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A True Story About Putters (Part 1)



“Ball on Green,” or putting, is a statistical environment of its own and was my introduction into the golf equipment business. A mutual friend introduced me to Dave Pelz more than 40 years ago, saying that as two equipment nuts we deserved each other. At the time I fooled around with ideas, but Dave was the real thing with his own booth at the annual PGA Merchandise show.

I started attending the Show with him on my own nickel and years later ended up working full time with Dave in Abilene, Texas. I mention this only as background to my years of study on putting implements, both how and why they work. Unlike Dave, I didn’t focus on the putting stroke. My world was what happened when the club head contacted the ball and how that relationship could be optimized.

Now fast forward some 44 years and my phone rings. I’m retired and concentrating on how to drive the ball distances that violate the laws of physics given my club head speed. It’s an old friend from the golf business and after a bit of reminiscing he says, “Barnyard I have someone you must talk to. He has invented the best putter ever designed.”

That got my attention immediately, because my friend was not unknowledgeable and conversely I did not believe there was such a thing as one putter that was significantly better than others. That thought was my little secret which I did not divulge.

My friend went on to explain that the person who designed the putter was a certified genius with an IQ well over 200. As some intellectuals are inclined, he was not given to sympathy toward those with lesser intellect. The obvious problem ahead was that you could hit a wedge between our IQ’s, however, my friend assured me that he had prepared the genius. I was lacking in many areas, but I did know putters and could render an honest evaluation.

We agreed on a time and date and as a favor to my friend I called the designer. It took maybe 15 seconds for me to realize that this person was very uncomfortable speaking with someone well below his intellectual level and I had to get on common ground. I asked him to explain his design to me.

The concept revolved around optimum torsional effectiveness, or “forgiveness on off center hits” as it’s more commonly known. I immediately thought of the Bulls Eye putter that was designed in the 40’s. It’s a putter that’s still used on Tour by some players, and Johnny Miller shot his famed 63 at Oakmont in the ’73 Open with one.

The Bulls Eye is not exactly the epitome of torsional effectiveness, but I wasn’t going to open that door — questioning his design would be tantamount to a personal attack. So I asked him what loft he had on his standard model and he said, “Zero of course. The design precludes the need for face loft, something I have tested extensively.”

I then asked how he conducted his tests and he said, “On a pool table, to understand the performance of the head the testing environment must be perfect.”

He didn’t say, “You dolt,” but the inflection was there.

Up to that point I was on my good behavior, but admittedly diplomacy is not my strong suit.

[quote_box_center]”I’m sorry, but your premise of no loft is incorrect and your testing environment is not applicable,” I said. “Your putter design has a fatal flaw.”[/quote_box_center]

You could hear a sharp intake of breath.

[quote_box_center]”Why don’t you explain the technical reasons behind your comment,” he said, his words heavy with sarcasm.[/quote_box_center]

It didn’t take me long.

[quote_box_center]”Putting is about controlling speed,” I said. “Some surfaces are excellent, some shall we say politely are less so. On the green the ball is sitting down in the grass and needs to get up onto the surface so it can roll on its axis and have minimal influence from imperfections. Depending on the quality of the surface, a launch angle off the face between 1.25 and 1.75 degrees is optimal (I thought I’d throw that in to try and penetrate his air of superiority). To do so, you must have face loft ideally matching the putting surface.”[/quote_box_center]

I was prepared to supply more of my putter design knowledge, but he had heard enough — which was basically that I disagreed with him, an unacceptable position.

In a thinly disguised effort to hide his disapproval, he ended the conversation making it clear there would be nothing further worth discussion. I told my friend the story and that I had to be honest about what I knew to be true. He said not to worry; they had found a wealthy individual who loved golf and they thought he was going to invest.

They were right — he did and the operation busted out (and to repeat this is a true story).

To be continued…

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Barney Adams is the founder of Adams Golf and the inventor of the iconic "Tight Lies" fairway wood. He served as Chairman of the Board for Adams until 2012, when the company was purchased by TaylorMade-Adidas. Adams is one of golf's most distinguished entrepreneurs, receiving honors such as Manufacturing Entrepreneur of the Year by Ernst & Young in 1999 and the 2010 Ernie Sabayrac Award for lifetime contribution to the golf industry by the PGA of America. His journey in the golf industry started as as a club fitter, however, and has the epoxy filled shirts as a testimony to his days as an assembler. Have an equipment question? Adams holds seven patents on club design and has conducted research on every club in the bag. He welcomes your equipment questions through email at [email protected] Adams is now retired from the golf equipment industry, but his passion for the game endures through his writing. He is the author of "The WOW Factor," a book published in 2008 that offers an insider's view of the golf industry and business advice to entrepreneurs, and he continues to contribute articles to outlets like GolfWRX that offer his solutions to grow the game of golf.



