Once Brittany Bomar started side-saddle putting at age 10 and was successful, she was hooked. Today, the putter manufacturing CEO seeks to show others the benefits of the unorthodox method
Billy Bomar first picked up side-saddle putting at Arizona Golf Resort in Mesa, where his parents lived, when he noticed a member putting that way and decided to try it. In 1996, Bomar finished seventh in the Compaq World Putting Championship by Dave Pelz, competing with a side-saddle putter made by Brad Butler, the head professional at Arizona Golf Resort. Bomar has won more than 200 professional tournaments putting side-saddle and taught his daughter, Brittany, to putt that way at age 10.
Brittany was an outstanding junior in Alaska and qualified for four U.S. Amateur Public Links Championships. She played collegiately at the University of Northern Iowa and the University of Hawaii-Manoa. She turned professional at age 23 and competed on the Canadian Women’s Tour, the European Access Tour, the Nordea Tour and the Australian Ladies Professional Golf Tour.
Billy and Brittany formed Bomar Putting Company in 2020 and Brittany is the CEO. Brittany’s brother Chase is the company’s sales rep and club technician. The company is located in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho. The First Call's Mike Purkey recently spoke with Brittany Bomar regarding putting and her company.
The interview has been lightly edited for clarity.
The First Call: When you were first introduced to side-saddle putting, did you know any other way?
Brittany Bomar: When I was a junior starting out, like a lot of kids with golf, you start out at five with plastic clubs. So, I started out putting conventionally. Once I got a bit taller when I turned 10, that's when I switched over and have been side-saddle ever since.
TFC: In your collegiate or professional career. Were you ever tempted to go to a short putter?
BB: No. Thankfully, the strongest part of my game was my putting. So, I never had a doubt in my mind that's the way I was going to putt forever. That was a big reason why I started the company, just because I wanted to stay in the industry. But I knew that I had a love and a passion for the way that I played. And I figured if I could share that with more people and help them out, grow the game and get people to have stronger short games.
TFC: As you were playing professionally, how many people asked you about the way you putted?
BB: Just about everybody directly asked me and I definitely heard chatter. So, that was kind of a fun thing. People are automatically drawn to you because it's so different. I don't think I ever came across anyone professionally who putted that way. Nor any amateurs for that matter. So anytime anyone would see me, they would automatically stop and watch me play. But the nice thing was, having eyes on me, that was the strongest part of my game. So, I liked that because you'd hear doubt. And then once you start making putts, they're like, 'Oh, okay, well, I guess that works.'
TFC: Do you believe side-saddle putting is superior to conventional putting?
BB: I do just because of personal reasons. The research that we've done, from a mechanical standpoint, this is how I explain it to people. I'm not going to want to convert everybody. If I have a buddy that's an excellent putter and he's conventional, I'm not going to mess with that like with anything in golf. But I think that if anyone feels like they have room to improve with their playing that they should try it.
TFC: Who is side-saddle putting for?
BB: I think anybody and everybody. Anyone who's looking to improve their putting, give it a go. We've had a company now for just over two years and our clientele ranges from juniors to high-handicap amateurs, low and mid-handicap ams. We have more than 50 club pros on staff.
TFC: Do you have any trouble convincing people?
BB: There are always some stubborn people. The people who give me a laugh are the ones who come out and they try it and they're so good with it because it’s so natural. They're making putts. I had one guy, for instance, at a demo day around here and asked me if he could take it out for nine holes. He had six one putts, like two two-putts and made one from off the fringe. But his buddies were giving me a hard time, so he decided against buying a putter.
TFC: Is that the biggest obstacle?
BB: It is. Golf is a traditional sport. People don't want to see any kind of change. But everything is becoming more progressive and growing, and it's different. And I like that we've always stood out and the people that are open to it and willing to try it are there for us. If you're skeptical, give it a go. If you still disagree with it, then that's OK. I won't judge you for it.
TFC: So, technically speaking, the lie angle of your putter is 76 degrees. Tell me how that's better than the side-saddle putters that hang from the shoulder.
BB: All of our prototypes are actually set at 80 degrees, which currently is the legal limit according to the USGA. When we were getting ready to launch the company, we wanted to make sure that we were conforming, because that's always a common misconception — that side-saddle is illegal. The USGA came back and was like, now we need you to go to 76 degrees because we are thinking about changing the legal limit to 76. I was able to work with my designers and my engineers and we were able to make a couple of design changes to the head, which allowed us to be at 76, but still allows you to get it at an 80 degree or more upright position.
TFC: Why are there no Tour players putting this way?
BB: I honestly think that's because side-saddle hasn't been normalized yet. And there's never been a major manufacturer for the club. I know that we were the first company to go to the PGA Merchandise Show and have a booth. I think it's just exposure and the fact that it's not common yet. Once we get a little bit bigger, we can start juniors putting side-saddle from the beginning. And then if they keep excelling with it, and they get to a top level, then they'll be there.
TFC: Why is the grip on your putter just a normal short grip and not a long grip?
BB: That's a very common question we get. It’s just the way we've always used the club. In our personal opinion, that lower hand is your control hand and if you have a grip down there, it's kind of like someone who would put on a jumbo grip on a conventional putter to numb their hands out. We want to do the opposite. You want all your feel to be in that lower hand. That's the way that we've always done it. However, I've probably had, you know, 10% of our customer base, install a split grip after they buy the putter.
TFC: What are your goals for the company?
BB: I should go over to my whiteboard, I have it all written down. You know, I'm trying to keep my mindset with short-term goals and not get ahead of myself. After launching in 2020, COVID hit and, luckily, we were able to still sustain sales through our website. But now that things are opening up, we're able to get on the road more. For me, it's just getting more exposure, becoming more known to the golfing community. I hope one day we're going to normalize side-saddle putting. Bomar is going to be a household name, and you're going to see some Tour players using our putters.