Looking for a face balanced putter 2023-2024 season?
DON'T BUY ONE UNTIL YOU'VE READ THIS!
Firstly what is a face balanced putter?
When a putter is face balanced like the one on the right in the picture above, it means that the putter head is weighted so that it's perfectly balanced between the toe and the heel relative to the point where the shaft enters the head.
Sounds complicated, but really it means that the face is designed to turn less in your stroke.
To test whether your putter is face balanced, lay the shaft of your putter across your palm or on your index finger. If the face settles in a balance point where the face, points up at the sky, then it's a face balanced putter. If the toe points down then it is not ... it's a toe-hang putter.
Depending on the type of stroke you have, encouraging less rotation in the putter face can work wonders for your putting, or it can be disastrous.
Read on to find out whether a face balanced putter is what you need...
Make way more putts!
Get 7 short putting lessons by emails that will revolutionize your game
“Thanks to your tips, I've reduced my putting numbers from the high 40s per round to the high 30s in just 5 rounds and haven't had a 3-putt green in two rounds! I've literally cut 10 shots off my putting game in 3 weeks!” Elliot, 25 handicap
Your first email tip is on its way to you now.
My experience with face balanced putters:
I used to play professional tournament golf but had to give up due to the YIPS. I tried dozens of different putters. I was hell-bent on producing a straight-back-straight-through stroke, but I now know that this is:
a) impossible to produce.
b) massively detrimental to your putting game.
A face-balanced putter should work with a straight-back-straight-through stroke as it is designed to resist putter face rotation and could therefore hold the face square to the target reliably.
But in fact I actually produced a disastrous out-to-in cut stroke, like most people do when they try to make straight strokes with the putter.
... And that's how I got the YIPS!
My hands would flinch as I got close to the ball and I couldn't control the direction or the speed of my putts.
The cure was to develop an arc-shaped stroke and I used a toe-hang putter initially to encourage this, the weight of the toe encouraging the correct opening and closing of the face on an arc'd stroke.
A toe-weighted putter helped me get the putter opening and closing in an arc'd stroke
Once you have an arc'd stroke established, a face balanced putter often works better
Then, when I could reliably do this, I transitioned to a face balanced model and have putted well ever since, representing my regional amateur team at men's national finals and winning trophies like the one above.
I beat the YIPS and cut 10 shots off my putting game.
You're trying to produce a slightly arcing stroke (i.e. your putter head moves slightly to your foot side of a the target line in both the backswing and through swing).
You're trying to use a straight back and straight through stroke - but I highly recommend you don't! (Click here to find out why).
You have over-active bottom hand on the grip... a face balanced putter is of great benefit because it reduces the amount your putter face rotates open and closed during the stroke.
You're consistently pulling your putts to the left (reverse if you're left handed)
What are the advantages of a face balanced putter?
Because the face of a face-balanced putter is weighted to stay parallel to the horizon, through the impact area of your stroke it prevents the face of the putter from rotating dramatically in your forward stroke.
Therefore it is best suited to a slight arc.
As long as you are not cutting your putts, then a face-balanced putter is the easiest putter to use and it requires the lowest skill level. The majority of golfers at all levels now use face-balanced models of putter.
As they are mainly mallet shaped, these putters tend to have a larger sweet spot.
This head shape also allows for a longer aiming line on the top of the putter and other alignment aids such as parallel line patterns which are proven to accuracy of your clubface aim at address.
Another advantage of face balancing is that it gives you a soft feel. Rather than the sharp (yippy) feel of the face rotating through impact, face balanced give you a feeling of stability of the putter face through impact.
Face balanced mallet putters are almost always high moment of inertia (MOI) putters and the way the center of gravity works in this type of putter means that they both resist twisting on off-center strikes. Putters with ultra high MOIs like the Taylormade spider X or Scotty Cameron Phantom X are always face balanced and if you're happy with they way they look, then you'll have all the technology behind you.
