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Is this Guy's Putter Illegal?

post #1 of 21
Thread Starter 
Originally Posted by lazebone View Post
Looking for interesting, ironic stories!


I had a brand new Odyssey #5 that didn't seem to want to help me out one day during a tournament. After missing a short birdie putt on a drivable par 4, I decided that throwing the club wayyyyy up in the air was the best option. It was a mighty nice throw I might add, with plenty of hang time. However, the club landed head first on the cart path about 40 yards or so away. The shaft was as gnarled as an old tree at the bottom. I went to my pro to get a new shaft installed but was told that the hosel was so bent that no new shaft could be installed. However, we noticed that if we turned the original (now bent to hell) shaft around (exactly 180 degrees) the head sat flat and square to the ground.

The putter went into the closet. After a few months a buddy who began playing golf again grabbed it, and I told him to hold on to it as long as he wanted. Although the bottom of the shaft looked strange, the club still set up quite well.

I played with him 2 or 3 times over the course of a year, each time remembering "Oh yeah, I forgot you had that!"

One day we headed out to the course and I realized on the first green that I had left my putter in the truck (as I had been practice putting the day before.)

Of course, being that he was using what was still my putter, (and being a nice guy) he offered to share the putter for the first nine.

After 9 holes and 10 putts, I had a new (old) putter in my bag, and my buddy was stuck with another oldie out of my closet!

Two weeks later I won a "crystal" (more like cheap glass, lol) dish commemorating a first place finish at an annual local muni course tournament, thanks to my improved touch on the greens.

I still have the Odyssey, and while I was once willing to toss it 40 yards onto a cart path and give it away to friends, I treasure that bent up piece of metal as strong as any other favorite club I've ever had.
I hope you know that putter is illegal to use in tournaments.
post #2 of 21

Re: Things you didn't see coming ... Irony at its best ...

Originally Posted by Kcas77 View Post
I hope you know that putter is illegal to use in tournaments.
I'm glad someone beat me to it.
post #3 of 21

Re: Things you didn't see coming ... Irony at its best ...

Originally Posted by Kcas77 View Post
I hope you know that putter is illegal to use in tournaments.
Uh...I don't think so...
Only if he bent it during the tourney, and continued to use it during that round.
post #4 of 21

Re: Things you didn't see coming ... Irony at its best ...

I always thought that it's only illegal if the club is altered during that specific tournament. As long as the club stays the same throughout the tournament, start to finish, I'm pretty sure it's legal. Then again, what the hell do I know?
post #5 of 21

Re: Things you didn't see coming ... Irony at its best ...

Originally Posted by TheSpaceCowboy View Post
Uh...I don't think so...
Only if he bent it during the tourney, and continued to use it during that round.
Not necessarily true.

The Rules of Golf
Appendix ii

2 b. Bending and Twisting Properties

At any point along its length, the shaft must:

(i) bend in such a way that the deflection is the same regardless of how the
shaft is rotated about its longitudinal axis; and

(ii) twist the same amount in both directions.

It depends if the damage still met these criteria, otherwise the club would have been illegal.
post #6 of 21

Re: Things you didn't see coming ... Irony at its best ...

That's not even the rule you should cite. What about shaft angle (has to be at least 10 degrees). Or the distance from the putter face that you can have a bend in the shaft (four inches or something like that).

There are lots of reasons the putter could be illegal. It was illegal for the remainder of the round during which it was damaged.
post #7 of 21

Re: Things you didn't see coming ... Irony at its best ...

Why would it matter what rule you cite?

The reason I picked that one was based on the description 'bent to hell'. Obviously seeing the club would make it easier to decide which rule or rules should be taken into consideration.
post #8 of 21

Re: Things you didn't see coming ... Irony at its best ...

Originally Posted by Surefire View Post
Why would it matter what rule you cite?

The reason I picked that one was based on the description 'bent to hell'. Obviously seeing the club would make it easier to decide which rule or rules should be taken into consideration.
Because you've cited a rule that likely doesn't even matter because you don't seem to understand what "bend" in that rule means.

It's not referring to a permanent bend or kink - it refers to a force bending the shaft during a swing. That rule prevents shafts behaving differently in different orientations. It prevents shaft manufacturers from making a shaft that bends a lot in one direction (say, along the target line) but very little in the other - or vice versa.

