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807 Sea Mountain Hwy, Unit B
North Myrtle Beach, SC 29582
(February 17, 2006) Find out what all the fuss is about. It will probably be the best time spent on your golfing vacation. Read on....
J-Roll Putter making waves in Myrtle Beach with local golfers Local designer John Whitty, a golf professional and trick shot artist by trade, has developed a putter which can be designed solely for you.
An individualized hand milled putter usually reserved for touring professionals is finding its way along the Grand Strand in Myrtle Beach, SC. The J-Roll putter available in regular belly and long style is expertly prepared individually for you by John Whitty of Longs, SC.
Recently, I had the pleasurable experience observing how John individualizes the construction of the J-Roll. His office, located next to a Myrtle Beach golf course putting green, is in the construction shop. I found this a very convenient location as we spent at least two hours during the diagnosis and correction phase of the putters’ creation.
John’s concept or philosophy is that every person has a unique personality that is reflected in the way he plays golf and putts. First, John observes the way you putt with your putter. He secondly, evaluates your putting style, stroke and ability. John is very observant. He determines your tempo, type of stroke and ball to center (sweet spot) contact among other factors. At hand are eighteen prepared “de mos” to determine your base-line for further putter development. Now construction of your personalized putter begins. A discussion, or lecture, regarding John’s diagnosis of proper lie, loft, length and weighting for your putter is both necessary and informative. I learned about style, weighting balls (metal balls, Teflon balls, and tungsten balls), center weighting, heel and toe weighting, optimum roll, tempo and the panic stroke. I thoroughly enjoyed this talk. The more he spoke, the clearer putting and putter construction was as I was able to see theory and philosophy and ability develop through a customer named Tony, a relatively neophyte golfer, but a very knowledgeable and patient learner. Tony’s lag putts and short putts improved immensely under John’s direction and the creation of Tony’s J-Roll putter. Tony was metamorphisized into a very proficient and excited putter. The construction didn’t end here. John had to fine tune the putter; for, Tony was a cutter of putts (more about this later).
After several adjustments to loft, length and weighting Tony had a J-Roll gem. So unique a putter so ecstatic a golfer. Long lags rolled to “gimmie range”; I’m talking 40 and 50 footers. Putts ten feet and under were finding its mark. Tony was taught to slam in five footers, as you see “Tiger” do, and die them in as “Jack” did.
The J-Roll is hand milled from a solid block of aluminum and comes available in three colors: green (preferred), black and silver. This tri-wing putter has three ports to adjust weighting. These are where those balls I mentioned are added, subtracted or changed. A weight kit complete with balls, allen wrench and pouch is easily storable in any golf bag pocket. A long large arrow along the center is a great aiming tool. Tony was able to line up this arrow with his aim line and found it a very valuable aid especially on shorter putts inside ten feet. Tony needed the change the sweet spot so John added more weight to one wing. Tony later replaced two metal balls with Teflon to get a hit to ear sound he liked. Tony’s putter head weighting began at 365.5 grams. The final product is now 358.5 grams. Of course, this weighting can easily be changed at any time in minutes.
As I mentioned the diagnosis and correction discussion was rewarding and informative to understand why the fine adjustments are necessary. I found that the diagnosis and correction helped to determine the sweet spot, determine lie, determine loft and determine length.
DETERMINING SWEET SPOT
Sweet Spot is defined as the precise point on the putter face that delivers the highest expended moment of inertia of energy. (MOI) this is similar to co-efficient of restitution readings which are used to measure ball exit velocities on golf drivers. The exact sweet spot can be found in one of two ways:
1. While holding the putter vertically from the grip end, tap a golf ball on or near the center of the putter face. Note: as the ball strikes the sweet spot-there is little or no obvious heel or toe deflection of the putter head.
2. Using impact tape on the face of the putter head, strike a series of putts. Solid feeling putts will indicate the area of the putter face which produces the highest moment of inertia and is generally considered the sweet spot.
Keep in mind that mass times velocity equals distance (M x V=D). Let’s keep it simple with a hypothetical situation. You face a 24’ putt. You have a 400 gram putter that is swung 12 in back and 12 in forward with perfect tempo. You hit the sweet spot and the ball achieves 100% MOI. It rolls 24’. Great pace! Now you take the same putt distance, same tempo, etc. You hit near the heel or toe miss the sweet spot and obtain 75% of MOI. Your roll out is 18’. Definitely a three putt possibility.
