Johnny Miller suffers from it. Miller Barber has had it throughout his entire career. Usually the older you get the more likely you are to develop it. We average golfers are especially prone to contracting it. What is "it," you ask. I'm talking about the "yips."
Many golfers have had their careers cut short when they caught the yips. For those of you unfamiliar with the term, take a moment to kiss your putter and stop reading now! For the rest of you, help is on the way. Even with the proposed anchoring rule.
The yips occur when your body, or more specifically your hands, flinch when you are taking your putting stroke. The result is a putt that is hit inconsistently. Sometimes you may hit the putt too hard, other times too soft. You may jerk the putter off-line sending the putt well off your intended line and nowhere near the hole.
My best friend had the yips, but only from 3 feet in. He was more likely to miss that 3-footer for par than the 20-footer for birdie. I had trouble watching him some days, and I fear those days may return once the anchoring rule goes into effect.
Club designers have had a way to help to help those of us afflicted with the putting yips for years. Maybe it's time we take a closer look at an alternative to anchoring the putter.
By adding weight, and I mean a lot of weight, to the head of the putter, designers have found golfers are forced to tend to use their larger shoulder muscles to get the club moving and make the stroke.
The new heavy putters weigh as much as three times what conventional putters weigh. Some of the best designs have weights that are not permanently attached, allowing the golfer to adjust the weight until the perfect setup is dialed in.
Mentor Sports Technologies (www.mentorsportstech.com) has three models of heavy putters. The company's V-MOI series includes the Duet, Triad and Quadra models. Each has two, three or four ports respectively in the back of the head. Each port runs parallel to the face and the golfer can place anyone of several different weights in each port.
Each head is milled from a block of aircraft-grade 6061-T6 aluminum and features a deep center of gravity to promote a pendulum swing. The alignment system on the top allows you to easily aim the head at your target and reduce off-center hits.
Depending on which model you choose, you can vary the weight of the head anywhere from 295 to 811 grams using as many as 35 unique configurations. Each putter comes complete with a starter weight kit to get you on your way. If you can't dial one in to fit your putting stroke, perhaps you should try tennis.
Rife Putters (www.rifeputters.com) uses its two-bar lineup to give golfers the ability to add, remove or adjust the placement of weight in the putter. Weight is added simply by putting one of the heavier cylinders into the two bars.
If you have trouble shutting or leaving the face open, you can use weights of differing amounts to help you keep the face square. Combined with roll groove technology, Rife puts out one of the best putters for getting a consistent and true roll on your putts.
Heavy Putter from Boccieri Golf (www.boccierigolf.com) has 11 different designs in their heavy putter line. They even have a mid-weight and a lightweight line. All combined you have 28 different choices of head shape, hosel configuration and more.
The heads are milled from a billet of 303 stainless steel and by using the adjustable weighting system can vary from 365 to 550 grams in total weight.
If you suffer from the yips, you should look into trying one of these heavy putters. The heavier mass engages the large muscles of the shoulders and chest, keeping you from using your wrists and arms during your putting stroke. The weight also encourages a lighter grip pressure that aids a smooth stroke and more solid contact.
The only drawback is if you carry your clubs. An extra pound or two could take its toll on you toward the end of the round. But if you're making putts and scoring lower, it's a lot easier to walk that last couple of holes, no matter how heavy your bag.
James Stammer has been an avid golfer and golf enthusiast for nearly 40 years. He hosts the Thursday night golf show on WSTU 1450-AM. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.