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Ernie Els switches to the SeeMore putter after the second round at the RBC Heritage Classic, one week after his infamous 6 putt on the first hole of The Masters.
Since that time, he’s ranked #1 in strokes gained by putting.
Let’s hear it from the men themselves. Those being SeeMore Putter Company President Jim Grundberg and Director of Instruction Ted Gallina as they talk about Ernie’s rise up the putting rankings, what’s new from SeeMore and why they are “on a roll” on tour.
Photo courtesy SeemorePuttersBlog.com
Tom Brassell: GolfBetter continues here at Worldwidegolfshops.com with Episode No. 207. Special in-studio guest today, Kerry Kabase joins us, along with Jim Grundberg and Ted Gallina of SeeMore Putter Company. The big news this week, the article from June 27th, golfwrx.com, since switching to the SeeMore Putter, Ernie Els is the tour’s best putter. That’s right. He’s gained 24.8 strokes in 20 measured rounds putting with the SeeMore putter. Pretty good stuff, isn’t it Jim?
Jim Grundberg: It has been great, it’s been a real surprise, I think, for everybody and I think because the perception that Ernie was struggling so much, I think people are really taking notice that … “What has he gone to, to overcome these issues?”
You know, first and foremost, he’s one of the historically great players. He is a historically great putter, so as bad as it’s looked with him struggling over some of these putts, you know I think a lot of that was just probably frustration and maybe putting a little added pressure on himself. It seems like we’ve come up with a situation where he happen to change to a putter that, in the SeeMore, has given him some indicators. He knows if he’s set up square. He obviously feels more comfortable that he can stand over a ball without having a bunch of extra putting swing thoughts. I think that’s a big part of it. Now, all of a sudden, he can just let the inner natural great putter in him come out.
If you’ve watched him putt since Harbour Town, when he put the putter in play, he’s been phenomenal. In fact, he put it in play on a Saturday at Harbour Town, which was the week after the Masters, and that weekend, he had 9.9 strokes gained putting with the SeeMore mFGP Deep Flange, so it’s been a remarkable turn-around. First the people inside the industry have noticed it and now, fortunately it’s getting some attention through that article at GolfWRX and others. Of course this last weekend on TV, he putted beautifully again at the Quicken Loans National, and the announcers couldn’t stop raving about his putting.
Tom Brassell: Yeah, I like what you said, kind of getting rid of all the clutter. I saw Ernie interviewed this past week, and he said, “You’ve been around this game long enough, you’ve seen everything.” He goes, “It’s fun enjoying putting again.” Ted, you see a lot of that out on tour, these guys struggling, and whatnot, but you see it first-hand with Ernie, and what he’s done, 24.8 strokes, he’s gained with his putter in 20 rounds.
Ted Gallina: Yeah, it’s been phenomenal, you know I spoke with him at the Players a few weeks back and he said, “Oh, I didn’t know if you noticed or not, but I put your putter in play on the weekend at Harbour Town and just blew the doors off with it.” And, I’m like, “Oh, yeah, yeah, we noticed it a little bit. You did pretty well with it.”
I think you hit the nail on the head there with how it has less thoughts in your mind, and that’s what those guys out there are looking for. The more clutter, the more information, sometimes they’re given is, they don’t know which way to go, should they go left or to the right, and it think that’s just what got into Ernie, whereas this putter makes it just so simple for him. The beauty of it is everything that they talk about or the guys talk to us out there on tour, is what the average golfer, or even the junior golfer, talks about or has problems or issues with or questions about. It’s not as if this putter is magic just for these guys out on tour, it’s a great tool for the average golfer, the college golfer and the junior golfer.
Tom Brassell: How big a salesman for SeeMore is Zach out there, because Zach went away from it, what was it, a year or so ago, and didn’t do so well? He came back, and all of sudden, bingo. How big a play is that in it?
