New friend for golfers on the greens
PHOTO: 10/20 Steve at booth.jpg in THURS PHOTOSPocket Pal 1 & Putt Pal in NEWSEDITEAGLE – Everyone needs a friend in golf, especially when it comes to putting. If Eagle-resident Steve Wicklas has his way, every golfer will have a new friend on the course within five years. Wicklas has a patent pending on a piece of golf equipment he invented called the Putt Pal and Pocket Pal greens brushes. The small, green-safe brushes are the flagship product for his company, Putt-Pal-U.S.A., based in Eagle. The brush allows golfers to remove any type of impediment – sand, animal droppings, leaves, pebbles – from the line of their putt. Players lower their number of putts per round instantly with the Putt Pal, says Wicklas, who notes that even the smallest grain of sand can throw a putt completely off its line. An idea is bornIn March, 2004, Wicklas was playing golf at Battlement Mesa. As with any spring-round in the Rockies, there were some extenuating circumstances. The weather was cold and blustery; the fairways and greens were a premature brownish-green. There were elk droppings everywhere.”I had a putt where the droppings were so thick you couldn’t putt through them,” says Wicklas. So, he picked up a trap rake and removed the droppings from his line with the back of the rake. He took what he thought was a required two-stroke penalty.A few days later, while paging through a copy of Colorado GolfHouse Magazine, he happened upon an article about a change in the United States Golf Association rules. The change declared that golfers could remove impediments from their line by any means necessary. Stipulations to the rule were that golfers may not damage the green or brush toward the hole in the process.”You have to brush your own line, and you have to use a side-to-side motion when brushing,” says Wicklas, describing the provisions for using his new product.So, with an idea in mind, and a sketch in hand, Wicklas consulted a friend who is an inventor.”He told me I had to go to the USGA,” says Wicklas. “If they don’t approve it, there was no idea.”The United States Golf Association did approve of the product, in concept, but asked to see a prototype, says Wicklas. From there, a company was born.Wicklas’ partner and Putt-Pal-USA Vice President Barbara Andrews observes that rule changes are part of the history of golf.”Golf is a changing game,” she says. “Part of our thrust as a company is to have golfers evolve with the game.” Colorado-madeWicklas and Andrews have an office in Eagle. The product is 100 percent made in America, and 90 percent of that production takes place in Denver, Andrews says.”The Putt-Pal can make you a better putter without any practice,” says Andrews.The new brush comes in three different styles. The most popular, says Andrews, is the Pocket Pal, which is flat and fits in a player’s pocket like a wallet. There is also a Putt-Pal which comes attached to a True Temper shaft and looks similar to a putter (the shafted-model does not count as a club). There is also the Putt-Pal Clip, which comes attached to a carabineer to hook on a golf bag.The Putt-Pal can be purchased locally at Eagle Ranch golf course and Eagle-Vail Golf Course. The company is also selling the product on their Web site, http://www.puttpalusa.com.”We believe it will be in everyone’s bag within the next three years,” says Wicklas. “When you have something that works, people will gravitate to it.”
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