Let’s start off with a basic admission, a dirty little secret most golfers are unwilling to admit to. The putter you’re currently playing with day in and day out is no better or worse than any other.
Grab any putter, new or old, priced dirt cheap or sky-high and see if you can’t get the ball to drop into the bottom of the cup. Between reading the slope of the green, identifying the fault line, analyzing the grain of the grass, judging the pace and making a steady-handed stroke, the putting apparatus in your hands, while certainly not inconsequential to the result, is but a single factor that determines the number of strokes you take to hole out.
So imagine the kind of audacity I had arguing my point of view with Dave Billings, the President of Dogleg Right, better known as the inventor and designer of Machine Golf, one of the most highly respected boutique putter manufacturers in the industry. The conversation could’ve gone sideways in a hurry, but Billings let me off the hook; he’s got a Southern charm that makes you feel at ease. Plus, he’s been around long enough to have heard it all.
Billings has been tinkering with golf equipment since he was a teenager. The self-professed club junkie has been making significant contributions in putter design for the better part of two decades. His innovations have been awarded a dozen patents so far and his Machine putters have been coveted and purchased by die-hard enthusiasts at every conceivable level of the game. So while Billings didn’t agree with my claim that “any old putter will do,” he acknowledged that putters, more so than any other piece of equipment in golf, are judged primarily based on how they look and how they feel in the hands of a golfer standing over his or her ball.
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