Who are the Top 10 Putters who ever lived – #8 is my pick!
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I was fortunate enough to play quite a lot of golf with Bobby Locke.
At the time I was the assistant pro at Observatory Golf Club just outside Johannesburg. I still feel that Bobby was the best putter that ever lived, and even in those days when his career was well over, he could still putt like a champion! It was an honor and a privilege to know him.
We all love to see a top professional bombing it 340 yards from the tee or crunching a fairway wood to the heart of a par five. We love it when a long iron is rifled to a putting surface and finishes ten feet away, and we look on in awe as one wedge shot after another bangs into the surface and screws back to a couple of feet.
But it is all about what happens when they get on the greens. If you CAN’T PUTT then you CAN’T WIN. We take a look at ten of the greatest putters the world has seen.
10. Bob Charles
In an era when most top golfers used a wristy putting stroke, Charles was one of the first to work out that if you took your wrists out of the putting stroke, your results were likely to be far more effective. He was effectively one of the first world-class golfers to use a perfect pendulum action, and the left-hander quickly established himself as one of the best putters in the business. He used a Golden Goose center-shafted putter for years and was simply deadly with it. And it didn’t matter whether he was playing on fast or slow surfaces. Well into his seventies now, he is still one of the greats.
9. Billy Casper
Much is made of pre-shot routines and anybody who thinks it is a product of the modern game should try to dig out footage of Casper in his prime.
He had a routine and he never, ever deviated from it. And he never had anything less than 100% faith in his ability to hole out.
When he won the US Open in 1959, beating Ben Hogan, Casper never fretted when he missed a green. He chipped and single-putted time and time again. Casper used his left wrist as a hinge and pinned his upper arms to his body to eliminate any extra movement.
8. Bobby Locke
Anybody who ever saw Bobby Locke play will know that he hit EVERYTHING from right to left. No player ever had a more controlled draw than the South African.
He also hit the ball low, which is why he enjoyed so much success in The Open championship – his game was made for links golf. He holed everything he looked at in Britain, and he didn’t do too badly in the United States either…
In his first 59 events, Locke finished in the top three 30 times, and also won the 1948 Chicago Victory National by 16 strokes. He did all this despite an extraordinary putting stroke that was a mirror image of his full golf swing in miniature. He took the putter back on the inside and imparted right to left draw spin on every putt he hit.
7. Seve Ballesteros
The Spaniard looked more comfortable with a putter in his hand than any other golfer of his generation. He held his hands quite low and the toe of his putter sat up in the air. He had a reputation for being able to produce miraculous recovery shots, but he was a master on the greens and had an uncanny ability to will the ball into the hole.
When Ballesteros stood over a putt you always felt that he was going to hole it. His swing deserted him when he hit the age of 35, but his putting stroke never did. Seve would shoot a round of 80 but would only have 23 or 24 putts.
6. Loren Roberts
The best putters in the world have a silky smooth rhythm to their stroke. And the Boss of the Moss, as Roberts was universally known, had the silkiest stroke of them all.
It was a thing of beauty and, as he continues to make a good living for himself on the Champions Tour, it still is. While most of his rivals use broom handle putters, belly putters, left hand below right, claw grip and horribly jerky putting strokes, Roberts remains Mr Smooth in everything he does on the greens.
Pictures: Swing by Swing
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