Though he’s quite diplomatic in that quote, it’s pretty well documented that Ben Hogan was not a fan of putting. If you go back and read his revered book, Ben Hogan’s Five Lessons: The Modern Fundamentals of Golf, you will get a whole bunch of great instruction about the golf swing, but scarcely any mention of putting.
In fact, I just went back through Five Lessons, and I couldn’t find the word “putting” anywhere.
In contrast to the played in the air golfers like Mr. Hogan, some golfers out there do actually prefer the on the ground aspect of golf. The game in the air is just something that must be endured so that you can get the ball to the green for putting. It’s on the green where these golfers truly find enjoyment of the game.
Simply said, these golfers love to putt!
The putting lover is a different breed of golfer. As a flatstick fanatic myself, I have put together a couple of things that I believe will speak to my putting-loving kin.
Effective Putting Training Aids
There are hundreds of putting training aids and drills out there, but today I am only sharing a few that I have previously reviewed, and that I still find effective today.
The Perfect Putter shows you exactly how a ball will roll on the green, and it allows the roll to be repeated over and over.
I know that the Perfect Putter has helped me visualize break, and when I add in the Dead Zero disk, I can easily quantify that break by using its calibrated rings. Once I understood how a 2° putt breaks on my home green, it was just a matter of calibrating my putting a bit with the Dead Zero disk on unfamiliar greens when I travel to other courses.
If I find myself having path or alignment issues, I turn to the Laser Putt for help. I have found it to be most effective on the practice green that I have in my garage; it’s just easier to see the lasers in the indoor environment. Regardless, it’s an amazing tool for dialing in a repeatable stroke.
Aftermarket Putter Grips
Most golfers have a specific club grip that they play on their irons, installing these grips whenever a new set is purchased. Ironically, some of these same golfers never change their putter grip away from stock.
Perhaps this is a holdover from the days of limited putter grip choices, but those limited days are long gone. Today’s golfers can choose from a wide variety of putter grips, with new ones coming to market almost daily.
If you love to putt, you are well aware of these options and have already established your cadre of favorites.
SuperStroke is the favorite/dominant putter grip company in today’s market. In just a few years, they have established a presence on all professional tours, and now also as OEM optional “stock” offerings. Their CounterCore weight system provides the putter lover with an easy way to tinker with counterbalancing as well.
Meaningful Ball Markers
Part of the putting process that I find so attractive is the ritual of putting. You mark your ball, make your read, remove your mark, and make the putt.
Many of us choose a marker that has some personal meaning. I’ve got some from places I visited, favorite companies, favorite courses, favorite sports teams, and even nostalgic items like the 1967 quarter that commemorates my first car. When I mark my ball with that quarter, my mind wanders to thoughts of that ‘67 Beetle, evading the stressful thoughts of the making the putt for a moment. Ideally, the putting stress remains diminished when I return my mental focus to rolling the ball.
Restorative Pitch Tools
Has this happened to you? You’ve made the right read, hit the ball with the right pace, and then right in front of the hole, the ball jumps left after rolling through a spike mark. Green imperfections are part of the game, but they sure are annoying.
Fixing marks on the green has become part of my pre-putt ritual. Hopefully, that means that I am fixing my own mark made by a nice approach shot, but it could also mean fixing spots in the line, or a random mark or two just to earn some good putting karma.
My favorite is the Byron Morgan surfboard tool, but it rarely makes it to the course since I’d be crushed if it wandered out of my pocket. I also love the copper tool from California’s Most Wanted Course, Yoche DeHe.
Don’t spend forever fixing marks though. The group behind you appreciates the repairs, but they would like to get their chance to play that green as well.
My mom has a goose statue that she dresses up in seasonal outfits. If it’s raining outside, it’ll have on a nice yellow slicker, and at Thanksgiving, you can ponder the irony of a goose dressed as a turkey.
I found the whole goose thing a bit odd, but then realized that I do the same thing with my putter. My putter has a variety of outfits, and I too take time to choose the right one depending on the season or situation. How could one not cover the putter with that Bettinardi black widow coven when heading out for a Halloween round?
Other headcovers in the wardrobe are souvenirs from courses played (the yellow one is from Edgewood Tahoe), events attended, companies worked for, or even just silly ideas fleshed out as a custom cover (i.e., Rorschach blot).
The headcover can also be another part of the ritual for the putter lover, removing it when ready, and re-sheathing the putter in it after hitting the hole.
A Putt Everywhere Putting Cup
I am a firm proponent of the #putteverywhere lifestyle. I’ve got a green in the garage, another in my office at work, and still another one in the closet should I need a backup. Additionally, I’ve been known to putt at random targets across carpets, both local and abroad.
You’ve likely dropped something on your carpet at home, or an unused part of the putting green, and putted at it. During autumn, I’m sure that we’ve all taken dead aim at random dropped leaves. Almost any found object can work as a target.
That said, there are some pretty nice putting targets out there that you can buy as well. This putting cup from Bettinardi may be the nicest one that I have ever rolled balls into. It’s fully milled from aluminum and is so badass looking that it even comes with a stand to set it on to display as art when not putting at it. It’ll cost you a whole lot more than a leaf or red solo cup target, but for some, it’s worth it.
I was pleasantly surprised at the punishing nature of the Bettinardi putting cup. The center of the cup may be hole sized, but those hex edges can viciously reject balls that approach from the perimeter. This cup forces precision, and by doing so, actually makes it frustratingly effective at improving your roll.
These are now available on the Bettinardi site. Here's the LINK.
The Beloved Putter
I’ve saved the Putting Lover’s most important thing for last: The Putter. While other golfers obsess on shaft flex, kick point, and torque, the Putter Lover more likely grinds over loft, lie, and toe hang.
The true putting obsessed golfer has spent many hours (and dollars) exploring the relationship between all of the possible putter design elements and their effect on rolling the ball. Through this searching, we find our design elements that work and manufacturers that we trust for both off the rack putters and the full custom builds.
Today’s custom build comes from Bettinardi, and it hits all of my custom putter benchmarks, both for play and aesthetics. Swinging the 345g, 4:00 toe hang, 34.5”, and 2° flat putter for the first time was like saying hello to an old friend. My swing matches this build, and rolling balls with this new Betti evokes nothing but worn jeans comfort.
Bettinardi was also able to take my ZomBB0 aesthetic concept and turn it into something pretty amazing to look at. I loved the Zombee when Bettinardi unveiled it a few Summer Socials ago, and I wanted to build a putter that played off the Zombee/zombie theme. Dripping blood letters in the cavity, and putrid green, orange, and purple colors all play into the theme, as does the one-of-a-kind ZomBee X-eyeball face.
The looks of this putter may not be for everyone, but the only one that this putter needs to please is me. That’s the whole point of getting something custom made, right?
If you'd like to see what Bettinardi can make for you, head on over to Bettinardi Tour Stock and start up a conversation.
See You on The Greens
Some of you just won’t connect with what I’m talking about today, and that’s what’s so great about the game of golf. We can all find enjoyment along different golf avenues. I’m super excited that the putter in my bag is in the Bettinardi Putter Registry (RJB8080), but that may not move the needle one bit for you, and that’s fine. Golf takes all comers.
Putting Lovers live for the roll, and thrive on all of the subtle nuances that help that silly little ball find its way into the cup.
Here's a couple of bonus shots of the Bettinardi ZomBB0 and the SuperStroke Concept Series grip.