Why Not Carry Two Putters?
OK, now that I have your attention, what's so funny about that proposition? The USGA says we can carry 14 clubs, but many of us push that to 15, 16 or more. So we have at least 13 clubs to navigate from tee to green through all 18 holes, and then only one club to navigate that last little patch of real estate. And with which we'll play 30-40% of our total shots. Does that really make sense?

Well, you could argue, those other 13 clubs are designed for all kinds of shots, from the ball perched on a wooden peg with a driver, to specific yardages as we play the aerial game that golf has become in our modern world. So, I'm OK with that, but is a 4 to 10 foot putt really that similar to one from 60 feet? Sure, they both require you to roll the ball across a manicured green, but I think a good argument could be made that they are really very different shots to be played.

Every week, I get dozens of emails about the short game, and many of them are about putting, actually, even though I go by "The Wedge Guy". Most of you don't know that I started my golf club design experience in the putter category and have designed over 40 models of all shapes and sizes. I've designed putter shafts as well, both in steel and graphite, and several putter grips. And all this started because of my frustration with putting going back to my teen years.

I was (and still am), you see, a Ben Hogan devotee, and believed the game could be won from tee to green. At that time, I hung on certain comments from Hogan as my “excuse”. He had said that he didn’t think a two foot putt should count the same as a well struck drive or iron, as the degree of difficulty was not commensurate. He also noted that the game on the green and the one before that were totally different. On that we’d all have to pretty much agree. So I used that to denigrate putting as important, being the stupid know-it-all teen that I was.

But, back to my premise about carrying two putters. I think a strong case could be made that a short putt that you really believe you should make is quite a different shot from a longer, lag putt that you’d like to make, but really just want to end up close to the hole. The latter requires touch and feel and the ability to roll the ball along the intended line at just the right pace. If you buy that, then this putter should be balanced and weighted more like a wedge or short iron, with the shaft more to the heel so that a swinging motion can be executed freely. It is a mini-golf shot.

On the other hand, once you are in “make it” range, whether that’s 4, 8 or 12 feet, the shot is more about line than speed, and a heavier implement, balanced around its center, would . . . based on the laws of physics and physiology . . . be easier to take straight back and through without the face opening or closing to the line. On paper, at least, this makes lots of sense.

So, if you’re a good putter, totally disregard this entire concept.

But if that is the part of the game that is giving you fits, why not try something radical? I see more golfers frustrated with their inconsistency on short putts than anything. You navigate a 400+ yard hole in 2 or 3 or 4 shots, to get the ball within 10’ or less, then miss that putt. The shorter the putt, the more aggravating the experience. If this describes your game, why not try my radical idea to see what happens? Get a face-balanced putter, weight it up by wrapping lead tape around the shaft just below the grip (that preserves the balance you want) and see if it doesn’t make you pretty darn deadly from inside 10’ (or at least better than you currently are).

And imagine the look on your golf buddies’ faces when you come up to the green carrying two putters, use one to lag your approach putt to 3-4’ and then switch to drain the short one (when they are all secretly betting that you’ll miss it). Wouldn’t that be a hoot?


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[ comments ]
mjaber says:
Don't the "Rules of Golf" limit you to 1 club with a "putter" grip?
7/9/10
 
Banker85 says:
wouldnt doing this throw off the consistency factor you are always taling about? I "try" to use the same type of stroke for every putt, just hit it harder for longer putts and softer for shorter that semi works for me it is all about confidence on the green. some days i fell anything from 15ft is gonna drop, other days i dread 5 footers like the plauge.
7/9/10
 
Banker85 says:
talking* about?
7/9/10
 
sepfeiff says:
Good timing on this article for me. I experiment a lot with my clubs anyways so I love this.

