* Prices may differ from that shown
I used to have a similar version of this from Longridge in my office for ages, and it was something that I got slowly addicted to, knocking the golf balls back and forth into it in my spare time. But when it finally broke a few months ago (the return bit stopped working), I really missed using it. Hence I looked around to get a suitable replacement and came across this in a local sporting shop for £13 - a little more expensive than the Longridge one I purchased for £7, but this PGA version does have a few more gizmos included with it.
What's it all about? Well basically this is a golf putting aid to enable golfers and the like to practice their putting shots. You set this up somewhere (I have this set up in my office) and then putt golf balls into it, but the clever bit is that once you putt the ball into the target, it then activates a mechanism inside which then 'fires' the ball back to you - almost like receiving a gratifying reward for getting the shot right in the first place.
What do you get for the money? Well, it is basically a sort of black plastic box with a semi circle cut out of the front of it. It feels fairly robust and well made, with an overall length of 29 cm and a width of 17 cm, and is fairly heavy, meaning that it is not going to move or slide around when you're putting balls into it. The front semi-circular bit has been made to look a little similar to a golfing green with some green baize material stuck down to it, with a representation of the golf hole marked out on it as a white semi-circle. It also has a slight lip and ridge to it, which goes up at the front and then falls away towards the back. The purpose of this is that you have to play the shot well to get it over the ridge, whereupon the ball is then guided to the back of the semi-circle on the device. As it reaches the back, it comes to rest on a sensor button, that then activates the return mechanism, which is basically a spring loaded bolt which shoots forward against the ball to knock it out of the device and back towards you.
But I mentioned that it also comes with some other gizmos. For starters you get a PGA Tour golf ball to go with this device, along with a training DVD to show you how to be a better golfer. In addition, they have also supplied a sort of little putting flag on to of the device to add a bit of realism so that you have something to aim for, but with the flag only being a few inches tall, in my opinion, it doesn't really add that much realism. Could be useful to help you find it again if you've left the device outside and it gets covered in leaves or snow, but I don't tend to get that problem in the office, so I think it's more of a gimmick if anything. The only other things that you will need, that aren't supplied, are a putting iron and two size C batteries to power the device.
In use, the device can, and does become quite addictive, and as I did with my previous one, you start challenging yourself to do trickier shots by bouncing the ball off of the skirting board or around the table leg. To make it a little more difficult, you can also vary the distance between youself and the device, but then the device does have a limitation in that it will only project the ball back to you in a straight line over about 9 to 10 feet, depending on the surface that you are playing on (eg. smooth carpet, bare floor etc). But over time and with practice, I have found that it does improve my putting skills, making me putt much more accurately.
In summary, just like my first Longridge version, this device is very useful if you want to improve your putting skills. It is a little bit of a 'lazy' golfer's device in that you don't really need to go and fetch the ball from the hole because it launches it back to you automatically. But if you're desperate for that extra bit of realism in fetching the ball, you can always take the batteries out. Either way, it is a fun addictive, if a little gimmicky, device with a training purpose for the keen or casual golfer. Hence a 4* recommendation.
I received the PGA Tour Pure Auto returner putting machine as a present last year. I have several of these little golf gadgets, which are designed to help improve various aspects of the game from the comfort or your own home or garden. My golf game seriously needs improving, and as I very rarely get chance to go to the course to play a few holes, I tend to rely on these sorts of things to give my game a little boost, in the hope that they will help me to reduce the huge number of shots needed for me to get round 18 holes in.
The PGA Tour putting machine is basically a little gadget that is designed to help to improve your golfing skills. It sits flat on the floor, and the idea is to use a real golf ball (of which one is included in the purchase), and a golf putter (not included), and to practice hitting the ball from all sorts of lengths and angles (and slopes if using outdoors) into the middle of the machine which is sized similar to that of a golf hole.
