The use of technology in sports is becoming more common all the time. The NFL, MLB, NHL, and NBA are all examples of where technology is used a daily basis. Instant replay comes to mind right away for all of the major professional sports. Another use of technology in sports is the filming and documentation of practice. For example, in baseball, hitters will analyze their swing to see what adjustments they need to make. Pitchers look at every pitch to find if their delivery needs any adjustments.
Now, there is a chance for disc golfers to improve their game with the help of technology. ProPutt is a new app available for iOS (coming to Android soon). ProPutt focuses on one thing: putting. A great drive is only as good as the putt following it. A simple way (easier said than done) to improve as a disc golfer is to improve your putting. This is where ProPutt comes in. As you practice putting, you record your results with ProPutt and analyze your trends after practice. This allows you to narrow down what you need to work on the most. You might find you need to work more on a certain distance, terrain, or stance, for example.
When you first launch ProPutt, you need to start a new session. A session asks for a set of variables: Distance, Putts per Set, Condition, Putt Type, Terrain Type, and if you want to record the comeback putts. Once you start a session, you will begin a set.
During a set, you will record whether the putt was one of three outcomes:
- Flush: Made the putt
- Dot: Missed the putt, but hit metal (pole doesn’t count)
- Miss: You hit the pole or missed completely.
ProPutt developer Jeff Moore says, “I chose dots from the game of Works. The first thing a player should learn to do from any distance is hit metal(Dots). If you make a Dot you are 90+% more likely to make the comeback putt. Remember, the only thing a player needs to count in his head during a set is the number of dots. When he finishes the set as he walks to the basket he will enter the number of “Dots” and then count the number of “Flushes” in the basket hit “done ” and “save”. That should take about 2-3 sec. The app calculates the rest. Very simple and very fast. I didn’t want to change a players regular practice routine in order to use the app.”
As Moore says, to make things easier to track, we recommend setting the Putts per Set to the number of putters you use during practice. We were using five putters for practice. We first had 10 Putts per Set. After the second round of five, we had to think back to what the first round of five was. This caused a slight delay at times and got us out of our rhythm during practice.
Once you are done with your session, it is time to view the stats. For this, head to the Analyze section of the app. You can view every session together or filter out certain elements. For example, you could filter the stats to just read the uphill putts done when it was windy from further than 25 feet away. Or, you could view all of your putts when using the straddle putt stance.
For example, in our limited time with the app, we’ve thrown 102 putts from around 25 feet. We made 51% of these (ugh, that seems too low!), hit metal on 34% and missed 15%. When we first started using it, the dataset was quite small. As we have used it, the stats section has become more useful. When you are first using ProPutt, remember to give it some time. The app gets better the more you use it.
The charts are nice and easy to follow. The ability to filter out certain factors help you figure out where you need to practice the most.
One criticism we have of the app is how it handles a miss. To us, there are two results of a putt. Either you make it or you miss it. ProPutt calls a metal hit a dot and ranks these outside of a miss. Looking at our stats, in reality we made 51% and missed 49%. In a tournament, hitting metal is just as good as missing everything.
We also would like to have the ability to record where we missed a putt. We found ourselves hitting the basket on many putts. It would be great to see the percentage of “dots” where you are low, high, left, or right. Now, there is a notes section for each session, but this doesn’t translate to the Analyze session.
Moore says, “I didn’t want the player to have to spend a lot of time entering data during a set. As it is now, the only thing a player counts in his head during a set is “Dots.” If the player has to stop and enter data in the middle of a set it interrupts the muscle memory process as opposed to making 5-7 putts in a row and reinforcing that muscle memory.”
If you are an analytical person, and need some help becoming a better putter, ProPutt is a nice tool to have in your bag. While it might not seem that useful when you first use it, give it some time. It needs data to really show its strength. After using ProPutt for many sessions, we are starting to see where we need to work on putting the most. We plan on continuing to use ProPutt in our practice sessions and having it help us figure out where we need to practice the most.
We also expect ProPutt itself to improve with time. As with many apps, version 1.0 is a solid foundation and has the potential to really become a great disc golf tool. We know the developers would love to hear feedback as you use it. Ever since we got our hands on the app, Moore has been in constant communication with answers to any of our questions.
For any disc golfer looking to better their game, ProPutt is worth the purchase. If you keep up with recording your data, trends will start to show up. Find ProPutt in the App Store for $1.99.