Thinking of Tinkering?

Thinking of Tinkering?

Is Tinkering The Way To Find The Ideal Club?

Tinker /’tiNGkər/ v. – ‘Attempt to repair or improve something in a casual or desultory way, often to no useful effect.’

An inherent characteristic of golfers is to tinker with equipment, technique, and many other things to ultimately increase their ability and enjoyment levels of the game. But is tinkering the answer, especially with an aspect of the game requiring feel and exquisite touch such as putting? PG Fitter Jack Symons takes a look at whether or not frequent adjustments is the way forward.

Below are three of the best putters of the modern era:

  • Zach Johnson
  • Loren Roberts
  • Brad Faxon

Now here is my list of modern day players who have not had the most fun on greens:

  • Sergio Garcia
  • Lee Westwood
  • Vijay Singh

All six of these players are very talented golfers, however, there is a sense that the first three players would not impress many people hitting balls on the range, they are all relatively short, not particularly straight and, truth be told, by modern day tour pro standards, unimpressive ball strikers. Yet, they have all earned millions, all won big tournaments, and all played Ryder Cups.

Take the other list: Garcia, Westwood, and Singh. All fabulous golfers, all mesmerising to watch on the practice tee. Sergio is maybe the most talented ball striker in the world. Lee Westwood hits more greens in regulation on tough courses than anyone in the history of the game. I remember watching Vijay on the range at Wentworth in 2004 – I didn’t realise it was possible for a human to be THAT good.

Yet all three of these players’ careers of late have been plagued with disappointment, frustration, and, relative to their talent, underachievement.

So why do these guys struggle so much? Of course, all of them have putted extremely well in the past, but the bottom line is, in the heat of battle, none of these guys really thinks they can hole out well enough. Lee’s illusive first major seems as far away as ever, he just doesn’t look like winning one to me. Sergio went on record saying he didn’t think he was good enough to win majors. Clearly it isn’t their ball striking that’s the issue. Clearly it isn’t their ability to putt – I can think of huge putts both of them have holed at the right time in Ryder Cup Contests.

What is the main difference between Faxon, Roberts & Johnson and Westwood, Garcia & Singh? The former don’t tinker.

They don’t tinker stroke, putter, coaches, thought processes, they don’t go on putting simulators to be told their putter path is 0.03 degrees off line in the first 6 inches of the stroke. They have used their putters for a number of years, and they trust their methods. Compare that to Vijay, Sergio, and Westwood. All three men have tried the belly, mallet, heel/toe, Lee has gone cross handed, and Sergio and Vijay have used so many different types of grips they would need an extra arm to come up with something new. How, when constantly changing, can you develop the feel that great putters have? How, when thinking about stroke mechanics to rocket scientist fractions, can you have a confident stroke you believe in? Don’t get me wrong, Faxon, Roberts and Johnson have bad putting days – if you are a once a week golfer, I guarantee they have both missed far more 3 footers than you have. But they don’t try to find solace in a putter that looks like a component of the Bat Mobile. They all use conventional grips. I bet none of them listen to many gurus. As a result, they have a greater sense of feel, more confidence, and they hole more putts as a result.

So. Find a putter you like, stick with it; pick a putting method, stick with it; and you will be on your way to developing real feel and confidence that you won’t get chopping and changing.

Not convinced? Think of a canny old player at your home club, who seems to be a far lower handicap than they should be. We all know one. I bet they hole so many 8 footers it is irritating to watch. What type of putter do they use? What type of grip do they employ? How often do they tinker…?

At Precision Golf, we try to get players into a position where they can put faith and trust into their equipment, meaning when they stand over a shot they are confident that if they make a good swing the club will do its job. We know people want to adjust and evolve along with their game, but trusting equipment can remove the need for tinkering and allow players to get down to business safe in the knowledge that their equipment is going to support them exactly as they want.

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