New Testing Methodology for Putters
Testing has just been completed on many new putters. The 2007 Putter testing methodology has been refined to include several new criteria and a more stringent testing process. In the past we had testers make putts from 5, 10 and 15 feet. The new parameters have the testers make 3 putts each from 7 feet straight in, 14 feet left to right and 21 feet right to left.
We asked each tester to be especially aware of the features of each putter. In particular we ask them to rate the alignment characteristics, the overall design and how strongly they would recommend each putter they test to other golfers. In past tests there were 5 criteria and in the new format there are 10 criteria. Because of the change in testing methodology it is neither fair nor reasonable to compare results from previous years testing. We hope that golfers will find the information and results to be helpful to them in determining which putters they should consider when they are looking to improve their putting. Please send us your feedback on how you like the new format as that helps us to improve the information we provide to golfers.
60 golfers of varying skill levels made putts with 5 to 7 putter models, one at a time. We ask them to be as fair and unbiased as they can be in their evaluation. They are told not to compare one putter to another but instead focus on how each putter rates on a scale of 1 to 10 in the criteria we ask them to rate. Once they have evaluated putter #1 they move on to putter #2 and so on. While they are hitting each putter the test administrator is rating how they perform in distance, control and accuracy. A rating factor is established for each tester that is then used at the end of the test and which supplements their ratings. This helps to insure that the tester is being fair and unbiased and consistent in their rating from putter to putter. Out of the 60 golfer who test each putter we then pick the 50 evaluations that we feel were done in a fair and consistent manner and use them to come up with the average rating in each criteria for each putter. We have found that this methodology gives a fair and accurate representation of how each putter performed in the test. We still observe that the “well known” clubs tend to get slightly higher ratings then their actual performance while lesser know clubs don’t get quite the credit they deserve in the testing. By using the rating factor which is added based on the actual results we are able to level the playing field and “smooth” out the results and give a more accurate representation of how each putter really performed in the test. By averaging the results of 50 testers we are confident that the results reflect how golfers really performed with each putter. Because the ratings are averages the results tend to group together in a small range usually from 7.8 to 8.6 (but sometimes fall outside a standard bell curve). Even a rating point of .1 better can indicate that one putter performed better than another one. A putter whose rating in “Distance Control” was 8.3 could be considered to perform better than a putter whose rating was 8.2. Having said all that, this is still not rocket science. We do feel however that this testing format is one way that can be used by golfers to help determine which golf clubs would be best for them. There is a very crowded field of golf equipment out there and golfers need all the help they can get from an independent and unbiased source. We feel that GolfTest USA helps to provide the information they need to make an informed purchasing decision.
On a scale of 1 to 10 (with 10 being best) they rated each of these criteria.
Distance Control: Each tester rated how much distance control they felt they had.
Alignment: Testers was asked to rate the alignment characteristics of the putter.
Accuracy: Testers rated how accurate each putter was.
Forgiveness: Testers rated how forgiving the putter was.
Sound: Each tester rated how they liked the sound of each putter.
Appearance: Testers rated the appearance of the putter.
Feel: Testers rated the feel of the putter during the putting stroke.
Design: Testers rated the design features of the putter.
Recommend to others: How strongly would they recommend each putter to friends or other golfers.
Overall Rating: The testers took into consideration what is important to them in a putter and gave it an overall rating. (This is not an average of the other criteria).
Overall Average: A final category was added at the request of Golf Illustrated which is the average of the 10 criteria rated by the testers. We feel this average helps to give golfers an indication of how each putter performed taking into account all of the criteria in the test.
Why are the test results the way they are? Click here to find out!
Let us know if there are other putters you would like us to test and we will contact the manufacturers and see if they will participate in our next testing cycle. firstname.lastname@example.org.
Based on the testing completed to date we have determined that any club that has an “Average” score 7.7 or better based on our scoring system is awarded the GolfTest USA “Seal of Excellence” award. Being awarded the GolfTest USA “Seal of Excellence” indicates a golf product has been tested and reviewed by our staff of golf testers and has been judged to be of superior quality, value and performance. Golfers who purchase any of these clubs can feel confident they will be obtaining a quality golf product.