The Schenectady Putter


A. F. Knight of Schenectady New York
Inventor of the Schenectady Putter

Used by Walter J. Travis in win the 1904 British Amateur  title at Royal 
St George's in Sandwich.


A. F. Knight of Schenectady New York took up golf in 1896 and by 1898 was not only an enthusiast but had become the best player the Mohawk Golf Club had. Like most golfers Mr. Knight's game had reached a plateau and he went off on the eternal golf journey of game improvement. Again like a lot improvement seeking  golfers he came to the conclusion his putting sucked and that the reason clearly was the putter not the puttee.  

Thus in the summer of 1902 he left the putting green and headed for the workshop. Before long Mr. Knight had created a wooden headed, lead filled  monster that embodied his ideas. Like all golf club inventors his trials convinced him he'd created golf's holy grail. For a week or more he continued to use this "clumsy looking" club with satisfactory and continuously improving results. ( All the while receiving an ever increasing amount of "ribbing" from his fellow club members.) 

After playing a match in Syracuse using his old putter, which he lost 8 and 7, he concluded that his new putter was clearly the answer and he immediately began work on an aluminum version of his wooden headed marvel. After a couple of attempts his aluminum version was perfected and off he went to seek the opinions of the more prominent golfers of his day. As luck would have it golf architect Devereux Emmet was playing Mohawk the day Knight's aluminum putter was completed. Hearing this Knight hunts Emmet down and asks him to give his gift to golf a try. Mr. Emmet whose putting probably stunk that day anyway said sure, why not ? And Knight left him the putter to give it a whirl. Well it no doubt helped because when Knight returned to the club house he found that Emmet had "unexpectedly" been called away and happen to take the putter with him "for further tests" ! ( I lent a 3 wood to a "friend" 30 years ago and he's still testing !) 

Anyway a couple days later Mr. Knight receives a telegram from 1901 U.S. Amateur Golf Champion Walter Travis ordering a putter like Mr. Emmet's.  ( It is interesting to note he wanted one like Mr. Emmet's,  NOT like the one you asked Mr. Emmet to demo. That clearly shows Emmet's opinion on the putter.)  Knight knowing he had some how attracted the top amateur in the country promptly produced and shipped another. Some correspondence followed and Knight made and shipped another to Travis with slightly more loft, after minimal use Walter proclaimed it "the best putter I have ever used". ( Oh yeah how many times have you said that ? I can document with hardware I've said it a least a dozen times.) 

In the fall of 1903 at Garden City, using his new "Schenectady" Mr. Travis won the U.S. Amateur for the for the third time. Within a week Mr. Knight had received hundred's of orders and letters for his club from many prominent golfers who would once they got them used their Schenectady's exclusively.

Then the almost unthinkable happened. Mr. Travis in 1904, playing at Royal St. George's in Sandwich becomes the first foreigner to win the British Amateur. The Royal and Ancient's went nuts. Clearly Mr. Travis was not a superior golfer, it had to be that moronic looking putter giving him some kind of unfair advantage. In 1910 after 6 years of bickering the club was banned from tournament play, thus triggering what would be a decades long riff over center shafted putters between the USGA and the Royal and Ancient's. It finally ended in 1951 when the Royal and Ancient's finally decided that maybe it was the player after all. ( Of course by then Ouimet, Hagen, Jones, Snead, Sarazen, and Little may have convinced them that an American or two might be able to muster a game of golf now and then.)

Although the damage to "The Schenectady's" marketability was beyond measure, so is the enjoyment the center shafted putters have brought to so many golfers over the years. I for one thank you Mr. Knight for your idea.

To learn more about center shafted putters and how they help your golf game, continue your search here....



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