There is an incline at the front of the machine which is covered in a green baize fabric to mimic a putting green, which adds another level of difficulty to the practise, in that you need to get the line right, and the pace needs to be firm enough to get the ball up the incline, so that it will fall into the sensor, and allow the returning mechanism to send the ball back in your direction. If the ball successfully falls into the right area, there is quite a loud noise of a motor, and then a sharp clicking sound as the ball is forced back out of the machine, and it will hopefully travel back towards you.
This machine can be used indoors in the home or the office, and can also be used outdoors if you have a well cut lawn (which I don't)!
The PGA tour putting machine takes 2 x Size X 1.5v Batteries (not included), to power the returning mechanism, and is available for around £15.99.
~~~ Overall summary ~~~
There are several different types of gadgets out there designed to help improve putting, which can be used indoors, and overall I feel the PGA tour putting machine is pretty good. It out does the competition with its ball return mechanism, although sometimes once it has returned a few balls, they begin to block the line to the centre of the putting machine, and so they need retrieving. The return mechanism is pretty noisy, but this is not too much of a problem really. I feel that this device has helped me to improve my touch with the putter, and also my lines to the hole must have improved. The incline makes the hole putting a little un-real though, as there is not usually an incline like that before a hole on a course, so this device does tend to make you over hit a put, compared to the force that you would need on a golf course, especially if you are trying to drop the ball into the hole 'dead weight'. This is 'par for the course' though with a ball returning machine, as the needs to be a decline in height before the returning mechanism, so that the ball sits into the mechanism properly.
Overall though it is a good bit of fun, and any practice is better than none at all. It can be used in the house, and children tend to like it, and there is not a lot of damage that they can cause with it, so it acts as a good introduction to the game of golf for them.
I think the PGA tour putting machine is an ideal gift for anyone who is into golf, no matter if they are young or old, and it does help to improve your putting technique, and gives you a little more confidence in your ability.
Thanks for reading,
© L500589 2011
Everyone who reads even a few of my reviews will now have realised that I am a keen golfer, and like to spend a lot of my summer on the course just around the corner from my house. However, when I am away at University, it is a little more tricky to hone my skills. Therefore I invested in a few aides to take my game with me. I recently reviewed the chipping net, which was one of them, and now I will review this purchase. My longridge autoputt had to stay at home, it was insisted upon by the very keen golfer father, and so I went online to see what I can find. I got this, and I have to say it has been very much a similar experience, with the same good sides and bad sides.
So then, you get a typical autoputter returning system. In that you have a small semi circular hole to aim at, this time it comes with a little flag on top, which is quite nice, as it adds something to the authenticity. You then putt your wall, hopefully it will go in, and then it shoots it right back at you, providing you have some batteries, so that you are ready to go again.
The package also comes with a kind of tutorial system. A DVD on how to improve and a ball with arrows on designed to help your game as well. I must confess, I have not used either of these, I have been playing for yonks and have had more lessons than hot dinners, so think I have the technique nailed on, it is just practice that i desire.
The disadvantage of this product, as I stated with the Longridge alternative, is that it is very difficult creating true green conditions. Greens are slanted, slow, fast and always different, so you don't get that playing on a carpet, which is scuffed, on your student flooring. However, it is good fun and it does help your initial aim, if not your actual interpretation of the green, so I still think it is worth a small investment. Even if it doesn't help, it is quite funny making up a crazy putting course in a 4 storey townhouse with mice and other nastiness that you generally find around a student property. It is unlikely that you will encounter mice, mould and vodka on a true course though.
I got this on the net for just £9.99, and have not seen it any cheaper, so it is definitely worth having a good look round on there. For that it is really worthwhile.
Bit of a novelty, but good fun and limited scope for improvement.
Over the years I have owned many of the various putting machines on the market, and today i'm looking at the 'PGA Tour Pure Auto Returner with Guide Ball', which (like most of my golf training aids) currently resides in a cupboard under the stairs. The returner takes the form of a black plastic contraption featuring a hollowed out central section lined with felt, and marked with a golf hole sized target. With a price-tag of £16, the unique selling point of the product is the fact that (should you hit the target) it will return the ball back to your feet via a battery operated mechanism.
