Want To Lower Your Putts Per round?
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 golf, 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 don’t 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, such as the cross-handed style, the claw, ten-fingered grip, reverse overlap, or split-handed. And new oversized grips such as the Super Stroke (K.J. Choi used it to win at Congressional) are also entering the market place.
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.
Recently we reviewed the following putters that will definitely improve both one’s putting and enjoyment of the game in a remarkably short time:
Scotty Cameron Detour Newport 2.5
Well known for his outstanding putter designs and opinions on putting, Scotty devised the Detour around several concepts related to the putting stroke-and the golf swing in general. These concepts hinge on a putter’s lie angle and the arc created by that angle when a putting stroke is made.
Cameron’s theory is that not only does a golfer putt from the side with a shaft that has at least 10 degrees of lie angle, therefore the putting path will naturally draw an arc, but also that the straight-back straight-through method is incorrect.
Cameron points out that if one pictures pointing a laser line down the shaft and making your stroke, because of the lie angle and the way the body is positioned to rotate around the spine, the player will draw an arc on the ground – simple geometry and physiology working together as fact.
Scotty simply designed the Detour to fit into this arc, to show you the shape of the proper putting stroke. With an extended, curved body and a sightline that points the way, the putter follows a natural arc.
Cameron’s theory is that “it works to a player’s strength by allowing the eyes to fall in line with what the body naturally-and ultimately the putter face-wants to do. And, it allows all of this to happen while keeping the putter face square to the path, so that at impact contact is dead-on square. This gets the ball rolling on its true line, which is how more putts are made.”
The Detour sets up beautifully, it’s so easy to line up, and makes putting even easier, but most importantly the feel is superb. This putter stole the hearts of all our testers.
The Detour’s curved body is milled from 6061-T6 aircraft aluminum and includes a stainless steel back weight. The body (which is also the face) is then surrounded by a heel-and-toe balance component milled from 303 stainless steel. This aluminum and stainless steel setup perfectly triangulates the putter’s weight distribution for enhanced dynamic stability through the stroke.
There are also a Newport 2 and Detour 2 models available. All putters have 4° of loft and have head weights of 330- 340 grams and the weighting system varies slightly based on the length of the putter.
PING REDWOOD SERIES – Piper Putter
This series of putters, named after the city of PING’s founder Karsten Solheim, , Redwood, CA, offers three models featuring classic putter shapes. The other two designs are the ever-popular Anser and the Zing models.
The Piper putter is 100% milled from 303 Stainless Steel, and its black nickel chrome finish adds class to one of the best feeling putters currently available in the market place. At address position, one feels confident and the white sight lines are positive reinforcement. The putter has a great feel, slightly heavier than anticipated, but coupled with the spongy, tacky feel of the intricately patterned AVS Redwood multi-textured grip, one feels that every putt is going to drop from any distance.
As with all PING products, their USP, Unique Selling Proposition, is their custom fitting allowing the golfer to really find the putter that best suits his or her game.
Our testers found that the silky feel and feedback were exemplary with this putter.
Cleveland VP5 Mallet Putter
Cleveland has entered into the niche market for “visual-aid/feedback” styled putters, such as SeeMore m1, Scotty Cameron Detour and Odyssey (2-Ball & 3-Ball), with a series of 3 putters that will aid players by getting them into the correct address position every time. They are calling the series their Visual Performance (VP™) putters – being marketed under the Cleveland banner rather than their Never Compromise brand.
Using Dual Axis Alignment™ technology, golfers are now able to determine when their hands move out of position, as well as detect when their eyes are not directly over the ball. These are the two major contributors to pushed and pulled putts. By addressing both of these issues, VP putters increase impact consistency and aiming ability.
The VP5 model is visually attractive and has superb feel and distance control, sets up terrifically, and rolls the ball amazingly well. More importantly, with the VP5, my putting has brought a smile to my face again – a great putter!
The elegant looking VP5 mallet putter, is made of 304 stainless steel with a ¾ shaft offset and weighs in at 355 grams and has 3 degrees of loft. There is a soft elastomer insert and the putter is face balanced. Blade models (VP1 and VP2) are also available.
TaylorMade’s Rossa High MOI Tourismo Putter
TaylorMade’s new line of Rossa putters incorporates an improved version of Rossa’s famous Anti-skid Groove System Insert (AGSI), called AGSI+. What makes AGSI+ superior to the original is the addition of two grooves, which raise the total to 14 from 12 and which bring the grooves 22% closer together.
That brings more grooves into contact with the ball more often, allowing AGSI+ to more efficiently negate backspin and promote forward spin at impact, equaling smoother roll and helping the player make more putts. Additionally, the bright red AGSI+ insert is highlighted in gold, lending an elegant look. The Tourismo is engineered to be extremely stable and to resist twisting on off-center hits, helping the player to get the ball to the hole more often. Combine that with AGSI+ and the result, in many cases, will be dramatically improved putting.
The Tourismo features a wire-frame head in the shape of a reverse trapezoid. This breakthrough shape allows more weight to be distributed low and a full 37 millimeters from the putter face. That promotes a higher launch angle and negates backspin, promoting a smoother roll. Additionally, the reverse-trapezoid shape creates an extremely high MOI, making the Tourismo extraordinarily forgiving on mis-hits.
Also available in this high MOI series is the Corzina. It’s a smaller version of the popular Corza, and will appeal to players seeking high MOI in a more compact putter head.
