A Putter Aficionado’s Dream Comes True!
By: Dr. Barry Lotz
|Without any doubt whatsoever, putting is the most critical golf skill that needs to be acquired to become, not only proficient in putting, but to be a good/low handicapper. Yet, after all is said and done, all the articles written, usage endorsements paid to pros, putting is the most elusive skill for a golfer to acquire.
Not a single Tour event goes by, be it on the PGA, LPGA or Nationwide Tours, that the pros continue to tinker with and change putters, sometimes each day of a tournament.
It’s all about confidence in your putting game and it is built from understanding the correct techniques and how these lead to improved putting. Of course, as Gary Player is fond of saying, “the harder one practices, the luckier one gets”.
While there are many types of putters, golfers should not overlook many additional options to improve their putting by trying different types and grip configurations, such as the belly putter, the tall putter, putting left-handed, switch putting, or any of many types of grip options – cross-handed style, the claw, ten-fingered grip, reverse overlap, or split-handed. And new oversized grips such as the Super Stroke are also now commonplace even on Tour.
However, and this point cannot be over emphasized, getting custom fit by a competent club fitter will solve 90% of all your putting problems. As far as I am concerned, the best in the business is David Edel Golf, about whom you can read below.
Of course, knowing whether your stroke arcs more than it is of the straight-back/straight type will also be of utmost importance, as blades are ideal for arc swings and mallets for the latter style.
Take advantage of all the new technical breakthroughs in materials and designs for putters. Find out what works for you, then enjoy the great game of golf to its fullest. The more you know about your putting game the better off you will be in purchasing a putter.
As mental coaches often explain to PGA Tour players, nowhere in the principles of putting and/or rules of golf does the word “right” appear. So why in the world is “right-handed- low” the only option that is offered by a majority of golf teachers? It is because golf is such a traditional game. Some of the definitions in Webster’s Dictionary for “traditionalism” are: “an inherited pattern of thought or action”, “the doctrines or practices of those who FOLLOW OR ACCEPT tradition”, and “the beliefs of those opposed to Modernism, liberalism, or even radicalism”. So if you are struggling with your putting, just remember that it takes courage to be different, but the rewards are worth the effort.
Golf is more fun when you are the best putter that you can be, whatever the technique employed and the putter used.
Recently we reviewed these putters that can improve both one’s putting and enjoyment in a remarkably short time:
David Edel’s Golf Fitting Technology – It’s all about AIM!
Based on imperfect visual aim by 99% of individuals, including Tour players, Edel Golf offers a process of carefully fitting each golfer one at a time. Edel has certified fitters throughout the United States. It took Edel just 30 minutes to fit me to a putter that found the hole consistently, after he diagnosed that I was aiming to the left. Most impressive to me was that I finally was able to convey what weight and feel worked well for me and see the results fast.
After the fitting process is complete, with over 30 million permutations available to get your putter fitted perfectly, you will own a truly custom putter ideal for your game. Most importantly, your confidence increases and putting statistics improve rapidly.
Edel Golf offers three unique designs that can be built to a golfer’s specific need: Basic, Variable Weight and Variable Loft. All Edel Golf putters are precisely milled from a block of 303 Stainless Steel – available in six head shapes (Columbia, Willamette, McKenzie, Rogue, Umpqua, Deschutes), and handcrafted using a CNC (Computer Numerically Controlled) vertical milling press.
Edel premium putters are precision milled instruments in all models and styles, whether a mallet or a blade, a center shaft or plumber’s neck. The putters are made from only the best quality materials in the world. Edel custom putters are currently in the hands of top professionals and serious golfers all over the world.
Cost per putter varies from $375 to $800 www.edelgolf.com
TaylorMade Rossa Corza Ghost Mallet Putter
Justin Rose finally earned his breakthrough victory on the PGA Tour using the Corza Ghost putter. It was also TaylorMade’s first victory for the Corza Ghost putter. Rose used it to rank No. 1 in putts per green-in-regulation (1.585) and No. 2 in putts per round (27).
Because the Corza Ghost’s putter head is white, its three alignment options are easier to focus on and use, according to Dr. Hitzeman, a past chairman of the American Optometric Association’s Sports Vision Section. “The Corza Ghost putter’s three alignment elements all have high contrast against their backgrounds. This high contrast maximizes stimulation to the retina, which helps the golfer to focus and use these aiming features effectively.”
Other features of note that the Corza Ghost offers are it’s white finish which helps keep hot spots from standing out, allowing you to focus your attention on seeing the whole form of the putter head and the alignment system, so you can aim without distraction.
An extremely important feature is the use of Rossa’s renowned and tour-proven AGSI®+ (Anti-skid Groove System Insert) Technology. AGSI+ features 14 polymer-filled grooves in the face that “hold” the ball briefly at impact to promote forward spin for a smoother roll and more accurate results. The AGSI+ insert, in concert with the putter head’s extremely high MOI, also delivers superior consistency in forward roll on off-center hits, something not shown in tests of other popular putters.
Being a mallet, the Corza Ghost’s high-MOI head is extremely stable on off-center hits and feels extremely solid at impact. Its three alignment lines on the crown function not only to help aim the face accurately, but also to frame the ball in the middle of the face, which promotes solid, center-face contact on every stroke. The putter uses a heel shafted single bend shaft.
Two more Ghost models – a blade and a mid-mallet – also with white finish and black alignment lines, are scheduled to become available in July.
MSRP: $159.00 www.taylormadegolf.com
In my humble opinion, if you cannot afford to be custom fit for a putter or simply do not have the time for whatever reason, the SeeMore line of putters, are without doubt, going to increase your putting prowess.