It should be pointed out that this particular putting machine is almost identical to another ball returner that I once owned made by Longridge - the only difference is the fact that this one features PGA branding, and a flag protruding from the top of the device. To be honest the flag isn't necessary whatsoever, as the markings on the felt give enough of a target to aim for.
The device itself is fairly small in size (under thirty centimetres on its longest edge), and is easy to transport around. I've found that the reliability is high, and I've encountered no issues whatsoever with its use. To operate, the ball returner requires two C batteries which slot into a hatch underneath. I've found that the batteries will last a long time - perhaps a couple of months with light to moderate use.
In terms of placement, it's best to use the device on fairly short carpet, thus replicating the speed of cut grass on a golf course green. On a flat carpet, the ball will travel back to you up to a distance of around three metres, which is perfectly adequate for practice putting. When returning the ball, the auto returner is fairly noisy, but the noise only lasts a few seconds until the ball is shot out.
Overall, the PGA Tour Pure Auto Returner is an easy to use device which, if used in the correct environment, will certainly help with your short game. If you've got a perfectly flat carpet, the product will aid your alignment - it will also help with your judgement of distance if your putting surface closely replicates the speed of a real green.
Golf has been one of my favourite sports for many years. Since I was a kid I have enjoyed the sport and now I'm older I still love to get out on the course and play some holes. Although I am certainly not the best golfer there is, I would say I have a decent enough game and tend to hold my own when I play. However, one area of my golfing game that has always been a little poor is putting. Putting is a very delicate art that has to be practiced regularly if you are ever going to be any good. It is a very important aspect of golf as you can be the best player in the world, but if you can't putt it is all for nothing. So in an attempt to improve my putting I have tried a few different methods. First of all, the classic ball and cup. This soon got boring and annoying. Then I tried the metal putting hole, a little more effective but I soon got bored of it. Then came this, the PGA Tour Auto Putt Returner.
This little device is the best I have used when it comes to practicing your putting. Although a very simple idea, this piece of practice equipment is very effective and quite clever. The idea is simple, you put the ball into the 'hole' and then the ball fires back towards you. Sounds simple and brilliant, however, it's does have a few flaws. My first problem with this is that to 'hole' a putt you have to hit it up the little lip at the front. Admittedly this is not a steep ramp, but you can't really drop a ball in dead weight as you would in a real hole. Another problem is the size of the cup, you can bounce in off the sides which is not realistic when you consider how a real hole works.
On the plus side this golf cup is quite useful in some ways. When it comes to getting the line of your putts right this is quite handy. You also get a little practice ball with arrows on it which is supposed to help you line up your putts. I do not use this however as the fact is when you are out on the greens you use an ordinary ball, so surely it is better to practice with a ball you will be used to using. The little putting hole also has a little flag which wakes it look good and it also comes with an instruction DVD. I must confess I did not watch this, I can't imagine something like this would really entertain me all that much.
You can buy a PGA Tour putting machine for around £15. For what you get with the package I suppose this is pretty good value. Although as I don't really use the ball or the DVD maybe it could be a little expensive. One thing to note is that the putting device needs batteries in it for it to work, so this adds to the expense of the whole thing. Overall though I would say this is a decent piece of equipment. This machines have been around for quite a while now so the novelty factor has worn off, to be honest I'm not sure how much this has helped my putting as I still struggle when I'm out on the greens, but I will say that it is easier than putting a ball into a mug and then going to fetch you ball after every shot.
I tend to play golf a number of times during the summer and whilst far from being an expert, I dare not reveal my handicap, I enjoy the challenge of the game and was really struggling putting and my 4-5 tries each time on the green were letting my score down. So I sought an aid to ease this problem and stumbled across this, the PGA Tour Pure Auto Returner with Guide Ball. It cost my £19.99 although can be bought for around £15 if shopping around.
