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May 08, 2008

Different strokes for two great putters

Posted at 8:57 AM by David Dusek | Categories: Putters

Curtisputter_3 PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. -- Ben Curtis and Stewart Cink have both been putting lights out this season. Curtis, from Columbus, Ohio, has made a gaudy 91% of his putts from inside 10 feet, ranking him third on the PGA Tour in the category. And Cink, from Huntsville, Ala., is no slouch. He has made 89% from the same range. Where they differ is in their preferred tool of the trade.

Curtis uses a classic, heel-toe weighted putter. "Every few years Scotty Cameron comes out with a new head," says Curtis, who has won twice on the PGA Tour since his 2003 British Open victory at Royal St. George's. "This is just a new version of the same putter I've been using for five or six years." To be exact, it's a Scotty Cameron by Titleist Studio Select Newport.

"The look of the putter to me is more important than the specs," he said Wednesday. Looking down in the address position, Curtis's old Newport and his new putter look identical.

But Curtis's putter is not the same one you'd find in your local pro shop. He's modified it. All Studio Select putters have adjustable weights, but Curtis has lead tape covering the entire bottom of the putterhead (click on the image above for a better look). "I like heavier putters in general," he says. And because Curtis added a thicker, heavier grip to his 34-inch putter, the lead tape helps to maintain the ideal balance.

According to Titleist's Web site, the suggested retail price for a non-customized version of the putter is $325. The center-shafted belly-putter Cink uses is a Never Compromise Sub 30 M3 (below).Cinkputter_2

On the range at TPC Sawgrass, Cink said, "I have three putters that are almost exactly the same, and I change back and forth sometimes because they are a little different length."

Cink, who is 6-foot-4 and switched to a belly putter in 2002, most often uses a 47-inch putter. 

"I'm not finicky about which particular one it is, but I like how heavy that particular model is. I like the feel of the ball as it comes off the face. It's just been hard to duplicate that with other putters." And that's a problem for Cink, because Never Compromise doesn't make the Sub 30 M3 anymore. The good news? When you find one, it will be affordable. The putter has an estimated trade-in value on the PGA.com Value Guide of $11.81.

Unlike Curtis's putter, which is made completely from stainless steel, the face of Cink's has a gel-like insert that softens impact. Similar to Curtis, weight was added to the head of Cink's putter when the Never Compromise reps made it for him. "I just like the way that it came out, and now I've been sort of stuck with that one."

That's a problem Ben Curtis can't relate to.

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