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Using Blast Motion for Putting Practice


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Blast Motion Golf: The industry's best golf swing analyzer app and golf swing sensor. Capture your golf swing and stroke. Instantly see swing metrics & swing analysis on your phone so that you can make...

At the time of this writing, these are on sale for 50% off. They have a subscription available, too, but you don't need that for anything I'm going to talk about today: using the Blast Motion for putting practice/improvement.


What's It Do?

Look, I'll keep this simple: the Blast is a little sensor that connects to your iOS or Android device and which has accelerometers and so on to measure what your putter does during a putting stroke.

Primarily, it does two things for you with regard to putting:

  • It measures the time and timing (rhythm and tempo) of your putting stroke.
  • It measures the distance and angles of your putter.

I don't "love" it for some of the angles things, but I'm going to explore this more because I just threw the sensor on and maybe didn't align it well at all, or maybe the cap wasn't super flat to the grip, or something.

But I like it quite a bit for the distance stuff. Here are some of my numbers from a recent session (again, just threw it on and hit 19 putts to a hole about 25 feet away):

The Data

Backswing time:

2020-12-16 20.58.05.png

Downswing (to impact) time:

2020-12-16 20.58.48.png

Backswing length:

2020-12-16 20.58.54.png

Impact speed:

2020-12-16 20.59.02.png

The numbers at the top of each are the low, average, and high. So for me, my values:

Backswing Time: 0.43, 0.47, 0.50 (Δ0.04, Δ0.03)
Downswing Time: 0.27, 0.28, 0.30 (Δ0.01, Δ0.02)
Backswing Length: 12.7, 14.0, 15.8 (Δ1.3, Δ1.8)
Impact Speed: 4.4, 4.6, 4.9 (Δ0.2, Δ0.3)

Consider the first ones are hundredths of a second, and my downswing time is within 0.03 across 19 putts, I'm pretty happy. And this is one of the reasons why I'm a pretty good putter.

Some of the differences in backswing length and impact speed are explained (a little) by the fact that the balls were just on the putting green scattered about, and I putted anywhere from about 22' to 26'. I'd hit one or two, and move to the next ball, and hit from there. Next time, if I truly cared about the cleanest data, I'd putt from the exact same spot. (But even then, 1.2 to 1.8" in backswing length is pretty small.)

For distance control, Blast will measure:

  • Tempo (ratio of backswing to downswing) (NB: this should be called rhythm)
  • Backstroke time
  • Forward stroke time (should be called downswing as the forward stroke continues after impact)
  • Backstroke length
  • Impact stroke speed
  • Loft change^
  • Total Stroke time (0.70, 0.75, 0.79 for me in this session).

All of these - and I cut off the bit above so you could see more of the individual putts, but all of these come with customizable ranges that help you determine whether you're staying "within" customary guidelines. You can edit the guidelines, though, as I did. My stroke is a bit faster than others (but still has good dynamics)

For example, here is my forward stroke time:

2020-12-18 18.29.06.png

And here's me (possibly) changing the ratios to what I want for my rhythm:

2020-12-18 18.38.54.png

(I don't "agree" that Tour players are 1.8:1 to 2.2:1. Nor do the putting coaches I talked to. But you can see the ranges tighten up as players get better.)

For measuring direction… Blast will tell you:

  • Face angle at impact
  • Backstroke rotation
  • Forward stroke rotation
  • Lie change

These four, along with the "loft change" in the first section, I need to play with more. I generally don't worry about these, and I'm not entirely sold on the Blast being able to measure tenths of a degree. I had a few putts I know I pulled where the Blast said I pushed it slightly. But again, I didn't read directions and I just slapped the thing on there, so maybe you're supposed to do a quick calibration once in awhile or something. This sensor is literally three years old. (I have some newer ones too.)


Yeah, Okay, So What?

I'm a pretty good putter. Would be top 10 on the PGA Tour most every year, just based on my SG:P numbers.

A BIG part of that is that I have good distance control. A big part of that is the fact that I have a good length stroke with good, relatively consistent timing. (All the stuff in this topic.)

Putting is one of the many things you can do in your house (right @woodzie264?), and the Blast will also work for full swings, chipping, and bunker play if you want. For putting, though, I really like it. The sensor is small and attaches to the end of your putter. It'll store a thousand putts or something like that until you reconnect to your phone, so you can use the sensor on the course to measure your round. The app is nice, and will speak one of your desired numbers as you putt, so if you're trying to work on the ratio, you can have it say "1.7" or "2.1" as you putt.

No affiliate links or anything here (not that you guys care about that, and I appreciate that you sometimes buy through them), just a recommendation that you pick one up:

image.png

P.S. PGA Tour players do not spend 60% of their time working on the short game and putting. I cringed at that part. But for the 20-35% you do spend on those things, Blast can help. 😄

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Thank you for that analysis. I am all in. 

What tools/apps etc. would you recommend for calculating Strokes Gained putting? Or what do you recommend keeping track of with respect to putting?

