If you were watching Sandy Lyle in the first round of the Open this morning (and if you weren’t, why the hell not?), you may have noticed the two-time major winner wielding a rather unusual looking putter.
The 1985 Open champion, who hit the opening shot of this year’s championship in what is likely to be his event swansong, had a superb day on the greens.
He needed only 27 putts to get around the course, ten of which were one-putts. He had only one three-putt the whole day.
That, he told bunkered.co.uk, is largely down to the magic wand he has in his bag. And a peculiar-looking wand it is, too.
Lyle is using a putter made by in the West Palm area of Florida by a company called Biomech.
“I don’t really know much about them, to be honest,” admitted Lyle after his round. “A friend of mine said: ‘Phone this number, I think these guys have a putter you might like’.”
He made the call and subsequently met up with the chaps behind the brand at a pro-am.
“I looked at the putter they brought along and my first reaction was, ‘Oh boy, this is a bit interesting’ but I spent a couple of hours trying it, liked it and have stuck with it ever since.”
That was a year-and-a-half ago, and he hasn’t looked back. The particular putter that Lyle uses – the Biomech AccuLock Ace – is similar to the putter used by Matt Kuchar, in that the top of the shaft locks into the left arm. The opposite end is fixed to the back of the clubhead, which is a concept some people might remember from the Backstryke putters released by Odyssey in 2010.
According to the sales blurb, the AccuLock Ace is designed to ‘combine the physiology of the human body with the physics of the proper putting motion creating an anatomically optimal putter design’.
Lyle explains it far better.
“What I was working on at the time with [putting coach] Dave Stockton was to putt with my left hand a lot more,” added Lyle. “So I was doing a lot of one-handed putting. I was always coming through the ball without my left shoulder coming up. Almost striking down on the ball.
“The beauty of this putter is that it almost matches what with I was trying to do in the first place, so it was an instant love affair. It’s good. It’s doesn’t do me any harm and I made some putts out there today. That’s one of the areas where I felt I was starting to lack but I’m making putts again which feels great. I just need to work now on getting the ball on the green.”
Those who have paid close attention to Lyle over the last few years will know that he’s no stranger to experimenting with unusual-looking putters.
He nicknamed one of his previous ones ‘The Swan’. This one? Not quite so elegant a nickname.
“I call this one ‘The Ugly Duckling’,” he laughed. “I had another one made by Tad Moore – a custom one – that I liked a lot but Woosie [Ian Woosnam] pinched it… except he uses it as a long putter.”