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Since I was young I have really enjoyed playing golf. My dad used to take me out on little pitch and putt courses and I also used to love playing crazy golf. This was something that I enjoyed on a regular basis when I was young and as I got older I never really lost the love I have for the game. When I hit my late teens I decided to have a go at real golf. It's a sport I enjoy and am not actually to bad at when I'm having a good day. One of the parts of my game that is always lacking however is putting, I can get to the green fairly well but often those last few feet let me down. So this is where one of these comes in, the masters golf putting cup. This device is fairly simple and pretty basic. It's a little metal circle designed to trap your ball as it rolls over it. You can place it just about anywhere and then putt away. I have used this in the living room or on the landing, it's a nice little way of practicing your putting. The device works by allowing your ball to roll over one side by tipping the little metal petals and then as it enters the middle the balls is stuck. So how well does it work? Well it's pretty realistic I suppose. If you hit the ball to hard it will bounce out the other side. You have to get it somewhere near the middle for it to stay in there, just like a real hole on a golf course. This helps you get the pace and direction of your putting right. There are a few draw backs I suppose. If you hole a put there is not really enough room for another ball so you have to go and retrieve it every time you hole one. Although this does help and is a good practice aid I did get bored quite quickly. This little putting aid cost me around £4 when I bought it and so it's certainly not overly expensive. I have had it for a good few years and it seems to have lasted very well although if I am honest I don't tend to get it out all that often. The reality is you can also just use a cup or mug to putt into, so while this is slightly more realistic it's certainly not an essential piece of practice equipment. So overall this is not a bad product but neither is it anything all that special. It's just one of those things I bought on a whim and use every now and again. Most of the time it sits in a drawer and gets forgotten about. So has it improved my putting? Well if I'm honest I not really sure it has, maybe if I spent a bit more time practicing with it then things would improve, but I don't have the patience.
This lightweight putting aid can be used indoors or out. It looks more generous than it turns out to be, not allowing your ball to enter unless it's straight and hit at the right pace. Putting on a carpet is relatively easy - unless you have a sloping floor, when the "borrow" must be taken into account. A well trimmed lawn is the most realistic and, if you want the lightning fast sensation of the greens at Atlanta, try using it on the kitchen lino or the patio. Neat enough to fit in your briefcase, this is ideal for your lunch break putting sessions - as long as you can smuggle in your putter as well. Bearing in mind that every stroke counts, time spent on improving your performance on the green is definitely not wasted and this piece of kit gives you an authentic enough experience to be well worth while.
Over the last couple of months the opportunity for me to play golf has been severely limited. With all of the local courses thoroughly sodden or under several inches of snow and my lack of a back garden, the only available playing arena has been my front room. Obviously, when playing golf indoors certain adjustments have to be made. If ornaments are to remain intact and windows are to remain draught-free then the options are limited to practicing putting. So to help me see through the winter months I splashed out £3.99 on the Masters Putting Cup, as seen above. The metallic putting cup is designed to imitate the hole on a green with the idea being to putt a golf ball into the cup using a putter (balls and putter not included). By doing so you can practice your putting technique and consistency indoors without needing to find a dry golf course. The design of the cup means that when a golf ball is directed straight at the cup it will roll over the hinged plates around the side and stop in the centre of the cup. The one-way hinged plates at the opposite side will stay up and prevent the ball from rolling back out again - as though putting into a hole. Eight hinged plates surround the circumference of the cup so that you can putt towards it from any angle much like an actual golf hole. This nifty hinge design means that you can have a realistic putting experience in your living room without having to bore holes in the floor. Everybody wins! To increase the realism, the putting cup is 18 cm wide and is designed to simulate the width of a standard golf hole giving accurate feedback on your putts. Similarly, if a putt is aimed well but too fast then the ball will bobble and roll over the cup and disappear into the distance (or the skirting board). Only putts that are 1) aimed close to the centre and 2) hit at the correct speed, will be successful - much like a real putting green. I have found a slight downside to the design when a ball is putt along the edge of the cup though. With a real golf hole, the slower the ball is travelling the better the chance one of these putts has of still rolling in. However, with this cup, the ball will simply not have enough momentum to roll over the hinges and will instead roll off to the side with disheartening consequences. This isn't a huge issue, as you should be trying to aim at the middle anyway but the realism is limited by this, although somewhat unavoidably. I have found the putting cup to be very effective for practice as well as very fun to use. You need to have a carpeted room to benefit from this cup though because putting over a hard floor will not only be very difficult but also completely unrealistic and of no practical benefit. A standard floor carpet is fairly accurate for putting practice as it imitates the surface of a green quite well. As far as alternatives go, I also have an indoor putting mat which is effectively a felt mat with a ramp/hole at the end of it, on a sort of raised up plateau. This also has a ball return system which uses gravity to roll the ball back down the side towards the person putting. However, there are several advantages to the putting cup over this putting mat/ramp; the obvious one being the lack of having to putt up a ramp which is unrealistic. Another is that you can putt from anywhere around the cup. With the mat, you can only putt from one direction which limits the variety of practice drills you can do whereas with the cup there is no need to position it in any particular way and you can move around the room putting from different distances and angles. I find this helps strengthen my putting ability more than the ramp because it can get a bit too familiar putting from the same spot over and over again. Moving around helps me to focus on my putting set-up and improve my technique and consistency. Another advantage is storage. The putting mat takes up quite a bit of room and is a little unsightly if left out in the middle of the floor. The putting cup on the other hand is small and discrete and can easily be stored away quickly and brought back out again in no time. A favourite storage spot in our room is under the settee. The ramp has since been retired to the loft where it will now gather dust for the next 10 years. One disadvantage is the lack of a ball return though. I have a bucket full of golf balls so I am not short of balls to putt towards the cup but once you have got a ball in the cup this can obstruct following putts. The cup will only accommodate three balls at most so you will have to traverse the room to remove them periodically. The ramp design never had this problem as all balls that were putted in would simply return down the side and be out of the way. (Un)Fortunately, filling the putting cup with balls doesn't happen too often for me so I only find it a token inconvenience but it's still worth mentioning. So, has my putting improved as a result of using the putting cup? I'd like to think so. I am putting more consistently and the ability of the cup to mimic real playing conditions allows me to focus solely on my technique. The proof as they say will be in the pudding when I finally get out onto a golf course. What is clear though is that I enjoy using the putting cup much more than my putting mat and I only wish I had bought this sooner. Regarding the value for money, I think £3.99 is a good price. You can't get much for under a fiver in the world of golfing accessories - as my wallet will vouch for - and the putting cup does look very nice for that £4. The green baize/felt finish on the topside of the putting cup is a very nice touch and adds to the indoor golfing experience. The hinged plates are fixed securely to the base plate and so far I have had no issues with them misbehaving and everything still looks as good as it did when new. With very little to go wrong, the masters putting cup is something that I expect to last for many years if treated well. The biggest danger to its well-being is the threat of someone planting a shoe-clad foot on top of it - especially as it is semi-camouflaged on our green patterned carpet. Overall, I am very happy to recommend this product to anyone who wishes to practice their putting indoors. It's very handy for the bad weather months when you can't get onto a golf course without a boat and it's also very useful for having a quick 5 minutes of practice every now and then. Just remember to pick up any stray balls when you've finished. Standing on a golf ball barefoot is not quite as bad as standing on an upturned plug but it's still quite unpleasant. === Price/availability === Amazon.co.uk £3.99 - free delivery. Also available from many independent local golf shops for around the same price. Thank you for reading :-)