All inventions start with an idea. The very best inventions fill a need.
Barrhead resident Lyle Knittig believes his idea of the Tip It fills a need. Whether it does will be up to golf courses and golfers.
So far in its brief testing trials at the Barrhead Golf Club and the Paddle River Golf Club, he said the reception from both the courses and golfers has been favourable.
"Everyone who uses it seems to like it," Knittig said.
Tap It is a flat circular thin device that resembles a compact disc, except the whole in the middle is large enough for a golf flag to go through it. Underneath the disk is a collar that allows it to tilt up and down. The apparatus is installed into a golf hole with room to spare.
When a golfer sinks their putt the ball raises one side of the disk. To get the ball out of the hole all a golfer has to do is lightly tap on the raised side with the end of their putter. The ball is then "launched" out of the hole landing on the green, eliminating the need to bend down, reach into the hole and touch or remove the flag.
The latter being especially important because of COVID-19.
"With the new rules and not being able to touch the flagstick or the surrounding cup courses were forced to find ways to let people putt and not go in the hole," he said.
Some of the ways courses have dealt with the problem include raising the hole, flipping it over, using pool noodles, anything to stop the ball from dropping into the hole.
Either way has its drawbacks that impact the game.
"By blocking the hole and just having the ball hit an object you don't know if it would have gone in," Knittig said. "The same thing can happen if the hole is raised because if the ball is going too hard or fast it can bounce out so then you have the question if the putt would have gone in."
He began to consider potential ways golfers could retrieve their ball short from the cup eliminating as many contact points as possible after the premier started hinting that the province was going to relaunch the economy, including golf courses.
His first step was to talk to the Barrhead Golf Course to find out what they were planning. They told him that in all likelihood they would just be turning over the cups.
At first, Knittig thought of ways he might be able to raise the cup, but after looking into it, he realized that wasn't a good solution. Partly because it had already been done, but also because those types of devices fundamentally change the game.
"By changing the way you putt, there will always be questions," he said. "Did it go in or didn't it? You could never be confident about your score. But with this device not effecting the flagstick, it is just a much better way of doing things."
Two days before the Barrhead Golf Course opened on May 14 Knittig presented a prototype for them to install. A week later the Paddle River Golf Course was using Tip It. Not long after that, he and a friend he brought in to help with the project applied for a patented and set up a webpage.
Knittig said it is still early in the process, but he said the product has a lot of potential even after the COVID-19 restrictions are eventually taken off.
"When people use it they like it, and they wish there would have been something like it all along because they don't have to bend down as much. It is just a matter of getting it to the golf courses," he said.
For more information about Tap It, go to www.tapitgolf.com.
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