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The Loathsome Putter

In a classic interview with Golf Magazine in the November issue, the irrepressible Mark Calcavecchia shares some hilarious insights into his love-hate (mostly hate) relationship with his putter. Make that putters, plural, as there have been many of them, and most have died an ignominious death.

In one round, he chucked his putter into a canal just after the turn, forcing him to putt with a 1-iron the rest of the way. Another putter ended up in the rain gutter at a Residence Inn in Akron. Yet another found its way to a flower garden in Westchester. Calcavecchia says that he has given most of his castoffs to kids, but adds, “sometimes it just feels good to break one.”

(As for the one putter he might truly cherish, the one he used to win the 1989 British Open? His ex-wife inadvertently donated it to a church auction, and it was never seen again.)

Stories like this abound on the PGA Tour, and on golf courses across America…Putters snapped over knees, putters dragged behind automobiles, putters thrown into trees and lagoons and creeks.

Simply put, no other club in the bag inspires such passion, positive or negative. The question is: Why?

The amateur psychologist in us would say that the putter, more than any other club, is like a mirror, one that vividly reveals our flaws, foibles and fears. It is the final instrument in the engineering of a birdie, as well as making of a triple bogie. It is last club in the hand on the 18th hole, a symbol of triumph, or of a round to forget.

With the full swing, it’s easier to accept failure, as there are so many moving parts, all converging at high speed. But in the simple act of putting, we have only ourselves to blame when the ball sails wide. Well, that’s not quite true: we can always blame the putter instead, and often do.

That said, it can be cathartic and even beneficial to discard a putter, because some putters just don’t fit your game, while others are exactly what the golf doctor ordered. Some folks will argue, “It’s the archer, not the arrow.” But that’s not always true. The fact is that certain putters fit your eye, your physique and your game better than others.

As for those that don’t make the cut? Well, there’s a putter in the gutter of a Residence Inn that could use a few friends.

About Sean Weir

Sean Weir is the founder and editor of PutterZone.com, and the author of Putter Perfection, the definitive guide to putter fitting. Profile: Google+

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