Enter the Putting Gate ($20) by SKLZ Golf, a new putting practice aid that aims to instill impact squareness with vivid and immediate feedback. Does the SKLZ Putting Gate deliver the training goods? Following is PutterZone.com’s SKLZ Putting Gate review.
SKLZ Golf produces a wide range of training aids in affiliation with leading PGA Tour instructor Rick Smith. The SKLZ product line features everything from full-swing devices to short game trainers.
The SKLZ Putting Gate consists of a small rectangular rubber mat with Velcro pads on both ends. Two included wooden blocks fasten to the Velco and create a “gate” for the putter head. A white alignment line, or target line, intersects the center of the matt.
The Putting Gate also comes with a Deuce 2-Ball Trainer, which consists of two balls conjoined by a small shaft. A shallow track in the front of the mat is designed to mate with the Deuce. This track ensures that the Deuce can be consistently set perpendicular to the target line.
When the two conjoined balls are struck squarely and simultaneously, the Deuce rolls forward, end over end. However, if the putter face is not square at contact, the Deuce spins out to the left or right, giving you instant visual feedback on your error.
The View from PutterZone.com
The SKLZ Putting Gate essentially unites two common putting drills—the tee drill, in which you stick two tees in the green to act as a narrow gate for your putter; and the two-ball drill, in which you place two balls together and try to roll both along the same path by squaring the putter face at impact. These drills, respectively, (1) reinforce a consistent swing path and (2) verify squareness at impact.
Assembling the Putting Gate is easy. You just attach the blocks to the mat with their matching Velcro pads and off you go. You can easily detach and reattach the blocks to create more or less room around the heel and toe of your putter, depending on how tight of a challenge you want to create for yourself.
The Deuce can be maddening (in a good way), because it amplifies the slightest error in face angle, and ultimately forces you to look your demons straight in the eye. I hate hitting the Deuce and seeing it spin out!
I really like the fact that the Putting Gate can be used in multiple ways, and that the challenge level can be customized. If you don’t want to keep bending over to set the Deuce on the matt, then you can just play around with it by itself.
There is also a shallow dimple in the mat that mates with a regular golf ball—which is a good option if you just want to focus on getting your putter head cleanly through the gate without the added challenge of rolling the Deuce.
I can see the Putting Gate providing fun family entertainment as well. For example, you could play a game to see who can stroke the Deuce along a straight path the most times in a row.
I would prefer the Putting Gate mat to be another color besides black, because black putter heads—which are popular these days—tend to visually blend in with mat. A mat color that vividly contrasts with both black and silver putter heads would be advised for future iterations.
The Bottom Line
The SKLZ Putting Gate effectively combines two fundamental putting drills into a simple and affordable package. The Putting Gate earns points for offering customized challenge levels and multiple usage options, and it can provide fun for an entire family of golfers.