When a training aid inventor believes in his product enough to quit his high-paying gig, sell his home and move above a family member’s garage, it’s time to take notice. That’s exactly what Randy Bowman did to get his laser-powered golf alignment device, SQRDUP, into production and, finally, to market.
A gregarious former Marine with a clear love for golf and the guts to dream big, Bowman enlisted his engineer brother to help move SQRDUP from sketch pad to reality. Many months and much monetary investment later — including a spate of fundraising on the web — they had a working prototype: Four green laser lenses placed at right angles from each other inside a four-sided, plus-sign-shaped aluminum housing. After several rounds of tweaking tolerances and technical specs, the final product produces a quartet of powerful, mega-focused laser beams that, with the flip of a switch, give a golfer instant dead-straight alignment guides for every club in the bag, putter to driver. Mounted on the included Joby adjustable tripod, it can cast a beam from ground level (excellent for the range, where you want it as close to the hitting surface as possible) to several inches above the ground, where you can aim one beam at, say, a range marker 200 yards away, while the other three beams provide spot-on alignment aids for ball position, foot position, club face angle, takeaway path and more. For putting, it’s best to place it as high as possible, about 15 to 18 inches behind the ball, which allows a beam to track all the way to the target. The beams are powerful enough to be visible in bright sunlight.
“I spent a lot of time in our basement [working on SQRDUP], and my wife was hating it,” Bowman told Golf Tips at the International Network of Golf spring conference in Alabama last May, where he rolled out his first off-the-line device for the media. “So I took her to the putting green and set up an 8-foot putt, and showed her how you can line it up. She’s played maybe 20 times in her life, and she made 11 of 28 putts. Later she said, ‘Now I just think about that line. I really see the benefit. It helps keep me more square through the ball.”
With apologies to Einstein, there’s nothing straighter than a laser beam, which is what makes SQRDUP such a no-brainer for anyone who wants to perfect what any teaching pro will tell you is Exhibit A in a low-handicapper’s game: A reliably and repeatably square set-up. It leads to every good thing in the swing — balance, effortless power and accuracy for starters.
“A lot of people have tried it and said, ‘I really need this. It really helps. I wasn’t really getting my ball on line,’” Bowman said. “And it helps remind you of your alignment when you’re playing.”
Golf Tips tested SQRDUP on a flat surface indoors, setting it up so its “lead” beam sliced through the dead-centers of what might be the perfect practice companions — the PuttOut “pressure practice” training aid the same company’s six-foot Putting Mat. Each golf ball was placed so the laser would cut through its equator, giving us not only a bolt-straight line to the target, but a guide for the backstroke, too. If the laser stayed on top of the ball as it rolled out, we knew we’d put a solid, square stroke on it. On an actual outdoor green, the laser will instantly show the break of a putt — in four directions at once — if it’s arranged level to the surface. “You can have four putting sessions [at the same time],” Bowman said. “That’s why I think it’s a natural for high school and college golf teams. They can come up with practice competitions that will help them when their playing their matches. It builds confidence.”
But you don’t have to keep SQRDUP on the square all the time, as Bowman discovered during one testing session. “I had one teaching pro show me, ‘Look, here’s a 4-degree swing path.’ He immediately recognized that you can set it up to show the path for a draw, nice, high fade, whatever. You can use it chipping, to work on foot and club face alignment. I can set it to go to the 100-yard marker, then to the 150 marker, or whatever, and line up my club face. No more moving alignment sticks or a golf club around.”
Even before he was up and running, Bowman was fielding SQRDUP pre-orders from around the world, and now he’s setting his sights not only on the American amateur consumer, but on the PGA Tour.
“I want to go to the [Waste Management] Phoenix Open, have a booth and a tent, and give a unit to each pro and amateur. I guarantee some will take it out to the putting green or range and use it, and hopefully some camera will zero in on it. We’ll see if people notice it and decide if it’s worth it.”
Let us be among the first to state without hesitation that SQRDUP is indeed “worth it.” Lasers are straight shooters, and so are we.
SQRDUP is portable, weighing just over a pound including the tripod, and charges quickly via mini-USB. Bowman is currently taking orders for delivery in December.
$199 plus shipping | www.sqrdup.com