Sunday, November 30, 2008

My Journey Into Buying a New Flatstick

Got a new flatstick. The pic above actually isn't the putter I have, mine is a *slightly* different model, the Cleveland Class #3 putter (

I was at the PGA Tour Superstore today and just goofing around looking at stuff. I plan on getting my old man a gift card for some irons since he's hitting the original Tommy Armour 845's that don't even come close to fitting him. So I wanted to see how much I should put on the gift card for a combo set of irons and while I was there I wanted to look for some putters.

I had purchased a Founders Club standup putter about a year ago as a practice aid to help with my alignment. I will give it credit, it does work pretty well and it got me to notice that I was aiming too far right of the target. Eventually I noticed I was putting pretty well with it or at least better than I was with my Ping Pal 2 flatstick and I decided to keep the Standup putter (pic below) in my bag.

But eventually I noticed a problem. For starters, if it's a bit windy it won't stand up. The other problem is it is H-E-A-V-Y. Of course, it has to be heavy in order for the flatstick to stand straight up on its own. Thus it is difficult to use on fast greens and I was likely to ram it right through the break.

One of the cool things for me in my "comeback" is that I feel I am armed with much more knowledge about the game in general. I didn't really intend to buy a putter, but from what I've learned over the past few months, I was better equipped to know what to look for in a flatstick. Mainly:

1. Lines on a putter have proven to be bad for a golfer's alignment.

2. Accuracy of alignment can be dictated by numerous things like the line on a putter, offset, hosel type, loft, etc.

3. Ideally you want to find a putter that looks square to the target to you and is square to the target.

Of course, I got this information from Edel putters ( & and David Orr (

Since I was at the Superstore which has more putters than any store I've ever seen, I wanted to take this knowledge and see what I came up with. Now, it was hardly scientific, but I probably cannot afford an Edel putter, much less go and get fitted for one (no fitters in Georgia). So basically I was looking for different type of hosels, club shapes and line patterns. Note that I don't align myself using a line, but according to some students the presence of a line alone hurt their alignment.

I have a slight right aim bias. In order for me to square up the putter, I often have to feel like I am aiming at the left edge of the hole instead of right at the middle of the hole. So with this mass collection of different putters, I wanted to feel like I was aiming at the middle of the hole and then get an idea of my alignment.

I found that the plumber's neck type of hosel (pic below) usually yielded the worst results, usually far right of the target

As far as lines go, almost every single putter these days has some sort of line on it. The only putter that really didn't have it was the Ping Piper series putter (pic below):

And perhaps I was a bit biased with this knowledge, but my aim seemed better with a putter that didn't have any alignment lines.

For the most part, I had some sort of right aim bias with each putter. But I found that the putters I best align myself with either have the short slant hosel (like my Cleveland Classic #3) and the face balanced hosel (like the Ping Piper) and the heel based hosel (like the pic below).

I didn't align well with the center shafted putters. Not as bad as the plumber's neck hosel, but was not much better.

What was odd was I actually was aligning left with the Taylor Made Spider putter. The putter I aligned best with? The Odyssey Black Series I #7 putter (pic below):

THEN, I tried the Cleveland VP2 milled putter, which is basically the same putter as my Cleveland Class #3, but with a different type of mill. It was a little softer and I seemed to align a tad better, and I started to wonder if the difference in the *color* of the alignment line may have made a difference. According to one Edel putter owner, he saw a difference in alignment when getting fitted for his Edel putter when they switched from a black line to a white line. And because I aligned myself so well with the Odyssey Black Series i #7 putter (a steep $270), which also has a black line, I could be onto something. Either way, I could always just paintfill the line black.

The big problem I faced was that the prices of putters are pretty outrageous these days. So much for the poor economy driving prices down. It's not happening in the golf world. Like I mentioned, the Odyssey ran for $270. That was about the same price for the Ping Redwood putters and the cheapest non-Cleveland putter I saw was a Ping Karsten Series going for $89.

