Choosing A Putter? Read this first to make more putts...
Choosing a putter that fits your game is the most overlooked, but most
crucial thing you can do to lower your score. It's crucial to get it right. The
following tips make it easier to select the right club for you and save the
irritation of bad putting!
1. Select the putter balance that fits your stroke... Disregard the
(In my view this is the most important secret in choosing a putter):
Putters are weighted differently to suit different types of stroke. If you have
a conventional open-square-closed stroke (like Tiger Woods, Phil Mickleson and
95% of tour pros), then you should be choosing a putter which is
... on a toe weighted putter
the other hand you are trying to achieve a straight back and straight through
stroke (like Padraig Harrington) the best style of putter for you will be a
face-balanced putter (see image).
You can see what is meant by face balanced and toe weighted in the picture
above. Imagine you had the putter balanced on your palm - or on a table like in
the picture. If the face points up to the sky, parallel to the horizon, then
it's a face balanced putter. If the toe settles lower than the rest of the
putter then it's a toe-balanced or toe-hang putter.
There are varying amounts
of toe-hang. Most people describe the amount of toe hang by reference to a clock
face. For example, the putter on the left in the picture hangs vertically, so
that would be a 6 o'clock toe hang, which is quite rare. The putter in the
middle is more typical of a toe hang putter - it falls at about 7:30 on the
Scotty Cameron and some others describe this as a 1/4 toe hang.
... on a face balanced putter
balanced putter is designed to stay as square to the putter path as possible
through the stroke. You would think therefore that everyone should be choosing a
putter like this, but you'd be wrong. Most people putt with an
open-square-closed stroke where the putter moves on a slight arc (sometimes
known as an in-to-in stroke or a barn door stroke). This is the most natural way
to putt and toe
weighted putters are designed to work most effectively with this type of stroke.
As I write this article 6 of the world's top 10 players use toe weighted
putters and the remaining 4 are using a face balanced putter.
Because the putter weightings are designed for these different styles of stroke, the
last thing you want is a putter that's working against the shape of your stroke.
When you're choosing a putter, weighting should be your first consideration.
So make that decision now and you make the job of choosing a putter a whole lot
easier by eliminating about half of the options.
2. Choose a Putter Style That Looks Good To You...
Heel and Toe Weighted Putters
Ping Anser putters of the 1960s
popularized the heel and toe weighted (or "perimeter weighted") style of putter
design. So called because they have their weight concentrated in the heel and
toe areas, these putters have the largest sweetspots of any putters (the
sweetspot is the area where true hits can be achieved).
Heel and toe weighted
putters have been shown to twist less than any other style of putter with an off
centre hit. This means that the difference between where putts end up if struck
by the sweetspot as compared with off-centre hits is as small as possible.
on heel and toe weighted putters:
This style is a favourite amongst purists for its
traditional good looks. Because the shaft enters the head at the heel, this also
moves the sweetspot towards the heel. Putting guru, Dave Pelz suggests therefore
that people who tend to miss the sweetspot towards the
heel of the face would be best off choosing a putter with a blade shape.
Blade putters are heavily toe weighted (see
explanation above), so are
great for open-square-closed strokes and disastrous for straight-back,
on blade putters:
The weight in a
mallet putter is
distributed further towards the toe end of the face than in a blade putter and
therefore this style will favour you if you tend to miss the sweetspot towards
the toe end of the face.
Depending on where the shaft enters the head, a
mallet putter can
be either face
on mallet putters:
Center Shafted Putters
i) These come in two guises - Modern
putters which are almost always face balanced (see explanation above) are excellent if
you're trying to produce a straight-back, straight-through stroke.
ii) The "Bullseye" style of putter which was popular in the 1950s - 1980s.
Although elegant, these brass putters have become much less popular due to tests
proving that they have the smallest sweetspot of all putter designs. Choosing a
putter like this can be disastrous if you're a beginner, as beginners miss the
sweetspot more than more proficient players.
on center shafted putters:
The hottest things in putter design.
putters such as Scotty Cameron's Futura Putter come in all different shapes and
sizes. Futuristic putters have been designed with function rather than
appearance in mind and generally have large sweetspots. They are almost always
face balanced and looking down at them takes some getting used to!
on futuristic putters:
3. Find the Right Putter Length
Although there is a standard length for conventional putters (men's are 35
inches - 90cm, and women's are 33-34 inches - 84-86cm), don't be afraid of
altering the length of your putter
if you feel uncomfortable with it.
theory amongst teaching professionals is that the more upright you stand when
addressing your putts, the better visual perspective you have and therefore the
better you can judge distance and break immediately before you take the putter
This suggests that choosing a putter with a longer shaft will make
you a more effective putter. However there are people who advocate using a shorter
putter. They say it increases feel, especially on very fast greens.
Click here for info on choosing a putter with the ideal length
4. Find the Right Putter Weight
Some putters are light and others are heavier. There's no hard and fast rule
which one you'll like best, but here's a guideline:
Light putters are
generally thought to be easier to putt well with on fast greens and heavy
putters are usually more successful on slower greens.
a line of extremely
heavy putters, have appeared on the market. Their major
selling point is the stability of the putter through impact. As yet I have not
had a chance to try or review a heavy putter, but if you don't get on with
standard weight putters, you might want to check it out by
5. Find the Right Putter Lie Angle
Putters aren't generally available in the same wide range of lie options as
irons. This makes choosing a putter to fit your body shape and address position
difficult unless you know a good clubfitter.
Finding a putter that lies correctly - i.e. so that the sole of the putter sits flat on the ground when
you address the ball is generally considered to be fairly important. Therefore the taller you
are, the more upright your putter will need to be and the shorter you are the
flatter your putter's lie angle can be.
However, unlike iron clubs which your
local pro or golf outlet can alter relatively easily, you can't get a putter
easily adapted to suit you. In order to alter the lie angle of a putter your
club pro will need a type of vice and only high quality club fitters have them.
Unless you know of a very good club fitter near you, your best bet will probably be to
send the putter back to the manufacturer (especially if it's an expensive one) so they can custom fit it for you.
Even though it's time consuming to send it away, don't risk any "home
improvements" to alter the lie of your putter (I speak from experience
The Reason? You will almost
certainly bend the putter in more than one direction (or plane) - in other
words, you'll probably add or take loft off the putter by bending your putter
yourself, and that can spell absolute disaster for the roll your putter puts on
Technicians and putter makers have spent countless hours
working out whether to put 4 degrees of loft or 2.5 degrees onto your putter to
make it roll the ball best - a careless nudge or hammer blow to your putter when
it's clamped in a vice could change that from 3.5 to 6 degrees and you'll be
putting with a chipper!
Whatever you do, leave it to the professionals -
in this case, the putter manufacturer.
And finally... always, always try out a putter before you buy
(before returning to Best-putter.com to find the best price of course!)
There really is no substitute to giving a selection of putters a try. A lot of
golf shops have now installed astro turf putting greens in their shops to help
you in choosing a putter, but in
my experience, these are NOT the best places to try them out.
you get onto a proper putting green when choosing a putter. A good
way to try out a putter is to try out your playing partners' putters while
playing a round. This way you can try two or three putters a round on real
greens... then you can come straight back to Best-Putter.com to find the best
new and used prices!
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