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PPP (Putting Putting in the Past)


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I have tried and tried and tried for 50 years to learn to putt consistently, not trying to make everything, but trying to do no worse than two-putt. For years I have heard about and tried to eliminate the dreaded wrist breakdown, which has always felt unnatural. I have watched the old films of the greats of yesteryear -- Bobby Jones, Bobby Locke, Billy Casper, Arnold Palmer, etc. -- and wondered how could they be so wristy and yet putt so well. Willing to try any kind of putter, I recently was practice putting with an old hickory-shafted putter I found at my father's house. It was shorter than I prefer and was difficult to use. But I remembered the Joneses, Lockes, Caspers and Palmers and gave the old putter a wristy rap. That old putter is in my bag, and, although I am not yet down to a consistent two-putt maximum, I am closer than I have been in 30 years. My "new" putting basically concentrates movement to my hands and takes the arms and shoulders out of the equation. Am I nuts?

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A lot of those older putting strokes may have worked well on greens that stimped at 6 or 7, but won't do quite so well on today's greens.

If you're not putting well, it's one oft hose three things (or two, or three).

Figure out which you're worst at and work to improve it.

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I sometimes say, when asked about my game, that I used to shoot in the 60's...but that was 50 years ago.  Back then it was not unusual for a long putt to require a pretty good whack...or to see the ball bounce across the green.  Of course, some of those old putters look more like sawed-off 2 irons than putters and were intended to be played as such.  While one cannot argue with success; the circumstances under which said success was achieved should not be overlooked.  But where are my manners?  Welcome to the site and good luck to you.  If your new old-style of putting is working for you...who am I to tell you otherwise?  IAHIHM.

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Long or short putts, fast greens or slow, my direction and proximity have both improved. More gimmes. I believe I have better control and feel with the smaller muscles of my hands and wrists than with my arms and shoulders. For now, at least, I have much more putting confidence. 

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Today's fairways, for the most part, are kept in better shape than yesteryear's greens. Technology again. Yesteryear's greens needed a good rap supplied by a wristy putting stroke. The pros the OP mentioned had the gift of an almost complete game, especially with their putter. 

One of the big truths in golf is that not everyone who plays this game will be a great putter. It's the same with driving the ball, fairway shots, and approach shots. Some, even with copious amounts of instruction/practice, just won't make it to the top of the mountain. 

In putting,  what ever works for that golfer is the way to go. If it works, it don't need fixing. Putting, more than any other part of the game, is a very personal journey for the individual golfer. 

A good friend of mine putts with a 2 iron. A car door euthanized his original putter before a round forcing the 2i into the job. He has been using that club for decades to putt with. 

So to answer the OP's question, he is not "nuts" in  his current putting situation. 

Edited by Patch
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I have really appreciated the feedback from all of you. I thought I would share a few pictures of the putter in question. As you will see in the photos, it is a "Chicopee Putter." A stamp on the sole says "J.Kennedy -- Special". The irregular dimpling on the face is obviously hand-stamped. The hickory shaft flares at the hosel. It still has the original smooth leather grip, and is 34.5 inches long. Anybody familiar with this brand of vintage putters?

putter - chicopee.jpeg

putter - back.jpeg

putter - face.jpeg

putter - sole.jpeg

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That putter gives me the Lovejoy sweats.  The patina plus the hosel positioned between way back and center, and the flanged blade, all adds up to an important, transitional, design.  You can almost see the first Ping embodied in that club.  Thanks for the pictures.

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  • 1 year later...

If you'e talking Chicopee, Mass. I think you have to be talking about Spalding! Callaway took some of it over for their golf ball plant. Who knows what happened to the rest of it? 

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2 minutes ago, Buckeyebowman said:

If you'e talking Chicopee, Mass. I think you have to be talking about Spalding! Callaway took some of it over for their golf ball plant. Who knows what happened to the rest of it? 

You'd probably know if you watched the documentary about the ball plant.

That looks like it.

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Thank you for posting that. Very interesting! I remembered what I did from a magazine article I read many years ago. Who even knew that vid existed? 

And thank you very much for your snarky reply!

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