  1. BIG STU

    Apr 25, 2015 at 5:27 am

    It all boils down to a couple of thing one of them being common sense and common business sense. Barney seems to have both IMHO. He just stated the facts from his common and business experiences in the golf industry. And I will make a comment on the loft thing and it is a common phrase different strokes for different folks. I for one forward press and hold it at impact so I need a putter set at around 3.5* static where someone who does not forward press will need less. That is why you have club fitters and putter bending machines. To get back to the original topic you have to find a niche for any product whether it is in golf or widgets. I would have to say Barney knows his stuff

  2. Rhoward

    Jan 27, 2015 at 8:56 am

    IQ’s value itself is debatable. IQ in the beginning was useful. It was developed by the Army to judge whether a soldier could handle explosives and the alike. The original scale does not go above 135 nor below 65. Only 3% are above or below those values. The value of an IQ above 135 is not given by the original design. Einstein’s IQ is in question given the new evidence in Israel’s archives — love letters showing his first wife came up with key ideas, and all the surviving physics notes that are hand written are in the wife’s handwriting. During the Manhattan Project and again when the Space Shuttle blew up — the big wigs (super high IQ’d physicists) debated the whys and wherefores. Socially, high IQ club membership usually takes hundreds of hours of practice testing to gain membership (yes, it’s a learned behavior). The great industrial epoch makers like Edison, Bell and Tesla would not have tested well; their knowledge was too single minded and their personalities too irascible. Lastly, child geniuses have not shown to achieve much when grown. This is all to say that Adams is right — the best ideas of engineering are forged in the heat of argument between like minded but tolerant mechanically minded individuals. The Wright Brothers debated fiercely for hours, days and even weeks on end over the smallest design details. They constructed their own primitive wind tunnels to help settle those fist pumping mental wrestling matches.

  3. Bread

    Jan 26, 2015 at 4:08 pm

    Einstein had an IQ of 160. An IQ over 200 has been recorded exactly 3 times…

  4. holly

    Jan 13, 2015 at 9:30 pm

    david kargetta? black swan?

    guy couldnt hear a question, let alone a differing opinion

  5. bradford

    Jan 8, 2015 at 1:03 pm

    I find I putt better when I rub my older cat with my putter. It is important to note this does NOT work with the kitten.

    I can promise that anyone who putts with MOI, spin, torsion, and loft in mind hasn’t putted well in years.

    Gotta love your putter.


    • bradford

      Jan 8, 2015 at 1:08 pm

      oh, and there are ~15 living people with IQ’s at 200+. I doubt seriously any of them is going into (and failing at) the gimmicky putter industry. Not when they can make HUGE money in the gimmicky pharma industry.

  6. Paul

    Jan 7, 2015 at 5:10 pm

    Love it, ‘Barnyard’!

    Can’t wait for the next chapter.

  7. ca1879

    Jan 7, 2015 at 4:23 pm

    Barney – are you ready to accept yet that no amount of straight talk and factual information will change a believers mind? Almost all golf related businesses fail or struggle, but telling an ambitious entrepreneur that will just harden their resolve to forge ahead. Laying out the facts on golf club performance will only prompt those who think their miracle club has revolutionized some aspect of their game, when they are really just falling prey to the many ways we can all fool ourselves. This unfortunate example, is just a another sad tale in the long list of things we golfers fall for. This con person sold people with no understanding of basic science a product that does not work as claimed (not saying it doesn’t work, but it’s not because of the imaginary zero MOI, or because it resembles a B2 wing) by using a “sciency sounding” line of patter. We’re a pretty gullible lot when you get right down to it, and it’s not just where golf equipment is concerned.

    • ca1879

      Jan 7, 2015 at 4:30 pm

      “will only prompt” should be “will not change the minds of”

    • Barney Adams

      Jan 7, 2015 at 10:04 pm

      Golfers have passion and when it comes to the business side I try to help them by ” telling it as it is” some are appreciative some call me a wet blanket ( or worse) Years ago a guy came to me with a plan for a putter Infomercial. I explained that he didn’t have enough margin cost to sale price on TV. He got furious said I didn’t want anyone else to have the success I did etc. ( and I mean really angry) He went forward, all in financially. Went bankrupt.