I had been leaving putts outside of 10 feet short for a while. I had added 18 grams to my putter head around 3 weeks ago. More inertia=longer ball roll, well at least thats what made sense to me. I felt like it helped so why not add more? This week I added 9 more grams up to 27. I have found that it is much easier to swing the club as a pendulum,as Terry said gravity helps with the added weight to keep the putter going back straight and add inertia. OK so the only drawback is that you feel like you're swinging a log. I found another drawback, at a certain point I feel it's hard to accelerate the extra weight in the club for the longer putts. Taking that to the extreme... think about how hard it would be to accelerate a putter that weighed as much as a brick or bowling ball. Can't comment on the 2 putter thoery, I've got no tour van!
7/9/10
 
Scott Shields says:
I wouldn't do it, not because I don't think its a cool idea, but mostly because of the consistency factor mentioned above, and because I don't have a club I'd remove from my bag in lieu of a second putter.
7/9/10
 
wedgeguy says:
mjaber, the Rules for putter grips do allow non-circular cross-section, but the Rules of Golf do not define what or how many of each type of club a golfer can carry.
And Banker85, I think your "long putter" would be closely matched in balance and swingweight to your wedges, but your "short putter" would be a totally different implement . . . at least that' the way I would see it. This whole concept is rather "out there", but I'm going to experiment with it and report back to you all. Anyone else?
7/9/10
 
ElGalloGigante says:
I just use two different putting "methods," starting three rounds ago, and it's helped. Anything outside of 2ft I use my normal putting stance and motion, 2ft and within, I just treat it as a tap-in and hit the ball from the opposite side of the hole back towards me. Not sure if it's legal, but I don't see why it wouldn't be. I can lag-putt pretty well, but if it's a close one, I can't calm my nerves and always close/open the face of my putter for a miss; this has eliminated that problem...so far.
7/9/10
 
Backquak says:
Let's see... I remember Phil having 2 drivers in the bag... and winning... and I remember something about Sergio trying 2 putters in the bag once... but I don't think it went well for him. Maybe we should adopt a local buddy golf rule that when you get to the green and inside 10ft, you can make the putt for 1 stroke or miss it for 1.5. That way it takes some of the pressure off the putt and doesn't penalize a good score as bad... nah, a stroke is a stroke no matter how far it travels.
7/9/10
 
Backquak says:
using a different technique for the short ones makes more sense, so you don't lose the feel of the putter
7/9/10
 
BAKE_DAWG40 says:
Hmmmm....that's an interesting concept. I actually have two putters. Both center-shafted, one heavier, and one lighter(an old Ray Cook like Corey Pavin uses). My putting as left something to be desired that last few rounds. I'm leaving very makeable par and birdie putts short with the heavy putter. Question is: which club do I remove from my bag??? Sure as hell not any of my four Eidolon Wedges!
7/9/10
 
rmumph1 says:
Putting is the most frustrating part of this game. I don't know how many times someone told me they would have shot better if they didn't miss those easy birdie or par putts. I am up for anything right now, so I may have to look into this.
7/9/10
 
eventHorizon says:
I won't deny this idea is, well, pretty far stretched. I honestly don't feel like I would increase my putting consistency having to switch between two different putters on one hole. Given the difficulty of repeating the same stroke and having a good feel on the green, I think adding another change to that scenario would more than throw me off.
7/9/10
 
bobhooe says:
I can see using a long putter for long putts so you can stand up a bit straighter and have a better perifial of the hole and your regular putter for inside 20ft or so. I'm 6'5" so have looked at the long putters but havnt pulled the trigger due to lack of feel on short puts. I guess this would mean i loose twice as many head covers as well but I might give it a shot.
7/9/10
 
birdieXris says:
I have two putters as well. I don't carry them both in the bag though. One is a Heavy Putter L3, and the other is an Odyssey Divine 2Ball with an Oversize Winn putter grip. When my putting is struggling, i practice with the heavy putter. It helps groove my stroke and gives me the confidence i need. When i play, i go to the Odyssey and use the same stroke as the heavy putter. It's helped me this year tremendously. I don't recommend carrying two different flat sticks in the bag at the same time though. I just don't see any good coming of it, especially if they're two different weights. Now if they were the SAME weight but it was just positioned DIFFERENTLY, then that's a whole 'nother kettle of fish.
7/9/10
 
