Up to 40% of golfers are selecting long or belly putters as their new putter of choice. How do you select which putter is best for you?
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The following factors should be considered when choosing a putter. Some are more important than others and for some golfers, just the appearance of the putter can create more confidence.
Putter Fitting Factors:
- Lie Angle
- Grip Size
- Overall Weight
- Balance (Swing Weight)
- Toe Hang
- Style (Blade, mallet)
Your putter length, even for a belly putter, should put your eyes over the ball or just slightly inside the ball. If you are too far inside or on top of the ball, your ability to see the putting line will be impaired and you could push or pull your putts. Standard length putters are anywhere from 30″ to 36″ while belly putters are in the range of 38″ to 44″.
Putter lofts are usually 3 or 4 degrees. This loft allows the ball to get rolling quickly on the green in order to track the putting line more accurately. Too low of loft and the ball will bounce off the putter face. Too high of loft and the ball will skid and not roll accurately towards the target. Your hand position at impact can be a large factor in what loft you should have on your putter. Speed of the greens also is a factor. Faster greens require lower loft while slower greens dictate higher loft.
If the lie angle of your putter is too upright or too flat, the putter will not contact the ball squarely and cause you to either pull or push your putts. This is best observed by a fitter or a fitting system as it is difficult to determine when you are in your putting posture.
If you have a little too much wrist or hand movement in your putting stroke you will be inconsistent in your putting arc and face angle at impact. By trying a larger grip, you may reduce this hand and wrist action and become a lot more consistent. Winn and SuperStroke make oversize grips that do not impact the overall weight of the putter.
If your putter is too heavy or too light, you will struggle to make a consistent putting stroke. Every golfer has a different feel and finding the correct feel for you requires trying different putter weights and determining the impact on the consistency of your putting stroke.
Balance (Swing Weight):
Just like swing weight has an impact on a golfer’s full swing clubs, the balance of a putter can also impact your ability to make consistent contact with the ball and make a consistent putting stroke. By trying putters with different weighting, like the Balance Certified weighting system, the golfer will be able to see the results of different weights on consistency.
Putters are designed as either face balanced or with a certain amount of toe hang. If you balance a putter horizontally on your fingers, with the face of the putter facing up, you will see how your current putter is designed. Most mallet style putters are face balanced, meaning they rest perfectly horizontal to the ground, while most blade style putters have a certain amount of toe hang, meaning the toe is slightly heavier and tips downward towards the ground. Face balanced putters are better for a putting stroke that is straight back and straight through. If you have a slight or pronounced arc in your putting stroke, you should consider a putter with slight to moderate toe hang to help square the face consistently.
Style – Mallet, Blade or Combo:
Putters come in a wide variety of styles from blade (Ping Anser style) to mallet (Odyssey Two Ball) and all kinds of variations in between. Your choice can be based upon what visually appeals to you as well as what fits your swing style (straight back and through or arc). Larger mallet styles have more forgiveness but have more “clutter” to look at. The neck style can also be important as it can visually help you align the face and ball to your target line.