Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

PUTTING CONTROL Bullet-Proof Material Used to Enhance Club

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

PUTTING CONTROL Bullet-Proof Material Used to Enhance Club

Article excerpt

Putting is all about feel, and the kind of feel golfers want on

the greens is soft, softer and softest.

A prototype putter that has incorporated ideas from business

partners in Jacksonville, Albuquerque, N.M., and New York is as

soft as the United States Golf Association will allow -- and an

interesting enough concept to get the attention of Arnold Palmer

and Billy Andrade.

The "Linear Roller" putter, made by Erik Thomas Golf of

Barryville, N.Y., features an insert made of woven Kevlar -- the

almostindestructible cloth of which bulletproof vests are made.

The idea of using that as an insert on a putter face came from

Tom Lynch, who has his own athletic glove business in Barryville

called Tour Athletics, and Stan Hockerson, president of Heart

and Sole Technologies, an athletic shoe design company in

Albuquerque.

Jim Laudenslager, the owner of Lauden Golf in Jacksonville, was

enlisted by the two to make the putter head and shaft as well as

help with marketing.

"The ball stays on the face a split-second longer, and there's

no bite on it," Laudenslager said. "There's a lot less backspin

and sidespin, which means you can control the ball better than

any other insert." The idea was hatched more than two years ago

when a friend of Lynch also in the athletic-equipment industry

put him in touch with Hockerson after hearing that Lynch wanted

to create gloves made of a tougher material for golf, baseball

and football.

Hockerson's company held patents on the use of Kevlar for

products such as stretchers.

Soon after Hockerson sent Lynch some samples of Kevlar, Lynch

was watching a golf tournament on television and noticed a

player using an insert putter.

That got him thinking.

"I took an old Ping putter I had and taped a piece of the

Kevlar to the face," Lynch recalled. "I putted a few in the

living room, then let my 11year-old son try it. The first thing

he said was that it felt really soft."

Lynch called Hockerson, a 6handicap, who agreed that the

concept could work.

Lynch then checked with the USGA. …

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