Jim Grundberg: Tom, I think people see Zach, you know guys on tour, so you can’t miss … he’s obviously one of the real leaders out there. At 40 years old now, he’s highly accomplished. He’s been on just about every Ryder cup, every President’s Cup team. Everybody wants him as a teammate. They all know how great he is and what a great putter he is under pressure. I think when he won the Open Championship last year, his second Major, pretty much securing his place in the Hall of Fame, becoming one of only six men to ever win at Augusta and at St. Andrews. I think, once again, these tour players, they look over and they probably ask themselves, why wouldn’t I try that. I think that we definitely have seen that. I think he is, in a subtle way, obviously a great silent salesman for the brand.
When other players pick up the product, they may not feel like they’re out on an island using some unknown small niche brand anymore. They realize, no, no this is the same putter that Payne Stewart used and Zach Johnson used and hall of fame stuff. It think everybody feels more secure knowing that others have had great success with something. I do think that’s a great observation that it never hurts to have him as the anchor. Basically, all of his $40 million on tour and his 13 wins have taken place with that product, and he switched for one week, it turned out to be not a great week for him, and so probably when people saw that and saw that he immediately came back and had tremendous success, I’m sure that meant something.
Ted Gallina: I would also add, on the teaching side of it too, Zach has putted the same way since ’99, since he saw Payne Stewart win with it at the U.S. Open at Pinehurst. The consistency of him doing it the same way, I think, from then to now, you’ve seen a lot of forward press, shoulders open, hips open. Now, ball position is coming back to more neutral. People are trying to replicate that and it’s hard to do without having something down there like the white lines and the red dots. Once they see more and more people, if you look now-a-days out there on the PGA tour, look at the ball position, look at the posture, look at the setup of everybody, and it very much is starting to replicate everything of what a SeeMore posture, an SPi posture looks at, in a teaching perspective.
Tom Brassell: Yeah, talk briefly on that to someone who may not be aware of the SeeMore technology. This may be their first podcast they’re listening with you guys on. It’s certainly been around a while and it has certainly has been innovative. Talk about that if you will.
Ted Gallina: No problem. SeeMore is based off simple technology called rifle scope technology. On the bottom, right behind the heel of the putter head, the top part of the flange, is a red dot and two white lines. You’re supposed to frame the white lines in between the black shaft, so you’re hiding the red dot. When you hide that red dot at address position, a number of thing come into play that you don’t even have to worry about.
One, your shoulders, hips, feet and hands are all square to your intended target line. The ball position is always in the same spot every single time. The loft of the putter head is always the same every single time. Your setup is consistently, doesn’t matter what length of putt it is, your setting up the same way for the the same putt, never, if it’s a five, ten, twenty-five foot putt, you’re doing it the same way. You start learning what a good putt feels like by just simply hiding the red dot. You’re going to make a bad putt or two, but because you’ve had so many good putts, you’re now going to recognize what that bad putt feels like and you can correct it, you can diagnose it and fix it and become better that way.
Jim Grundberg: The cool think is that Chad and Cody Hale, who head up our tour operations and our teaching operations, what they’ve been doing for the last number of years, is to bring back these great stories about the Ernie Els, the Zach Johnsons, the Vaughn Taylors, the Russell Knoxes, the Payne Stewarts and the top players out there that have had great success with SeeMore, and really put the manual together in terms of how does this work and how can it benefit players of all levels. Now, what they’ve been doing is that they have been bringing that manual out around the country and around the world to instructors.
What we’re trying to do is build this network of SeeMore-certified instructors who will all be able to tell that story that Ted and Cody and Pat O’Brien have created and worked with, which come down to now all of a sudden at the club level, the player that wants to improve their game, they’re realizing how much importance there is on putting and how little instruction and little focus on having the right putter fit is taken place in the past. That’s sort of the next frontier. Golfers are now able to go out and find a SeeMore-certified instructor who can give they a sort of tour fit, tour lesson with putting using this product. In the end of the day, all of sudden practicing putting becomes more fun. We heard last weekend, Ernie Els, hey, he’s not just become a great putter out of nowhere, he’s practicing like crazy. The observations were made that he’s there every night, working, working, working. I think when he has a product like the SeeMore putter in his hand, all of a sudden there’s a bridge between the way you practice and the way you play, and I think that’s beneficial.