Dandy Golf’s Pro Black Mallet Putter
Dandy Golf’s USP (Unique Selling Proposition) is that their putters are the first and only integrated putting system which promotes a true straight back and through putting stroke. This is based on their theory that only the Dandy Putter, with its onset shaft position and face balancing, can deliver the putter head naturally online. The onset shaft position is where the face is located in front of the shaft allowing a clear view of the putter face and the ball.
In addition to a repeatable pro set up with an onset-designed putter, is an immediate roll of the ball. When this immediate roll is achieved, the ball goes straighter. On the other hand, with standard putters, which use offset, the ball actually backspins. With onset putters, upon impact – the ball is actually lifted with over spin – in what’s called “dynamic lofting”
Dandy’s new Pro Black Mallet face is precision milled from 303 stainless steel and the body is milled from aerospace aluminum and then hard anodized for lasting surface durability. The Pro Black has an extremely large sweet spot and delivers all the benefits of the original Dandy design with a new improved look – plus unbelievable feel and ease of set-up.
One of Dandy Golf’s biggest proponents of this technology is Dr. Gil Morgan who has used a Dandy putter for many of his Champion Tour victories.
The putter comes with instructional DVD featuring Dr. Gil Morgan and Dandy Inventor and PGA Tour Instructor, Allan Strand and a new Mallet Set-up Trainer to get you up and putting your best – fast!
Yes! Golf’s C-Groove Abbie Putter
YES! Golf, founded in 2001, continues its impressive showing on all of the major tours worldwide, especially on the LPGA and European Tours, as well as an ever-increasing market share.
Yes! Golf had twenty-eight worldwide wins in 2006, including six European PGA Tour wins, three LPGA Tour wins and three Nationwide Tour wins. Currently over 200 Tour players around the world use C-Groove putters.
Now, YES! Golf has just added a new putter to its line-up of C-Groove models – the Abbie. The Abbie putter is a C-Groove (concentric grooves) traditional blade forged carbon steel putter, CNC milled, with a straight shaft and slant neck hosel.
The Abbie was specifically designed for those golfers looking for a soft responsive feel off the putter face which so happens to be one of the primary benefits of carbon steel heads.
The Abbie putter is a traditional weighted blade putter made of 1025 soft carbon steel, with a head weight of 350 grams. The straight shaft with a slant neck hosel features a single sight line in the cavity for alignment. Abbie is available with a loft of 2.5° (standard) and a Lie of 72° (3° flat or upright available) in right hand only.
Guerin Rife Barbados Putter
Guerin Rife Putters, a relatively new putter company, has gained many converts, especially on the Champions Tour. Their patented Two Bar Rollgroove Technolgy has become very popular and is always a hotly debated issue between the 4 degree standard loft and traditional putter makers and the one degree loft that the Two Bar espouses. Whether the closeness of grooves and number of grooves on the face works best. This in itself is cause for a separate article.
In a nutshell, RollGroove Technology states that at impact, the narrow space between the grooves grips and carries the ball forward slightly off the putting surface. Because there is only 1 degree of loft, the ball starts its forward rotation while in the air allowing it to continue rolling without skidding. Eliminating skid reduces the effects of grass grain for a more consistent roll.
On the other hand, a Conventional putter having 3 to 5 degrees of loft hits the ball off the ground with a slight back roll. As the ball lands, it skids across the putting surface before changing its back roll to forward roll. During this “skid zone”, the grass grain interacts with the ball’s dimpled surface and alters its direction and speed
The RollGroove Technology designed Barbados putter is 100% milled and made of mild 304 stainless steel. Its design offers a pleasing mallet style shape wrapped around a three-line center cavity section creating a strong alignment aid. The mass has been moved to the outer edges of the putter making the Barbados extremely stable.
SeeMore m1 Putter
Indelibly etched in the minds of golfers, this was the “Payne Stewart” putter by SeeMore that won him the US Open in 1999. More recently other proponents of SeeMore’s Riflescope Technology (RST) are Zach Johnson, the 2007 Master Champion and long time Tour journeyman, Briny Baird and Vaughn Taylor. For those golfers who struggle with alignment issues, a SeeMore putter can be just the answer.
The m1 putter is a classic heel/toe blade with center shaft that features a 100% milled 303 stainless steel body and jewel-like face accounting for 95% of the mass of the putter. The m1 also includes a small precision milled 6061 lightweight aluminum back cavity insert, which allows for higher MOI and an expanded sweet spot. The m1’s crisp, solid feel and enhanced feedback are a result of the interaction of the milled back cavity insert and the milled stainless steel body.
With SeeMore’s patented RifleScope alignment technology, a golfer can set up the putter perfectly each and every time in relation to the intended target line. This is accomplished simply by lining up the black bottom portion of the shaft between two white lines and covering a signature red dot on the heel of the top line. The process reminds one of locking radar onto a target. The two parallel white sight lines frame the shaft and serve as an indicator that the golfer is in perfect position to make a consistent and reliable stroke.
The m1 is for that golfer who is totally serious about his putting game, will make the commitment and spend the money for the putter, but most importantly, if the RifleScope alignment system fits your stroke mechanics (or mechanics to which you aspire), then the m1 is the weapon of choice. There are 4 versions of the mSeries line available, including a mallet style version.
The m1 has a head weight of 345 grams, the standard loft is 3.5 degrees and the standard lie is 70 degrees and is available in long lengths.
Get a grip on your putting – an important caveat to remember:
Whenever possible, have your grip size checked. Grip size is an important fitting variable since it affects the release of a golfer’s hands through the impact area. Thinner grips tend to encourage the release, which can cause a draw or a hook, or help a golfer compensate for a fade or slice. Thicker grips tend to inhibit the release, which can cause a fade or a slice, or help a golfer compensate for a draw or hook.
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.