April 18, 2010

Putters of Distinction

Show and Tell time! There's no debate about the classic features and timeless design involved with these putters, in spite of the fact that this design is the number one style at just about every miniature golf course in the world.



Dalton R. Daves has compiled the most complete historical summary of this putter style, the one I grew up with beginning with Dad on the range in New Mexico, to junior golf tournaments in Guam, the high school golf team in Virginia, even at my most recent tournament win. For me, it's the simplest and most honest way to putt. Everything else is pretty much a variation of the model Rodney Dangerfield used in "Caddyshack." I love Dangerfield, so I don't mean to offend. It's just that good putting is like music -- too subjective and too many variables to be sure.

PUTTERS OF DISTINCTION ~~ A Guide to Classic Putters

BULLSEYE PUTTERS

* The man behind the bullseye putter was John Reuter, Jr. His design came to fruition around 1940.  In 1958, the rights to the name and the design were sold to Acushnet (Titleist).

* Most bullseye putters are a blade style made of a soft brass head (some are aluminum and brass combination mallets or semi-mallets). It is estimated there have been more than 400 different Bullseye configurations offered over the years when styles, lengths, lies, grips and head materials are all considered. Over the years, the mixture of the brass in the heads changed from batch to batch. Some of the heads have a very yellowish coloration while others are a darker brown. Generally, the lighter the color the softer the material.

* All bullseye putters are marked with a bullseye on the sole of the putter near the toe with the Bulls and Eye being separated by the bullseye itself. The early bullseye stampings are quite large, often larger than the sole they are stamped on. The more recent bullseyes fit comfortably on the sole of the putter.

* Bullseye putters are "center-shafted" with the hosel located more than one third of the way between the distinctive hooked heel and the toe. This shaft placement allows the weight of the overall putter to be properly distributed. A collector will often find a non-factory sight line cut on the top line of a Bullseye halfway between the hosel and the toe. While this sight line detracts from the value of the putter, it is also positioned in the wrong place. The sweet spot on the bullseye is located near the hosel and not at the center of the blade. When a ball is positioned properly on the face of a Bullseye it almost appears to nestle at the end of the shaft next to the hosel.

* Almost all shafts used in Bullseyes were fluted and flared. Some of the earlier models can be found with non-fluted flared shafts and in the hosel shafts (Pro Feel) were made for one year. There are six flutes 2 and 3/8 inches long on most Bullseyes (some of the earliest models can be found with flutes over 4 inches). Grips on Bullseyes were leather with flat fronts and either a paddle type (now illegal) or more slender variety.

* The earliest Bullseyes (pre-Acushnet no model number) were stamped with a large bullseye, John Reuter, Jr., and Pat. Pending. As the number of different available models increased, the model number stampings (discussed later) were also placed on the sole along with the above stampings (pre-Acushnet with no model numbers).

* After Acushnet purchased the rights to Reuter's designs Acushnet was added to the sole of the putters with the above mentioned stampings. For a brief period after the granting of the Bullseye patent the stampings remained the same as those just mentioned except the Pat. Pending was deleted and a ® was added below the large bullseye.

* The next series of Bullseyes were stamped John Reuter, Jr., Made In U.S.A., the model number, Acushnet, a smaller bullseye with a ®, and a replica of the distinctive Bullseye head shape with a ®. The shafts on the next series of Bullseyes were changed to a straight taper fluted shaft and designed by was substituted for Made In U.S.A. on the sole.  More recent Bullseye putters, while still playable, do not currently have a collector following and will not be discussed.

* As mentioned earlier, over 400 different Bullseye putters have been offered over the years. Out of this multitude of offerings the pre-Acushnet no model number, and three other models, appear to have the greatest collector and playability interest. As with so many other collectible golf clubs, older is deemed better. Thus, the pre-Acushnet no model numbers carry the highest value with the other pre-Acushnet and Pat. Pending models also having a higher value.

* The no model number pre-Acushnet putters are wide, heavy blades with either rounded or squared toes.  The other three desirable models are the Old Standard, Standard and Standard Flange. The Old Standard and the Standard are the traditional basic Bullseye blade design, the Old standard having a squarer toe and top line and the Standard having a rounder toe and top line. The letters stamped on the sole designating these two models are OS (Old Standard) and STD (Standard). Sometimes an additional letter or letters - L (light) -H (heavy) or MH (medium heavy) will be stamped after the OS or STD to indicate the relative head weight of the putter. The Flange model (FL stamping) is similar to the Standard model except a small flange has been added to the back of the blade and the hosel is slightly more offset.

