T.J. Auclair is a Senior Interactive Producer for PGA.com and has covered professional golf since 1998, traveling to over 60 major championships. You can follow him on Twitter, @tjauclair.
Mantis Golf confident in improving your putting woes
Series: Golf Buzz
Published: Wednesday, June 19, 2013 | 3:25 p.m.
Have you ever heard anyone say, "You know, I just make too many putts?”
Yeah, we didn't think so. Thanks to a new company called, "Mantis Golf," you might find yourself making a lot more putts.
Michael Dill and Chris Maher, longtime business associates, friends and golf partners, got tired of their putting woes and decided to devise a plan with the hopes of correcting the problem.
Dill wondered if there was a way to draw a golfer's eye away from the putter and instead focus it on the golf ball during the putting stroke. As subliminal as it is, your eyes actually do follow the putter during a stroke instead of focusing in on the golf ball. If you think about, it makes sense -- isn't it natural for your eyes to instinctively follow a moving object instead of a stationary one?
Dill and Maher's goal was to try and subtly, but significantly shift attention from the putter to the ball. With that, Mantis Golf was formed in 2012.
The current Mantis offering -- and there are more models to come -- is a green mallet putter. However, unlike the white putter heads that have been all the rage in recent years and brilliant from a marketing standpoint, the green Mantis putter actually has a functional benefit.
"We did some testing and developed a product that could reduce visual distraction, or random eye movement during a putting stroke," said Maher, who serves as the CEO of Mantis Golf. "With a matte green finish, the putter is less distinct. It blends in with the green almost like camouflage. My background is in advertising and marketing. Taylormade's strategy was brilliant to go to white clubs from both a branding and marketing standpoint. Whenever Dustin Johnson is on TV, you know he's hitting a Taylormade club because it's white. Like Taylormade or the Cobra AMP line, we have a distinctive golf club. But, it's distinctive beyond branding. It provides a functional measure, which is why we have a patent. We have a utility patent because our product is tied to a functional benefit. We have quantification around that."
The design of the Mantis putter -- a color to match the putting surface; a matte finish to reduce reflection; and minimal alignment markings -- serve the purpose of minimalizing the visual impact of the putter during a putting stroke.
"It's improved my putting," Maher said. "I can't give it credit for anything else. Of course I have a Mantis in my bag and the more I putt with it, the more I like it. The Polyurethane insert gets the ball rolling more quickly. If I put it in your hands, your eyes won't move. You won't notice the putter over time. People tell us at demos, 'I lose the putter on the backstroke.' That's because their eyes didn't move. When you don't have to think about your eyes moving, you're able to create a more consistent stroke."
At the end of the day, Mantis Golf isn't just creating a unique, cool-looking putter. It's creating a putter that will improve your game.
In fact, Maher is so convinced the putter will benefit your game that he and Dill offer a 30-day, 100 percent satisfaction guarantee. If you're not satisfied with your putter within that 30-day period, you can send it back for a no-questions-asked, full refund.
"We realize it takes a little while to get used to a new putter and that's why we have our 30-day, 100 percent satisfaction guarantee," Maher said.
Based on looks alone, Maher said, people are drawn to the Mantis putter.
"When people see it, it causes them to want to try it," he said. "They say, 'let me roll a couple of putts.' It's a great feeling putter, so we get a positive response to that. A number of people that I play golf with now have a Mantis putter in their bag, which is fantastic. Anyone who plays golf knows that they're not going to buy a putter unless they truly think it's going to benefit their game."
The Mantis putter -- which conforms to USGA Rules -- is available for $159.99 at www.mantisgolfco.com.
Follow T.J. Auclair on Twitter, @tj_auclair.