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Shaftlign PuttersPDFPrintE-mail

 

By Jason Bruno

 

 

Shaftlign Putters, created by Lafayette, Louisiana's own Clay Judice

- golf equipment innovator and admittedly a long suffering golfer

with the Yips. When the USGA's Anchoring Ban was announced it

sacked not only his putting method, but his business as well. Judice

was the inventor of a very successful product a few years ago called

"Belly Putt". The device came as a kit that allowed you to convert

your standard length putter either temporarily or permanently to a

longer length belly putter for a very modest cost. Now, with the

anchoring method being exiled to Azkaban, "Belly Putt" is no more.

However, as any addicted golfer will attest to, the game goes on

and Clay was left searching for a way to save his own golf game.

 

Judice found that alignment especially on the shorter putts may

have been the culprit for his demise on the greens. So he started

by laying a thin pin stripe (like those found on automobiles) down

the shaft and he began using the shaft line as a reference when he

addressed shorter putts. Seeing some immediate success, the idea

progressed into a cutoff piece of shaft that he mounted directly

above the putterhead topline. He painted both the shaft and the

affixed attachment white to create a perpendicular line. At that

point Judice knew he was on to something. Although that particular

version was deemed non-conforming, Clay worked with the design

until it evolved into the model you see here in this review - the CJ1.


  

Appearance/Objective

 

It's not conventional, but it's really an eye opener when you

see how easy it is to line up square to your target.

 

 

After receiving the Shaftlign we began testing and noticed the

reaction of golfers that see the putter for the first time: "What is

that putter?" Also, "Hmm, that's interesting" are the some of the

typical comments heard. Although unorthodox, It's objective

exceeds the need for putter vanity. Looking down at address you

realize that the singular white perpendicular line is so simple,

that you can't help but think "Wow, why didn't I think of something

so simple as that.

 

Not to be forgotten, and always to be admired for his innovation,

it was Karsten Solheim who first brought out the Ping Anser putter

50 years ago. At the time, he was laughed at by many of the best

players in the game. Today that design is THE Standard of which

every manufacturer copies. I'm not saying the Shaftlign will take

on the same significance as the Anser, but let's just say it gives

us reason to believe that great new ideas in putter design can still

be achieved. As Judice said to me, "Everyone thinks the inventor

is a kook, until his idea takes off."

 

  

Testing

 

The reason there is not a standard center aiming line on the flange

is that Judice found that using a horizontal line to aim at your target

causes issues. Standing to the side of the ball often confuses the

eyes because of the skewed perspective. I somewhat agreed with

him on this point (but have been a captive of the horizontal line

method for years, so I was still holding out a bit of skeptism on his

theory). Recently I tried an experiment while playing with a friend

in the industry who specializes in marketing innovative golf products.

I played the front nine using a conventional Anser style blade with

the line on the ball as well as the center aiming line of the putter as

always have. On the front nine my speed was spot on, but missed

almost every 4 to 6 foot putt I had. I was struggling to get set up

comfortably over the ball, which I know means I wasn't sure if I

was aligned correctly. Sounds odd to admit that your struggling with

alignment from inside 6 feet, but painfully, it is what it is.

This indecision created a lack of confidence, so at the turn, I went

to the trunk and grabbed the Shaftlign. It wasn't a make or miss

test, it was about seeing if using a bold perpendicular line would

help regain some confidence standing over the ball. Just simply

knowing that you're aimed where you intend to. My buddy Rick

immediately commented on the tenth green, "whoa, you made a

putter switch, what's that?" After I drained a curling 10 footer on

the eleventh, he said "Let me see that thing!". He commented how

solid it felt but that it was odd in appearance. No argument here,

but concentrating on the solid white verticle line freed me up. I

did lip out a few 12 to 15 footers but made a ton including every

putt inside 8 feet to shoot a back nine 32, and my first sub-70

round in quite sometime. I was convinced, it's one thing to see

the line and roll it good on the practice green, and entirely another

to feel comfortable with game time pressure on the line. I'd be

remiss if I didn't mention how pure the feel of the strike is, every

tester commented just how sweet and solid impact feels and how

smooth the ball rolls off the Shaftlign CJ1.

