Putt Line: New golf app reads your putt correctly every time

MEXICO CITY, MEXICO - FEBRUARY 24: Dustin Johnson of the United States lines up a putt on the 18th green during the final round of World Golf Championships-Mexico Championship at Club de Golf Chapultepec on February 24, 2019 in Mexico City, Mexico. (Photo by Hector Vivas/Getty Images)
MEXICO CITY, MEXICO - FEBRUARY 24: Dustin Johnson of the United States lines up a putt on the 18th green during the final round of World Golf Championships-Mexico Championship at Club de Golf Chapultepec on February 24, 2019 in Mexico City, Mexico. (Photo by Hector Vivas/Getty Images) /

Putt Line is a brand new golf app that promises something that every golfer is looking for: it reads your putts on every green for just about any course you could think of playing. Sounds too good to be true…but it is.

Putt Line, a new golf app for both Apple and Android, can now read your putts. Honest. It’s all thanks to GolfLogix, the company that was first to provide handheld GPS to the golf industry.

A few years after their GPS introduction, GolfLogix unveiled Putt Breaks, which is basically similar to the StrackaLine putting books that PGA Tour pros use, but it’s on your phone. It shows arrows all over each green and the arrows point the direction the ball will go any place on the putting surface. In other words, it shows the break. It was a great leap forward. But people wanted more.

“One of the challenges we had (with Putt Breaks) and user feedback was that when you went to your hole, you had to orient yourself,” Pete Charleston, GolfLogix president, said in a phone interview. “We watched, and people would turn their phone and turn the screen so they could understand where they were and where the cup was in relation to the ball.”

Golfers knew where they were, and they could see the ball and see the hole, but many couldn’t make the arrows make sense as far as what they needed to do to make the putt. In other words, golfers were bad map readers. Some people are. What they needed was Garmin for their putts.

Enter the next step up from Putt Breaks: Putt Line.   Putt Line reads your putts. It tells you where to hit them and how much break to play. Eureka!

It was the answer to the Putt Break user who asked, “How come you can’t just tell me what my putt does?”

“Having all the data, we were able to build a simple physics engine and predict the perfect putt,” Charleston said.

When I accused Charleston of being a genius to come up with Putt Line, he deflected and said it was the smart guys on his team that did it. But when you see how it works, you won’t care who thought of it or who wrote the code. You’ll just want it.

With Putt Line, each green still has a series of arrows that shows which direction a ball will roll and where it changes direction. But on Putt Line, the app sees the green from where you are located.  Then, when you tell it where the hole is and where your ball is, it makes an actual putting line, like the ones we see on TV to show where somebody is supposed to hit their putt to make it go into the hole. Putt Line gives you that for every putt and tells you how to get there.

To get the right line for your putt, you put your finger on the screen of the phone app where the hole is and then draw a line to where the ball is on the green. Couldn’t be easier.  Then the Putt Line app reads the putt and generates a line to show you where to hit the ball to get it into the hole.  It shows you how far the putt is. It tells you how hard to hit it compared to a flat putt and how much break to play.

When it draws the line for you, and it also spits out directions and graphics that say something like: Hit putt 22 feet and aim 22 inches right of the target.  Then it’s up to you.

It’s extraordinary, really. And you can try it for free.

The color-coded putting line shows you if the putt picks up speed close to the hole or if it slows down.

The app tells you the elevation change from ball to hole.

In addition, you can also set the Stimpmeter reading of the greens you are playing for even more accurate Putt Line readings.

With Putt Line, there’s no confusion about where you are and what the app is looking at.

“Wherever you’re pointing the phone, if you’re looking behind the ball toward the cup, our app knows it, and it rotates the green,” he said. “Literally whatever direction you’re looking is what you see on the screen.”

The first thing that comes to mind is the legality of using one of these apps in a professional event or in a USGA event.  You know the “rules authorities” are going to say no, no, no. And they have. The Putt Line app can’t be used in a USGA event and, therefore, in any PGA Tour event.

Golf app putt line Camilo Villegas
CHARLOTTE, NC – MAY 01: Camilo Villegas of Columbia lines up a putt on the 12th hole during the first round of the Wachovia Championship at Quail Hollow Country Club on May 1, 2008 in Charlotte, North Carolina. (Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images) /

However, GolfLogix is working on a USGA compliant mode for the app which will be called tournament mode. Charleston said it is similar to a range finder that has slope where you click it off.

“You wouldn’t get the Putt Line, but you’d get the green contours, exactly what the PGA Tour pros are using,” he noted.

It would look like the StrackaLine books but for any one of 12,000 courses in the Putt Line system.

However, while the technology can’t currently be used in tournament play for the PGA Tour or many tournaments, there’s nothing to stop it being used during practice rounds.  If a tournament tends to put a hole in a similar location every year, then practicing to that location will help show the break and length of a putt that should be hit.

“When my partner and I started this company in 1999, you couldn’t use a laser range finder or a GPS watch. None of that stuff was legal.  That didn’t change until 2006,” Charleston said. “This will be legal.  I just don’t know when.”

Most golfers aren’t playing in a USGA or PGA Tour event. They are playing recreational golf.  For that, Charleston thinks Putt Line can shave putts off your score and add enjoyment to playing.

“You eliminate four or five three-putts a round and you eliminate – and we all have  played with those people – that have to walk each side of the hole, the back side of the hole — I mean they have this two-minute routine,” he noted about the length of time it can take some golfers to get ready to hit the ball. “(But with Putt Line) you literally draw a line with your finger from the ball to the cup. And it goes [buzz]. And you say read my putt.”

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So, it seems that Putt Line may actually shave time off a round of golf because it reads the putt and eliminates the need for all the walking and plumb-bobbing and other crazy, green-reading techniques.

Charleston said the most important thing it does is give golfers more confidence in putting because they know they have the right read.

In addition to the Putt Line app on phones – both Apple and Android – the app communicates with your Apple watch, if you have one.

“It will give you front, middle and back distances,” Charleston said about the watch app.

But there’s more when you get to the green.

“When you are on the green, mark your ball. Get the read with Putt Line.  Put the phone back in your pocket,” he explained.  “In case you forget, glance at your putt. Then look at your watch.”

The app sends a text to the watch with the directions how and where to hit the ball, as so many inches left or right of the hole and so many inches short of or beyond a certain distance to hit the putt.

Putt Line is free to try, and if you want the full version, it’s 49.99 a year.  If you don’t want it after the trial, you still have the 3-D yardage book image of every hole, score keeping and distance to center of each green.

However, if you play 25 rounds of golf a year, that’s a paltry $2 a round to beat your friends at golf.

“You’ll win that betting the first time out,” Charleston joked.

But of course, gambling is illegal at Bushwood, as we all know.

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Now will you actually make more putts?  That’s up to you.

As Charleston said, “We can’t teach people how to putt, but we can at least line them up the right way.”