The DB4 is the most exciting new product launch from SeeMore in many years, as it offers a very simple, effective, and innovative twist on a classic design. RST2 alignment technology expands the proprietary alignment benefits of SeeMore’s patented RifleScope Technology (RST) to a classic blade design with offset hosel for the first time.
The RST2 system also assures that the loft of the putter head will be optimal for perfect roll on every putt.
The DB4 is 100% milled in the USA, and is available in carbon steel with a proprietary multi-layer black satin finish for striking and lasting beauty.
$295.00 DB4 CS carbon steel in gunmetal black.
Yes! Golf’s C-Groove “Morgan”, “Donna II” & “Mollie” putters
YES! Golf has added three new putters to its lineup for 2010. The new C-Groove putters, Morgan and Mollie, feature multi-material head construction and the new Donna II putter features a plumber neck hosel.
The Morgan and Mollie are classic blade putter shapes that are enhanced by YES! Golf’s C-Grooves technology and multi-material head construction. The head combines a tungsten back with a stainless steel body and an aluminum face. The synergy of the light, aluminum face and extremely heavy back perimeter maximizes the moment of inertia, stabilizing the face at impact, resulting in more control and consistency. The putters will be available in right hand only for a suggested retail of $360.
Donna II is an extension of the popular hybrid Donna putter. It has a plumber neck hosel as opposed to the offset double bend shaft in the Donna. Available in right and left hand, the suggested retail of Donna II is $300.
This master of his domain, Bobby Bettinardi, putter craftsman, has just introduced his latest creation — the BB1.
The BB1 is a traditional heel-toe weighted putter that has a more rounded shape, punctuated with soft edges throughout. This model is a perennial favorite for the professional and amateur golfer alike.
The BB 1, as with the rest of the BB Series putter line, is produced to the tightest tolerances in the golf industry. Each model is 100% CNC milled in the USA, using Bettinardi’s One-Piece Technology milling process. Every putter is finished with Bettinardi’s patented Honeycomb face to ensure the highest level of performance.
The 2010 BB Series is plated with a luxurious Black Nickel finish that guarantees the highest level of durability. Each model is milled with a single sightline to aid with alignment. Every putter is completed with a pistol style grip and a patented black Bettinardi head cover.
MSRP: $265.00 www.bettinardigolf.com
Odyssey Backstryke putter
In designing Backstryke Putters, Odyssey engineers have moved the shaft backward, placing the axis of the shaft point as close as possible to the putter head’s center of gravity. This in-line axis develops what Odyssey design experts call Stroke Balance – a fluid and stable stroke path, promoting better distance control, consistency and accuracy.
The Backstryke uses a Visible Face Alignment feature that allows golfers to clearly see if the face is square to the target line without the shaft impeding the line of sight. This will significantly benefit golfers who struggle with long putts and who also consistently position their existing putter away from the intended target line.
Odyssey’s Forward Press Stabilization Technology also allows for a hands-forward position without de-lofting the putter head, a common problem when using a forward-press putting style. This results in enhanced stabilization, a more upward stroke on the golf ball, and a truer roll more often.
The unique design of the Backstryke gives a forward shaft lean that will help every golfer emulate a style adopted by the game’s greatest putters. This shaft position also aids a stable straight line with the leading arm, preventing wrist-break during the stroke. The loft for these putters is 4° – a la Dave Stockton.
The Backstryke is available is three head designs, 2-Ball, Blade and Marxman, and features a White Ice multi-layer insert that has been fine-tuned to enhance responsiveness and consistency. The face surface has also been roughened to enhance the sound at impact with softer golf balls.
The Backstryke is already the talk of both the PGA and Champions Tour, and is being used by Callaway Staff Professionals, including England’s Oliver Wilson, Thomas Bjorn of Denmark and Eduardo Romero of Argentina.
MSRP: $199.00 www.odysseygolf.com
STX ProFIT 5
STX is acknowledged as being the golf industry’s foremost authority on insert face technology. Part of their USP (Unique Selling proposition) is “Better Putting Through Chemistry”. Tests conducted by STX show even blindfolded golfers can truly feel the difference between a STX putter and any other putter.
Their new face balanced STX ProFIT 5 is a classically styled “Anser” looking model, milled from 17-4 stainless steel that features a plumber’s neck blade and a great black PVD finish. This is the putter we tested at Torrey Pines Golf Course, using the red insert, and it performed outstandingly!
STX’s unique perspective is that it’s all to do with the STX interchangeable inserts and weights that allow the golfer to adapt to the playing conditions of a particular course.
For slow conditions, the green insert (firmest) and a 14 gram weight will help you dial in your distance control, while the black (softest) insert and the 5 gram weight will be most beneficial on fast greens. Lastly, try the red (medium) insert with various weight configurations to dial in your settings. It’s three putters in one!
The ProFIT customizing set is sold separately for $59.99.
MSRP: ProFit 5 $229.00
Now that you have the latest information on the best putters available today, there are no excuses to blame the equipment.
Practice keeping your head perfectly still and wait to hear the ball drop. Focus on distance and speed. Get the ball to the hole. Have fun, stay positive and enjoy putting!
Barry Lotz, J.D., Ph.D. is the director of the Professional Golf Teachers Association of America. He is a member of the Golf Writers Association of America, the California Golf Writers Association, and serves both as a Consultant and Mediator to the golf industry. He is also the author of numerous books, including “333 Best Web Sites for Golfers” and his current book, “How to Build Business Relationships Through Golf” is in the Top Ten Golf Business Book’s best seller list.