You can’t make this up. A guy takes a hockey stick, cuts it off, runs a golf shaft holder up the center of it, and glues the bottom seven or eight inches of an expensive putter to it. Craziest thing ever.
But it might revolutionize golf.
Like the collision of peanut butter and chocolate changed snacks by creating Reese’s peanut butter cups, this latest amalgamation of unlike sporting elements might change golf forever. Or it just might lower your scores.
Who, pray tell, thought of doing it? The Wright Brothers. No not Orville and Wilbur. Tim and Chip Wright of Kenosha, Wisconsin. Yes, really. They call their club The Wright One. It was designed to solve Tim Wright’s putting problem.
Tim, it seems, had a bit of an issue with his short putts. He decided to invent something to fix that.
“Back when I was playing a lot of hockey, I could rip a slap shot over the goalie’s shoulder from the blue line, but I couldn’t make a four-foot putt,” he said on The Golf Show 2.0 video podcast.
"“In my quest for trying to figure out how I can make a four-foot putt, I came to the realization that, in my stroke, the better way of holding this putter grip was right hand low position to make sure that the face is square.” — Tim Wright on The Golf Show 2.0 video podcast"
By low, he meant less than a foot from the ground.
While most people would not have an assortment of broken hockey sticks in their garage or basement, the Wrights did. The broken hockey sticks were victims of battling for the puck on the edges of rinks or clashing with other avid hockey players.
Somehow, out of frustration about his putting, Wright did something most golfers would never do.
Wright sacrificed a perfectly good Scotty Cameron Newport II putter.
He cut it about seven inches above ground level and stuck it on the end of an already broken hockey stick. Then he attached the two with what he called “a considerable amount of hockey tape.”
This is where everybody gasps. Ruining a perfectly good Scotty Cameron?
“All my friends said, ‘What are you doing?’ Wright continued.
He just called it tinkering. Some tinkering. Scotty Camerons are not cheap.
When he finally had the hockey shaft attached to the putter, the low grip allowed him to get his right hand closer to the ball. Making the transition to a very low grip allowed him to finally see the line.
It also made the ball roll truer and straighter for him. Before that, when he was putting, he said he was being deceived by his eyes and the green.
Wright practiced with the new “club” and soon won the Kenosha CC flight in which he usually played.
Everybody but the pro at the club said it was a non-conforming club, and they were right. The pro was wrong. But Tim Wright was determined.
He got his brother Chip involved and the two of them worked to understand what made the idea non-conforming and what they had to do to make it work.
“That was a whole journey in itself trying to get this thing done,” Tim explained.
According to the brothers, the USGA was “really pleasant” to work with on this endeavor. That’s probably because many of them are older, and they also need help making short putts.
The brothers were quick to point out that the USGA didn’t give them any special insight as to what they had to do, nor did they pretend to know what might work in this instance, but the execs, the Wrights felt, were in their corner.
"“They definitely gave us ideas to think constructively about how this could potentially and will conform to the rules of golf,” Tim added. “The problem was in calling this ( the hockey stick) a golf shaft because in the equipment rules, a shaft has to deflect equally in all angles as it’s bent.”"
The Wright Brothers asked if making the carbon fiber thicker in all directions to eliminate deflection altogether would solve the problem, and they said, no. The USGA believed it would still deflect on one end, however small the deflection might be.
So, the Wright Brothers got creative. They inserted a carbon fiber tube inside the hockey stick, and that became the “shaft.” Meanwhile, they called the hockey stick a “grip,” and presto putto, they were conforming. However, it took about two years to get it all done.
In addition to the concept changes, they added dampers inside the hockey stick to assure no unwarranted movement takes place. Basically, the device becomes a golf club with a grip that’s enormously long and looks for all the world like a hockey stick.
One NHL agent who has three of the Caliber products said using one of their putters is like passing the puck to another player.
Going back and forth with the USGA and getting a patent application started were the keys to making this new device a reality. It’s either a completely new way to putt or the revival of the oldest recorded way to play golf, back when people played Kolven or Kolf on the ice. Take your pick.
The Caliber putters are either custom-made with your putter head or theirs. They carry a certain number of popular putters to chop off and turn into your “Wright One.” The longest putter ordered so far is 45 inches, although the USGA allows 48 inches maximum. The shortest is 31 inches.
Whatever length you choose, the club is being manufactured out of a garage somewhere in Kenosha, and it does conform to USGA regulations, even though it sounds like the most unusual golf club ever made.
It’s not peanut butter and chocolate crashing together and forming a Reese’s peanut butter cup, but there’s a chance it will help you make putts and lower your score.