Phil Mickelson’s putter got hot at just the right time on Saturday, announcing Lefty’s intent to contend at the 2012 Masters with a 25-foot eagle putt on the 13th hole. By the 18th hole, where he sank another crucial putt, he had played a mere 30 shots on the back nine, resulting in a score of 66 that has him one-shot back heading into Sunday’s final round.
Phil Mickelson’s putter is a custom Odyssey PT82 heel-shafted blade. The length of the putter is 34 inches, and the grip is a Lamkin 3-GEN R.E.L. pistol grip in white.
There are a couple of interesting putter fitting factors built into Phil Mickelson’s putter. For starters, he recently lowered the loft of the putter from five degrees to three degrees, a tweak that helped him torch the greens to win the 2012 Pebble Beach National Pro-Am.
This loft tweak seems to coincide with Mickelson having slightly lessened his forward press (ie: forward shaft lean) as he addresses the ball and sets up his stroke. As explained earlier this week on Putterzone.com, calibrating your putter loft to your stroke and playing conditions is crucial to achieving a proper roll on the ball.
Another aspect of Mickelson’s putter is that it’s “toe down” in balance. As Mickelson says in his instructional DVD, he believes that the putting stroke should follow a natural arc. A toe-down putter, as opposed to a face-balanced putter, is generally acknowledged to favor an arcing stroke.
In other words, while Mickelson’s success is driven by remarkable natural ability and talent, he is also making sure his putter is perfectly fine-tuned and fit for his personal game, enabling him to maximize his putting potential.
Check out the Masters tournament’s official video highlight page to watch Mickelson’s best putts from Saturday’s round. While you are at it, note the aforementioned forward press that he puts on the shaft right before he makes his stroke.
The forward press is a controversial topic in the world of putting instruction. For some golfers, it’s an athletic move that helps smoothly trigger the stroke. It can also help keep the wrists from flipping the club head into the ball at impact. But it has to be done just right, and with precision and consistency. If the hands don’t move directly toward the target, the face of the putter can be thrown out of alignment.
But for Phil Mickelson, it was all clicking on Saturday, and now he’s riding a red-hot putter on the last stretch toward a possible fourth green jacket.
P.S. If you are interested in mastering your own putter fitting potential, check out PutterZone.com’s acclaimed putter fitting guide.