 

  

Specs/Price

 

The Shaftlign has a CNC milled 304 stainless head that weighs a

hefty 356 grams. The CJ1 comes standard with 70 degree lie angle,

and 2.5 degrees of loft. Available in right or left hand in lengths of

33" to 35". Currently there are two versions of the CJ1 available:

100% milled model that's featured here is $249, and a cast model

which is face milled but has the same specs is $199.

 

  

 

The stock grip on the Shaftlign wasn't our favorite, like most

golfers, we replaced it with one of our own preference - Clay

does offer a midsize model from PURE Grips that would be

much preferred.

 

 

 

Judice refers to the his CJ1 creation as an inline style (not a

centershaft design), sort of a hybrid between the classic Bullseye

and the SeeMore putter made popular by Payne Stewart and Zach

Johnson.

 

 

Summary

 

Overall the Shaftlign more than exceeded any expectations, the

perpendicular (or vertical) line method is something that every

golfer should try out, it makes too much sense. If the appearance

isn't as conventional as you prefer, Clay expects to have a few

new models coming out in the near future and has a few famous

major winners now on the Champions Tour currently testing

Shaftlign models.

  

 

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Golf.com product review


Innovative New Shaftlign Putter

Could Be the Cure for Your Yips

Photo: Courtesy










The new Shaftlign putter has an innovative alignment aid.





by Gary Van Sickle

Nothing is more obvious than a straight line. That is why the Shaftlign putter works. It is one of those ideas that is so obvious -- there's that word again -- you wonder why it hasn't been done before or done this well.

The Shaftlign CJ1 putter model was designed by Louisiana-based inventor Clay Judice, an avid golfer. He needed something to help with his putting problems. All right, he'll be honest, he was battling the yips. Necessity is the mother of invention but the yips, they're just a mother.

Judice tried using a longer belly putter and, in fact, had started a nice business selling the Belly Putt, an adjustable club he designed so golfers could turn their regular-length putters into belly putters. Then the USGA announced its ban on anchored putting. At its peak, Judice was selling 70 Belly Putts a day online. "As soon as the USGA came out with that ruling, my business was killed overnight," Judice said.  So you've still got the yips and anchored putting is illegal. Now what do you do? Judice went back to the drawing board.
"In retrospect, alignment was always an issue for me," Judice said. "When I got to those three-footers, the alignment killed me. My yips were caused by insecurity on the speed. It wasn't necessarily hitting the target line, it was hitting the putt the right speed or distance."  He experimented with a putter that had a stripe down the shaft to help with consistent alignment. That was promising but not quite what he wanted. Then he came up with a modification that led to the Shaftlign.

Photo: Another look at the alignment aid on the Shaftlign putter.

Another look at the alignment aid on the Shaftlign putter.

One look at the club and you get the idea because, remember, it's obvious. (Check the video at Shaftlign.com, which is the only place you can purchase the putter besides golfballs.com, by the way.) The Shaftlign has a white shaft attached to a black putter head. Atop the putter head is a white bar from toe to heel. All you do is address the putt until the white shaft aligns with the white bar. When you've got it right, all you see is one long, unending white line to the toe of the club.
Judice knew he was onto something after he passed out the first batch of prototypes to some friends, which included four former Louisiana state amateur champions -- good players. They liked the putter and began playing with it.
Photo: The shaftlign putter.
The shaftlign putter.
Judice showed a prototype model at this year's PGA Show in Orlando. He wasn't ready to mass-produce the putter then but he wanted more feedback. One show attendee grabbed the putter for a look and said, "Oh, that is cool. It reminds me of the old Bulls Eye." Judice checked the man's name tag. He was Steve Jones, former PGA Tour player. "Hey, you won the U.S. Open," one of Judice's friends said. Jones smiled and nodded and said something approving about the putter.
The Shaftlign CJ1 has a milled face and a soft-but-not-too-soft feel. I added it to my bag with modest expectations but after two rounds, I'm feeling pretty good about it. I like the way the ball comes off the face smoothly, and I feel more confident that I am aligned correctly. I close one eye and look down the white shaft until it merges into the white putterhead bar. Then I know my alignment is set and I can start the stroke. It's a comforting routine.
"There are two types of putters, those who use horizontal lines and those who use perpendicular," Judice said. "Everybody wants to use the horizontal line on top of or behind the putter head because it seems the most logical. In reality, it is the most difficult to line up and very few golfers line it up accurately. Perpendicular is the most consistent but you're not as comfortable with it until you get used to it. Your brain leads you to the exactness you need with that perpendicular white line."
That may not be obvious but the Shaftlign is. The Shaftlign CJ1 comes in two versions, milled ($249) and milled face ($199).


www.golf.com/equipment/innovative-new-shaftlign-putter-could-be-your-yips-cureInsider Interview: Shaftlign Putters

Putterzone.com Interview

Insider Interview: Shaftlign Putters

The new Shaftlign CJ-1 putter is not only an intriguing entry into the field of alignment-oriented putters, it is also the latest achievement in the entrepreneurial journey of a man named Clay Judice.