Famous players who use a face balanced putter:
The trend towards mallet style, face balanced putters has been unrelenting since their invention Many of the best men and women players in the world use a face balanced putter, including Rory McIlroy, Jon Rahm and Xander Schauffele.
As I write this (late 2023), 8 out of the top 10 on the men's world rankings use a face-balanced putter. Back in 2019 that number was just 4 out of 10. Before the year 2000 virtually all top pros used a bladed putter.
All that said, I would say that many of the most natural and best putters in the world use toe-hang putters.
Tiger Woods' Scotty Cameron is a toe-hang putter and this suits his naturally pronounced arc with the face of the putter opening and closing to produce a very small amount of hook spin, which Woods has talked about as one of his secrets of putting.
Cameron Smith is another very natural (and great) putter who favors a toe-hang blade design.
So why do these great players want more weight in the toe of the putter?
A face-balanced putter is not for you if...
You're aiming for a fairly pronounced open-square-closed arc stroke like Tiger Woods. In this case a toe hang (aka toe-balanced) putter would be a better idea as it supports this stroke shape.
You're struggling to release the putter through impact and are blocking everything right (reverse if you're left handed).
You're trying to move away from a straight putting stroke or you struggle with a cut stroke, then a toe-hang putter will help you (like it helped me) to break this destructive shape stroke.
You tend to leave putts short, then you may find your distance control improves if you experiment with toe-weighted putters.This is because the golf ball generally comes off faster from the face of a toe-weighted or blade putter for the same amount of hand movement. The weight of the toe rotating through impact adds speed to the face.
You don't like mallet style putters. There are some face-balanced blade putters, but the vast majority are bulky mallets which, most people thing are not a great look.
So if you feel more like an artist and value the aesthetic of the putter, then either a straight blade or face-balanced blade will be a great choice. You prefer an onset putter: Given that it's almost impossible to make a face balanced putter without a double bend shaft, this style of putter isn't for you if you prefer an onset putter. Some people find they can aim onset putters much more reliably.
Remember that your putter is the most used club in your bag. If you don't get on with your current putter and you want to score lower, then it's time for a change.
Fittings are great to assess lie angle, length of shaft, whether you deliver the putter better with larger grips or thinner grips and they can give you detailed information about how you deliver the face on a dead flat putt.
Where they are limited though, is that they can't determining which shape of putter best suits you in regular play with different breaks and slower and faster greens.
The best way to do this is to try a variety of putters on the golf course.
And I mean more than just a quick trip to the putting green.
Here's another, cheaper (and in my opinion better) way to do get the right putter for you...
Go for a putter fitting with a SAM lab or other stroke analysis tool and then buy a selection of used putters on ebay which are on your possibles list. Once you've tried them all out for a few rounds and settled on one style, get rid of the putters you don't like on ebay and you'll be left with the one you like at a much lower cost.
Click on the links below to find out which face balanced putter is the best with Best-Putter.com's independent, hands-on reviews, you'll also find where to buy them at the best prices!
Best-Putter.com's reviews of face balanced putters:
Click below to jump to independent reviews of putters from that manufacturer:
on a Callaway putter...
Not in the US? Click here for
and Amazon listings for a Callaway in your region
The Tuttle is certainly original - a putter that definitely looks like a driver. The good news is that it performs better than it looks!
... on a Cleveland putter
Not in the US? Click here for
listings for a Cleveland putter in your region
Cleveland T Frame
Surprisingly well finished futuristic putter. If you like see through frame designs this is a good value-for-money option
... on a Nike putter
Nike Method 004Face balanced version of the Method 001. Favor this putter if you're trying to produce a straight-back-straight through stroke.
Nike Method 005Face balanced mallet which looks like it's got a good bit of meat behind the head. For our money the best looking in the Method range.
... on a Never Compromise putter
Never Compromise AlphaThis putter seems to stay square for ever! Feel's not great, but you'll love it if you use a square-to-square stroke