BAKE_DAWG40 says:
Hmmmm....that's an interesting concept. I actually have two putters. Both center-shafted, one heavier, and one lighter(an old Ray Cook like Corey Pavin uses). My putting as left something to be desired that last few rounds. I'm leaving very makeable par and birdie putts short with the heavy putter. Question is: which club do I remove from my bag??? Sure as hell not any of my four Eidolon Wedges!
7/9/10
 
krikan says:
Maybe even create a putter to be used like the stick on a pool table to drain it.. The other one for longer distances..
7/9/10
 
Bryan K says:
If I'm far enough out so that my putter doesn't feel comfortable, which for me is in the 50-60 foot range, I'll use a wedge.
7/9/10
 
preny says:
Somewhat interesting, and while I've definitely had putters that I could hit short putts but not long ones confidently - I've never had a putter that I love from 30' and hate from 5'.

I have found that good putting is a product of plain old boring practice time.

My suggestion would be to practice your really long putts with a little wrist hinge so that you don't have to make a shoulder rotation to get the ball to the hole. The only real potential benefit to having two putters is probably psychological.
7/9/10
 
SteveS says:
I'm a decent short putter, my lag putting needs work. I have on occasion, used my 20* hybrid for some really long putts and even chips from off the fringe. It's really a mini-swing stroke, and the ball comes off the face hot. Needs some practice to get the hang of it. This would eliminate two putters, or one could get a second hybrid and cut it down to putter length.
BTW - Has anybody seen K J Choi's side-saddle putting at the John Deere- talk about a sore back! His lower hand can't be anymore than a foot from the putter head.
7/9/10
 
Banker85 says:
bjohn: you putt on the green with a wedge? how in the heck do you do that and get it on your desired line with a wedge? i am astonished!
7/9/10
 
sepfeiff says:
@SteveS - Wow yea the ball comes off of the face of hybrids and woods like a gunshot. If any of you get he chance to try it sometime you'll be surprised at the amount of roll you get.
7/9/10
 
cjgiant says:
@ElGalloGigante (didn't see anyone else respond, but may have missed)...

You must have both feet on one side of the intended line of the putt (i.e. no straddling the line). I think as long as you tap it back with both feet left or right of the hole from your ball (presumably this would be a good guide) you may be "legal".
7/9/10
 
DoubleDingo says:
I personally carry one blade putter for all lengths of putts. However, a friend of mine carries two putters. One is the "Sweeper", as he calls it for long putts, and the other he uses for shorter putts.
7/9/10
 
DoubleDingo says:
I have used a wedge as a putter. Mostly out of frustration when a round was falling apart from tee to green. I found that using the wedge as a putter forced a very controlled putting stroke to strike the ball mid-equator, and the result was better putts on the green.
7/9/10
 
Ward says:
that's a great idea! I'm sure it'll help speed up play too!
7/10/10
 
stedar says:
Putting - make or break - maybe it is a bit like the driver.

1 driver to get you down the fairway, hopefully on it.
1 Putter to get you in the hole.
Theory dictates that each should only be hit the minimum number possible for each hole.
The putter's more inconsistent than the Driver, yet so many leave it in their bag, complaining that they need to practice with it before use.

Surely, anymore than 1 put per hole means the putter costs you more than a Driver?

So - back to the point, carrying more than 1 Putter?
Find a club that suits you and practice with it until you can confidently use it on the course for any situation you are faced.

A driver can be used to go straight, left or right off the TEE (sometimes it has a mind of its own :-)
A putter on the other hand needs to be an extension of your arm and therefore it is more about trusting yourself, than the tool.

