Top 10 Weird And Wonderful Putters
THERE is a limit to what club designers can do when it comes to producing new drivers, fairway woods and irons. Yes, driver heads have increased in size over the years, and cavity-back irons have revolutionised the game, but physics dictate that certain things just won’t work. Putters are a different kettle of fish, and we have all seen some weird and wonderful contraptions being used over the years. Some of you may even have one in your bag. Here we look at ten putter designs, some of which changed the way we think about putting. Let’s say that some of the others may have seemed like a good idea at the time...
PING Zing Putter
When Karsten Solheim first came up with the revolutionary putter design that would change the world, everybody thought that he had lost his marbles. And then a young golfer called Tom Watson appeared on the scene. Not only did he win everything in sight while brandishing a PING Zing, but he putted like a god. And suddenly, everybody wanted a PING putter. Even today, that original design is still in use
Can you imagine the scene at the production meeting. “Listen guys, I’ve got this great idea for a new putter. It will be longer than a driver, it will have two grips and it will rest under a golfer’s chin. I am going to call it the broom handle.”
“The broom handle? And you really think that is going to catch on? You really think that people will go out and buy it? And use it?”
OK, so anchoring the putter was eventually outlawed, but it transformed the careers of a whole host of golfers who had suffered from the yips. Just ask Bernhard Langer, Sam Torrance and Adam Scott.
The Belly Putter
Question: do you think that the belly putter was designed by a slim man or woman? Answer: no way! For those who couldn’t bear the ridicule of buying a broomhandle, the belly putter offered some kind of viable alternative, and lots of club golfers went out and bought one. And a whole host of tour professionals put them in their bags - Keegan Bradley, Webb Simpson and Colin Montgomerie, to name but three. And Monty, of course, had one of the most famous bellies in golf. They were all devastated when it, too, when anchoring was banned.
Whatever next? This is the putter with which you can line up your putt, walk away and double-check the line - leaving the club in position. The only thing it doesn’t do is make the stroke for you. It hasn’t been outlawed. Yet! A bit like a stand-up comedian, this implement is hilarious. And answer this - have you ever seen anybody who dares to use one in front of his mates?
Speaking of stand-up comedians…so, the Penta putter comes in wood or metal and its claim to fame is that the entire striking surface is one giant sweet spot. It sounds good until you see the thing - it is shaped like a pentagon. The company says: “The pentagon shape achieves the height of the MOI and the softness of the sweetspot is achieved using the feature of a tree - Hinoki wood, one of the most prized types of wood in Japan.” Hmmm...
And now, finally, we come to a design that makes sense - a putter with two golf ball-like shapes that helped players to line up the ball on the green. Strangely, it sent out of fashion, although Tommy Fleetwood appeared with one in his bag at the European Masters in 2019, and it transformed his performance on the greens.
It took them seven years to come up with this contraption and the company that did so claimed to have been inspired by watching Nick Faldo putting at Augusta using mirrors (don’t ask)! The DeadAim has what looks like a laser on the clubhead and it is just, well, weird. There is no other word for it. Strangely enough, it hasn’t caught on yet.
Fourteen BR-III Putter
Just when you think you have seen everything…this putter comes from Japan and looks more like a garden rake or a piece of Meccano than a putter. It features three pieces of alloy which get progressively bigger. It looks very strange, but do you know what? It really does work when it comes to alignment.
According to the manufacturer, we have all been waiting for “rear-aim putting” to come along and save our games. They say: "The primary objectives of Impulsion Putting are to eliminate putter-head path errors and putter-face twisting. With Impulsion Putting, various points of contact between the putter shaft and rear arm, along with the unique no yip grip positioning of the rear hand, virtually eliminate all path errors and face twisting." I have another question: if it really works, why isn’t everybody using one? If you take a look at it, you may find it easier to work out!
If you ever see me using one of these, promise that you will, erm, shoot me. It effectively consists of two barrel-like devices, with the shaft inserted between the two. It means you are putting with a club that has a round face. I just cannot get my head round that.
There are many others that could have made this list, and I accept that what works for some will not work for others. Let us know about your strange putter.
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