      • Scott

        Jan 8, 2015 at 2:40 pm

        Thanks Barney for your articles and stories. Keep them coming!

  8. Jonny B

    Jan 7, 2015 at 11:25 am

    This story just seems like the ramblings of an old guy. Oh wait, it is.

    Not really too familiar with all the technical stuff behind the theory of this article, but I can tell you my putting has dramatically improved using a zero-loft putter by Cure. Take it for what it’s worth.

    • bradford

      Jan 8, 2015 at 12:58 pm

      What do I call MY overspin putter? MONEYYYY…

    • derek

      Jan 10, 2015 at 12:49 pm

      i got a cure putter on ebay cheap, have u gotten over the aluminum bat sound?

  9. Ken

    Jan 7, 2015 at 11:20 am

    The best putter is the one that just holed the last 30 footer.

  10. Merty Huckle

    Jan 7, 2015 at 11:20 am

    you know, This is really interesting. At first I was pissed with the To be continued, ut I have to admit I’m hooked.

  11. RG

    Jan 7, 2015 at 4:49 am

    That guy is crazy!! Personally I’ve found that eye of newt roasted in bats blood lightly sprinkled over your putter while chanting,”Oingo Boingo Bingo Bar, I need a birdie but I’ll take a Par,’ works everytime.

    • Pooch

      Jan 7, 2015 at 9:41 pm

      Now where can I get the Eye of Newt and the Bats Blood? Thanks for the tip.


    • jesse

      Jan 9, 2015 at 6:35 am

      Now you have me totally confused !

  12. 8thehardway

    Jan 7, 2015 at 2:40 am

    Mad genius with 200 IQ ignores Barney’s good advice, finishes flawed design.
    Jack Hamm’s Zero Latitude putter goes on sale (it looks like a 3-foot long hammer)
    Jack now doing Tee It Forward promos for Barney

  13. killerbgolfer

    Jan 6, 2015 at 11:02 pm

    Great story!

  14. Stretch

    Jan 6, 2015 at 12:52 pm

    A couple of points while waiting for Part 2; loft is needed to get the ball to roll especially on less than perfect greens, the more the MOI in a club the more likely the ball striking becomes poor.

    3-4 degrees of loft works best for smooth fast greens as well as grainy slow and bumpy ones. On fast greens the extra loft will let the golfer apply more force to get the same distance. On short side hill putts on fast smooth greens this means the ball will start on the line instead of slightly sliding downhill at the release of the ball off the face causing missed putts unrelated to the quality of the stroke.

    Miller’s 63 was with persimmon woods, muscle back irons and the Bulls Eye. All had a small MOI and needed great ball striking to perform.

    • Sb

      Jan 6, 2015 at 6:15 pm

      As someone who has studied putting and the technology behind putters and loft specifically, loft is probably the most important individual factor in improving speed or distance control.

      Most amateurs buy putters off the rack and generally the putter has somewhere from 2-4*. Add the fact that most of those players add loft at impact and now have effective lofts of 4-6 degrees sometimes! This creates backspin and causes the ball to lose pace and skid offline.
      Bottom line is, on green speeds around 10 on average, an effective loft of 1 Degree is ideal for creating neutral launch. So for those golfers, having a static loft on a putter of 0 is necessary to achieve the 1-1.5 degrees of ideal effective loft.

    • Ponjo

      Jan 7, 2015 at 4:12 pm

      Indeed. 52years of age and Miller still my favourite ever golfer

    • Brad Ingarfield

      Jan 8, 2015 at 7:54 am

      “The more MOI in a club the more likely ball striking becomes poor” – interesting observation. I have often thought about this. Do you have any evidence or is it your opinion? No disrespect intended!

      • Stretch

        Jan 10, 2015 at 11:26 am

        The MOI opined about concerns how small headed putters and clubs demand a strike that is solid. Large headed clubs disguise the need for a precise by giving results when missing the sweet spot.

        No disrespect taken. 5 decades of playing at and with players in tournaments where the players’ handicaps (if created in the Tour players case) would be +2-+7 range.

