What Makes Scotty Cameron Putters Great?
Scotty Cameron's putters have been the choice of many PGA Tour members since the early 1990s. Tiger Woods, Mark O’Meara, Sergio Garcia, Peter Jacobsen, Jason Dufner and Rory McIlroy are among the leading pro golfers who have used Cameron’s creations. You might say, then, that some of the best golfers of the late 20th and early 21st centuries have helped to make Cameron's putters great. At the same time, Cameron's putters have played no small role in making quite a few golfers great.
Cameron began working on putters, along with his father, at age 6. He built his first new putter at 12, using a machine shop owned by a friend’s father. Shortly thereafter he put a milling machine in his parents’ garage. By age 22 he had professional clients, including O’Meara, who was then playing on a mini-tour.
At 23, Cameron was hired by leading independent club maker Ray Cook and went on to consult for Mizuno and to design and sell his own putters.
Cameron’s big break occurred in 1993 when Bernhard Langer putted with one of his designs to win the Masters. During the 1994 season, 129 golfers used a Cameron putter at least once.
Cameron formed a business partnership with Titleist in late 1994. That relationship was still going strong as of the date of publication.
Cameron sells a variety of retail putters, but he also produces custom-fit designs. He videotapes his individual clients to help them determine their needs. He sometimes points out a player’s swing flaw, while on other occasions he designs a club to compensate for a player’s individual putting idiosyncrasies.
Cameron credits years of video research with helping him design putters that feel good in a golfer’s hands. He cites the characteristic soft trailing edge of his putter heads as a reason golfers like his putters, explaining that the feel of the soft edge helps to lessen the tension many players encounter when putting.
In a 2002 “Sports Illustrated” profile titled “Putter King,” Cameron was quoted saying that if a pro golfer phones him with specifications he wants in a new putter, he can complete the project in 13 hours. His continued popularity on the PGA Tour indicates that his claim is not an idle boast.
Some rival putting designers accuse Cameron of simply copying designs from classic club makers such as T.P. Mills or PING’s Karsten Solheim. Cameron responds that every designer builds on the work of his predecessors, noting that Mills and Solheim both incorporated some of Cook’s ideas. Cameron acknowledges using some of Mills and Solheim’s techniques, explaining, “My whole idea was to improve on their work.”
M.L. Rose has worked as a print and online journalist for more than 20 years. He has contributed to a variety of national and local publications, specializing in sports writing. Rose holds a B.A. in communications.