How to Pick the Perfect Putter
If you’re looking for a guide to help you pick out the perfect putter, we’ve got lots of helpful information for you below. We will be covering the different components of a putter, types of putters, as well as common questions you’ll face when shopping for a putter.
Getting fit for a putter is recommended because a club fitter can match the putter components to better suit your putting stroke style. They can off-set different faults you currently have by adjusting the equipment like shaft position, putter head weight, grip size.
Let’s dive into the different components of a putter first so you are educated when looking at all the different options on display at a golf equipment shop.
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Components of a Putter
The putter grip plays a huge role in your success on the greens. Ideally, you should hit putts using your arms and rocking your shoulders. But some players get their hands involved and this can cause problems.
You’ll see players on the PGA Tour often use larger, over-sized grips and this helps them quiet their hands during the putting stroke. You can choose from a variety of putter grip sizes, textures, colors, and brand names. SuperStroke is a popular brand of putter grips as well as Golf Pride.
Putter grips also are the only legally allowed grip that is square in shape. Usually putter grips have a square side that faces away from your body to help your thumbs know exactly where to grip the putter.
One end of the putter shaft connects to the putter head and you use grips to hold onto the putter shaft at the other end. It helps you control the putting stroke and there are different bends for the shaft where it connects to the putter head.
In fact, the USGA has rules regarding a putter shaft’s bend. The putter shaft must be straight until 5 inches above the putter head and then it can bend. Here are the three main types of shaft bends to look for.
Offset Bend – this is where the club head sits further behind the ball at address than the shaft. Usually the shaft isn’t bent but instead it connects into a bent hosel. This type of offset helps the golfer keep their hands ahead of the putter head at impact to promote a better stroke.
Double Bend – this is where the shaft has two bends in it before connecting into the putter head. It’s goal is to again promote the shaft being ahead of the putter head so the hands lead the way in the stroke.
Slanted Shaft – another putter you’ll see, often labeled
with “s” in the putter’s name, is the slanted shaft putter. This creates more toe hang for the putter helping golfers with arc strokes open and close the face easier.
The putter head is the part of the club that makes contact with the golf ball and is designed to start the ball straight on line. There are many varieties of putter heads and the technology can be quite complex that putters use these days.
Things to be aware of when looking at putter heads are the alignment, face inserts, weight of putter, and overall feel/sound.
Alignment – putters have alignment aids and visuals to help you set up your put and start it center of the face. These can be lines painted onto the top of the putter head that you look down and see or it can be the overall shape of the putter designed to help you line up putts easier.
Face inserts – this will depend on personal feel. There are metal face inserts that give putters more firmer feel and crisp sound or there are lighter weight, non-metal inserts that produce softer feel and sound. There are also groove face inserts where the putter face has groove lines to help with reducing skidding and sliding on the golf ball after impact.
Weight – another personal preference based on if you like heavier putters or lighter weight putters. Some putters have adjustable weights where you can change out the weight inserts.
Feel & Sound – you also want to hit practice putts with different putters before buying to see how the ball feels in your hands when it comes off the face. Also how does it sound. Some high pitch putters can annoy golfers while other putters with soft “thud” sounds may be too quiet to provide feedback.
Putter loft is another feature to consider as it impacts the initial roll of the golf ball. Usually a golf ball starts off skidding and then transitions into pure roll. Research shows that 3 to 4.5 degrees loft is optimal to help achieve the right skid to roll percentage.
If the loft is too low, the ball won’t get enough lift and could end up bouncing which is what you do not want a putt to do. Skid is okay and normal but bounce is bad.
Loft can also be too high, for example 6 degrees, and this can cause the ball to bounce as well.
Types of Putters
In this section we will be reviewing the following four types of putters:
- Blade Putter
- Mallet Putter
- Toe Balanced Putter
- Face Balanced Putter
Blade vs Mallet Putters
Starting off with design shaping, there are two main types of putters; (1) blade putter, (2) mallet putter. You’ll be able to tell a difference visually by looking at the putter head style. Here’s what to know:
Blade Putter – this is the traditional style of of putter you’d think of first. It’s a skinnier width putter head and it’s designed to give more feel to your putts to help you with distance control. Think of it like the old school putter you’d use at a mini-golf course.
Mallet Putter – the mallet putter is more square in shape with the length and width being more equal if you measure them. This differs from the blade putter which is long in length, skinny in width. The mallet a heavier putter head to help with accuracy and keeping the stroke straight.
Toe Balance vs Face Balance Putters
Additionally, putters will differ with their weight distribution. If you were to set a putter across a flat table and let the putter head hang over the edge of the table, you’ll see how much “toe hang” a putter has.
If you picture a clock around the axis of the putter shaft, the putter head will hang between 6 o’clock and 9 o’clock. The closer the toe hangs to 6 o’clock, the more toe hang it has. The closer to 9 o’clock the toe hangs, the more balanced the putter is.
Toe Balanced Putter
the weight is distributed towards the toe which helps the putter head open and close easier. This is ideal for players with an arcing putting stroke where the putter face needs to open slightly to stay square with the stroke path.
