The goal of every golfer is to get the ball in the hole in as few strokes as possible. To achieve this goal, players will experiment with equipment, techniques and everything in between. Nowhere is this more evident than on the putting green. From long putters to cross-handed grips, everyone from the weekend duffer to the multiple-major winner is constantly looking for ways to save a few strokes with their putter.
For a few students of the game, their tinkering can take on a life of its own. Bryson DeChambeau, the 2015 U.S. Amateur champion, is certainly no stranger to experimenting with his game. For years, DeChambeau has played with irons that are all the same length. And during this week’s Franklin Templeton Shootout, DeChambeau has made headlines again by ditching the conventional putting stroke to give sidesaddle putting a try.
While seldom used, DeChambeau isn’t the first player to experiment with this unusual putting style. Sam Snead, a seven-time major champion, is one of the most notable names to find success sidesaddle putting. Snead, still a superb ball-striker but shaky on the greens later in his career, switched to croquet-style putting out of desperation during the second round of the 1966 PGA Championship after he double-hit a 2-foot putt. When the croquet-style method of putting was banned in 1968, Snead converted to putting sidesaddle and finished tied for third in the 1974 PGA Championship at the age of 62.
Michael Trostel is the senior content producer for the USGA. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.