Putting Genius: Wendell 'Fat Boy' Barnes
It so happened I turned to John’s blog after reading the Armchair golf blog where there’s an interesting comment about putting prowess.
Neil Sagebiel writes, “IN HIS BOOK LET 'ER RIP, Gardner Dickinson called him "the greatest putter I ever saw." That's saying something. Dickinson played on the PGA Tour during the Ben Hogan, Arnold Palmer and Jack Nicklaus eras. A protege of Hogan who copied the Texas golf legend in nearly every way, Dickinson had seen many great players and putters in his long career.”
The “Putting genius,” was a man called Wendell Barnes who, “…employed a wristy stroke, common in those days, "like Lloyd Mangrum, Pete Cooper and Billy Casper," Dickinson recalled. "He stroked down on the ball, almost taking a little turf, and the roll he got was just uncanny. He popped the ball so smartly you could hear it clear across the green. In his mind, no putt was too long to make."
Hitting down or up?
Most of us have been taught to play the ball off the front when we are putting and primarily because it’s believed that this will encourage a slight up stroke and hopefully create overspin.
Hence hitting down is dubious way to improve one’s putting. And yet I recall that George Low who was a master of putting in his days and could win more money by gambling on his putting prowess compared to the paltry amounts available on the pro tour. George hinted on the idea of a slight downward blow and that your putting stroke should be “wristy but not flippy”.
The difference that made the difference
John Haynes observed, “What was interesting were the regular camera views that showed the difference between Fowler striking his putts and Rory striking his. Rickie's putts were struck right in the centre of the back of the ball, and right in the centre of the sweet spot on the putter face. Rory, on the other hand, seemed to be catching the ball a bit on the upswing and with the bottom edge of his putter. Whether this was his intent, we do not know, but the number of makeable putts Rory missed certainly suggested that this manner of striking his putts was not producing optimum results.”
As to whether or not, “Driving an Imaginary Tack” into the back of your ball putting will put things right for your putting it’s hard to say but t’s worth a try
Link to John Haynes and to The Armchair golfer
Quote of the Day
Love and putting are mysteries for the philosopher to solve. Both subjects are beyond golfers.
- Tommy Armour aka “The silver-haired Scot”