* The additional letters and numbers found on Bullseye putters indicate the lie (F for flat, M for medium and U or UP for upright), the length (4, 5 or 6 for 34", 35" or 36") and the type of grip (S for standard leather and P for the wide leather paddle).


33 comments:

  1. I HAVE A LBM5P WHAT DO THE B stand 4?

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  2. Very good informative information on Bullseye Putters ! Answered the questions I had in mind .

    Thank You Much,
    nazzrock

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  3. Sorry, as you know, I've re-started my blogging at "English Swill." I think the LBM5P is for Ladies Bullseye Mid-weight 35 inch with Paddle grip. This was the most comprehensive article I could find on this putter, and I will be happy to share mine on the Classic Headcovers YouTube Channel soon!

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  4. I have a O - SET 6 - S. Can anyone tell me what I have?

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  5. LBM 5 P stands for light blade medium lie 35" paddle grip

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  6. I have a L5C, its not the normal putt putt head, says "Heel flange offset". I cant find one of these anywhere. What is the "c" for?

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  7. Sorry, I've gone off script. Scouring the internet, and not many answers out there. Your guess is as good as mine, as Dalton has covered just about all the major issues.

    Methinks the "O" is offset, "6" means 36 inch shaft, and "S" would be some standard type specification.

    "L5C" yields no results, but "L" often meant "light" or "ladies" version, with 35-inch shaft. The only think I would guess for the "C" is "Classic," since almost every Bullseye is center-shafted.

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    1. Thank you very much for the response. I cannot find anything on the L5C either. Shes nice and battered and still has the titleist shaft and grip in it. I just wondered about the clubhead and the "c". Thanks again.

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    2. I also own a L5C Bulls Eye. It means: Light, 35", Cord. The original grip for this particular model was a cord grip imprinted with Bulls Eye in vertical lettering on the front of the grip and Bulls Eye Tiltleist on the butt end of the grip surrounding the Golf Pride trademark.

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    3. Eureka. "Cord" makes sense, as the grip is very important to what and how you putt.

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  8. i have a bulls eye that has: FD UP 4 S has the code. John Reuter Jr. Made in USA Acushnet with the large Bulls Eye logo that does not fit on the sole and has 2 Rs (registered TM, the R in a circle) Any idea of the age. I have played with it since I was a kid. Only putter I have ever had.

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  9. I just found a 35" gold standard in my garage that has the "Mr. Bubble" logo and the words MR BUBBLE engraved in the right face. Never saw a promotional one like this before and find no reference to it on the net. Anyone know the history behind this?

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  10. I have a bullseye style blade putter all it says on the sole is Stingray -5 made in USA anyone know who the maker is etc?

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  11. Anyone ever hear of a ram wizard "200" tour classic "wishbone" like style hosel plastic type oval insert in the face grip says old master pistol style

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  12. My Bull's Eye was purchased on Cape Cod in the early 1970's for $30.00. The sole has the "OS-M--5-s" with John Reuter's Jr, Made in the US Acushnet, a stamping of the putter head and an "R" under , then the Buill's Eye " stamp with an "R" beside it. I don't believe it has any value beyond it's purchase priace. Right??

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  13. Wow. So much more interest on a Christmas Eve since I've hit "the bottom of the barrel" at ENGLISH SWILL.

    One at at time:

    The "R" my guess is that usually stands for "regular," and "S" stands for "standard."

    Almost every Acushnet Bullseye had the trademark or mentions John Reuter Jr. and if not, is not likely an original. Like I said, look at all the thousands, if not millions of bulleye-like putters at all the putt-putt courses in the world.

    Most of the numbers will refer to the shaft length.

    The promotional bullseyes are still out there, and probably carry the value specific only for collectors or companies mentioned on the putters.

    Finally, I know my off the rack, brass bullseye was $69.00 about 15 years ago. In the age of eBay, I doubt if there is any market outside of collectors, because I've seen almost no one on tour except Corey Pavin, Tom Jenkins, Mark James, Bob Estes, Bob Charles, and Notah Begay use a Bullseye on Tour.

    Thanks for the comments and Merry Christmas!!

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  14. I have a pat. Pending john reuter jr, large bullseye, acushnet TRU UP 5 P. The heel is straight and not the typical bullseye look, its shorter. Its stamped on the backface(rh?) with name and year.

    A. Is the model listed in description? B. Did acushnet stamp the name as a special order? Thanks for info.

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  15. The name stamped is a persons name with a year btw.

