Celebrating the Perfect Putt

The Perfect Putt
Photo: Courtesy Grantland YouTube Channel
Scoring a 1 is tough enough in putt-putt, but 18 in a row? Rick Baird has done it.
By John Kim

Series: Golf Buzz

Published: Tuesday, March 04, 2014 | 2:33 p.m.

The old adage is: Don't let perfect be the enemy of good. But sometimes, good - or even great - isn't the goal. Perfect is.

Take Rick Baird, a member of the PPA. The PPA - otherwise known as the Professional Putters Association, the orgainization that puts on tournaments around miniature golf - known by many (by the brand name) Putt-Putt.

In 2007, Baird was the PPA Player of the Year. That's pretty good. But it's what he accomplished in 2011 - and only now getting the full press it deserves - that really boggles the mind. Baird acheived perfection. That's right. He scored an 18 in a round of miniature golf. 18 up - 18 aces. It's only been done three times...ever.

Moreover, the story of Baird's perfection is brilliantly told through the lens of a Grantland mini-documentary - which also details how nearly impossible the math says it is to accomplish what Baird did that day. They also use a brilliant animation to show each hole and the putt that went in. Really well done.



I actually tried to imagine the pressure that goes through one's mind as they step up to a geometrically devious golf hole with no real architectual ryhme or reason to it - with the goal being, "let's make history." Every year, someone is going to have a putt to win the Masters. Every two years, a putt at the Ryder Cup will feel like the whole world is watching. But this was really a putt that might not be seen again for a generation. Amazing.

So this is a couple of years old - but it's new to me, so it's news to me. Congratulations Rick Baird. You weren't simply good that day...not even simply great. You were perfect.  

You can follow John Kim on Twitter at @johnkim