Hit near the heel or near the toe? The J-Roll allows you to adjust the weights
to move the sweet spot. Using your same putting stroke you can achieve 100% MOI.
J. Whitty determines where your putting sweet spot is. Remember Tony. He was a cutter and usually coming up short on long putts. By adjusting the sweet spot on the J-Roll, Tony achieved proper pace without changing his putting stroke. A happy putter was made.
Lie or shaft angle is extremely critical in the putting process. Simply put, when a golfer addresses a putt, the toe and heel sections of the putter will be generally level to the putting surface. Assuming all other factors are correct, proper lie allows for the putter head to make contact with the ball and propel it down the intended target line. This is an absolute science. Toe up for example, will produce putts which start and finish left of target line and left of the hole. Conversely, heel up will result in putts starting right and ending right. In my experience, I have seen correctly fitted putter – lie angles in approximately 15% of the golfing population. Surprisingly enough, many of these players were professionals who made their living on the links. There is a wide variety of correct lie angles ranging from 65 degrees to 89 degrees, depending on putter length and club head design and individual physical characteristics. However, it is definitely worth the time to have your lie set correctly. Proper lie angle is probably the single greatest causes of missed short putts in the game of golf. The J-Roll putter will be set up precisely for you.
Loft generally refers to the angle or degree of slant on the putter face – simple, right? Not exactly. Loft will have the greatest effect on being able to consistently roll putts end over end on line. Loft is measured in two ways: (1) Static Measurement of putter head which is generally around 4 degrees and (2) a Dynamic Measurement which is the static measurement of 4 degrees plus or minus, positive or negative loft placed on the putter by a golfer in the process of making a putt. Why do we need loft? Simply put, the golf ball’s weight produces a small indentation in the putting surface. By using a standard 4 degree lofted putter, the golf ball is struck approximately 62/1000 (sixty-two one thousandths) of an inch below the equator of the ball. These lofts actually lift the golf ball out of its depression (airborne) to a skid stage and ultimately to a true roll stage. Thus the need for putter loft. More lofts are generally useful on slow and grainy greens such as Bermuda. Additional loft will help achieve a pure roll quicker. Conversely fewer lofts will move the point of contact closer to the equator and produce a higher MOI (Moment of Inertia) with less skid and bounce on truer bent grass greens.
Length of the putter is not an exact science, although this is one of the key factors in putter fitting. There can be a range of approximately 20 inches depending on the type of putter and physical characteristics of the golfer. Modern day traditional putters range from 32 to 37 inches in total length, while the PGA Tour average is 33 inches. Interesting, considering 90% of the golfers are using putters in the 34 to 36 inch range. Why 33 inches you ask? Simple – Tour players have developed a repeating pendulum type putting stroke which places their eyes directly over the ball and their hands directly below their shoulders, thus eliminating the need for a longer putter. With the advent of belly and long putters, the claw grip, the left hand low grip and many others to come, the possibilities are endless – so let’s keep it simple. If the lie on your putter is correct and you are able to roll putts on your intended line, while remaining in balance with a good tempo – your length is probably correct. Remember length can also affect lie and rollout, thus making it a critical component to good putting.
1. In your pre putt routine, place the putter in front of the golf ball. Aim the arrow to your aim line. This visualization helps to verify if you are aimed to split the edge aiming one or two balls out, etc. Now, place putter slowly and gently in back of ball, hands light and stroke the putt. I found that the only misses were because of speed. Sometimes Tony hit what John Whitty called a “panic stroke”. You know you need more speed so you move your arms out of rhythm and go fast through the ball that is the panic stroke.
2. John Whitty uses a metronome to practice his own putting tempo. 1-2. No matter the length of the putt the tempo has to be the same. No rush through (panic stroke) no deceleration “decel” which means you didn’t release the putter.
3. Get Fitted. Practice a day or several hours – or play 2 rounds. Then get a fine tuned adjustment if only a look back by John if you are completely satisfied.
4. Make your first stop at Myrtle Beach with John Whitty. Play – Come back to fine tune the putter. Your best golf investment – make the J-Roll your true roll.
John Whitty may be reached at: (843) 446-0028