If the tool doesn't feel right, get one that does...
7/10/10
 
Bryan K says:
Banker85: I don't putt with my wedge. I chip with it. Most days, I honestly feel more confident in my ability to go up and down from a a couple of yards off the green than I do being able to two putt from anywhere on the green outside of five feet. It only makes sense, then, that if I'm 80 feet from the hole, I should try to get some air under the ball to take away some of the break.
7/10/10
 
windmedia says:
I just read the latest Golf Digest article on putting Guru's. My first takeaway is confidence is the most important thing.

I had a period this summer where I was lipping everything out. Went into the old bag and pulled a couple of putters and added them to the bag. Now, three weeks later, I am back to my regular putter because that is the one that feels right in my hand on every putt, confidence is back, and I am putting well with it. BTW, I had a chance to break 100 on a challenging course on a very windy day. Three putted the last hole with the "alt" after using the "main" on 17 holes. That sealed the experiment and relegated the others back to the dark garage.
7/10/10
 
falcon50driver says:
Hey! I got a great idea...Why not carry 2 nine irons? ......Really, look at it this way, since the 9 looks so much like a 6 it would reduce the probability of pulling out the 6 instead of the 9 from 50% to only 33%. Of course it would increase the probability of pulling out a nine when you really wanted a six, dang......I don't think a lot of you realize when Terry is pulling your leg....
7/10/10
 
onedollarwed says:
You've got me laughing here Terry, becuase you are dead right!!! Right to think about it until we come up with a good solution. While I don't think I need an extra putter, I could use 2 drivers, say.
But seriously I used to try to find the lightest "feeliest" putter I could find as the years go by, have found the best visual alignment putter for me - it's a Bettinardi Ben Hogan Hawk (good long target line, center shaft, etc.) Sinking all the short ones boosts your confidence immensely!!!
I also sometimes need a 32" 3 wood when caught hitting out from under trees in a confined space for a long distance - but alas there isn't such a club in my bag or at the golf store. How about this as a solution... a different putting grip or technique or stance for the different shots?
7/10/10
 
onedollarwed says:
A buddy of mine used to putt the short ones left handed to great success - of course he had a 2 sided putter. But perhaps a radical kind of alteration in putting style (a telescopic adjustable shaft?, a weight donut that would slide up and down the shaft?, or a putter with a head on each end of the shaft? or just a different preshot routine?)
I used to denigrate putting as well. At somepoint I became more aware of and interested in scoring well, and had to bite the bullet and start caring about putting. A friend and I invented the putting index (not so much an alternative scoring system, but a descriptive accounting of scoring).
7/10/10
 
onedollarwed says:
The priciples of the Putting Index (or Clutch Scoring Index):
1. There is no particular definition of a putt vs. a non putt. It's just "the scoring shot." For instance, other systems utilize the green or the club as how to define a putt. For statistcal purposes that deliniation is problematic.
2. All shots are completely context dependent: you may need to sink a 50' putt to win a match where sometimes you're trying to lag a 4-footer on a really fast and sloped green.
3. Distance of scoring shots are to be measured (roughly only - pacing is perfect), but due to context, scoring is most important.

PI= distance of scoring shot (sunk putt) + 10 for par and +20 for birdie.
7/10/10
 
onedollarwed says:
Thus, a one foot tap-in for par is 11pts.
10 foot putt for birdie is 30pts
A 20 footer for double is 20pts!