 

Edited by MiuraMan
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2 hours ago, MiuraMan said:

What tools/apps etc. would you recommend for calculating Strokes Gained putting? Or what do you recommend keeping track of with respect to putting?

There are basic calculators for this online. I mostly use GG.

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I also like Blast for putting.  I have never taken it to the course... rather I use it at home on my 13 foot Wellputt putting mat.  Like you I check on my Tempo which for over 1000 strokes is 1.8:1 

The sensors also used to measure the change to Face Angle from set-up to impact.. what I am trying to express it would tell you how much your club face angle is open or closed at impact compared to how it was at set-up.  Not sure why that went away.

Maybe I will take it to the course sometime soon. 

Works best on IOS systems, and to get access to it being able to provide feedback on your short game (wedges/bunkers) it cost about $7/month for a subscription.  Putting is still free... 

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Really cool, but reminds me of the 90s when SEGA said the Genesis (Mega Drive in other parts of the world) had "blast processing". Looks like a great product at a great price though.

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14 minutes ago, woodzie264 said:

@iacas, is the goal to be 1.8:1 or 1:1 like a pendulum?

1:1 doesn't make any sense. It's not the backswing to the entire forward swing, it's just the backswing down to impact. Theoretically, that'd be 2:1.

But few people are 2:1, because few people putt with a true pendulum motion. I'm about 1.65:1.

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  • 2 weeks later...
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Important Note

Blast calls the "rhythm" of the stroke (the ratio of backstroke to downstroke) the "tempo."

From my "Tempo vs. Rhythm" article, the terms should be:

  • Tempo - the pace of the stroke. Longer putts require faster tempos, generally.
  • Rhythm - the ratio of the backstroke to the downstroke, or the times. This should be pretty consistent across putts of various lengths.

The Blast app calls the Rhythm the "Tempo." So in talking, let's strive to be clear what we're actually talking about.

 

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I worked with the Blast Golf devise and did some rhythm training today. I did 10 putts each from 3, 5, 7, 9 and 11 feet. I only have 11 feet indoors. My rhythm (tempo on the app) averages 1.9:1 regardless of distance in this test. If I get too handsy, it lowers toward 1.7:1. I can deliberately raise it, but it wants to be 1.9:1. I like the tool though. I want to try it outdoors when I have a chance.

My face is opening slightly from set up, but I wonder if that has to do with my forward press. My putts were DOBA (it’s and industry term), right on my start line.

One annoyance is the app getting mad when you just want to look at your data and the device is not nearby or your Bluetooth is off.

I’ve tried it will full swing once and will do it again. I’ve also tried short game.

One funny thing is I had to turn off my hearing aids when I first set up the device. It was interfering.😀

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  • 2 weeks later...

Did some indoor putting practice with a PuttOut Pressure Putt Trainer and my Blast Motion Golf sensor this morning.  Happy to report that, of the last two training sessions, my "speed control" (aka: "Tempo," more correctly rhythm) is trending toward my goal.  (Or the goal it set for me, I guess.)  Direction at impact was trending toward my goal last time.  Was unchanged this time.  (Being as average was 0.0 last time and 0.1 this, I'm not unhappy with that.)

Was training this morning at three and four feet.  Was trying to stick the ball in the PuttOut trainer.  Not having much success at that.  You have to nail 'em about perfectly to do that.  I'll keep working on it :)

I'm going to send Blast Motion a suggestion.  In addition to average and the two extremes in the summaries for each session, I'll like to see standard deviation.  In fact I feel standard deviation would be handier than min/max.  (I wouldn't mind seeing skewness and kurtosis, too, but those would make little sense to non-stats people.)  For that matter: They should probably label SD as "average spread" or something.  Not quite accurate, but that would make more sense to more non-stats-geeks than would SD :)

One thing I am learning, with the aid of this sensor is to better-control my backswing.  I've always used too much.

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  • 2 weeks later...
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Has anyone worked with the Blast Motion for full swing? Just curious what you all have for max hand speed. I top out at around 20.5 mph.

I worked on putting today. It think it is very good for settling you down to your rhythm. I started a bit faster than usual, then settled in to 1.9:1.

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7 minutes ago, boogielicious said:

Has anyone worked with the Blast Motion for full swing? Just curious what you all have for max hand speed. I top out at around 20.5 mph.

I worked on putting today. It think it is very good for settling you down to your rhythm. I started a bit faster than usual, then settled in to 1.9:1.

Max hand speed is lower than most people think.

 

2:30 in.

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42 minutes ago, iacas said:

Max hand speed is lower than most people think.

 

2:30 in.

Interesting video. So with everything else being the same, set up through swing, just trying to accelerate to max earlier produced a higher speed at impact. How do we get to that feel though? I don’t want to derail this thread though. I can move to a new thread.

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47 minutes ago, boogielicious said:

Interesting video. So with everything else being the same, set up through swing, just trying to accelerate to max earlier produced a higher speed at impact. How do we get to that feel though? I don’t want to derail this thread though. I can move to a new thread.

Please do.  I can see that being a fascinating discussion.

As to your question: I expect to, eventually.  So far I've been using mine just for putting.

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