Tom Brassell: Jim, we tried to get with you at the PGA merchandise show and to be quite honest with you, every time we came by there, we couldn’t because you were jammed, you were so busy. Tell us a little bit about what’s new in SeeMore this year for this year.
Jim Grundberg: Okay, that’s great. Last year, obviously was just a monster year with Zack winning the open championship, and now this year we never could have predicted what was going to happen with all the excitement, but one of the real neat things is that with our proven and patented rifle scope technology and our baseline designs, we call the FGP family, Featuring the Ground Plum, is what that stands for, we’ve got a mallet version and a blade version, heading into this year we wanted to create a new line of putters that we felt would be more stable, more forgiving and do more of the great things that our existing product already did. We actually had done some experimentation over the last couple of years building some prototypes and what we realize is that actually some of the same benefits that we found in other golf clubs, irons and drivers, of course, going larger, had some benefits as long as we stayed within the same shape parameters of our core products.
We launched a line of products called the Giant Series and we now … If you looked at the original FGP, it’s sort of our original base-line product, which in retrospect is probably one of the original oversized blades anyway, because it’s always been a little bit longer and a little bit larger and more forgiving than other blades, but now we’ve got a full family. The Giant Series has been a lot of fun. We’ve got the Giant FGP and now we’ve got the Giant FGPT for Tour, we’ve got a mini Giant, and we’re having a lot of fun with that. If you look at our core product line, we sort of have a small, medium, large and extra large version right now, and what we’re hearing is people are loving going out and trying this product. It will take a little while, as it did with any sort of oversized club. Some players get used to the visuals sooner than others, but there’s some benefits there for sure, and we’re very excited about that.
Tom Brassell: Kerry, I’ve seen you grab the SeeMore putter and take it on the practice green and just kind of do drills with it, right?
Kerry Kabase: I think it’s a great training aid. I’ve told Jim this many times. Not only is it a great putter, but I’m a guy that love trying putters and I just like different looks, but every once in a while ill get, “Oh man, I’m in bad shape here, I need to get some drills going.” I was going to ask Ted, Ted is that how some of the tour players actually have tried the putter? They’ve used it almost as a training aid starting out.
Ted Gallina: It has, and you know, it’s a competitive market out there and they see results of what’s happened with Zack and Vaughn in the past and even Russell Knox, and now with Ernie. Maybe they want to have that same feeling, so they come over and they say, “Can I take one to practice with and see how it works?” That’s how it worked with Ernie. He took two at Bay Hill and was practicing with both of them and came back with the one that he liked, that mFGP DF.
SeeMore is not a one hit wonder for people and we don’t want our players to make it feel that way, it’s just like we do with our average golfer. We want you to feel comfortable with the putter. We want you to understand how it can work better for you and you become more consistent. We feel more comfortable if someone does take a putter out there on tour and we stay in contact with them a week, the next week, three weeks. It might be a two or three month process until they feel fully comfortable putting that putter in play. The next thing you know it’s hard to get that putter out of that bag just because they’re having such good outcomes with it.
We make it feel comfortable with those guys because again, they want to ask questions about putting but sometimes they get up there just like in any job, they think they’re supposed to know everything about putting. When we talk to them, we give them the open-ended question. “Okay what can we do to help? What questions do you have?,” so they don’t feel like, “Well Ted, my hands are always here, or my ball position is always here.” We want them to feel comfortable so when they come up to us the next week or in three weeks they’re still talking to us about the putter and how we can help them and that’s how we give them drills … it’s nice because they give us their email addresses, or text number and we communicate that way when the tournament is over with.
Yes, long story short, number of guys take the putter, practice with it, feel comfortable with it and then start putting it in play. We have always said this, if you were stranded on a desert island with your golf clubs, we feel like those guys would bring two or three putters and one of that putter would be a SeeMore putter that they would put in their bag just so they can go back and practice with.
