PGA Championship

Valhalla Golf Club


Bomb & Gouge

June 29, 2008

Your putter can be a blade (1) Ping Redwood Zing, a mallet (2) Sizemore XM-1 or somewhere in the middle (3) Frankly Frog 08

Q. My buddy says I'm a lousy putter and that lousy putters are better off using a mallet. What do you say?

GOUGE: Just like that lousy putter Dave Stockton, who used a mallet? Or how about those lousy putters Annika Sorenstam and Padraig Harrington, both of whom have won major championships using the Odyssey 2-Ball putter? Don't be a dork. A putter that fits you and your stroke works best. It's that simple. Use a frying pan or a 2-iron or a cane shaped like a snake. It doesn't matter. Is a putter that performs better on bad impacts good for a bad putter? Who cares? Get properly fit for a putter (or frying pan) so that the sole stays level to the ground at address and during the stroke. But doesn't a mallet putter have a high moment of inertia, and doesn't that mean off-center hits will roll a little closer to the same distance as on-center hits? Sure, to some extent. I guess that's great if you want to increase your chances of two-putting, but you're not going to make more putts. (I'm not even convinced you have a better chance of two-putting; if you start the putt off-line and hit it off-center, it's not going to magically roll toward the hole just because of high MOI.) If you like the looks of a putter, go with it whether it's shaped like a pie plate or a switchblade, provided it has been fit to your size and stroke.

BOMB: Oh, nicely done there. If you like the looks, then go with it? What kind of advice in the name of Bobby Locke is that? Should I go out and get myself a putter that looks like a supermodel? Will that suddenly give me the ability to putt like Ben Crenshaw? I think not. Or as my wife would say, well, fine.

For those of you experiencing grief on the greens, forget my partner's form-over-function attitude and listen: You're better off with a mallet. If you're as pathetic with the putter as you say, it's probably safe to assume that you would be thrilled to two-putt everything as well as make more three- to five-footers. Mallets can help with that. Mallets usually have a higher MOI than blade putters (although there are a few blades with high MOI) and that provides help in two problem areas for poor putters: consistency of distance on approach putts and stability on off-center hits on the short ones. If this is what you want to accomplish on the greens, then consider giving a mallet a try. And if you find one that looks like a supermodel, even better.

GOUGE: Well, fine. Three-jacker.