As a wise Trigger once said: “look after your broom.”
And your broom may very well look after you by helping you make more putts.
It’s not as visually aesthetic as Harry Potter gliding through the air on a broom in a game of quidditch but the broomstick putting technique has grown in popularity.
One might have assumed the broomstick putting method would have become widespread when Adam Scott let out his famous ‘come on an Aussie’ roar when he birdied the 72nd hole en route to beating Angel Cabrera in a playoff to become the first Australian to win the Masters in 2013.
It didn’t, although he did join Bernhard Langer, Webb Simpson, Tim Clark and the great Carl Pettersen in achieving success with the broomstick putter.
Many players used the ‘long putter’ method which has since been banned under the anchoring rule. Several methods of the technique have been implemented by Keegan Bradley, Webb Simpson, Ernie Els and others since the rule change to varying success.
This saw the dawn of the arm-lock technique which became the preferred method for players who struggled with conventional putting. Even a series of wacky putting grips have come in and out of fashion.
However, the latest trend in golf has a retro feel to it. The broomstick is back, and it’s cool.
For years the broomstick method always had a stigma attached to it that only players who had such mental scar tissue on the greens would employ it.
It was a method that many players would have been too proud to take on, fearing embarrassment over their putting stroke not being aesthetically pleasing over potential improvement.
Nowadays the game of golf is littered with statistical analysis which has seen the broomstick method become the latest craze in the game. It’s a remarkably simple technique.
Entering the 2024 PGA Tour season there are as many as half a dozen broomstick putters in play and the success rate has been good.
2009 US Open champion Lucas Glover enjoyed a sensational 2023, winning in successive weeks on the PGA Tour, including the first of the FedEx Cup playoffs.
Not so long ago, Glover had a putt for a 59 in a PGA Tour event and ended up three-jagging it with his putter almost missing the ball completely from short range as he heeled his putt for a 60 offline.
It’s safe to say that the broomstick putting method has transformed his game and perhaps given some longevity to a journeyman career that hasn’t hit the heights since Bethpage Black fifteen years ago.
Si Woo Kim entered the Sony Open as the defending champion having won the event last year with a broomstick putter. The South Korean became the first winner with the putter since Adam Scott in 2020.
Akshay Bhatia won on the PGA Tour for the first time recently using an arm-lock method has switched to the broomstick and is threatening to win again after coming close last week.
Will Zalatoris, who had arguably the most famous putting stroke from short range, has started using one and ironically his stroke looks smooth as silk from six feet and in.
Bhatia and Zalatoris’ usage of the broomstick putter is most poignant as two young players employing a method usually associated with veteran players who have lost their nerve on the greens.
Halfway co-leader of this week’s Sony Open Carl Yuan uses a broomstick putter and he is just 26 years old.
Byeong-Hun An came out and said it himself, the ego surrounding the broomstick putters has disappeared.
Shane Lowry’s putting coach, Stephen Sweeney, works with Aaron Wise who uses the broomstick method.
“They’re losing their ego, maybe?” An asked rhetorically about his peers. “It kind of tells you that you’re not the best putter.”
An has used the broomstick putter in the opening two PGA Tour events of the year and he was a 36-hole co-leader alongside Yuan at the Sony while in each of the last two final groups last weekend there were broomstick putters.
The broomstick putting method is often attached to success stories like the aforementioned Glover, but an increasing number of young players could be bursting onto the scene with a 46 inch pistol.
Just over ten years ago the USGA and R&A announced it was banning the use of anchored putters, most considered it a death knell for long putters.
Well, they’re back.