2017 Golf Oklahoma August | September

Page 16




Some things we like to do before and after the round

The Bookshelf

will get you.” When it does get you — well, rare is the golfer who has never helicoptered a putter. Craig Stadler said after being asked at one tournament why he was using a new putter, “Because the last one didn’t float so well.” PING Greg Norman is of the school that periodically metes out putter discipline: “You Sigma G Tyne have to put your putter out to pasture every so often, let it eat and get fat so it can get MSRP) was the first to arrive and I immedimore birdies.” No one beats pro Ky Laffoon, ately took it out to a putting green and put it though, a story we’ve mentioned before, in play in my next round. I liked it right from who was once so mad at his naughty putter the start, not in the least because it reminded that he tied it to his car and dragged it 400 me of my missing-in-action Rife putter, a mid-sized mallet with a 34-inch shaft midmiles to the next tournament. Pondering my own golfing life, though I’ve way between heel and center. A Swiss company, MLA Golf stands for felt like snapping a few putters over my knee I never have; I do banish them to the garage Multiple Line Activation, an alignment techthough if a period of discontent ensues. I sup- nology design the science of which I wasn’t pose I’m more of a serial philanderer when too concerned about (are we ever?), and an it comes to putters; I’ll stick with one for a interchangeable weight system of which goodly period, but eventually something I figured would only confuse me at some point, but okay. Mainly, the putter looked flashier waltzes by and turns my head. But the current search began out of neces- good, felt good, and rolled well. The other three putters all arrived on the sity, hence in all innocence. I’d been contentedly using a Rife Barbados putter for years, same day and with deadline time running my first mallet, giving me a feel that made it short I immediately took them out to a putclear I would likely never return to a blade. ting green and put them all in play in my While at this year’s PGA Merchandise next round. Trial by fire. I have to say, I liked all of these, too, and Show in Orlando in January, I made it my mission to check out as many new putters as my putting was clearly better than with the possible. I saw some strange ones, but then interim blade that had been pressed into serthat’s nothing new. As the New York Times vice. Argolf was founded in Brittany by two reported, “The finale in freak putters has apparently not yet come, for after nearly ev- French aeronautical industrialists, hence putery shape of iron, wood and aluminum had ters named after Arthurian legends (though been exhausted… a Chicago professional headquarters has since been moved to Florhas come to the front with a putter made ida). Kenny Perry put the Pendragon model ($349) into his bag of gaspipe.” And this report was from 1922! right before winThis year, one putter was made out of a ning the U.S. Senior solid oblong block of transparent acrylic Open in July. and could stand by itself on the green, It was easily the giving a player the ability to see the best-looking putball through the back of the putter of the four, with ter and easily square it up to the a black matte fintarget line. Invented by a Swiss ish, the most prosurgeon who has 23 patents for nounced heft, pleasnose and hearing implants, the ing white sight lines, Iceblock Putter is easily the gasno inserts to mess pipe model of its day. with my mind, I eventually requested seven and a 33putters from manufacturers, but inch timing and availability issues kept the arrivals down to four, the Argolf Pendragon, the Bloodline RG-1 MalThe MLA let, the MLA Tour Mallet Black Edition, Tour Mallet and the PING Sigma G Tyne. The MLA Tour Mallet ($349

Reading the Greens by tom bedell

Yes, normally I’m reviewing books in this spot, but there seems to be a recent dearth of good titles. So I thought I’d try reading some greens instead, by way of searching for a new putter. I’ve been sort of searching since the end of last season, ever since my putter grew legs and walked away from my home course. Unless I left it leaning against a tree deep in the woods. Someone must have retrieved it, but it was never turned into the pro shop. Ever since, I’ve been glancing stealthily at players on the practice putting green to see if they had a guilty aspect or, more tellingly, my old putter in their hands. No luck. Putters are the most individual clubs in our bags, usually the only one with a singular name as it’s not part of a set of fairway clubs or irons that are probably signified by some weird number anyway — the PU-007, the SCKX 99, the WTF Tour Series. Some players give their putters names — most famously, perhaps, Bobby Jones, who basically used only two putters in all his major wins, Calamity Jane and Calamity Jane II. Such long relationships with putters aren’t unusual. Nick Price once said, “I curse the day the head of my putter fell off. It’s kind of like losing one of your best friends.” (Just to keep it literate here, I’ve raided Jim Apfelbaum’s wonderful 2007 compendium “The Gigantic Book of Golf Quotations” for some choice nuggets.) Gary Player and Ben Hogan were on even more intimate terms with their flat sticks. Player said, “It’s a marriage. If I had to choose between my wife and my putter, well, I’d miss her.” Hogan noted that, “Selecting a putter is like selecting a wife. To each his own.” On the other end of the spectrum are players (or announcers) like Gary McCord, who said he preferred to use different putters in tournaments. “I go into the pro shop and select a putter off the rack, take it out, use it, and then take it back.” McCord clearly has a fear of putter commitment: “You can’t get too close to a putter, otherwise it 16



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