Saturday, February 21, 2009

Choosing a Putter

In the matter of putters, of which there is an infinite variety and a new one invented almost every month, I believe in a man playing with just that kind that he has most confidence in and which he fancies suits him best. Whether it is a plain gun-metal instrument, a crooked-necked affair, a putting cleek, an ordinary aluminium, a wooden putter, or the latest American invention, it is all the same; and if it suits the man who uses it, then it is the best putter in the world for him, and the one with which he will hole out most frequently. In no other sense is there such a thing as a best putter.

The only semblance of a suggestion that I will presume to offer in this connection is, that for very long putts there is something to be said in favour of the wooden and aluminium putters, which seem to require less exertion than others, and to enable the player to regulate the strength of the stroke more exactly. For the shorter ones, I like the putting cleek best.

But even these are matters of fancy, and what a great deal even the vaguest, most unreasoning belief in a putter has to do with the success with which it is manipulated I have as good a reason as anyone to understand, since I owe my first Championship largely to the help of a putter which I had never used before, and which was really not a putter at all, but, as I have explained elsewhere, simply a little cleek which I picked up accidentally in a professional's shop on the eve of the struggle, and in which I had a new shaft fixed to my own liking. On that occasion I putted with this instrument as the winner of a championship ought to putt, but I have never been able to do any good with it since, and in these days it is resting idly in my shop, useless but quite un-purchasable for any money.

I do believe that it is a good thing to be the possessor of two putters, with both of which you have at one time or another done well, and in which you have unlimited confidence. Don't carry them both in the bag at the same time, but keep one safe in the locker, and when the day comes, as it surely will, when you are off your putting, take it out on to the links for the next round and see what you can do with it. Your weakness on the green may no more have been the fault of the other putter than the tourist was the cause of the clergyman missing the little one at Glasgow, but very much will be gained if you can persuade yourself that it was.

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