    • jesse

      Jan 9, 2015 at 6:48 am

      Stretch: When does “Part 2” come around? I’ve been looking all over this website.
      Regarding “getting the ball rolling”; I always thought it skidded the first few inches anyway?
      Not sure about the mojo of the MOI. If you cannot strike a putt solidly, more than likely it took more than par to get to where you can putt. Not much chance of a 63 there.
      So you are advocating using a 3-4 degree putter for “everything”. On those fast greens and applying more force, wouldn’t that possibly cause more “un-solid” hits, or non-solid hits, or miss-hits, and more sidespin (and however slight it might be), therefore possibly starting on the right line, but never staying there. I’ve seen a guy cut every putt, be he seems to make more than everyone else. Just sayin

      • Stretch

        Jan 10, 2015 at 11:40 am

        Part 2 is up to the masters of the WRX site. I did try the Yar putter early in its life and could not get the ball rolling properly in the first 2″. No loft = no “tumble roll.” The ball may skid to some degree but the less it does the more the ball will stay on the line until the break of the green changes its direction.

        More force does not necessarily cause miss hits and sidespin. What does cause those conditions is not applying it parallel to the line the eyes look down. This is the secret to hit solid accurate golf shots no matter what the club used.

        I know of a player still playing on the Tour whose cut shot putting style evolved from an arced stroke to a hard slice. If you do it consistently it works. Slow grainy greens are not so productive for this style of stroke.

  15. Steve Barry

    Jan 6, 2015 at 11:36 am

    I was first thinking Yar as well, but considering there wasn’t anything about “him” saying they needed to ‘focus on the product, not the person’ I’m starting to think it might be something else. Here’s to hoping!

    • aharp

      Jan 6, 2015 at 12:02 pm

      This is a “TRUE” story. Seek the “Truth”?

  16. D man

    Jan 6, 2015 at 11:21 am

    So what was the point in this article?

    • jesse

      Jan 9, 2015 at 6:50 am

      The point in this article is you need a putter with no loft?

  17. MattyTeaks

    Jan 6, 2015 at 10:16 am

    Yep. Guessing he’s referring to the yar putter.

    • Don

      Jan 6, 2015 at 10:55 am

      o.k. That is seriously messed up.

    • Jafar

      Jan 6, 2015 at 11:28 am

      Wow, what a story…

    • stripe

      Jan 6, 2015 at 12:04 pm


    • A

      Jan 6, 2015 at 12:34 pm

      Facinating Grantland article and the writer got killed for it but he shouldn’t have been. This needs to be made into a movie.

    • spazo

      Jan 6, 2015 at 12:40 pm

      HOLY CRAP! what a story!

    • Tom Bowles

      Jan 6, 2015 at 1:31 pm

      Holy crap! That’s nuts!

      • Alex

        Jan 6, 2015 at 1:51 pm

        Crazy story, but not the likely candidate for Barry’s story because Barry uses the masculine pronoun to describe the ‘genius’. This could be an intentional switch though..

    • Marshall

      Jan 7, 2015 at 7:53 am

      That article makes it clear that Gary McCord is a liar and a fool, but that was pretty much already known.

    • Josh

      Jan 7, 2015 at 11:53 am

      I was thinking the same thing. Best Grantland article ever.

    • Jonny B

      Jan 7, 2015 at 12:02 pm

      Crazy story. Had no idea about Dr. V or Yar prior to today. If this is in fact the putter/person Barney was referring to, which it does sound like, that’s amazing.

      If anything, I am interested in trying the Yar putter. Anyone already done so? Their website is borderline pathetic. If it is truly the gamechanging breakthrough piece of equipment it is advertised to be, don’t you think people would have heard about it/been using it by now? Marketing FAIL…

    • steve

      Jan 7, 2015 at 12:49 pm

      That is by far the most interesting story i have gotten while on WRX.
      Great find

    • Platonist

      Jan 9, 2015 at 4:17 am

      This grantland article was one of the best I have read in years. Solid investigative journalism!

  18. Jafar

    Jan 6, 2015 at 9:55 am

    Part 2 please…

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Davis Love III was still using a persimmon driver in 1997?!



The revolution of metal drivers was happening quickly in the early-to-mid 1990’s, but Davis Love III was set on sticking with his Cleveland Classic Oil Hardened RC85 persimmon driver. He wasn’t oblivious to the emerging technology, though. He knew exactly what he was doing, and why.

