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JerseyThursday

Is the average tour pro golfer a better putter than generations before?

24 posts in this topic

Its hard to gauge other aspects of the game with technical advances in the ball and clubs (especially the ball) from generation to the next.

I was wondering if all the incredible variations of R&D; into putter heads and shaft/neck/grip options has resulted in better putting for the tour pros of today. It probably has made it a bit better for the average golfer, but if you were to take 20 top touring pros from today and 20 from the 1960’s (who mostly would be using some variation of blade style of putters) and have a huge putting contest would the pros of today win out?

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Its hard to gauge other aspects of the game with technical advances in the ball and clubs (especially the ball) from generation to the next.

I was wondering if all the incredible variations of R&D; into putter heads and shaft/neck/grip options has resulted in better putting for the tour pros of today. It probably has made it a bit better for the average golfer, but if you were to take 20 top touring pros from today and 20 from the 1960’s (who mostly would be using some variation of blade style of putters) and have a huge putting contest would the pros of today win out?

A 10 handicapper might win it.

Putting isn't difficult, and I think that if pros from the 60s had time to figure out how to putt on modern greens (their strokes may not be suited for these speeds), it'd be awfully close to even.

They may need quite a long time, as not only would their distance control be off, but their reads would be off quite a bit as well.

I think things like SAM PuttLab have improved modern pros a little, but it's such a small percentage (because there is so little gain to be made in putting) that it can't help too much.

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Today's players would be better putters, simply due to the immaculate conditions of today's greens, as compared to what players in the 60's faced.

If your point is, instead, that today's players are simply technically better putters than back then, I don't know. George Archer & earlier, Bobby Locke, were magicians with a putter. Ben Crenshaw - that putting stroke was beautiful.

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I don't think the putting stroke that I am constantly trying to make more consistent is any kind of new revelation. The only thing that I find having to change is manage speed control due to varying conditions. I'm regularly playing the same greens I played 30 years ago, but they are different due to their condition and speed. If I can make the necessary adjustments I am sure that the PGA Tour players from back in the day can make the adjustments as well.

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Watch an old tournament sometime when it comes up on the Golf Channel and watch the putting, it looks horrific. But the greens were simply not as good then.

If you had your theoretical putting contest with each side using their era's technology, but playing on old school greens, my money would be on the old guys.

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Do the old players use modern balls in this theoretical comp?

I think that elite sportsman from past eras given equal technology and practice time will be comparable to the modern players.

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I don't know. The mechanics of the putting stroke sure look a lot "better" (to me anyway) from most of today's players. When my son and I watched old footage of Jack Nicklaus we always joked (sort of) that he just hit the ball and willed it in the hole with his mind.
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It is really hard to tell because the modern greens seems to roll the ball so much better than the old greens. It literally looked like Palmer and Nicklaus and others just pounded their ball and watched it hop and bounce down their line. The speed of their putts had to be way faster to keep them on line.
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It is really hard to tell because the modern greens seems to roll the ball so much better than the old greens. It literally looked like Palmer and Nicklaus and others just pounded their ball and watched it hop and bounce down their line. The speed of their putts had to be way faster to keep them on line.

With the long grasses the bouncing could also sometimes be more accurate than a roll. Bouncing over the imperfections in the surface would have been preferable to rolling into them and deflecting off-line.

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On today's greens I say there would be no advantage between the Nicklaus and Tiger eras.

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On today's greens I say there would be no advantage between the Nicklaus and Tiger eras.

Why? Today's greens are easier to make putts on.

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Why? Today's greens are easier to make putts on.

I think he's saying that with today's greens, there is no difference in the putting skill level between generations.

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I think he's saying that with today's greens, there is no difference in the putting skill level between generations.

I would say that out of all the difference in skill, putting would be the least different when it comes to stroke difference. I wouldn't say there would be no difference, bu it would be very marginal at best.

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I would say that out of all the difference in skill, putting would be the least different when it comes to stroke difference. I wouldn't say there would be no difference, bu it would be very marginal at best.

I agree. When it comes to the full swing, it can certainly be argued that today's players are in better shape, etc. But we are talking about putting. It would be hard to convince me that today's pros are somehow more advanced in their putting technique over those in the 60s.

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I'm curious as to how the top pro minigolfers would stack up mano-a-mano against the PGA's best putters.

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Putting is about speed and line. The styles may be different between today and the 1960's and 1970's but the skills that make the modern day pros better which are athleticism and fitness, have nothing to do with this part of the game.

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Putting is about speed and line. The styles may be different between today and the 1960's and 1970's but the skills that make the modern day pros better which are athleticism and fitness, have nothing to do with this part of the game.

Don't forget about hitting the line you want. You can read every putt right, but if you constantly push or pull putts off that line, you'll be missing a lot of putts. :-D

I'm curious as to how the top pro minigolfers would stack up mano-a-mano against the PGA's best putters.

Are you talking about small people (being politically correct), I didn't know they had their own golf tour? :whistle:

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I agree with the consensus, which from reading the thread I understand to be 'no', qualified by the obvious observation that each generation is accustomed to its prevailing greens conditions and to bring the old guys into the present (or take the current guys into the past), you'd need to allow for some time to acclimate.

To give a real time example of that, watch the putting in the final round of a Tour event that has been shortened and delayed by rain.  The slow, sodden greens give the pros fits, because they are completely different from what those guys are accustomed to, week after week.

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