Better rules are ii2a:

Source: Appendix ii, 2a
The shaft must be straight from the top of the grip to a point not more than 5 inches (127 mm) above the sole, measured from the point where the shaft ceases to be straight along the axis of the bent part of the shaft and the neck and/or socket (see Fig. V).



And others...
post #9 of 21

Re: Things you didn't see coming ... Irony at its best ...

Good point.
I was actually thinking that rule, but as I couldn't remember the wording, I cited the wrong one. I guess thats what i get for working and posting here at the same time.

Back on topic I would think that being told the putter is probably illegal was something the original poster didn't see coming!
post #10 of 21

Re: Things you didn't see coming ... Irony at its best ...

Quite interesting responses! (and yes Surefire, I was wondering if anyone would point that out to me, but it really wasn't my intention for the thread, lol)

However, I have become very intrigued in the discussion.

Let me first state that I had not turned pro at that time and have not used the putter in any event that is of any "importance."

With that said, the event won with the putter was played at a course affectionately known as "the Rockpile," for reasons I assume you can deduce. While "USGA" regulated, no strict enforcement is made, particularly because there are a number of entrants who for years and years have demanded to play with more than their 14 clubs. Basically its just a get together where good players play on a crappy course and cook hotdogs and hamburgers afterwards. Plus, I feel pretty comfortable in keeping my "crystal" plate because the pro in charge of the event is the one who put the reversed shaft in anyway.

Next up, I have reviewed the (Appexdix ii 2A) and rules the precede and follow. From my understanding, neither the amount, nor the direction of the bends are of any importance as long as they fall within the measurements allowed of of the vertical line of play as it relates to the grip.

I am quite curious about this now and will take the putter to a rules guy I know when I go to play. (Here in about an hour.)

I'll also snap a pic of the putter and post it on here to give you guys an idea of what I am talking about.

I believe that the putter will be deemed illegal, and for that very reason I haven't used the putter in any serious competition. Keep in mind this thing was bent in ... maybe 2000, 20001, and the event won was around a year or so after that. It's been a while, lol.
post #11 of 21

Re: Is this Guy's Putter Illegal?

Originally Posted by lazebone View Post
Let me first state that I had not turned pro at that time and have not used the putter in any event that is of any "importance."
That's kind of irrelevant isn't it? Golf rules don't just apply when you're playing in an event of "importance."

I really don't care what you do on your own time or away from me, but philosophically at least, illegal equipment means you weren't playing "golf," and some people take that very seriously.

Since it's a rules discussion, I will take it very seriously, but know that in the end, I really don't care what you do. I just find rules discussions interesting.

Originally Posted by lazebone View Post
Next up, I have reviewed the (Appexdix ii 2A) and rules the precede and follow. From my understanding, neither the amount, nor the direction of the bends are of any importance as long as they fall within the measurements allowed of of the vertical line of play as it relates to the grip.
A bunch of rules come into play.

First, your putter must have "a loft not exceeding ten degrees." If, in getting bent, that changed, surely it's illegal because putters are the only clubs with shafts allowed to be bent.

Next, "the club must not be substantially different from the traditional and customary form and make." Putters can be pretty bizarre these days (shafts not so much), so you may or may not be okay on that one. It's a judgment call.

Next, your putter shaft has to lean backwards: "the projection of the straight part of the shaft on to the vertical plane through the toe and heel must diverge from the vertical by at least 10 degrees."

It kind of speaks to loft in a putter, but again, the shaft can't lean too far forward or backwards either: "the projection of the straight part of the shaft on to the vertical plane along the intended line of play must not diverge from the vertical by more than 20 degrees forward or 10 degrees backward"

This one seems most likely not to fit: "The shaft must be straight from the top of the grip to a point not more than 5 inches (127 mm) above the sole, measured from the point where the shaft ceases to be straight along the axis of the bent part of the shaft and the neck and/or socket"

That five inches follows any bends in the shaft or hosel: "The shaft must be attached to the clubhead at the heel either directly or through a single plain neck and/or socket. The length from the top of the neck and/or socket to the sole of the club must not exceed 5 inches (127 mm), measured along the axis of, and following any bend in, the neck and/or socket"

That's about it.

And without a picture, we're all just guessing based on your very short description.
post #12 of 21

Re: Is this Guy's Putter Illegal?

I don't think this is illegal. From what I understand, it reminds me of a putter I saw used in the 80s where instead of the shaft coming out of the heel (as is normal) it was setup so the shaft went in toward the toe and the actual head sat under the shaft.

