Monogamy and the Putter – Choosing the Right Putter
The putter is arguably the single most important club in your bag. It’s the stick you will put the baby to bed with when saving that crucial par from 6 feet. Without a doubt, should be your most trustworthy weapon in your entire arsenal. I’ve managed to spray the ball off the tee many a time paralyzed with performance anxiety…only to find salvation with my putter. My putter, my baby girl, she feels so good when I put a good stroke on….wait, that sounds creepy…but okay within context. This is serious business here, there are at least a million different styles of putters available on the market. Available in a myriad of shapes and sizes. Differing materials utilizing polymers and various metals to suit the feel and needs of the future owner. You could spend $50 bucks or $1200 if so inclined to find the perfect putt maker that fits your eye. Regardless of what you are into, I believe a relationship with a putter should be long term and monogamous if at all possible.
The above, nonsensical hogwash no doubt. Then I thought about it, and I honestly believe it to be one of those laws of nature, at least one of the natural laws that govern the realm of golf. Looking back at some of the greatest putters of all time, many of them had a singular relationship with their putters. If not the same exact putter, at the very least the same make and model or in the same family if you will. Bobby Jones had “Calamity Jane” and Gentle Ben had that Wilson 8802 which carried him to many a victory. These two guys are easily in the top 5 of putting greatness. Personally, I’m a creature of habit. I carried the same putter for almost 16 years…a Scotty Cameron carbon steel Newport circa 1995. I remember paying an obscene amount of money at the time, a cool $180, but I had to have it. Love that putter, still sits in my basement and I occasionally break it out for a round or two. I have replaced it with a sister of sorts which I imagine will be in the bag for quite a while, a 2013 Newport 2 Notchback. The impetus for that change wasn’t whim or a mere flippant fancy for something new. My son had been using my putter for a couple of rounds and absolutely loved it, so I gave it to him as a gift. He’s competing, I play for fun, so when he hit pay dirt with it….I acquiesced. I didn’t mourn the loss, because I knew where she was. He has since found a greater love in another Scotty Cameron Del Mar (bought with his own money) that he is deadly with, so I understood and took my gift back from him…..you aren’t allowed to sell a putter that has been good to you. Fairly certain such disregard for your old putter brings about dark skies and double bogeys. Even when Bobby Jones supplanted the original Calamity Jane with Calamity Jane II, he held onto the original.
Polygamy, when it comes to putters (I would surmise in marriage too….who has the time and energy?), can be counterproductive and downright dangerous. You think she doesn’t know you are looking at another, pinning to bag a different lass for your Sunday foursome? Bitter she will become….a little Yoda there….acrimonious existence certain….okay, need to stop that. Sometimes on a rainy day, my son and I will go over to the PGA Superstore (seriously one of the greatest stores ever) to putt on their massive indoor greens. They probably have a thousand different putters for you to try, and we do, all at your fingertips clamoring for new owners. It’s fun to see what the differences are between the makes and models. Different lengths, mallet vs blade, heavy headed or big gripped, literally a cornucopia. Will that head throw too much glare on a sunny day? That matte black finish is just so unassuming, no style, panache. Kind of like testing all 31 flavors at Baskin and Robbins, except the guy behind the counter doesn’t get annoyed when you ask for another sample. Searching for that perfect flat stick that takes away all your putting ails, strengthening the fragilities of the mind, ultimately pumping invincible confidence into “you”, the potential new owner. I treat these excursions as exercises in sanity. I don’t succumb to the sirens of the putter barn…they won’t snare me with their charms. I do look (golf porn), for to error is human, but I know who I’m going home to. Besides, these new loves aren’t cheap. You got to pay the putter pimps for your polygamous ways.
We all have a friend who has had 57 putters over the last 10 years swearing in earnest that he has finally found the one. That this counterweighted Odyssey Mallet with the SuperStroke Fatso is beyond perfect. Exceeding his wildest putting fantasies….excluding the one fantasy featuring Kate Upton “Cat Daddying” while you read that 3 footer….missing that putt buddy, just going to miss it, but it’s okay. Nothing like the mallet he had 2 years ago…that one was white making hitting the ball a challenge…”it was distracting, blending in with the ball”, he claimed. This new one is blacked out chrome, setting the focus truly on the ball not the putter. Putting nirvana! Then, inexplicably the golden hue is tarnished irreparably after a ghoulish 4 jack on an easy par 3. Our hero crestfallen at the betrayal. He looks ashen at the prospect of the 20 footer on the next hole. Holding on tight, he stubs it leaving it 12 feet short…”how did that ball stop, it’s downhill”, he laments. The phrase that pays….”You’re still away” crescendos, booming like a fighter jet jumping to Mach speed. The dreaded 3 jack follows. Camelot is closed for business. If you listen closely you can almost hear Don McLean’s anthem in the afternoon breeze. Rest assured, this cat ain’t making another meaningful putt this day.
The answer….stop switching putters and fix that putting stroke. Go to the putter barn and “date” your putter, wine and dine, make sure it’s the one for you. Better yet, explore a bit and let the putter find you, the one that feels right. That special one you can’t ever imagine choking the shit out of in a fit of rage only to fling it head long into the pond fronting the green. Court that new putter for a time. Be wary if you find putting bliss too easily, that love will be fleeting and ultimately spiteful. It’s not always about the “make” on the practice green, it’s the compatibility you feel, the oneness within the hand and grip of the putter. A loyal and ruthlessly accurate sidekick. Avoid being that guy that’s been married 4 times and all his ex’s have nothing in common. Find your mate and have a long and harmonious monogamous relationship….with your putter.