9. November 2010

English Post: Innovative Putter from Sweden helps your game

Here in Sweden, there are a few companies that produce golf equipment ranging from clubs to clothes or even golf jewelry. Today I would like to tell the story of an innovative putter, that truly is a Swedish product, designed and manufactured in the country. In the future this blog will introduce more companies and tell about their story and product.

I write this one here (again) with the support of my friend Gene Oberto from Swedish Golf Online. He has been testing the putter and the theory behind it. I only had the chance to play one round with them and all I can say is that I liked my putting that day and the feeling that the putter gave me. But it is almost winter here and the greens were not in a condition to put the putter to a real test.

The club that I want to talk about is the MLA putter from Pro-Alignment Golf Gear. MLA stands for Multiple Line detector Activation and that pretty much explains everything that is new and innovative in the approach to putting and especially aiming. If it only was so easy, here is what it is all about.

The MLA putter has patented markers that take advantage of the body's natural alignment triggers, and then intensifies them when you line up a putt. Sounds incredible, but it's all scientifically documented. Simply put, on top of every putter is an alignment pattern that, no joke, triggers your brain to putt the ball straight on the line you choose.

David Sevon has always had an inquisitive way of looking at things. He was looking at the alignment lines on his putter, you know, those lines, T bars and circles that are supposed to help golfers align and square the putter face to the ball and then, to the target. He wondered, if this was so, then, why didn't more people make more putts? So, on a piece of scrap paper, he sketched out a pattern that he thought might work.

Not stopping there, he put the sketch to work. One of the first putters that Sevon made for was a steel tube, the size of a golf ball, welded on a solid steel shaft, designed to give the ball a better roll. From that beginning, in 1996, he invented a putter head with a unique pattern of alignment. This putter head, with an alignment completely different than any other putter on the market, became the basis of what the MLA pattern looks like now. In 2004, David decided it was time to devote full time to the development of the MLA putter, believing that it could grow into something big.

There was something about the shape and position of the alignment pattern that caused a reaction that really worked. But why did it work? There had to be an explanation.

David met with Lennart Högman, a PhD working in the Department of Psychology at Stockholm University in the field of perception and visualization. Högman was a researcher and teacher who studied the process of perception for over 20 years. After several meetings and discussions, Lennart showed Sevon why his pattern worked. The pattern triggered the brain's multi-line detectors, and that reaction was creating the improved alignment that were having David make more putts. Amazingly, David discovered, that reaction worked for everybody.

With a prototype putter, the scientific data as to why it worked and a newly secured patent, David looked for someone to help him bring his putter to the golf market. Needing some marketing material, a former client of Sevon's, introduced him to her husband, an experienced marketing manager. Patrik Lindberg and David became friends, and the two formed Pro-Alignment Golf Gear together.

The putter, in prototype, debuted at the 2008 Scandinavian Masters on the practice putting green. Making person-to-person contact, they asked professional golfers to try their putter. Though no one used the putter in competition, the reaction was very good. Many commented on the feel and weight of the putter.

The putter does feel good, balanced and comfortable in your hands. The ball comes off the face solidly, with a very good roll. You feel like you can't make a bad putt. Amazingly, due to the internal sensors in your brain, seemingly, you can't physically move the putter until you have properly aligned the putter to the target. It's downright eerie.

However, long distance manufacturing problems were delaying bringing the putter to market. The putter is made with the best materials and to exact specifications as any high-end putter is. As perfectionists, David and Patrik were not getting what they wanted from the overseas factory. They brought the manufacturing back to Sweden and now use highly regarded local manufacturers.

Today, the MLA putter is available in four different styles. The original 380 mallet, a carbon milled mallet with replaceable weighting, Cameon- style Tour and the Tour X Dream, which has a cavity back design. You can find a list of dealers on their website or you can check their Facebook site for up to date information.

All pictures: MLA Putter / Pro Alignment Golf Gear

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