“The Cleveland has been in my bag since 1985,” Love III wrote in his 1997 book, “Every Shot I Take.” “It was given to me by a good friend, Bob Spence. I experiment with metal drivers often; I find – for me, and not necessarily for you – they go marginally longer than my wooden driver, but they don’t give me any shape. I find it more difficult to create shape to my drives off the metal face, which is important to me. …I also love the sound my ball makes as it comes off the persimmon insert of my driver.

“I’m no technophobe,” he added. “My fairway ‘woods’ have metal heads … but when it comes to my old wooden driver, I guess the only thing I can really say is that I enjoy golf more with it, and I think I play better with it…golf is somehow more pleasing to me when played with a driver made of wood.”

Although his book came out in 1997, Love III switched out his persimmon driver for a Titleist 975D titanium driver in the same year.

It was the end of an era.

During Love III’s 12-year-run with the persimmon driver, though, he piled on four wins in the year of 1992, including the Kmart Greater Greensboro Open — now known as the Wyndham Championship.

Love III, who’s captaining the 2022 Presidents Cup United States team next month at Quail Hollow in Charlotte, N.C., is playing in the 2022 Wyndham Championship in nearby Greensboro. In celebration, we took a look back in the archives to see what clubs Love III used for his win in 1992 for an article on We discovered he was using a Cleveland Classic persimmon driver, in addition to a nostalgic equipment setup.

In our latest Two Guys Talking Golf podcast episode, equipment aficionado and co-host Brian Knudson, and myself (GolfWRX tour reporter Andrew Tursky), discuss Love III’s late switch to a metal-made driver, and why he may have stuck with a wooden persimmon driver for so long.

Check out the full podcast below in the SoundCloud embed, or listen on Apple Music here. For more information on Love III’s 1992 setup versus his 2022 WITB, click here.



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Opinion & Analysis

Why the 2022 AIG Women’s Open is a momentous week for the women’s game



The 47th Women’s British Open, currently sponsored by AIG, is unquestionably historic.

Not only is the purse a record $7.3 million, but this week’s venue has a darker, less inclusive past than it would like to be remembered for.

Despite holding 16 Open Championships, the Ryder Cup, Walker Cup and a Curtis Cup, in 2016, the membership controversially voted against permitting women to join the club.

Having then courted controversy and after receiving a ban from hosting The Open, they predictably reversed the decision, and three years later allowed their first ever female members.

It’s been a long time coming but, from now on, things are definitely on the up.

Tournament director Zoe Ridgway told Women & Golf that, “Along with our partners at AIG, we have a real ambition to grow the AIG Women’s Open. We are creating a world-class championship for the world’s best players and, as such, we need to provide them with the best golf courses in Great Britain and Ireland to compete on.”

She continued, “Muirfield is certainly one of these and it will be a historic moment when the women tee off on the famed layout for the first time. That is a moment which we hope becomes iconic for golf and encourages more women and girls into the sport.”

2009 winner, Catriona Matthew, hit the historic first tee shot yesterday, the two-time winning Solheim Cup captain symbolically teeing off alongside another home player, 22-year-old Louise Duncan.

From one stalwart and veteran of the tour to the fresh face of Scottish golf, Duncan won the 2021 Women’s Amateur Championship before becoming low amateur at the Women’s British Open at Carnoustie, 12 months ago.

Duncan turned pro recently, missing her first cut at the Women’s Scottish Open last week, but bouncing back in today’s first round, a 4-under 67 leaving her in third place, just two off the lead.

There is something particularly special about links golf, and certainly when it hosts a major, but this week seems to have additional sparkle about it.

Yes, there are the practicalities. For example, this year will mark the first time the players have their own all-in-one facility, available previously to the male competitors.

Ridgway explained, “It will have dining, a gym, physio rooms, locker rooms, showers, and everything that they need to prepare for a major championship.”

This week is momentous in so many ways. It will be tough, windy and cold – links courses are – and there will be a very deserving winner by the end of the 72 holes, but the event is summed up by Visit Scotland CEO Malcolm Roughead:

“It sends the signal that the women’s game is being taken seriously.”

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Club Junkie

Club Junkie: My BIG guys golf trip WITB and building a custom TaylorMade Spider GT putter



This weekend is my big guys golf trip. We have a great group of 16 guys who play a mini Ryder Cup style tournament for a trophy and major bragging rights. Trying to put together the two full sets I will bring with me. I love custom golf clubs and the My Spider GT program from TaylorMade is awesome! I built a custom Spider GT that matches my custom Stealth Plus+ driver!

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