A single club can save you five strokes

Sunday was one of the most important days of the year. You know what I am referring to.

Lakewood Golf Resort club professional Scott Bergdahl demonstrates where the putter should contact the ball to send it straight toward the hole.

Lakewood Golf Resort club professional Scott Bergdahl demonstrates where the putter should contact the ball to send it straight toward the hole.



Sunday was one of the most important days of the year. You know what I am referring to.

Yes, of course, it was Mothers Day! I certainly hope that everyone took a moment to recognize your mother. And for all of the mothers out there, I hope that you spent the day with the ones you love doing exactly what it is that makes you happy. Sunday was your day!

For all of you who happened to forget about Mother’s Day, you’re in trouble! Your mother may never tell you this as they have everlasting love for you. She may give you a quick jab about the fact that you never called, that you did not take her out for brunch, or possibly that you did not get her a gift. These things are not what matters to mom. All mom wants is for you to take the time out of your day to say hi. This is, of course, if you did it on the Sunday.

If you did not, then you have to go over and above the call of duty. You have to buy her a gift. Yes, a gift. Now, nothing says I love you more than a bouquet of flowers. This is a great idea if you remembered and sent her the bouquet prior to or on Mother’s Day, but not after the fact. You now have to go above and beyond.

I think you know where I am going with this. If you really want to make an impression and say ‘I am sorry, mom’ — of course we know you are sucking up for forgetting her on Mother’s Day — then you need to send her that bouquet. Yes, a bouquet of clubs.

Most sets come with 11 clubs, three iron to pitching wedge and 1, 3 and 5 woods. What a great idea but you are one club short of a perfect bouquet (a dozen). Most of us do not have the finances to do this, so I would like you to consider just getting the last club (to make a perfect dozen), the one that is the most important in your set — the putter.

Getting your mother a putter, but not just any putter, will say ‘I love you’ like no other gift. Yes, if you educate yourself on the playing characteristics of the club and match it to her stroke, then present it to her as a late Mother’s Day gift, you shall be forgiven. Nothing says ‘I love you’ like presenting her with a club that could knock five strokes off her total score.

There are many types and makes and models of putters and it is essential that you have one that fits you. Understanding the difference in designs is crucial to finding the correct putter for you or, of course, her.

First of all, there are two designs that you need to be aware of when shopping for a putter. The two designs are a ‘face-balanced’ and ‘toe-, heel-weighted’. The choice you make should be determined by the type of putting stroke you have.

There are two basic putting strokes. When I discuss the stroke in this article, I shall refer to the path the club takes only. I shall not be discussing the motion and the specific function of various parts of the body.

There are two basic paths that the club head will take during the putting stroke. The first is the straight-back, straight-through putting stroke. The idea here is to take the club straight back along your target line (the imaginary line that extends through your golf ball and the hole) and then through the ball towards the hole.

The second path, and the one that may be more natural to how the body works, is what is referred to as an ‘inside to inside’ putting stroke. What this means is that as you begin your putting stroke, the putter head will go straight back along the target line and then start to move inside the line. On the way through (towards the ball) the club will move back onto the target line and then after you make contact with the ball, the club will start moving inside the original target line.

It is my belief that a straight-back, straight-through putting stroke is a much more consistent motion that leads to lowering your overall score. Having said that, understanding what your putting path is — and choosing the correct design for you — will assist you in becoming a better putter.

The face-balanced putter is a better choice if you have a straight-back, straight-through putting stroke. The main reason for this is that the face of the putter is designed to stay square to your intended target line. The reason for this is the face is perfectly balanced. In other words, there is as much weight from the toe to the centre of the club as there is from the heel to the centre of the club. A perfectly balanced putter assists in keeping the club face square to your intended target for a longer period of time, therefore assisting in sending the ball online towards your target.

The toe- heel-weighted putter is a better choice if you have an inside to inside swing path. This putter is designed with more weight towards the toe of the golf club. This allows for the club face to open up in the back swing and actually close down once you have swung through the ball. In actual fact, the club never opens or closes, but actually stays square to the path the club takes.

I find it easier for most to understand by describing the club opening up in the backswing and then closing in the through swing. One needs to ensure that when you make contact with the ball using the toe- heel-weighted putter, that you allow the club to do what it is designed to do (which is square up at impact), otherwise you will have a tendency to hit the ball right of the hole (for right-handed golfers).

This knowledge will hopefully assist you when go in to your local pro shop and make your next putter purchase, whether it is for yourself or for the late Mother’s Day gift.

Scott Bergdahl is the head professional at Lakewood Golf Resort near Sylvan Lake. His column appears Tuesdays in the Advocate.