Jim Grundberg: Can I add a real quick thought on that too. You know it’s funny, Kerry, because as you mentioned, you know a lot of people do perceive this as a training aid, and I think one of the reasons they perceive it as a training aid is because it looks so simple. It’s a blade with a straight shaft going into the center. So it’s almost like a T-Square, and if you look at the last generation of players and putters, they’ve grown up in an era where the Ping Anser style blade with the hozel had a dominant market share, and then all of a sudden oversized Mallets with offset had a dominant market share. Those came along for various different reasons. The perception was somehow, as market leaders those must be more forgiving, and there’s a perception out there that something as simple as our product may not be the most forgiving product out there in play.
Really, the reality is the opposite. There was a twenty-year period in the history of golf where the USGA did not even allow golfers to play with a putter that had a straight center shaft because it was perceived to be too forgiving. The first thing, for most golfers to move to a SeeMore putter is to get out of their minds some of the misperceptions that somehow this product is not forgiving. When it comes to putting, the most forgiving thing in the world is something that’s going to help you get the face to square every single time on a regular basis and that’s what a SeeMore putter will do. There’s really no amount of forgiveness in any sort of putter designed with … You can make a mallet as giant as you want, if the face isn’t square when it hits the ball, the ball is not going to go in the hole. We believe that the most forgiving thing you can do in a putter is create one that actually a golfer can set up square and bring it back to square in the putting stroke, and that’s what a SeeMore putter does.
Tom Brassell: With three major championship to their credit. One to go. You can check them out on SeeMore.com or also in any of the Worldwide Golf locations. Check them out, rifle scope technology, hide that dot. Your results are going to change rapidly. Hey, Jim, it wouldn’t be good if we didn’t put you on the clock. Five questions, 50 seconds, see if you can answer me. Ready to go for it?
Jim Grundberg: We’re ready.
Tom Brassell: All right, number one, best putter you have ever seen in your life, Jim?
Jim Grundberg: Zack Johnson.
Tom Brassell: Number two, your favorite golf course to play?
Jim Grundberg: Pebble Beach. One time. It was enough.
Tom Brassell: Number three, best college quarterback, John Elway or Andrew Luck?
Jim Grundberg: Andrew Luck.
Tom Brassell: Number four, if you were a good player and qualified to play in the Olympics, would you go?
Jim Grundberg: I would.
Tom Brassell: Number five, the best college football venue you’ve ever been to in your life.
I hate to say this, because I’m not a big fan, but I went to a game at Notre Dame, it was pretty awesome.
Tom Brassell: You did it Jim. Five questions fifty seconds on the clock. Your prize is a lot of nothing, but we appreciate your time. Hey, final words from Jim Grundberg and Ted to our listeners out there on SeeMore putters.
Jim Grundberg: Well, like I said, we appreciate the support Worldwide Golf, at the end of the day what’s really fun is that Worldwide Golf, you’ve got the most trained … You go in there, you find people that have been with Worldwide Golf for a long, long time, they read everything about equipment so you can get great information, and I do think that golfers this day and age, the way to get a competitive advantage is not just to buy something with new technology, but to buy something with technology that can work for you that’s sold to you by somebody that’s really interested first and foremost about improving your game and that they can go out there and help you get set up in the same way a tour player would. Sometimes that takes a little while and you go back and forth so just like having a great instructor, you want a fitter, you want a salesperson that you have that same level of trust in. At SeeMore, we’ve got the great product and now that we’re building a network of people that are trained on how to sell and present our product we feel fantastic about the coming years.
Tom Brassell: Well said. Thanks so much, Jim and thanks so much Ted. Hopefully we can do it again sometime. thanks again.
Jim Grundberg: That would e great.
Ted Gallina: Thanks for having us.
Tom Brassell: The success continues for SeeMore putter company. Now they’ve got three majors under their belt, one more to go, Zack Johnson with two of them, and also Payne Stewart with the other. Check it out on Worldwidegolfshops.com, edwinwattsgolf.com. Any of the retail location and there’s a wealth of information at SeeMore.com.
Special thanks to Jim Grundberg and Ted Gallina from SeeMore for joining us. Also Kerry Kabase, and you you our listeners, and we’ll do it again next time when we have another episode of GolfBetter at Worldwidegolfshops.com. So long everyone.