SELECTING THE RIGHT PUTTER FOR YOUR GAME
By Jack Moorehouse
Buying a putter that’s right for you isn’t easy. You need to do your
homework to find one that fits both your budget and your game, which
means learning the different types of putters and clubheads available and
their advantages. But doing your homework is worth it because having a
good putter, as I often say in my golf lessons, shaves strokes off your golf
The key considerations when looking for a putter are price, quality, type,
clubhead, and alignment system. Face insert, loft, and hosel are
additional considerations. ’ve talked about these considerations in my
golf tips, but here’s some additional information about them.
Prices for putters range from $30 to $250 or more. Usually, the higher the
price, the better the quality. While buying quality is nice, you don’t have to
overspend to find the right putter. Consider putters from all price ranges
before investing, but look for one that feels right to you and fits your budget.
That can take time, but if you look hard enough, you just might find a good
but inexpensive putter that will work as well as an expensive one.
Putter types include traditional, belly, and long. Most players use a
traditional putter, which allows for the best blend of feel and mechanical
precision. Traditional putters demand “quiet” wrists, a big hurdle for
some. They also affect golfers with bad backs. Hence, the increased use
of the belly and the long putters. Nevertheless, they’re easier to master
than the belly or long putters, which is why I cover them in my golf lessons.
The belly putter provides a third point of contact - the abdomen— between
the putter and the player, the other two being your hands. This putter adds
stability and balance to your stroke. The belly putter enables a golfer to
control his wrist action and assume a near perfect position for putting, but
the club’s longer shaft and generally thicker grip inhibits feel and feed
back. Distance control is also a problem.
Long putters provide a stroke with a true pendulum arc, are great for
players with bad backs, and completely eliminate wrist action, but they
inhibit feel, feed back, and distance control even more than belly putters.
Many players consider them the “last refuge” for players with highly active
wrists, but you’ll often see them used by pros on the tour who are having
trouble with their putting.
Putters come with blade, cavity back, and mallet clubheads. A blade has
the clubhead’s weight distributed to the heel or bottom of the putter,
leaving a thin top line to view when addressing the ball. It is harder to
control than a cavity back or a mallet. A cavity back features a hollow area
in the middle of the club- head’s back, creating a larger sweet spot. A
mallet is bigger than traditional putter’s clubhead but its shape varies
widely. Also check out the face-balanced and the heel-toe-weighted
mallets, which promote a straight stroke and minimize mishits.
Aligning the putter to the hole is critical to sinking the putt, as I emphasize
in my golf lessons. If the putter isn’t lined up properly, the ball won’t go in
regardless of how well it’s hit. Try finding a putter with a visual aid to help
you line up the club with the hole, one that you feel comfortable and
confident with. There’s no research showing that one alignment system is
better than another, so choose one that feels right to you. But make sure
you buy a putter that has one.
Face inserts are available in a variety of materials including metal, rubber,
ceramic, plastic, glass, and wood. They provide more feel and feedback,
better define a club’s sweet spot, and increase heel-toe weighting. They
are nice but not necessary, which I’ve often mentioned in my golf tips.
Believe it or not, putters come with about 4 degrees of loft, which keeps the
ball from bouncing when struck. Most golfers use a putter with standard
loft because their hands are vertical to the ball at impact. Loft can be
added or taken away depending on where your hands are when you hit the
A putter with an offset shaft or hosel appeals to many recreational golfers.
The offset helps them address the ball with their forward eye over the ball
and a good line of sight to the hole. More importantly, the offset helps
them keep their hands ahead of the ball when putting, increasing accuracy.
Golf instruction aside, a good putter is critical to improving your golf
handicap. But choosing a putter is mostly a matter of feel, so look for one
that feels comfortable. If you find a putter you think fits your game, try it
before purchasing it. Some retailers have small putting greens that allow
you to test a putter. Others will let you take the putter home to test. By all
means, do so. It’s the only way to really know.
Tom's Golf Tips