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Saturday, November 17, 2018

Keegan Bradley's New Putting Technique

Having talked about Matt Kuchar's putting style yesterday, I thought I'd mention Keegan Bradley's version today. I've found a bit about it in this Golf Digest article, so I thought I'd add it to the mix. Today I'm focusing more on the equipment involved.

Keegan Bradley's putting stroke

The article covers several players' equipment and says this about Keegan's:
Perhaps no player has been affected more by the ban on anchoring than Keegan Bradley, who has struggled mightily on the greens since the rule went into effect in 2016. Bradley has ranked 183rd, 128th and, this season, 186th in strokes gained/putting. Recently, however, the 2011 PGA champ has shown some signs of improvement while using an Odyssey Works Versa 1W Red Arm Lock putter. The putter, which has a head weight of 400 grams and is 43 inches in length with a loft of 7 degrees, is designed to act like an extension of the arm for a smoother, more repeatable stroke. Given Bradley's breakthrough victory at the BMW Championship in the playoff over Justin Rose, and him contending at the previous two events—the Northern Trust and the BMW Championship—it's safe to say he might have finally found his solution.
And a second Golf Digest article added this:
During Monday’s final round Bradley posted an impressive 3.182 strokes gained/putting mark with his Odyssey Works Versa 1W Red Arm Lock putter. The putter is 43 inches in length, with the added length allowing Bradley to brace the putter against his left arm, similar (but not identical) to how Matt Kuchar putts.
This photo comes from that second article. You can see how much the neck of the putter is bent to get that 7-degree loft.

Bradley lines up a putt at BMW

Now it's worth noting that both Matt and Keegan are fairly tall guys -- 6'4" and 6'3", respectively -- so that 43-inch shaft is probably a bit long for a lot of weekend players. However, the 7-degree loft on the face is probably a reasonable number for almost anyone using this method, as the shaft does lean forward quite a bit and you'd need a fair amount of loft to get an effective loft of 3-5 degrees.

Note that the second article says that Keegan's grip isn't identical to Matt's. That's why I included the first photo. It looks to me like Keegan has the shaft going a bit farther up his forearm than Matt. However, that side view clearly shows that the rubber grip is a bit underneath his forearm, as I noted in yesterday's post about Matt's putting.

If you decide to go with a method like this, you'll almost certainly need to go with a specially-made putter as Matt and Keegan have done. It's not so much about the shaft length -- you could have a longer shaft put in almost any putter -- but bending the neck of the putterhead enough to get the necessary loft might be more than a standard putter is made for. You could very well end up breaking the putter. Plus the head is about the same weight as an old belly putter and roughly double the weight of a standard putter. You'll need to take that into account as well.

Anyway, that's a bit more info for those of you interested in the armlock putting method these players use.

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