So the scoring for a typical round breaks heavily off of context. It's meant to heighten the stakes around the hole:
You're sitting at 20ft for birdie with a decent slope on the green. If you sink it you're in the money - 40pts!
A good lag gets you 11-15 pts!
A three putt gets you only 1 or two pts.
The difference is not just a stroke or two here and there or by multiples of 1,2, and 3, but by multiples of 2.5 to 40 in the above example.
If par is not a possibility, then you need to sink the longest putt you can, and that really adds up.
Of course, with match play, all of this is mostly meaningless. So, Terry, I haven't so much as changed my putters, but tackled the problem from a pyschoilogical perspective - to change putting in the oppostite way of Hogan - to make it more valuable thank the other shots, and there are other ways.
7/10/10
 
onedollarwed says:
Sorry to take up som much space, but here are some tips to improve your putting and your game. I would like to see a poll re: how you guys play, keep score, etc.
1. Keep real true score - I think I may be one of the few that actually does. Oobgolf helps because you just put it in and let it go. A higher handicap will help you come tournament time, anyway. It's just a number and it doesn't measure your manhood. Your manhood is defined by your honesty.
2. Play stroke golf. Stop playing match play with your lame playing partners. Who cares if you beat another lousy golfer? If you're playing for money, that's different. The shots and decisions for match and stroke can conflict terribly.
3. No more gimmees, or takees. Sink every putt. That two and three footer on the first few holes that your buddy would swat away is good practice at least at aligning and feeling the putter - never mind the satisfying plup in the cup.

It may seem almost too simple, but how often do you or your buddies actually do it?
7/10/10
 
falcon50driver says:
We missed you dollarweed, where have you been?
7/10/10
 
KVSmith59 says:
"3. No more gimmees, or takees. Sink every putt. That two and three footer on the first few holes that your buddy would swat away is good practice at least at aligning and feeling the putter - never mind the satisfying plup in the cup."

This is our cast iron rule. I've seen tons of 1 and 2 foot putts missed. We play a putting game we call "monkey" as in monkey on your back. If you three putt, it costs you 50 cents in the pot. 4 putt costs you a dollar. At the end of the round, the player with the fewest putts overall gets all of the cash. If it's a tie, than it's the player with the fewest 3 putts. If still a tie, then the player with the most 1 putts.

Doing this makes everyone less lazy and it forces you to concentrate more.....
7/10/10
 
newrider says:
I do carry two putters at times. A traditional heel shafted toe down for longish putts and a belly mallet for those pesky 3-5 footers.
7/10/10
 
onedollarwed says:
Sorry Merlin, been popping in and out. Now you can go back to proofreading for me.
7/11/10
 
stedar says:
"3. No more gimmees, or takees. Sink every putt. That two and three footer on the first few holes that your buddy would swat away is good practice at least at aligning and feeling the putter - never mind the satisfying plup in the cup."

There's no point fudging the score, doesn't help your game or confidence when you need to play for "real". And there are no give me's, every shot counts.
7/11/10
 
georgelohr says:
I'm suprised The Wedge Guy wouldn't suggest using a wedge from 50+ feet away. Simply use the club that gets you closest to your goal.

I know your just trying to get some chatter going, but Wedge Guy, you've proposed 4 wedges in the past and now 2 putters...do not bring up the 2 drivers in the bag, we're running out of space!
7/11/10
 
falcon50driver says:
Just curious, you said ......"1. Keep real true score - I think I may be one of the few that actually does. "......why do you think that?
7/11/10
 
onedollarwed says:
I rarely play with the same people - usually show up as a single and prefer to play with others. So... over the past 10 years or so I've played with/through hundreds of other golfers. It's also rare that I would play at any exclusive venue, or any skilled tournament or league - so those would be your average golfers in most ways. And yes, it is rare again that any of these folks actually know how to keep score, or keep it honestly.
Let me be clear about this. "True score" in the above sense would be standard stroke scoring, without any kind of Mulligans, gimmees, making sure to add penalty strokes. I'm not suggesting the kind of scoring where you follow every picky rule. We've talked at length about that (same ball brand, lost ball issues, etc.) But the kind where you count every stroke. And I'm definitely in favor of using whatever scoring system that helps you enjoy and improve your game, or not keeping it at all.
7/11/10
 
onedollarwed says:
One of the best reasons to keep your real score, is so that you can show your improvement over time - and be proud of it! A hard game this. But I think it makes you aware of all the shots you take (vs. match play) and teaches you to make better decisions! In other words... if you have to count all of your strokes (putts), you'll realize how many there actually are!
7/11/10
 
