When first showing the Putters to Professionals, I started with PGA Pros whom I had known for a long time.
I went to go see my old friend Fred Griffin, at the Grand Cypress Academy of Golf. Fred has been Director there since Jack Nicklaus hired him way back in 1986. In fact, I had first gone to Grand Cypress to take lessons from Harvie Ward in 1984, and when they opened the Academy I was one of the lucky ones to join… for me, the day after Jack won his Sixth Masters.
One day early last year I went to go see Fred, and asked him to come to the Putting Green for 5 minutes. He saw the Putter, and like most Professionals, gave me a look that said “David, what the heck is that?”. Then he watched me drop a bunch of 30 footers into the cup.
“Let me hit that…”
I watched Fred roll long putts, and his eyes widen. After a few minutes, he said to me… “David, this Putter rolls the ball amazingly well… who designed this? Did you do this?”
Fred knew I was an engineer… I nodded yes.
I asked Fred if he’d like to test it… I know Fred is extremely busy, but hoped he would do the test I did myself so many times.
“How long does it take?” he asked. About an hour, I replied. Fred doesn’t have a free hour in a month.
“OK, we’ll test tomorrow…”
I built a putter to fit Fred, and the next day, he began the trial. It lasted… not just the hour… but 2.5 hours. Fred didn’t want to stop.
The “Make %” test was hitting 10 balls with each putter, repeating the process, at various holes, between 12 and 36 feet. Fred alternated which putter went first. My job was to say nothing, but keep score. The Professional has to learn the Putter as he goes… so I need to bite my tongue and let him make the typical mistakes when first using it… the player normally aims right (his old putter sends the ball left usually, so it’s ingrained training) and leaves the first few putts short (the larger head size in area makes the player think the ball will go farther, so he’ll baby the first few putts).
Fred proceeded to do the test… and in the middle of it, stopped, looked at me, and said… “David, do you know what you have done to my Cameron?” … I just smiled, and waited for him to tell me… “It’s too tiny, it has no sweet spot, I can’t line it up, and it waves all over the place during the stroke!”.
Fred finished the test. He was 89% better with the Black Swan, than his putter. Since then, a total of 60 good players, mostly PGA Professionals, but also Tour Players, and top Collegiate amateurs. The aggregate result?
43% more one putts. The actual count was 521 putts made with other putters, and 744 with either the Black Hawk or Black Swan.
Fred was also kind enough to use the Black Hawk putter in his photo shoot for the “Breaking 100/98/80” segment in May 2011’s Golf Digest article.
Fred wrote back to an inquirer who had seen the article, asking about the Black Hawk… Fred’s reply… “I’m currently putting with the Black Swan… I would suggest you get one to try. They work well.”