By Justin Johnson - Puetz Fitting Staff
Putters are very personal and there is no one
putter that will work best for everyone. Ask yourself some questions to
help narrow down your search.
What kind of putting
stroke do you have?
Do you have a tendency to push
putts to the right or pull them to the left?
Do you use a pendulum stroke or is it "wristy"?
Do you have a smooth stroke or a quick stroke?
The shape you choose is based on
your preference. Below are descriptions of each type.
Classic blades are thin,
flat putters that resemble a miniature hockey stick. They are most
popular among skilled players because they provide the best "feel" for
the ball at contact.
Modern blades have a
forgiving design where the weight is distributed heel-toe, which
provides for a larger sweet spot because the perimeter weighting
stabilizes any slight miss-hits. Promote a
Mallets have a large,
round head, and their weight is usually balanced throughout the club,
providing you with a more consistent putting stroke. Mallets also
promote a straight-back-and-straight-through stroke and are the most
forgiving design for minimizing the effects of miss-hits.
The modern oversize
mallets have more bells and whistles than the original mallets.
Moving weight farther back and lower on the face to create higher
moments of inertia and more interesting designs.
Sightlines (Alignment Aids)
Putter manufacturers will use
many different types of alignment aids. They will vary from single to
multiple lines, dots, or large circles. It is highly recommended for
beginners and intermediate golfers to get a putter with an alignment aid.
They help the player aim well and assist in keeping the putter on line during
the stroke. Determining what works best for you is personal preference.
The hosel connects the shaft to
the putter head. Not all putters have hosels. Some have shafts that
connect directly into the putter head. Hosels can be all different shapes.
Most of the differences are cosmetic. But an important thing is whether or
not you want a putter with offset. Offset is a bend forward in the hosel
to help keep your hands ahead of the putter head, thus promoting a truer roll.
Offset is a must for beginning golfers and recommended for most golfers.
Heel Shafted vs. Center
Heel shafted putters are when the
putter connect to the heel of the club head and center shafted putters connect
in the center of the club head.
Most putters are built with
stainless steel shafts. Since the golfer is hitting the ball with much
less force then one would with woods or irons, the material are not critical.
Golfers preferring a lighter putter may opt to use a graphite shaft.
Heavy vs. Light
Generally speaking, heavier
putters work better if you normall y play on fast greens and lighter putters work
better if you normally play on slow greens.
Heel Shafted vs. Face-Balanced
When balancing the putter
horizontally, the face of a face-balanced putter points skyward, parallel to the
ground; while the toe of a heel shafted putter points downward at an angle.
Heel shafted putters work better for people who tend to miss to the left and for
people who have more of an arcing swing path. Face-balanced putters work
better for people who tend to miss to the right and for people who have a
straighter putting stroke.
The length of the putter depends
on your posture. Ideally when you are putting, your eyes should be
directly over the ball. The length of the putter should be what feels
comfortable. Here are three steps to find a good length for you:
Assume your regular putting
Let your arms hang down
Measure to the top of your
hand for the proper length of putter. The putter should be no more than 2
inches past your top hand. This allows you to grip higher on long putts and
lower on short ones. You don't want a putter that interferes with your
Standard vs. Belly vs. Long
Nearly all teaching pros will
advise you, if you can putt with a standard putter, then you should play with a
standard putter. If you stroke is plagued by the "yips" (putting nerves,
short jerky stroke) or excessive wrist action then you might want to consider a
belly or long putter. Belly putters are designed to use the abdomen as a
third point of contact along with each hand, to deliver stability and balance
throughout the stroke. The benefits to using a belly putter are the
reduction of wrist movement and the development of consistency in the putting
stroke. The cons are reduction of "feel" due to a thicker putter grip and
problems with distance control due to a longer shaft. Long putters are
made to rest against the chin or chest. Most players then employ a grip
similar to the way you would hold a broom: one hand at the top, the other midway
down the shaft. The advantages to using a long putter are the elimination
of wrist action and the development of a true pendulum swing in the putting
stroke. Long putters are also better for players with a bad back, allowing
them to stand more upright. The disadvantages are further reduction of "feel"
due an even thicker golf putter grip and more problems with distance control due
to an even longer shaft.
Posture and hand position are factors that
influence lie angle. First figure out the length you need and then the lie
angle can be determined. Golfers with an upright posture or high hand
position normally benefit from an upright putter. Conversely, a crouched
posture or low hand position usually dictates a flat putter. With
the putter resting on the ground, the toe should be no more than three degrees
up to level with the ground.
Generally you want a grip that
feels comfortable in your hands. If you have a pendulum type stroke a
larger grip works better because it prevents wrists from breaking down.
Wristy strokes might use a smaller grip to encourage an easy release.
Grips are inexpensive. They range from $2 to $8 and can generally be
changed in a couple of minutes by our staff.
Many manufacturers are using
different face materials to change the "feel" (sound) of the putter.
Putter face inserts can be made of metal, rubber, ceramic, plastic, glass, wood,
and more. Face materials "have no impact on the roll of the ball"
according to John Solhiem, Chairman and CEO of Ping Golf. They are
designed to deliver a softer "feel" on the putt at contact. The insert is
in the face of the putter, therefore neatly defining each club's sweet spot.
Hand position, putting stroke and
types of greens influence loft recommendations. Too little loft can cause
the ball to skid, while too much loft can create undesirable spin, especially on
long putts. Hand position can also add loft or de-loft the putter.
Slower greens may require more loft to lift the ball above the surface of the
green to get it rolling smoothly. Conversely, fast, smooth greens may
require less loft to start the ball rolling, not bouncing, on the intended
target line. The standard putter loft is from 3 to 5 degrees.
Though much of the process in choosing a putter is personal preference, it is a
good idea to make sure the putter you pick fits you. By using the
information contained in this pamphlet and/or being fit by a our sales staff.
You can get a putter that fits your stature as well as your stroke. Please
see our sales staff and we can help you with your questions.