DoubleDingo says:
I know there are many honorable golfers. But I agree, there are many that don't keep "True Score". There are a few in my circle that don't. Bugs the crap out of me too. I take my penalty strokes, lost ball, tree stymie punch(not foot wedge), and if I score 9 over par because of multiple penalties, that's what gets recorded. That 9 over actually happened a couple weeks ago. Four water shots in a row, then finally carried the hazard, chipped on and one putted. Parred the next hole!!
7/12/10
 
mjaber says:
If you don't count all your strokes, how do you know when you've improved?

Also, if you don't count all your strokes, how do you brag when you beat someone who's been playing longer?
7/12/10
 
onedollarwed says:
exactly
7/13/10
 
onedollarwed says:
It may seem like the topic has strayed, but this is an answer to "why not carry two putters?" I think these are better general ways to improve putting and scoring in general. It gets to the heart of Terry's original quandry re: the value of a two foot putt. I had many years of sporadic golf - I was using old hand-me-down clubs and found balls, no golf shoes, etc. Even when I played in high school I wore soccer turf shoes. But I loved golf having grown into it playing pitch and putt in some parks in England at 13.
So for many years I did know how to score, didn't really keep score, or know how to score. When asked how I did, I didn't however anounce my score. There are many great reasons to love the game, and scoring in a traditional manner may not be why most people love the game. When you're ready to care about every stroke every time out that's quite a commitment and an investment in equipment, practice, and humility!
7/13/10
 
onedollarwed says:
Sorry, that was poorly written.
I didn't know how to keep score (what to do with relief, hazards, just "wild golf"). And why should it matter? Smacking balls, trekking the landscape and whooping it up with friends can't be all that bad.
The main point is that putting well, and caring about scoring well go hand in hand. Anybody can go out there and have fun spraying majestic drives all over a beautifully manicred landscape, drinking warm lite beer, driving a kiddie car, swearing, smoking cigars, venting life's embroglios, shopping for gear, geeking on the lateset tech, peeing in the woods, hanging out in the bar, getting out of housework, blowing cash, etc., etc. Most of that can be done anywehere - casinos, amusement parks, on yer boat, or in your back yard.
However, the unique fullfillment of hitting the ball well and mostly under control, scoring reasonably well, and improving your game has to be a gift from the gods, or at least the Scotts.
7/13/10
 
onedollarwed says:
In Golf in the Kingdom, on the main character's first hole with the mystical teacher (Shivas Irons), he nails the first one into the gorse, or the sea. Shivas motions for him to retee and hit again. He thinks he makes birdie after that and proclaims it. Shivas reminds him that they haven't forgotten how to keep score in Scotland, an that it was bogie. Lesson number 1.
7/13/10
 
FLJ says:
I was actually thinking about using two putters, and there is. My issue is exactly that...missing the short putts after getting the long putt pretty close to the hole. I feel comfortable with my mallet putter for the long putts, but keep missing the short ones. And I feel more control with blade putters on the short putts.
My questions are:
Is it within the rules to carry two putters in the bag?
Is it within the rules to use two putters on the same whole? One of longer putts and one to sink the short ones?
3/13/13
 
gsgreen says:
It's not about feel or confidence to me. Putters nowadays have no loft at all compare to the old putters. When putting from a long distance or off the fringe you want loft without any backspin. Even from in front of the green who wants backspin on a bump and run shot? So I think there should be a 1-Putter and a 2-Putter and maybe even a 3-Putter with more loft just like the woods.
9/28/13
 
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Terry Koehler is "The Wedge Guy" and President of SCOR Golf- The Short Game Company.

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