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  16. Club Pros, let me know what I have from a recent flea market find...it is a silver or chrome plated Bullseye putter pre-Acushnet , and pre-numbering, only has Bullseye logo and patent pending John Reuter stamps on bottom.. steel shaft appears old, no flutes...also has plastic/rubber grip, not leather...any thoughts on value?....conatct me at russelltolander@comcast.net to discuss, value etc...

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  17. The blog says:
    "Out of this multitude of offerings the pre-Acushnet no model number, and three other models, appear to have the greatest collector and playability interest."
    Mine is a wide-flange model, and on the sole, reading from left to right, it has:

    Acushnet / (Bulls-eye logo) / (R) putter head shape / WIDE FLANGE
    MADE IN U.S.A

    (there are no actual "/"s on the sole, they just indicate horizontal gaps;
    the "(R)" is actually an "R" inside a circle, atwixt the putter head outline)

    What I'd like to know is how do you measure the length of the putter.
    On my putter, from the grip butt to the point where the steel changes to brass is 33". From there to the sole is about 2.25".

    What length is my putter supposed to be?

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  18. Thanks for the insight. Yes, as is often the case when golfing, there are some unnecessary strokes, and lack of circles. Golf club measurement is normally done with the club resting with its sole on the floor, with the measuring ruler placed at the heel of the club. Many club makers also do not measure to the butt end of the grip, but rather only up from the heel to the "cap" on the end of the grip.

    One final point, it used to be that putters were made at 36 inch length, not because it was proper length for the player, but rather because it would fit into the carry bag without getting lost. Weird, huh?

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  19. Wrt my putter mentioned above (at October 08, 2013 6:29 PM) I guess it would be measured at 35" and if it had a length marking it would have a "5" somewhere e.g. looking for wide-flange putters on ebay some have a "35A", one had "WEL-O 5 S", etc.
    Another thing about my one is it has no slots cutout at all in the flange, which seems to be relatively uncommon. I really can't think what the purpose of those slots would be.
    I'd like to get a second putter of the same type and length which was the reason for my question.
    Thanks for this philosophically minded blog with a component about (slice of?) golf and for continuing to attend it.

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    1. Thank you for the kind comments. I have moved to a new blog called "English Swill" and still sell headcovers for classic golf style. Look us up when you can.

      As to the cutout slots on a flange, my engineering instincts tell me that weighting affects the location of the CG, center of gravity, which in turn affects the size and/or location of the sweet spot, the hitting point where there is the least club twist, and the most transmission of force. So there's that.

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  20. I have a flange bullseye and its stamped as so: fl M 7 s.... what does the 7 mean? Thanks

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  21. I can't tell you off the top of my Nike-laden head.

    As you may surmise from the above comments, numerals on a Bulls Eye most likely will refer to the putter length or the putter weight. It's just a guess at this point.

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  22. I have over 50 old Bulls Eye putters, all different except two, one that matches the one I use regularly(OSM6P). I replaced the paddle grip when it became illegal some years ago. I recently acquired one with a code I've never seen before - STDF5S. I have no idea what the F stands for. It isn't a flange. Anyone know?

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  23. Gary, that's a tough one. If it is not a flange shaped head, another possibility could be that Acushnet made a Bulls Eye line called "Femme" or "La Femme" for ladies. Just a guess.

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    1. Thanks for trying, but it's not La Femme. I have a couple of those, and this one is heavier.

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  24. Excellent info - Thanks for your efforts

    I have an Acushnet Bullseye Designed by John Reutter Jr - Looks like two putters were connected together ,sole is one inch wide , both sides exhibit what looks like metal round connecting tubes at heal and toe . On sole the print was obviously done at factory because it's on both sides . I can provide photos to anyone who thinks might help with ID .Thanks Golfballbarry

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  25. Ok..so here we go,,I have an old Acushnet putter number
    OSMH MPP5 the first P appears to be a double stamp.
    This putter has Jack Nicklaus name engraved on the top of the
    head of the putter. The story with this putter was it was used by Jack during his Amateur years, and was used to win a US Am Championship..so any imput would be appreciated.

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  26. Here's a thread on the topic of the codes with a good listing of them: http://www.golfwrx.com/forums/topic/99582-question-old-bullseye-putters/

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    1. got a bullseye stamped original any info?

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  27. Great post. Thanks for the very helpful link.

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LCDR Rosendo T. "Ross" Santonil, USN (1931- 2011)

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