How to Putt Like a Surgeon – Tips for Putting Greatness

In the history of the sport, no style or position of putting has been left untried. Perhaps the only items left are the limits of technology. The purpose of this post is to instruct you how to putt like a surgeon. Not saying all surgeons are great putters, but most have a steady hands.

“Putting is like wisdom. Partly a natural gift and partly the accumulation of experience.” – Arnold Palmer

Regardless of the technology, techniques, or form, putting is a highly individual art form. This post won’t claim one style of putting is superior than another. This post hopes to educate you on the styles, tips, and best practices that have yielded the highest results and then let you decide on how to putt best for you. We’ve already share how to hold the putter, but this one goes deeper.

For example, let’s analyze some of the best putters in our sport’s history. Below are great images of how to putt like the best putters. Notice each one has their unique style they’ve cultivated from continual trial and error.

“Still even in putting there is a right and a wrong way. Take the test of experience and you will find that in the long run the man who puts in the approved method wins the day.” – Henry James Whigham

Jack Nicklaus Putting

Jack Nicklaus had a very distinguishable style. Hunched over, knees bent, hands pressed forward, and an open stance characterized his style. If you’re wondering if changed over the years, take a look below.

Now take a look at his stance only a few years ago:

“If you drink, don’t drive. Don’t even putt.” – Dean Martin Continue reading “How to Putt Like a Surgeon – Tips for Putting Greatness”

Costliest Rulings in Golf – # 3. Craig Stadler & the Tree: 1987 Andy Williams San Diego Open

Continuing with our series on the Costliest Rulings in Golf, here is yet an another event that can be tagged “a misfortune” in golfing history. In case if you missed our previous post on this series click here.

# 3.  Craig Stadler:1987 San Diego Open

It was 1987 and Craig Stadler (nicknamed “The Walrus”), who was among the third-round leaders, hit his tee shot on the par-4 384 yard 14th hole at the San Diego Open at Torrey Pines. Unfortunately, the ball landed under a low-hanging branch of a large Leyland Cypress tree.

To make his swing easier, Statdler decided to hit his next shot from his knees. In order to do that without staining his expensive pants from the wet grass, he placed a towel under his knees and chipped the shot into the fairway. Little did he knew about the consequences of that.

When the 3rd round highlights were televised in NBC before the Sunday’s final round, the scenes of Stadler kneeling to his shot caught the attention of many viewers. Viewers then flooded the tournament press with phone calls saying it was a violation of PGA rule.

He finished his rounds 4 shots behind George Burns but was later informed by the officials that use of the towel was considered “building” a stance, which is a rules violation. And because he had signed the scorecard for less than the correct score (i.e without two-stroke penalty) on Saturday, he was disqualified from the tournament.

It costed him $37,000 prize money and second place.

Here is what the rule of Golf (13-2) says,

A player must not improve or allow to be improved:

  • the position or lie of his ball,
  • the area of his intended Stance or swing,
  • his Line Of Play or a reasonable extension of that line beyond the Hole, or
  • the area in which he is to drop or place a ball,

  • by any of the following actions:

  • pressing a club on the ground,
  • moving, bending or breaking anything growing or fixed (including immovable Obstructions and objects defining Out Of Bounds),
  • creating or eliminating irregularities of surface,
  • removing or pressing down sand, loose soil, replaced divots or other cut turf placed in position, or
  • removing dew, frost or water.
  • 8 years later when Tom Wilson, a member of the tournament organizing committee, heard the tree was dying by fungus, invited Statdler to do the honours and help cut down. Statdler readily accepted and said  “It’s been eight years. It’s time to put it rest”.

    Top 100 Courses: #1 Pine Valley Golf Club

    Continuing with our series from the The Itinerant Golfer’s quest to play all top 100 American golf courses, The Scratch Pad is glad to bring you a profile of the 1st and the top most rated golf course in America, Pine Valley Golf Club.

    Pine Valley Golf Club

    Location: Pine Valley, NJ  Architect: George Crump & H.S. Colt  Year Constructed: 1918 Played: August 14, 2008

    It was surprising to me in the weeks leading up to my trip to Pine Valley Golf Club how many golfers I ran across who were not familiar with the club. The most common question I get these days from my golf friends is “Where are you off to next?” When I would respond with “Pine Valley” more often than not I would receive a blank stare and the question “Where is that one?”

    To answer that question once and for all, Pine Valley is in Clementon, New Jersey right outside of Philadelphia and it is, at the time of this writing, not only the #1 course in America, but also the #1 course in the World. Because there has never been a PGA tournament held at Pine Valley the course is little known outside of golf course fanatics and aficionados. Among those who know the course it is widely considered the greatest test of golf on the planet. The course is a par 70 and plays to a rating of 72.7 and a slope of 153 from the member tees. For those of you following along at home, that not only makes it the #1 course in the World, but those slope and rating numbers also mean it is the hardest course in the World as well. Lets make that the greatest and most fearsome test in golf.

    Pine Valley is so hard there are legendary stories about the course. Some certainly are true and some are probably just urban legend. Some of my favorites are the player who went out in 38 on the first nine and then took a 38 on the 10th hole; Professional Gene Littler’s 7 on the par 3 5th hole during Shell’s Wonderful World of Golf match in 1963; British writer Bernard Darwin who played the first 7 holes in even par and then after hitting a nice drive to the middle of the fairway on the 8th took a 16 for the hole. Continue reading “Top 100 Courses: #1 Pine Valley Golf Club”

    How Common Is Cheating In Professional Golf?

    To hear John Huggan tell it, it’s pretty common:

    You may not want to hear this, but golf at every level is rife with cheating. Well, OK, rife may be too strong a word. But it’s out there, at every level of the game up to and including the professional level, where the temptation to transgress is obviously increased by the often huge financial rewards available.

    You’ll never read the names of those involved though. Officialdom doesn’t want you to know who they are (and the legal implications of publicly exposing the culprits don’t help either). Some, in fact, are really quite famous. One multiple major champion, by way of example, is a notorious cheat and the subject of any number of head-shaking locker room tales. Ryder Cup players are not immune either. At least one is tainted forever by his serial cheating. And there are others, many of whom have won events through the most dubious of methods.

    It’s hard to tell exactly how accurate his assessment is.  We all know of the rumors about Vijay Singh, and there’s a scandal surrounding Elliot Saltman and some shady activities on the European Challenge Tour (the equivalent of the Nationwide here in the US).

    With that much money on the line, pros will take every advantage they can get – whether it is the grooves on their wedge, or the putter on their belly. And with the money that’s on the line, it’s not terribly surprising to hear that there’s quite a bit of rule bending going on.  We know that it’s happening on the LPGA.

    Maybe we all sort of assume that it’s taking place and that’s why we’re so impressed when somebody does something like Brian Davis.

    [Illustration from]

    Derek @