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Mind games: Why Adam Scott tests putters he has no intention of using

February 20, 2020

On any given week, Adam Scott could have two or three putters in the bag. For years, I figured he was just kicking the tires on something new, particularly in recent years when he went back to the long putter and experimented in practice rounds with a conventional-length model.

But like clockwork, Scott would trot out the Scotty Cameron Xperimental prototype on Thursday, putting an end to any chatter of a potential putter change.

Was it simply cold feet that led him to retain the long putter each week? According to the 2013 Masters champion, there’s a method to his madness, and it involves essentially playing mind games in the lead up to a tournament round.

In the latest edition of GOLF’s “Gear Talk,” Scott revealed that he regularly practices with putters he has no intention of using. For the most part, it’s a “short putter” (conventional-length) that differs greatly from his long wand and is designed to keep his usual putter feeling fresh during competition days.

“I just don’t practice with [my regular putter] because then I put it back in and it feels fresh and new and it’s just kind of the mind games that I have to play with myself to get the best performance out of me,” Scott said. “… I like putting around with a short putter, and I think I’m getting good with it and then I pick up the long one again and I realize that I’m much better with it. That’s kind of the reassurance I need to just go out and perform with a longer putter. But, there’s some different theories and tests that I do, and I’m always looking for the best putter, that’s for sure.”

A closeup of Adam Scott's Xperimental prototype putter.
A closeup of Adam Scott's Xperimental prototype putter.
Andrew Tursky

The thought of working with a putter that has no shot of going in the bag might seem like an odd way to practice for some. Then again, Scott has a green jacket in the closet and picked up his 14th PGA Tour title last weekend at the Genesis Invitational, so maybe this is something golfing mortals should take into consideration.

Scott’s admission is also a good reminder that there’s no such thing as a sure-proof practice routine when it comes to the putter. In the end, the only thing that matters is having confidence with the flatstick in your hands — and burying as many putts as possible.

To hear more gear insights from Jonathan Wall and True Spec’s Tim Briand, subscribe and listen each week to GOLF’s Fully Equipped podcast: iTunes | SoundCloud | Spotify | Stitcher