Golf possesses a variety of areas of attraction. From course architecture to instruction, equipment and everything in between. Within each area, there are golfers who border on obsession. Sometimes to the detriment of their game.
I’m not really sure how it started, or why, but here goes … my name is Jimmy Emanuel and I am addicted to putters.
Playing golf from a young age, because it was a sport and any sport was great, putting was always a strength.
Working on every aspect of the game as golf became number one, driving, both accurately and powerfully, improved, so too iron play. However, on and around the greens was where scores were made.
When it came to putting, three putters had more than done the trick in the entirety of a seemingly improving golf career.
The last, an Odyssey White Hot Rossie, a mallet made famous by Nick Faldo and others with which putts dropped with great regularity.
Along with improvement came games with better players and marvelling at their shiny and not so shiny Scotty Camerons, and the thought that maybe it was time to put the Rossie into retirement. (Matt Jones’ Circle T Scotty Cameron at The Australian Golf Club one day is partly to blame).
RIGHT: I went through a big Ben Crenshaw-inspired heel-shafted blade period. PHOTO: Chris Trotman/Getty Images.
Soon after, a job in a golf shop began what can only be described as a putter addiction.
Scotty Cameron’s Pro Platinum Newport Mid-Slant was the first, and certainly not the last, of the more expensive flatsticks.
Since that time, there isn’t a putter variety or brand I haven’t tried and likely used for a period of time.
Heel-shafted blades like Ben Crenshaw? There was about eight in the collection at one stage.
Heel-toe weighted putters in the mould of the PING Anser? More than I would care to count.
Mallets? You betcha!
Belly? Who didn’t when Keegan Bradley and Webb Simpson won majors.
Armlock like Kuch? More than once with the same so-so result.
Long putter? Still in the bag (unanchored of course) and onto about the fifth or sixth model.
An accurate count of the putters currently in the collection is impossible.
Golf bags in multiple family houses and storage units house multiple former magic wands, and a robbery of a locked storage cage with all my favourite golf clubs (including a custom Scotty Cameron) has yet to be fully reconciled against what is in the other locations.
But how has this obsession with buying, trading and seeking out putters affected my game?
Putting is not the strength it once was, that’s for sure.
Constant experimenting and adapting to lengths anywhere from 32 to 36 inches (don’t get me started on the shorter blade after hearing Phil Mickelson did the same), lie angles, headweights, etc. is not the way to your best putting, for mine. However, this aspect of golf kept thoughts about the game and interest in one element when others waned.
Still able to hole a fair share of putts (despite multiple members of the golf media perhaps chuckling while reading at some slightly yippy efforts from close to hole in recent times) putting hasn’t become the horror it was to say Ben Hogan who similarly tried just about every way in existence to get the ball in the hole.
But packing a golf bag for a social round with a few spare putters in the boot for a back-nine switch probably tells you all you need to know where rolling the rock sits in golf strengths for this writer compared to the same golfer who at a young age never saw a putt they didn’t fancy holing.
But the question remains, why putters?
Working in the golf industry there has been no shortage of drivers, a fair few fairways, a steady rotation of hybrids and utilities, a surprisingly low number of iron sets and a constant rotation in the wedges. But the putters never stop.
There is something about the craftsmanship of putters that appeals, no doubt.
The stories of famous players and their favourite putter like Tiger Woods and the beaten up, 14-time major winning Scotty Cameron Newport 2, an outcome absolutely worth searching for. (Tiger of course won the 1997 Masters with a Terrilyium insert Scotty Cameron Newport before winning all other majors with his current putter … maybe for people unlike me that isn’t so obvious.)
However, despite collecting putters, changing grips in the garage at night, holding putt-offs between my favourite models for many years and many other putter related stories that might make people question sanity, I still can’t put my finger on why putters are the thing in golf for me.
I do know, that even though I haven’t played as much in recent years and despite an unknown period of potentially no golf, it won’t come to an end anytime soon.
In fact, as this is written there are three varieties lined up on the carpet for some testing when taking a break from the new home office.
If you want to know more of the list of putters owned in the past, what has been learnt from testing everything from Ansers to Zebras, or just general putter chat, get in touch on Twitter @JimmyEmanuel4 or via email, firstname.lastname@example.org