So normal shaft \_ and the other _\
post #13 of 21

Re: Is this Guy's Putter Illegal?

That's kind of irrelevant isn't it? Golf rules don't just apply when you're playing in an event of "importance."
Somewhat irrelevant, maybe. Because of the fact that I play in certain mini-tour events, I certainly don't want anyone to have the impression that my past competition was anything but legitimate.

I agree as well about the rules applying to events both important and otherwise. However you missed the context of my statement. I was implying that I would be devastated should I have found that I competed illegally in an "important tournament" (something where I make some money) and that I would not be as upset to be stripped of my "crystal" dish should it be found that I played in that tournament with an illegal club. To a clever eye this would also imply that if I were to find that I had competed illegally in a pro tournament, I would be compelled to follow through with appropriate actions.

I explained further in my post that the rule governing illegal clubs may not even have been in effect. Of course, we are assuming that the putter is illegal. I gave an example of specifically, the 14 club rule, not being enforced.

A bunch of rules come into play
Agreed.



First, your putter must have "a loft not exceeding ten degrees." If, in getting bent, that changed, surely it's illegal because putters are the only clubs with shafts allowed to be bent.

Next, "the club must not be substantially different from the traditional and customary form and make." Putters can be pretty bizarre these days (shafts not so much), so you may or may not be okay on that one. It's a judgment call.

Next, your putter shaft has to lean backwards: "the projection of the straight part of the shaft on to the vertical plane through the toe and heel must diverge from the vertical by at least 10 degrees."

It kind of speaks to loft in a putter, but again, the shaft can't lean too far forward or backwards either: "the projection of the straight part of the shaft on to the vertical plane along the intended line of play must not diverge from the vertical by more than 20 degrees forward or 10 degrees backward"

This one seems most likely not to fit: "The shaft must be straight from the top of the grip to a point not more than 5 inches (127 mm) above the sole, measured from the point where the shaft ceases to be straight along the axis of the bent part of the shaft and the neck and/or socket"

That five inches follows any bends in the shaft or hosel: "The shaft must be attached to the clubhead at the heel either directly or through a single plain neck and/or socket. The length from the top of the neck and/or socket to the sole of the club must not exceed 5 inches (127 mm), measured along the axis of, and following any bend in, the neck and/or socket"
So ......... maybe I'm not absorbing this .... but .... it's exactly as I understood it before; the direction of the bends are not illegal as long as they fall within the measurements allowed... I just failed to state the measurements.

........................

I was going to post the picture yesterday, but was out too late at the course. Likewise, today. I just got in and was very excited to check this thread out. I must say I am quite disappointed in the lack of activity on the original intent of this post, and second of your ripping apart my post and explaining to me how irrelevant my explanation was as relating to the topic.

Although I must admit, you are well spoken and I look forward to further rules discussions in the future, as I find such conversations quite enjoyable as well.

I just think ya coulda been a bit more sociable.

------------------------------------

As for the putter's description, I never explained it in detail, because it was not the original intent of the post. However, upon closer inspection I believe this putter might just be legal, save for the possibility of the shaft leaning too far to the back. I will have to check on this.

I explained that the putter sat flat on the ground when the shaft was installed in the reverse of its original position. I described the putter shaft as "bent to hell" in its ORIGINAL position. My post very clearly implied that the putter fell within the guidelines of normal once the shaft was reversed.

For example ... if I were to take a putter and bend it forward 1 degree past the 0 degree vertical line, this putter were be deemed "bent to hell" by any sense of the description. However, should that shaft be installed in the reverse, I believe it would fall within legal specifications.

...........................................

Long story short- the shaft may or may not be illegal (by USGA regulations), I don't really care. Anything I've won, with this putter, I feel quite comfortable in keeping due to the settings in which that putter was used. The original post was only stating that it was ironic that a putter I hated turned out the be a beloved treasure after it was almost destroyed.

I'm a rules guy too, but keep in mind that golf is a gentleman's game, and the gentlemen playing are those who decide which rules will be in effect. If a local tourney plays the ball down in the rough, but "roll it" in the fairway (most common at any local event), the players are not playing the game as it was intended to be played, but not illegally either as it relates to their particular event.
post #14 of 21

Re: Is this Guy's Putter Illegal?

