Need To Know
Ever had the horrible sinking feeling in pit of your stomach when you arrive at the course, open the car boot, lift out your clubs and discover your putter with which you had been practising on the carpet the night before, is still where you left it?
Happened to me yesterday - and panic set in.
My first thought was 'can I use my driver instead?' and having quickly dismissed the idea, set about intercepting anyone I knew in the car park to ask if they had a spare putter...anything! No one had, so I gingerly approached the pro shop and sympathetically, the manager offered the pick of the limited range they had for demo purposes, as long as used the headcover provided and return it in pristine condition.
Never really been a fan of the classic, heel-toe-weighted blade-style putters, so opted for this big, black, square-headed Ping JAS Craze-E One mallet with a price ticket of £99. It looked a little cumbersome but the one I'd left behind was a similar shape, so expected a similar performance.
And I wasn't disappointed.
After a handful of short, medium and long putts on the practice green, I gauged that the feel generated from my stroke needed less momentum than I had been used to compared to other heavy-weight mallets.
And it was a similar story on the greens thoughout the round where I soon picked up their pace, only three-putted once - from 40 feet range - holed a 15 foot 'return putt' after one from the fringe 'went off in my hand' and had half dozen single putts.
All in all my new, brief friendship with the Ping Craze-One helped gain me 39 stableford points, a tenner for second place (losing on countback) in the 'roll-up' and an opportunity to review a putter which has quickly earned my respect.
Whomever buys that club from the Greetham Valley Hotel and Country Club shop at its knock-down price - one careful owner, headcover included - should enjoy hours, if not years of pleasure from it.
Sits solid and square to the putting surface so easy to align at address. Impact feel is a soft and satisfying 'tink' which keeps the ball hugging the putting surface with good roll and top-spin. Lee Westwood used a similar version to win on Tour and it's easy to see how such a club can generate and build fragile confidence. To some it's an ugly duckling but looks can deceive.