BAINBRIDGE ISLAND, WA. – Sometimes the best putters – and putter designs – are the ones that aren’t in the mainstream. That is, they can’t be found among the plethora of putters at giant retail stores or, for the most part, pro shops around the country.
So, with that in mind, meet Patrick Broom. A former caddie on the PGA Tour, as well as at high-end private clubs such as Seminole in Juno Beach, Fl., and Old Marsh in Palm Beach Gardens, Fl., where he worked for legendary caddie master Angelo Argea (Jack Nicklaus’ longtime looper), Broom’s life has been all golf since he gave his first golf lesson when he was 10 years old.
By the time he was 25, Broom had become a protégé’ of beloved teacher Jim Flick, who hired him to work at what was then, the new Golf Digest Nicklaus/Flick Golf Schools at Desert Mountain in Scottsdale, Ariz.
In addition to Flick, Broom over the years became acquainted to top instructors such as Jack Lumpkin, Davis Love II, Chuck Cook, and Dr. DeDe Owens. Broom gleaned insight from each of those teachers, but particularly from Owens, whose “Science of Putting” philosophy is still with him today, whether he’s working on putting with PGA Tour players or designing Optic Golf’s line of Z Putters, which have been quietly tested and played by some of the Tour’s top stars.
Each Z Putter, Broom said, eliminates the moment of impact between the ball and club face, thanks to the Z-Neck, which helps players find their own “starting point,’’ or “go-to” comfortable hand position for an ideal setup at address, which in turn promotes a more natural stroke.
Each “Z”, is crafted from Optic’s proprietary “old school” metals; and except for the ZK model, is heel-toe weighted (for 3-D Balance).
Everything wraps around a fulcrum point – the “Z-Neck” – said Broom – who founded Optic Golf in 1998 on Bainbridge Island WA., after 25 years as a caddie on the PGA Tour and other professional tours.
The “Z” design, according to Broom, creates a, “reverse” gear effect “counterbalance,’’ which enables the club head to correct all off center miss hits.
“If the player catches the ball slightly on the heel, the toe counterbalances any deflection. If the player catches the ball slightly on the toe, the heel counterbalances any deflection, thus the ‘Fulcrum Point’ reaction keeps the club head square to your target line through impact, ensuring the ball maintains its original target-line,’’ Broom said. “We set up every putter with six to nine visual recognition points, which the eyes automatically focus on and then subconsciously determine the squaring of the club face to the target-line without thinking about it.’’
Each Optic “Z”, Broom said, also has a “built-in” forward press. A player simply aligns the toe of the putter to the Z-Neck, and the Z-Neck to the Heel.
“With the Z-Neck’s 3-D depth of perception, the player’s eyes visually square the putter face precisely to the target-line at address in a matter of three seconds or less, which eliminates the ‘what if’ factor when establishing a consistent set-up, pre-putt routine,’’ Broom said.
The routine is four easy steps: 1. Ball position in your stance. 2. Set your hand position at address. 3. Eyes on the ball. 4. Pull the Trigger… Lock, Load and Let it go.
“Don’t think about what you do – just do it without thinking,’’ Broom said. “Less is truly more when clearing your mind for the putting result you’re after. The mind reacts more freely, when not deliberating over the task at hand. Don’t make complicated out of simple.’’