After earning a degree in electrical engineering from the University of Louisiana, Clay had an epiphany: “Engineering was easy, but golf, that was much more challenging.” Rising to the challenge, he patented a putter in the 1970s that was used by several tour pros. “But,” he says, “with a young family, and no marketing skills, I had to let that go.” But not for long: in the ’80s, he patented a putting aid that was endorsed by Raymond Floyd, but ultimately couldn’t sell enough units to sustain the business. Next, he created created the BellyPutt, a device that converted any putter into a belly putter–a thriving business that was undone by the recent ban on anchored putters.

But like most serial entrepreneurs, he went back to the drawing board and created the Shaftlign concept, which creates a visual union between the putter shaft and the putter head’s topline to create a perpendicular alignment cue designed to foster proper and consistent alignment. This union is created by a white lower shaft with a correspondingly white topline of the same width.

Clay is married to his high school sweetheart, Patti.  They have “6 kids and 13 ½” grandkids.” It’s a great story, so without further ado, here’s our exclusive interview:

The putter world is full of alignment aids and technologies. What makes the Shaftlign putter different from the rest?

The name infers the difference. The visual of the white shaft extending through the complementary white bar on the putter head in a straight line guarantees that the face is aligned with the shaft. Placing the shaft and putter head together as one alignment visual is what makes it unique.

You call the Shaftlign putter “revolutionary.” Can you elaborate on that?

To begin with, the alignment visual (shaft plus bar) is three times the length of the face alone. This long visual is far superior to a 5-inch putter face. This extended shaft visual encourages the golfer to align the entire putter instead of just the face. Additionally, the white shaft helps place the stance, body and shoulders in a consistent stroking position. And finally, as many teaching pros suggest, the visual of the white shaft moving through the putting zone provides great stroke feedback. Ultimately, “knowing” that you are aligned properly makes putting more like pointing a gun, rather than aiming.

So “revolutionary” encompasses not only these factors but ties in to how the brain assimilates these things. After a little practice, it all comes together and alignment is no longer an issue, the magic of pace kicks in. A bold claim, I know, but only time will tell in the end.

How does the Shaftlign putter help the average golfer make more putts?

Very few golfers can accurately use a horizontal line. Even pros have to work very hard at this. But perpendicular is just like using a carpenter’s square, where the golfer is not striving for perfection. The brain will almost sub-consciously align you much better than you could ever be with a horizontal line. Once the golfer lets go of his alignment anxiety, he can better stroke the ball, resulting in fewer three-putts, and more sinks.

They say that “necessity is the mother of invention.” When the belly putter ban was announced, you had to pivot. Can you tell that story?

I was selling 70 BellyPutts a day online. Life was great. And then came the ban on anchored putting. I was done overnight.

Over the next few years I developed a creation called the Buzzle Ball. It was kind of like a round Rubik’s Cube. I was even selling them in Wal-Mart. I was on top of the world again. But then my distributor got crossways legally with Wal-Mart on another product. It came off the shelves.

Meanwhile, I was still having trouble with aligning my putts, even with a belly putter. I experimented with a white stripe on my putter shaft and that helped alignment quite a bit. But then one day, I glued a piece of an old shaft on top of a putter head, in line with the shaft. I knew in an instant it was something special. I couldn’t sleep that night. I filed for a provisional patent the next day. That was the innovation, but after using it for a few weeks, I began to realize how it allowed the sub-conscious brain to really get involved.

What is next for Shaftlign?

Well, first I have to sell a few to survive. I have several models designed, some very radical, but need to see some success with the initial model. The CJ1 is basically my Shaftlign idea with a well accepted Anser style head. Give me a chance and the golf world will see some stuff.

http://www.putterzone.com/2016/11/insider-interview-shaftlign-putters.html