‘Just tap it in:’ Pro explains bizarre Happy Gilmore-style putting approach

Spencer Levin's new putting stroke evokes a certain hockey loving golf movie hero.

Spencer Levin's new putting stroke evokes a certain hockey-loving golf movie hero.

PGA Tour/Universal

Uh-oh! Spencer learned how to putt. Long-time PGA Tour and Korn Ferry Tour pro Spencer Levin successfully Monday-qualified into the field at this week’s Shriners Children’s Open with a unique putting style that reminds us of a certain “Gold Jacket” winner from 1996.

In the way of the legendary Happy Gilmore, Levin is putting with a split grip and his right hand nearly halfway down the putter shaft like he’s getting ready for a hockey slap shot.

“I just heard somebody else saying [it looked like Happy Gilmore] when somebody was using [the putter],” Levin told PGATour.com in the video you can watch above. “Like when a buddy of mine was grabbing it, another guy came up and he goes, ‘What’s up Happy Gilmore?'”

It’s typical we see pros try to imitate the running-up swing of Gilmore on the driving range or long drive contests, but rarely have we seen a pro take his putting method on the practice green, let alone to a PGA Tour event.

Golf movie fans will recall Gilmore’s putting was a weakness right until his duel with Shooter McGavin at the Tour Championship; his win ultimately earning him enough money to save his grandma’s house.

Levin, on the other hand, said he started the technique a few months ago.

“I just wasn’t putting very good,” Levin said, giving a reason for why his golf ball simply was too good for its home. “I was kind of fooling around with a split-grip on a normal putter and then I remembered that my old man had this putter in his garage where it was kind of designed [to be used] the way I’m doing it.”

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The first day he put the unique flatstick in play he made 11 birdies and said he hasn’t thought about trying a different putter since. It was in the bag this week for the Shriners Children’s Open Monday qualifier, where he fired an eight-under 64 to grab one of the four spots available and make his first PGA Tour start since the 2020 edition of the event.

Levin said the HammY putter is actually designed to have the left elbow and forearm anchored at the torso. Since that’s now illegal, he flares the left elbow outward, which seemingly looks closer to how Adam Sandler putted in the 90s comedy staple.

“When I’m struggling, I’m thinking too much. The less you can think about and still be able to hit your line is definitely the way to go I think,” Levin said. “Hopefully I’ve got more to that story.”

Jack Hirsh

Golf.com Editor

Jack Hirsh is an assistant editor at GOLF. A Pennsylvania native, Jack is a 2020 graduate of Penn State University, earning degrees in broadcast journalism and political science. He was captain of his high school golf team and recently returned to the program to serve as head coach. Jack also still *tries* to remain competitive in local amateurs. Before joining GOLF, Jack spent two years working at a TV station in Bend, Oregon, primarily as a Multimedia Journalist/reporter, but also producing, anchoring and even presenting the weather. He can be reached at jack.hirsh@golf.com.