A new putting aid inventor has just launched a Kickstarter funding campaign, and we’ve got the scoop. TIBA Putt was created by Kyle Henderson, a competitive golfer with a background in logistics and retail management. He is joined in the project by Don Everhart, who is responsible for product development and marketing. Both reside in Phoenix, Arizona. TIBA Putt consists of two pieces secured to the green with tees. It is designed to train the golfer to develop a repeatable stroke that remains square to the target line through impact. We caught up with Kyle and Don to learn more. Following is our exclusive interview:
What is TIBA Putt, and what makes it different from other putting “gate” aids?
Kyle – TIBA is a putting aid that focuses on improving flaws near impact. It is different in that it allows you to keep your personal putting stroke due to its angled entry instead of trying to force a certain putting style.
How will TIBA Putt help golfers perform better on the green?
Kyle – TIBA teaches golfers how to strike the ball with a square face and along a square path, which will get the ball started on line and rolling straight. It also helps in providing visual alignment feedback to ensure you are lined up properly.
How does it work?
Kyle – Grab it from the bag. Then, the first thing I do is find my line on the green. I usually pick a straight putt, but you could certainly work on a breaking putt with it as well. From there, I set the first side (this will be the inner side) parallel to the hole, sometimes with an alignment stick for easy and quick setup. Then with my putter and the head of the tee, I secure the second side to create the “gate” allowing just enough room to swing. Now it’s time to practice.
Previously, I used tees as a gate to putt through, but every time I hit a tee, it would stop the putter. My putting became rigid because I was scared of hitting the tee, and a rigid stroke is a bad stroke. I designed TIBA Putt with the tapered ends to remedy this problem.
The tapered ends are there so that if you swing the putter too far from the inside or outside, it will guide your putter back in-line and still allow you to finish your stroke, unlike the tee method. The taper also allows for an arc style putting stroke, as well as a straight back and straight through or whatever your own style may be. The feedback from hitting the aid gets you to adjust your stroke to be square within the impact zone, the two inches before and two inches after impact. We are really only concerned with the area near impact, as it is the most important area within the putting stroke. Once you can swing the putter through without hitting the aid, you’ll be able to get the ball started on the proper line and rolling true, the key to making more putts.
I have always felt that the best way to improve is by discovering the fixes on your own. Its always hard to trust a teacher, even if you don’t question their method. TIBA Putt allows you to fix flaws in your stroke on your own, leading to faster improvement in your putting game.
What does the name TIBA signify?
Kyle – TIBA is Two Inches Before and After, signifying the two inches before striking the ball and the two inches after striking the ball. This is the four-inch area in the putting stroke that TIBA focuses on improving.
With all of the inexpensive plastic items we see at big box stores, it would be easy to assume that creating your own plastic device would be simple and cheap. But we know that’s not the case. Taking a product from design all the way through injection molding can actually be a very intensive process. How have you approached this process?
Don – When we first started on the product we also thought it was going to be straight forward. What we learned was that the manufacturing process was very involved and expensive if you aren’t generating 10’s of thousands of units. From a process standpoint, we started out with nothing more than pictures and drawings of our prototype. We were very fortunate to find a local team at 4front Manufacturing that was willing to walk us through what they needed from us and show us every step it would take from mold tooling to the final molded part. We contracted a freelance engineer to get us from our drawings to where the 4Front team needed us.
You are set to launch a Kickstarter campaign to fund the production of TIBA Putt. Was it easy to set up, and what are your expectations for the campaign?
Kyle – I will say that, yes, overall it is easy but very time consuming. Our video alone required over 10 hours of shooting to get the right three minutes. That coupled with the pre-marketing required to hopefully set us up for a successful campaign has required an enormous time commitment over the last couple of months.
Don – Players that we have shared the aid with agree that it can help their game. Our hope is that we have gotten in front of enough eyes to move the project forward and get TIBA Putt into the hands of golfers.