I’ve covered several “train & play” putting systems. Some have laser beams, putting rails, weights or components which train you during practice, but must be removed to be legal for regular play. The Zen Oracle RDE Putter, on the other hand, is a train & play putting system which does not require any modifications to be legal on the course.
I was pretty amazed when I saw the list of players who use the Zen Oracle putter. Some of the big names include Stuart Appleby, Vijay Singh, Jack Nicklaus, Jerry Kelly, Rich Beem, Michael Campbell, Darren Clarke and 2007 British Open winner Padraig Harrington.
Zen Oracle Putter Technology
The Zen Oracle Putter is a face balanced mallet putter which is 100% CNC milled from premium grade 303 stainless and composite mixed materials. The shaft is a Royal Precision “Rifle” with custom fit, short and off-set neck options. The grip is a Bespoke Zen Winn grip which is nice and comfortable.
The putter face has some large milled grooves which put a nice roll on the ball. I also like the fact that the bottom of the face is rounded. This would help those players who sometimes hit the ground when putting.
The design concept is simple. There is a golf ball sized aperture inside the mallet. This gives the player a visual aid, but primarily the aperture is for placing a ball inside for rolling drills.
With a ball inside the aperture, you can work on drills and get a better feel for actually “rolling” the ball instead of striking it.
One drill is to simply have a ball in the aperture and work on your pendulum stroke. With the ball inside you bring the club back and forth like practice putts before your actual shot. You could use a line on the ball or use a chalk line on the green to work on rolling the ball back and forth on the correct path.
Drill two would be actually rolling putts to the hole from the aperture. After doing drill one for a while, then release the putter head all the way which allows the ball in the aperture to roll toward the hole. This is a great drill for getting the feel and line of “rolling” a ball to the hole.
Drill 2A could be a drill to insure your backstroke is straight, if you are a “straight back, straight through” putter. Line up with a hole or target in line BEHIND your putter and take the putter back far enough to roll the ball backwards from the aperture.
Drill three (pictured above) would combine striking a ball with rolling the ball from the aperture. Getting both balls to the hole is pretty hard. When you do get them both to the hole, you know your speed on the 1st ball is right.
On The Course
Once I’ve grooved my putting stroke in my drills, I can take the Zen Oracle putter right onto the course with no modifications necessary. The Zen Oracle is a USGA and R&A approved putter right out of the box.
I play some bumpy greens which don’t seem to know whether they are poanna or bent grass. The variations between the grasses result in a bumpy ride, making it hard to keep the ball rolling and on line. The milled grooves in the face of the Zen really put a great roll on the ball and help me make more putts, especially in these conditions.
I like the look standing over the Oracle and I’m able to put a great stroke on the ball. I have great distance control and the face balancing helps me roll my putts on a true line.
I usually write a few lines about the covers of clubs, should they have one. I assume the Zen Oracle does come with a cover, but I can’t tell you anything about it. The test unit I received didn’t come with one.
The biggest problem with most training aids is that they’re so foreign to the real club you bring onto the course. These training aids can’t be used on the course. The Zen Oracle putter solves that problem. You can become totally comfortable with your stroke and bring the exact same club on the course. You can even practice rolling drills on the putting green (if the rules allow, such as in match-play) after you finish a hole.
The Zen Oracle putter is a great training aid and a great putter. By combining these two into one, you’ll be collecting from your buddies at the 19th hole.
I have many more pictures of the Zen Oracle putter in the Hooked On Golf Blog Zen Gallery.