I was quite happy with my alignment on the Ping Zing 2 style of putters so I tried to see how I would align with different putter head styles that still had the short slant hosel. The Anser style of heads produced horrible results. The other style of clubheads were a mixed bag.

So I stuck with the Cleveland. Personally the Ping putters that had the same style felt like you were hitting rocks unless it was the Redwood series Zing 2 which is really soft. But again, you go and pay $270 for a slightly softer feel.

I wound up taking the Cleveland Classic #3, paying $65 for it and putting a Pingman grip on it and calling it a day. But I believe I have a better idea of what to look for in a putter from now on. And if it doesn't work out, I still have the LPAS aid to help out (



Geoff said...

Hi, your report of what the Edel and Orr folks "believe" is important for aiming (lines no good, many factors affect aim, etc.) is not what you want to hear. Instead, you want to learn the SKILL for accurately judging where ANY putter aims across a green, when viewing the putter from beside the ball at address. With this SKILL, putter designs don't matter, and the teachings like those that say otherwise are confused and actually discourage golfers from learning SKILL.

The Edel confusion is in the ambiguity of the term "aim". For Edel, even though he is not aware of this, "aim" means "point". So he claims that "many factors of the putter design" affect the "aim", but he means the way golfers "point" their putters (left or right).

The real deal is POINTING putters makes no sense at all unless you have the SKILL to judge where the pointing has pointed the putter. This use of the term "aim" means "PERCEIVE accurately wherever any putter face has been pointed." About THIS, Edel knows nothing at all -- how does a golfer use the body and eyes at address to PERCEIVE accurately across the green where any putter face aims (has been pointed)?

So here's the SKILL. Accurately judging ANY putter face requires two "subskills: 1) the skill to run the eyeball along the ground in a dead-straight line sideways, and 2) the skill to match the golfer body to the aim of the putter face so that the line in 1) matches the line the putter face aims at address. Then a golfer has the SKILL accurately to judge where ANY putter face aims.

Then the golfer CAN point the putter and then find out where that pointing "aims", and if there is any error, re-point the putter and check again where that putter now "aims".

The subskill 2) above is pretty straight-forward -- set the line across the skull of the two eye sockets to match or parallel the aim of the putter face at address.

The subskill 1) above requires AIMING THE SKULL itself, not the eyes, at the putter face sweetspot behind the ball.The golfer will TURN THE SKULL, not the eyes, to run the eyeball of vision down the aim line sideways straight. This is PERFORMED by aiming the SKULL / FACE at the ball so that the line of SKULL AIM out of the face is 90 degrees or perpendicular to the AXIS OF ROTATION of the skull. This perpendicularity is the main thing not known in this skill. The axis of rotation of the skull is fixed, and is always straight up from the center of the neck out the top of the skull. So, the FACE AIM is also fixed and is inherently 90 degrees to the axis of rotation. The SKULL AIM is always the same as the side pieces on a pair of glasses, known in medical science as the "Plane of Franklin." The Plane of Franklin is from the hole in the skull at the ear to the outside corner of the eye socket hole. This line is inherently 90 degrees to the axis of rotation of the skull.

So the golfer learns how to "AIM THE FACE" at the ball and putter at address, not "aim the eyeballs". Only when the FACE is aimed do the eyeballs join the FACE AIM, so that then the rotation of the head rives the eyeball straight sideways along the ground.

The FACE AIM is learned by imagining an arrow shot thru the back of the head out the bridge of the nose, 90 degrees to the axis of rotation, with the arrow point about a foot in front of the FACE. If a golfer aligns this arrow point at the ball or putter sweetspot, this IS AIMING TE FACE. Once this is done, a rotation of the head like an apple on a stick drives the eyeball along the ground dead straight sideways as far as necessary.

So, AIM THE FACE, SPIN THE HEAD, and whatever shows up at the end of this sideways eyeball line IS where the putter face has been pointed.

Geoff said...

Autospeller converted my "eyebeam" to "eyeball", so correct that please.