Monday, November 23, 2009

The second installment in our series "Ask the Experts" gave you a chance to ask questions via Twitter to Titleist putter guru Scotty Cameron. Here are his answers. Scotty Cameron Putter I have a mallet putter and two different blade-style putters. Is there any chance you might develop an interchangeable putter-head system? There are companies out there that are working with interchangeable driver parts, and I'm keeping an eye on them. But at what point would we become a component company versus a golf club company?
Right now, you can send your putter to us and we can add weights if you want to make your putter heavier or lighter. But you have to send it to our shop to do the work. Why?  Think of it this way: If I bought a car and the dealer gave me a tune-up kit and put it in the trunk, and the manual for me to tune up my own car, that doesn't mean I could do it right. I would probably be better off leaving it to the professionals to do it.
There's always a niche group of customers who are techno-tinkerers out there. However, I feel like I would rather be in control of the destiny of the product.
Now, to make a mallet out of a heel-toe weighted blade, it's been done before. But in keeping with the car analogy, if I took a four-door sedan and could bolt on a back so it converted into a station wagon ... you know what, I'd rather just buy a new station wagon.I just feel that we are a putter company, not a component putter company. Many professional players will switch to a softer ball next season. How will that effect their putting? Good question. We have done a lot of tests regarding sound versus feel, and we have found that sound actually has more to do with feel and the feel in your hands. So every time we make and design putters, we're thinking about sound versus feel.There is a sound you expect from your putter, and it's not right and it's not wrong, but it is what you want. Some may sound hollow and tinny, while others may be soft and cushiony, but a lot of it has to do with the golf ball you use.

The Studio Select line has interchangeable weight screws in the bottom of the putters. Why not allow golfers to swap the weights on themselves?The whole idea behind the weights is for us to get it just right. For many years, putter companies had one head and simply made it in three different lengths—33", 34" and 35". But that changes the weight in a similar way that cutting down or lengthening your driver would.
We don't want someone to have a kit that would change the weight and make the putter not ideal. We have the recipe here that tells us what adjustments to make for every inch that you change, and the swing-weight points that you either gain or lose. But as I said earlier, I just really want to get it right.
Now, I believe that putters can be a little heavier, or possibly a little lighter, but not so much that it changes the rhythm and timing of your transition stroke from the backswing to the forward swing. If a putter is too light, you can take the putter back too far to gain the momentum, or you have to hit at it more to compensate for the weight loss.(Video: Scotty Cameron Studio Select Putters)

Will he ever make truly customized putters for anyone but touring pros?There is talk of that, and we always want to serve the customer better, but we already have the Custom Shop. People can send in their putter, regardless of where they bought it, and have the length, lie angle and weight changed, as well as the shaft flex changed.
We can also adjust the look of putters too. You can really pimp it out by adding lines, dots, your initials, a matching grips and head cover, and other symbols. It's really our first entry into customization. But might there be a day when a customer could enter in his or her own thoughts and designs? I don't know how soon, but it would be great to move forward and get to that point. Scotty-Cameron-Futura-Putter What is the next big innovation you see coming in putters?We are governed by the R&A, the USGA, and the PGA on how far we can actually go. As golf balls got harder, and now possibly softer, we continue experimenting with materials and design to help with the issue of feel.
When I first brought out the Futura (right) many years ago, people looked at that and said, "You must be out of your mind! You are known for classic, soft, elegant-looking putters." That putter was never supposed to come out, but it stretched the envelope.
Still, I believe in the USGA governing just how far we can go. But material, and size, and shaft, and grip all combine to enhance feel and performance. Those are the things we are going to be looking at next. Is Brad Faxon's putting stroke the best you've ever seen? If not, then whose is better?They're a handful of guys who have a putting stroke that creates a Wow! when you see it. Tiger Woods ranks up there with the best, and I think his is so great because in his earlier days he was coached and helped by Mark O'Meara. David Graham always had great feel. David Frost was always spectacular, and Brad Faxon is just fantastic. David Toms also has great fundamentals—his stroke is long but he has proven to be just fantastic.
Putting them right at the top, it would be Brad Faxon and Tiger Woods. Scotty-Cameron-GSS-Putter_600 Some of the putters you make for the pros are made from German Stainless Steel (GSS). What is the difference between that material and the stainless steel used to make your other putters? The Krup Family of Germany invented stainless steel way back when, and it is simply the purest form of stainless steel known. I'm always trying to look for the best, and this stainless steel is the finest made in today's world.The real issue is that it is ridiculously expensive. I just don't think it is that necessary to have GSS in every putter. Our stainless steel, which is produced here in the US, is very, very good.
So is GSS better? It's like comparing platinum and white gold. To the naked eye they look just about the same, and the weight of them is just about the same. Is the platinum better – I don't know, it's just different. GSS is just great stuff.Follow David Dusek on Twitter

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