Putters Aren‘t Just for Putting
One of the qualities that separated guys like Seve Ballesteros and Lee Trevino from the rest is an intangible – imagination. Those two not only knew how to hit shots, they knew how to ‘see’ them, to look beyond the traditional ways of propelling the ball and invent new methods.
I’m not as creative as Seve and Lee, but I do like to experiment with shots now and then. I surprised a couple of my colleagues in a tournament recently by playing a chip shot with a 5-wood. That’s not a shot I’d generally recommend, but I do advocate using your putter in places other than the green.
In the British Open I use it often, bumping the ball down the hard, sparse fairways and up onto the greens. From a good lie on firm sand in a greenside bunker, a putter is often the safest choice, assuming of course that there is no lip to clear. Occasionally, I even use a putter to get the ball out of thick rough around the green.
There are a couple of ways you can strike the ball with it. One is by banging straight down on the ball; this will cause the ball to pop up and out of the grass. Or if you have a putter with a broad, flat toe, you can actually strike the ball with the toe turned sideways (perpendicular to the ball), using the same stroke you would on a putt. It’s the same principle as putting with the sand wedge; in heavy grass, a putter turned in this way glides through the grass with less impedance than it would if you were to wield it in the usual manner.