Originally Posted by lazebone View Post
Somewhat irrelevant, maybe. Because of the fact that I play in certain mini-tour events, I certainly don't want anyone to have the impression that my past competition was anything but legitimate.
As amature or Pro....
status wise....
You may want to end this thread now
post #15 of 21

Re: Is this Guy's Putter Illegal?

Originally Posted by lazebone View Post
I must say I am quite disappointed in ... your ripping apart my post
I didn't rip anything apart. I stated the rules that may or may not apply to your putter. You said you were interested to see if it did comply.

Originally Posted by lazebone View Post
As for the putter's description, I never explained it in detail ... I described the putter shaft as "bent to hell" in its ORIGINAL position. My post very clearly implied that the putter fell within the guidelines of normal once the shaft was reversed.
If you "imply" something then that's almost the opposite of "very clear." We're not mind-readers, though you must think we are: how are we to know exactly what you mean by "bent to hell"? If one of those bends is 5.02 inches above the sole of the club, it's illegal.

Originally Posted by lazebone View Post
Long story short- the shaft may or may not be illegal (by USGA regulations), I don't really care. Anything I've won, with this putter, I feel quite comfortable in keeping due to the settings in which that putter was used.
OK, then you're quite possibly a cheat. What do you want us to say - congratulations?

Originally Posted by lazebone View Post
I'm a rules guy too
If anything's "very clear," it's that you are not a "rules guy."

Originally Posted by lazebone View Post
but keep in mind that golf is a gentleman's game, and the gentlemen playing are those who decide which rules will be in effect.
You've pretty much got that one wrong. Gentlemen don't cheat, and there's no local rule permitting you to play golf with a malformed club. Certain kinds of ground under repair? Lift clean and place? Yeah, those are local rules people can "decide" to enact. "Play with 17 clubs and we don't care if they're legal" aren't acceptable local rules, no.

Do yourself a favor and stop while you're ahead.
post #16 of 21

Re: Is this Guy's Putter Illegal?

Phew.

I must say I'm not enjoying the debating each any every piece of our posts. And again, this was not the original intention of the thread.

If I read too much into what I considered your "ripping apart" my post, then I apologize.

However, I "very clearly" explained that the get together was an enjoyable event where certain rules need not apply.

If you are personaly dissapointed that it was not acceptable for the event organizers to not include certain rules of the game, I do apologize. Please let me specify now that we were playing a mutated version of golf where 17 clubs and extra bends are not grounds for disqualification.

Guess what else? Some people even practiced putted on the first green!

The first rules in golf (although you may not find it in the book) is to have fun.

As long as everyone is playing by the same rules, I see no problem in gentlemen deciding to disclude ones that they see fit.

It's the same thing as adding a rule. Sometimes we play 9 holes with a 7 iron only. Of course this is a "local" rule. While not illegal, it still is an example of the creation of a rule by everyone agreed.

What if I used a driver that was illegal by USGA standards, but conformed to R and A standards in a local tournament that decided to play by R and A rules as opposed to the USGA?

We could go round and round and round. It just comes down to the fact that you seem to want me to feel as though I cheated and I will not. If it had been any other situation where all USGA rules were in effect, you better believe that I would take the apporpriate actions.

Once again, I implore you to return to the original intent of this thread. (Ironic stories.)
post #17 of 21

Re: Is this Guy's Putter Illegal?

Originally Posted by lazebone View Post
Once again, I implore you to return to the original intent of this thread. (Ironic stories.)
You seem to have missed the fact that I split the discussion into a separate thread a day or two ago.

This thread is called "Is this Guy's Putter Illegal?" and exists solely for discussing the legality of your putter.

Your original thread remains right where you left it - and separate from this one.
post #18 of 21

Re: Is this Guy's Putter Illegal?

I'm absolutely confused why ANYBODY would want to play a mangled putter in the first place. Then why would anybody want to defend their winnings with said putter. Honestly, if it was me I wouldn't tell a soul. Not JUST because there might be the slightest scent of cheating (although that would bother me) but more so because it just seems so amateurish in the first place. I rarely, no I think NEVER have openly criticized a thread within that thread. I've seen some silly threads. But to me this one takes the cake.

Why play with a bent of piece of in the first place? I wouldn't care if I took 18 putts with it. I wouldn't throw the club in the first place.

WOW I can't believe I just ranted like that. That's not me AT all.
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