I started playing golf in the mid 50's and the first golf club I used didn't have number, it was called a 'mashie niblick', (approx 8 iron). It had a hickory shaft with a 'wrap around' leather grip and a metal head. The 'woods' in those days were really made of wood, the 2 wood being called a 'brassie' and the 3 wood a 'spoon'. I've lived through move from wooden shafts, to alluminium, to steel to graphite and heads from 'blades' to 'cavity back' etc, but the original design of the golf club has changed very little, if at all, since then. However, as some may know, (JW in particular), I'm a bit of a traditionalist and there are some developments in the game which I'm not so happy with and I'd be grateful to see if anyone out there agrees with me,(or doesn't, as the case may be).
Firstly, the putter.. this is the only club in the bag which, in part, has changed it's design dramatically from its original concept - I refer, of course, to the 'broom handle' or 'belly putter'. I don't very often agree with Gary Player, but I believe that he is absolutely 'spot on' when he says that putting is an integral skill of the game and if you have to shove the top end of the putter up your left nostril to be able to use it then you should take up another sport.
Secondly, I have an issue with 'ball marking'. In my opinion you should be allowed to mark your ball for identification purposes only. The current rules allow a mark to be put on the ball as an aid to putting alignment, which as you might have gathered, I totally disagree with. Now here's where the question re rules comes in......
The rules of golf do not allow a golfer to place anything on the tee which helps him/her to align up their tee shot. (As an example, my friend in the UK, who was a pipe smoker, was disqualified from a comp recently because he used his pipe as an outside aid by laying it down on the tee on the opposite side if his ball to help his alignment with his drive). Now if a golfer marks his/her ball in such a way as to help with putting alignment and then uses the same system to align the ball on the tee, do they breach the same Rule of Golf? I'd like to think so, but I'm really not sure. Maybe some golfing rules guru can help on this one. If I get an answer which suggests that this does breach the Rules of Golf, then this opens an even bigger can of worms which I won't 'open' until I get the answer.
When I've voiced my concerns re this method of ball marking, people with the opposing view have always countered with the argument that manufacturers of golf balls will always be able to put their logo on the ball which will assist ball allignment, so you might as well be allowed to do it yourself. I totally disagree. I used a 'Ben Hogan' ball for a number of years because it had a very small logo and you could throw it on the ground and almost guarantee that there was a better than even chance that you wouldn't see any writing at all. The R&A and USPGA have sufficient power to ensure that all golf ball manufaturers mark their balls in the same manner, so I really don't see that this argument holds much water.
So there you have it, the long putter and ball marking. Maybe by putting it on the Forum, (no pun intended), I'll get it out of my system and save my paying partners a bit of ear ache in the future. If you agree or disagree, I'd like to know. If you don't care, keep it to yourself.
[i]'The ability to recognise the extent of your knowledge on any particular subject is a condition which, (unfortunately), far too few people are afflicted with'.[/i]