The device's concept is simple, the help train and aid budding golfers with putting skills. It can be used in a wide range of environments from the home, garden and even sneaking it into the office! It works best though on a good even carpet.
The one problem I have with this is that, despite supposedly simulating a gold hole. It doesn't. It has a small ramp the ball needs to go up every time before clicking into the right place so it can send you the ball back. Now this is off putting as you need to cater for it every time. Its annoying and ruins the product for me. Too hard and bam! you hit the ramp and it flings the ball all over. Too soft and even though it would have dropped in reality, it wont get up the ramp. And also with only one ramp up it doesn't simulate a hole as it can only be approached from one direction.
Saying that though it's a solid, well made piece of kit. Very sturdy and feels and looks quality. It will take a bashing from golf balls and the returning mechanism works wonders and will return the ball even if stood quite a distance. Its all spring loaded and the ball will return within a second or so and it makes it easier than running and getting every ball. If you miss though....its walking time.
It is however noisy which wont worry some but just be aware if playing in a flat or upstairs...it vibrates through the floor a lot.
The machine takes three large batteries and these are inserted in the back so the whole unit is rather heavy once fully set up. It is low on power so therefore the batteries last months on end with medium use.
Does it improve putting? In a way it helps you with swing, timing, pacing and controlling the ball but given its not a real green, its nothing like a hole and it has that annoying ramp I wouldn't really recommend it as a totally useful sure fire way to improve putting. Sure it might improve confidence but I consider it more of a "mans" toy than a training aid!
Only worth buying if you don't play real golf or cant get to a green but fancy a bit of putting to ease a stressful day!
A simple, but gimmicky design concept.. A battery operated, automatic ball returning practice putting aid designed to help you improve your Putting , for indoor use on the Carpet. That's the theory anyway.
Now what's it like in use?
In one word - easy, - It just couldn't be simpler. First insert batteries - don't ask the size as I never know what they are nowadays ( I think they are size C ). The batteries in my machine last a long time between charges, obviously that depends on the frequency of operation, but I use mine almost every day for perhaps 100 plus putts and They last a long time - many weeks, Battery life is not a big problem.
Put ( Pun intended - sorry ), the machine down on the floor and Putt the ball towards it. If you hit a good, on line Putt the ball rolls into the jaws of the machine, which are meant to simulate a golf hole. It comes to rest on a small pressure plate at the back of the jaws, the machine cranks into operation and using a spring loaded device pops the ball back from whence it came - brilliant. Have another try, see if you can make it two in a row.
If you hit a bad, or off line putt, the ball doesn't go into the jaws and doesn't get returned to you - you missed!!!!!!. Simple as that.
As per all other "Training" aids in Golf, don't think that this will improve your putting overnight because it won't, it is just a simple aid to use when practicing your putting. If you have a Lousy putting stroke before you use it you will probably have the same Lousy stroke after using it.
But what it does do well though is to give you a little extra interest and pressure when practicing. See how many in a row you can hole from a specific distance, that sort of thing. The other good thing is, at least with a fixed target you can see how consistently well, or bad! your aim and speed is.
If you need / crave that competitive edge when practicing, as I do, then this is a useful aid / toy.
You can, of course, putt the ball from any distance away from this machine, but it will not return it a massive distance. I get a maximum return distance of around 8 / 10 feet from mine. You may get further, I guess it all depends on the surface over which the ball has to roll. But it is great fun - just don't take it too seriously.
Trust me, however many putts in a row, from x feet, you "Hole" you will want to beat it. Great for learning to handle that 6' pressure putt for a half or a win...
It's a bit noisy when it cranks into gear for the ball return operation, but who cares, it saves you having to bend over and pick the ball up.
It's a bit "Plasticky", but does that matter as long as it does what it's supposed to do. After all you aren't going to throw it about!! ARE YOU.........
Overall it is a good, quirky bit of kit which will give you hours of Fun and frustration - it may even improve your putting a bit as well.