is going to like it.  The looks, the concept, whatever - you can't please everyone and owning one WILL expose you to all the jokes. So many people will call it a gimmick.

2. There will always be skeptics trying to disprove theories on torque and how it pertains to the golf swing/ putter stroke. This doesn't change the fact that it is able to be observed by the naked eye and the DFP performs differently in relation to this force than any other putter.

3. I've done my share of fittings and demos with players and have not had one in-person experience that did not lead to the player putting better and more consistently. I think that in itself says something about the technology.

Now, I'm sure I made enough people develop a tick and maybe pop a vein or two in this short post, but that's just how it goes.  I could really give someone a heart attack if I started talking about how there's no such thing as "straight back and through" strokes and "finding a putter shape to fit your arc" is equally as temporary as changing a grip, but I think I've done enough for one day.

For more information on this putter and how it works, drop me a line for a fitting or check out www.labgolf.com.   You can also check out the links below for other reviews and thoughts.

Tour Experience Golf

Golf Digest

Mike Sullivan Golf

Putts Around

Jaime Gylan PGA

Steve Furlonger Golf Performance

Mark the Golf Addict

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