September 1 2011
NORTON, Mass. -- Thanks to his homemade wobble board, Charley Hoffman hopes his putting stroke has improved to the point that he can have another big week at TPC Boston.
Hoffman, the defending Deutsche Bank champion, has struggled on the greens this season. He enters this week ranked 133rd in Strokes Gained-Putting, the PGA TOUR's primary putting statistic. Hoffman got so frustrated with his putter at THE PLAYERS Championship in May that he snapped it in two after missing a short putt.
"Really unhappy" is how Hoffman views his putting this season.
But perhaps there's hope. He putted better last week in finishing tied for 10th at The Barclays, and he's back to using the wobble board -- which he built himself -- in hopes of stabilizing his setup.
Hoffman said he built the board a few years ago as an exercise tool after injuring his ankle. On his artificial putting green at home, he then started hitting some putts on it and had a revelation.
"I go, 'Wow, this gets me in position that I like,'" he said.
Hoffman said he had gone to Home Depot, got a piece of plywood, measured the width to the size of his feet and the length to the size of his stance.
"It's pretty simple," he added. "It's got like a little stick underneath it that was supposed to hold up a sign or something you put in your yard."
Hoffman continued to use the wobble board last year but got away from it this year and "sort of got off my groove," he said.
So now he's taking it with him on the road and has been using it on the practice greens this week at TPC Boston, where he won last year after shooting 62 in the final round.
"I rarely bring it on the road because I usually feel pretty good on the weeks off that I practice at home with it," he said. "But I felt this was a good time to bring it on the road and make sure I was in the right spot for the Playoffs, and I think we're definitely back on the right track."