TG TBT #3: A nine-year-old Charley Hull, 2005's best putters, and the guy who shot 71-under

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It's the third instalment of Today's Golfer Throwback Thursday, and you should know the drill by now. We pick a date, wind back the clock, and see what was happening in the world of golf at that time. In the inaugural TG TBT, we popped back five years to 2010, when Lee Westwood was world number one. Then, last week, we went all the way back to December 2000, when we tested a £15 driver and examined Tiger Woods' warm-up routine for The 2000 Open

This week, we're going to split the difference, with a trip to December 2005. 

We proved our knack of predicting the big stars again by highlighting a nine-year-old by the name of Charley Hull

While highlighting teen starlet Michelle Wie turning pro, we picked out two British youngsters who we thought could also make big names for themselves. 

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Charley Hull, now 19, already has a Ladies European Tour victory under her belt, helped Europe's Solheim Cup team to victory in 2013, becoming the youngest person to ever play in the event, and won the Ladies European Tour Order of Merit in 2014.  

Ryan Joyce was always more of a long shot. Our extensive research (a quick Google) suggests that he now plays off four at Huddersfield Golf Club. 

We highlighted a guy who shot 71-under for 18 holes

Back in 2005, Peter Barron completed an entire round of golf with just one shot. He teed off on the first at Blackwell Grange Golf Club in Darlington, and sliced the ball so badly that it ended up on the 18th green, where it promptly rattled into the hole. 

That's one way to squeeze in a round of golf when you're short on time.

What was the best putter released in 2005?

According to our comprehensive test, featuring a combination of human testing and high-speed cameras to show exactly what the putter and ball were doing at impact, these were the three best putters released in 2005 and what we said about them at the time.

Bronze: Odyssey White Steel Two Ball

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You only need to watch a European Tour event to understand how popular the Two Ball putter is. Countless pros still have them in their bag, because they are, quite simply, the easiest putter to align. 

Putting the two balls on top of the putter behind your ball makes three in a line, which makes aligning correctly a doddle. 

The differences between the original Two Ball and this are pretty minimal, and we were really not sure if the steel insert was actually an improvement. Nonetheless, this putter looks good and performs admirably, and for most of us putting will never be simpler with anything else in our hands. 

We particularly like the lovely soft tacky grip, which inspires confidence. The firmer steel insert, which sounds and feels a little harsher, would be ideal for anyone who consistently struggles to get the ball up to the hole. 

If you already have a Two Ball, you really don't need to go rushing out to buy this update; but if you have been considering one for ages, perhaps it's time to give one a shot. 

Silver: TaylorMade Rossa Monza Corza

taylormade-rossa-monza-corza

This has been on sale for just a few months, but already it has chalked up a couple of wins in the hands of Sergio Garcia. Other big-name players (such as Darren Clarke) seem to have bought into the latest spin/roll research, which TaylorMade has pioneered to come up with this groove-faced putter. 

Initially we were sceptical of the technology, but after hitting a number of smooth-running putts, which seemed to stay on line and run end over end for longer, it seems that TaylorMade is on to something. 

The putter comes with two nine-gram weights, which can be interchanged so long as you own an r7 wrench, and you can buy extra weights. This added versatility would be useful to the experienced golfer, to set the putter up to suit course conditions. 

The complicated head design looks a bit busy behind the ball, and only has one alignment aid, which some people may find tricky to aim squarely at the hole.

With weight concentrated at the rear of the putter, it is forgiving and seems to create plenty of top spin.

It's probably a putter for serious golfers who like to tinker with their equipment. Watch this space to see if grooved putter technology takes off over the coming months. 

Gold: Never Compromise GM2

never-compromise-putter

When Vijay Singh picks up a putter and puts it in his bag without a second thought, you know it must be good. When he uses it for the first time and takes just 24 shots on the greens, you know it must be really good. The new GM (Grey Matter) putters are the latest releases from Never Compromise, and have already found their way into several tour bags. With a new woven aluminium insert and extreme toe and heel weighting, they look set to become the next big thing when we talk of putter efficiency. 

The copper tungsten heel and toe weights account for 80% of the putter head's total weight. By moving weight to the extreme toe and heel, Never Compromise has created a stable putter that wants to resist twisting, even if you don't hit putts from the centre of the blade. And with so much weight located so far apart in the head, you really notice if your stroke starts to waver off line. 

As with any putter, confidence plays a huge role in holing putts, and for us the GM was first class. The beautifully manufactured black-and-grey head is easy to set up and align behind the ball, and the well-balanced head sounds and feels solid. With ever-more wacky and outrageous head designs coming on to the market, the GM2 is simple, refreshing and unfussy. The low back makes it great for picking the ball up, too. 

The wide bodies on mallet putters stretch the centre of gravity away from the putter face, making them more forgiving on off-centre hits. The world's top players don't often use this type of putter, but those guys spend hours practising, every day. Us mere mortals are in favour of making the game more fun and enjoyable, and it is clubs like this that add to the excitement. 

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