The Game Doesn’t Need Better Golfers – It Needs Better Putters

The Game Doesn’t Need Better Golfers – It Needs Better Putters

The saying in the headline is attributed to humorist Will Rogers. He could not understand how a person could hit a ball from 150 yards and end up three feet from the hole, but then miss the ensuing putt.

He must not have been a golfer.

Putting has been the bane of golfers for centuries. Has there been any club more invented, re-invented, and discarded than the flat stick? For such a simple tool, there has also been plenty of controversy. In 1904, Walter Travis won the British Amateur using a center-shafted Schenectady putter. Shortly after, the R&A banned the putter from use, although there is no proof that the putter was responsible for his win. More likely, it was the fact that he was the first American to capture the coveted trophy. Sam Snead used a face-on croquet style putter, which was banned from competition in 1967.

Today, the rub is concerning the long putter. People want it removed from the game. The USGA is evaluating its use and just might send it to the trash heap. I say lighten up. I have seen just as many short putts missed with long putters as with standard ones. If my friends are any indication, like most people, the stick will be used until they miss a few putts, and then it’s on to the next model that feels good on the golf-conglomerate-store carpet. One of my buddies has a new putter every other week. Putting is such a mental thing that people would use a palm frond if they thought it would make a difference.

So, I say, let them be. As long as everyone has the ability to use one, it is okay by me. There is no advantage if the putter is readily available to all competitors. Besides, some people are just better putters than others, no matter what is in their hands.
Random Musings

Random Musings

…I pulled out my old 1961 Walter Hagan laminated driver the other day and compared it to my modern high-tech titanium/composite driver. Guess what? I hit the modern driver all of 10 yards farther than my old one when both were hit solidly.

…Speaking of distance, the median driving distance on the PGA Tour in 2012 at the time of this writing is 288.4 yards. In 2000 (beginning of titanium era), 273.2; in 1990 (beginning of metal era), 263.1; and, in 1980, firmly in the persimmon-balata era, 256.7. Let’s use 1990 as the benchmark, because at that time few thought distance was a problem in the pro game. Over the course of 14 drives, today’s players have a 354.2-yard advantage over their counterparts of 1990…so someone please explain to me why we are lengthening courses 500 or more yards.

…The talk is that the USGA, apparently under pressure from the R&A, will agree with the R&A to ban anchored putters starting in 2016. It seems the R&A doesn’t like people using these putters win majors, as Keegan Bradley, Webb Simpson, and Ernie Els have done…and it’s not helping matters when Adam Scott says how great he putts with it. But, if you look at the most accurate way of measuring putting prowess on the Tour, strokes-gained, Bradley, Simpson, Els, and Scott rank 38th, 31st, 68th, and 80th, respectively. The top putters ranked 1st through 12th all use conventional putters. Need I say more?…

…Our flagship event, the United States Golf Teachers Cup, is my favorite tournament of the approximately 5-7 I play every year. Every USGTF members should play in it at least once in their career. The camaraderie, friendships, and just plain fun are not matched anywhere.