Face Balanced Putter
the center of gravity is directly below the shaft axis, which leads to the toe pointing to 9 o’clock and the face pointing up into the sky. Since the weight is equally balanced across the putter face, it helps keep the face from opening and closing much making it ideal for golfers with a straight putting stroke.
The official rule regarding putter length is that it must be at least 18 inches in length minimum but there is no other rule than that. You can choose from standard length putters or longer putters commonly known as belly putters.
Standard Putters (32-36 inches)
Standard length putters are designed to be an extension of your arms. They help you perform a pendulum swing in your putting stroke so picking out a length that helps you achieve the pendulum swing is best.
Belly Putters (41-46 inches)
Belly putters were popular prior to 2016, before they were outlawed by the PGA Tour for competition play. Belly Putters are longer allowing them to anchor to your body to help stabilize the putter.
The anchoring occurs with the butt end of the putter grip pressing into the golfers stomach. The USGA deemed anchoring illegal but not belly putters themselves. Players could still swing a belly putter as long as it’s not anchoring against their body.
What is the Correct Putter Length?
According to Ralph Maltby, the average putter length used by the PGA Tour players is 33.5 inches while most putters are sold in a standard length of 34 inches or 35 inches. Which putter length do you choose?
You should start by analyzing your putting stance. Are you more upright or are you more hunched over when putting?
The ideal putting stance has your eyes over the golf ball at address to help you make a more accurate putting stroke. The ideal putter length will help you achieve this. You’ll find it’s much easier to strike the ball in the center of the club face, which will help your distance control.
The more upright your putting stance, the longer your putter length should be to help you properly position your eyes over the golf ball to see the putt.
Same for more hunched over putting strokes. You’ll want a shorter putter length to match up with this style so you can position your head and eyes over the golf ball properly.
Additionally, you want the putter length to help you swing the putter with a pendulum motion. If it’s too long the putter will bottom out behind the ball causing problems in your stroke and poor contact. If it’s too short, you might contact the ball on the top half causing inconsistent roll.
Check out this YouTube video to learn more on how putter length impacts your stroke.
What is the Best Putter for a High Handicapper?
The type of putter you choose really depends on your putting stroke style.
Most beginners and high handicappers need a putter that is easier to keep straight during the putting stroke so they can hit the ball on line. On mis-hits, you’d also want it to be more forgiving so distance isn’t lost and accuracy is maintained as much as possible.
Therefore, it’s recommended you check out face balanced putters first and if you can find a face balanced putter in mallet design, that would be ideal.
This type of putter is heavier which makes it less reactive and easier for you to keep it straight. It also is face balanced which is ideal for someone wanting to putt straight back, straight through and keep the face from twisting or opening during the stroke.
The TaylorMade Spider and the Odyssey O-Works Two Ball are two good example putters that are face balanced and mallet design style. Odyssey and TaylorMade in general are two of the leading brands in the putter market worth looking into for putter options.
Scotty Cameron is another high end brand with higher price tags but the performance factor is highly rated and therefore these putters are common among PGA Tour Players.
This could also be a good option for a high handicapper since putting makes up a large percentage of your golf score and picking the right putter could help you score lower.
For Beginners to golf who want to improve their putting game, why not check out best indoor putting mat reviews for an easy and effective way to improve your putting.
Easiest Putter to Use?
If you haven’t heard of Evnroll before, this company is trying to revolutionize the putter market with their new putter design.
Evnroll came up with their Sweet Face Technology which specially grooves the putter face so that mishits still roll as far as putts hit on the center of the face.
They claim zero dispersion which means putts mis-hit closer to the heel or closer to the toe still end up on line due to the special milled grooves that help send the ball back to its intended line.
In addition to the special face, Evnroll putters are milled to two different head weights.
Then they dial in the proper swing weight for each putter length by adjusted the grips weight. These weighted grips help them created what they call “Swing Weight Balance” which creates a putter that glides effortlessly back and through.
Many golfers have tried the Evnroll putters and rate them as one of the easiest putters to use. Currently, they offer many different models in both mallet and blade style and both toe balanced and face balanced putter options.
However, this is a more expensive putter brand so be prepared to pay up for the enhanced performance technology used in the making of these putters.
If you find during testing at a club shop that the milled grooves on the face and the weight balancing actually do help your putts roll more consistently across the face on mishits, then it could be worth the investment.
Picking Out the Right Putter
Overall, you now have insight into what the make up of a putter is from today’s guide as we reviewed the different components (grip, shaft, head, loft) and types of putters.
This should assist you in picking out the right putter for your game.
You should hit practice reps at the golf store with both face balanced and toe balanced putters to get a feel for which one fits your putting stroke style and is easier to control the face.
Also focus on the sound and feel of the putter and compare different face insert styles that will impact the sound and feel of the putter head.
You can get fitted as well for the proper putter length, hosel style, and shaft bend which can help how the putter sits at address and how it swings during the stroke to help with accuracy as well as distance control.