O’Brien brought me my putter on the green.
“Brennan,” he says, “I’m going to buy you a new putter. This thing is a relic.”
It was a teachable moment.
“A putter is like a woman, O’B,” says I. “You find one you like, then you stick with it. It will give you a lifetime of irritation and a few moments of ecstasy.”
He relayed my homily later at the stag dinner evoking a round of guffaws.
It is one of my better lines.
It had its origin at a charity outing when I won a putter in a raffle and donated it back to the cause. Just one of those things the muse provides when the stars are properly aligned.
I have no doubt it will one day be attributed to Arnold Palmer, if it has not already.
Still the retelling evoked an epiphany. A putter is indeed like a woman.
All the rest of the clubs have visible lines or groves on their faces. The putter’s face is smooth.
The putter is dainty, smaller than everything else in the bag.
You smash your driver, pound your fairway woods, hit your irons, even blast your sand wedge.
But you stroke your putter.
A woman will always do what women always do. So will a putter. It never deviates from the laws of physics and always propels the ball precisely where it is aimed and precisely as fast and as far as you stroke it to go.
So if the ball doesn’t go into the hole, it is always your fault. Never the putter’s.
Am I starting to make sense? Does it sound familiar?
When I see some guy putting left hand low, or left handed, or using one of those ugly long belly putters, I know the guy doesn’t get it. Probably isn’t happy at home either.
And then there are the unfaithful ones. Garage full of old putters. Discarded putters. Rejected putters. Like a scrap book full of pictures of old girl friends.
Not so much a record of past conquests as a montage of failures. A chronicle of seeking happiness in all the wrong places.
My epiphany has paid substantial dividends. A string of five and six footers. A couple twice as long and a heart stopping thirty five footer that sealed a ten dollar win for our foursome.
I’ve taking to calling the putter “Pauline.”
Later today I’m going to have her name engraved on her sole. Or is it her soul?
Either way, she’s a great old gal, and I love her dearly.