Which Putter Is Right For You?
How and why did you pick the putter that is in your golf bag? Was it feel, look, brand, price, or another determining factor? The putter is the most used club in your bag, and the average amateur golfer will use it anywhere from 25-40 times a round which equates to roughly 43% of your strokes in 18 holes. Like the famous saying “drive for show, putt for dough” the putter can be a great equalizer for many players. Finding a putter that complements you can make a huge difference on you making those pesky little 6 footers for par.
Ask yourself- how many putts do you have in a round? What is your typical miss? Pulled left? Pushed right? Leaving the putt short? Blowing it past the hole? Burning edges? Well if you answered yes to any of these take a look at what putter is in your bag and think of how you set up to it.
A few questions to consider: Where do you grip your putter? Do you put your eyes directly over the ball? Outside the ball? Inside the ball? All of these factors are influenced by the length of the putter.
Length is arguably the most important aspect of putter fitting because it has such a huge effect on how you set up to the ball and where your eyes are positioned. Placing the golf ball on the inside or outside distorts your perception and when your eyes are outside moves it left and inside to the right.
- Generally when a putter is too long your eyes will be too far inside the ball and you may push putts to the right.
- When the putter is too short your eyes will be outside the ball and this will cause pulls to the left.
Finding a putter that allows you to set up properly/comfortably with a putter that complements your putting stroke will help you make more putts which will help lead you to less manipulation with your hands.
Depending on how you set up to the ball and where you position your body/eyes this has an impact on what style of putting stroke you may have. Do you take the putter straight back straight through? Do you have an arc? Do you have a strong arc? Putting is a touchy subject and there is not a definitive correct and incorrect putting stroke/setup.
Look at Jack Nicklaus, he is one of, if not the best golfer of all time and he putted in a non traditional way. He generally was crouched directly over the ball, feet were close together with an open stance, hands right by his body with a forward press, elbows out, eyes behind the ball, while wearing a glove. It may not have been the standard set up with the flatstick, but he made it work and his putting helped him break many records. Most golfers today use a more traditional set up and finding a putter that helps you stay square through your putting stroke will drastically improve your putting.
Now that you have an idea on your set up and posture you can see what style of putter you have. Whether it be a mallet, blade, belly, high MOI design or something else all of these styles have different balance points and weighting. To find the balance point of your putter hold the shaft parallel to the ground with a finger and see what the face does. If the putters face is flat and pointing to the sky you have a face balanced putter, if the toe is hanging down at a 2:00, 4:00, 6:00 o’clock position you have varying degrees of toe weighting.
Face balanced= Generally a mallet, center shafted, or high MOI designs are great putters for those who like to putt on a straight back straight through stroke. These golfers are usually over the ball with their eyes allowing their body to flow from square to square.
Toe weighted putters or putters with a slight toe hang or severe toe hang will help those players who are a little further away from the ball with their eyes positioned inside. These players generally have a slight or strong arc to their strokes and on this path the putter comes from inside to square back to inside. This weight being pushed out towards the toe helps you square the putter, so at impact you have a proper face angle. The face angle at impact will determine the accuracy of your putt and putting with something that will not help you square your putter does not do you any favors. Open face= pushed to the right. Closed face=pulled to the left. If you have a severe arc you may want to find a putter that hangs at 5:00 or 6:00 and has full toe weighting.
If you are using something that does not complement your stroke this could be a reason why you are missing putts! Face angle (whether your putter is square, open, or closed at impact) errors are 70 percent more influential on the golf balls line of travel compared to path angle, making it crucial to have a putter that helps you square the club.
60% of the break of an average putt is going to occur within three feet of the hole and if you are pushing/pulling putts you will not hit your mark, thus not making more putts. Off center hits on the putter have a huge effect on distance and direction the putt will travel and this is magnified if you can not square up your putter at impact. Depending on your set up and stroke type certain putter designs will help you square the face at impact, which in turn will help make you drain more putts!
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