Putter Buying Guide

When it comes down to putting, it is all about preference.  A bad putter can easily lead to frustration.  On the other hand,  a good putter can help you feel the ball and improve your score. Even though it is the easiest club to use, it is definitely the most important club in the bag.

Over the years, golf brands have kept pushing the limits of putter designs by coming up with incredible new technology and manufacturing techniques.  There are a wide variety of different putters for every type of golfer so we know it’s hard to find the perfect one. That’s why we created a putter buying guide to help you in your search for the perfect putter.

Types of Putters

Face Balanced: These putters are more known for a “straight putting stroke” because the face is square through impact of the ball. The name comes from the putter face looking up when the shaft is balanced on your finger. The face points upwards because the center of gravity is below the axis of shaft.

Toe Balanced:  These putters are more known for a “arched putting stroke”.  The name derives from the toe pointing downwards when the shaft is balanced. This type of putter is more suited for players that half arc in their putting stroke.

Quick note on types of putters.  Not all putters are either face or toe balanced.  Many newer putters fall in between.  The best way to know if the putter is right for you is to know what putting stroke you have and then testing it out.

Putter Head Type

There are two types of putter heads.  Blade and Mallet putters.

Blade Putters:  Blade Putters are simple looking, flat, with a narrow club head.  These putters are more suited for an arc stroke due to the weight distribution.  The weight is distributed between the toe and heel of the blade.  These type of putters are a favorite among PGA Tour pros and golf enthusiasts because its traditional look.

Mallet Putters:  Mallet putters are much larger club head compared to blade putters.  The weight is balanced through out the club head therefore leading to more consistent putting.  The larger club head also allows a deeper center of gravity which leads to spin reduction and performance on off center putts.  Mallet putters are usually more suited for straight strokes but not always.

Putter Face

There are several types of faces on putters.  Each face is contain unique attributes that may or may not improve your putting.  It is important to choose a face you are comfortable with and suits your putting stroke.  Try out each putter face and see what feels the best for you.

Metal Faced:  This is the most traditional putter face among the rest.  Metal faced putters are great for beginner players who are looking for a controlled and firm feel.  The metal face provides a louder noise when striking the ball compared to other putter faces.  You may notice on some metal faced putters contain a feature called milling on the face.  The milling causes a softer feel and sound due to less material making contact with the ball.

Insert Faced:  Insert faced putters are very similar to metal faced putters.  The only difference is that there is light weight non-metal insert on the face.  The advantage of insert faced putters is that the weight of the putter can distributed to the heel and toe due to the insert.  This will create more forgiveness in the putter.  These putters have a softer feel compared to other putter faces.

Groove Faced:  Groove faced putters contain grooves on the face of the putter to help create forward motion immediately after the ball is struck.  This will help reduce skidding, sliding, and back spinning all of which are principals of a missed putts.  Groove faced putters are mostly metal faced but newer technology have integrated grooved faced inserts as well.

 

Putter Shaft and Hosels

Almost every putter you see will contain a steel shaft.  Steel is material most commonly used in a putter’s shaft because of the strong and consistent feel.  The shaft of the putter can be connected to the putter head in various different ways.  Putters may or may not include a hosel for the shaft to connect to.  We will take a look at the most common types of shafted putters.   Pick the best type of putter that looks and feels the best for your playing style.

Heel Shafted:  The shaft of the putter is connected directly to heel of the putter head – the end nearest the player.

Center Shafted:  The shaft is connected to a hosel which is centered on club head.  This will suit a player with a more straight back and through stroke.

Hosel Offset:  A hosel offset is when the hosel is bent backwards to move the bottom of the shaft ahead of the face.  This allows the player’s hands to be ahead of the ball through impact.

There are other various types of hosels including plumber-neck, flare-tip, long hosel, etc.

Putter Length

To fully utilize the benefits of your putter, we must choose the right length of putter. The proper length is essential in producing consistent results while a improper length can lead to inconsistent contact and bad posture.  The shaft of a putter must be at least 18 inches long.  There is no maximum length of a shaft.

Traditional Length (33-36 Inches):  The most common putters you will see on the market are the standard 33-36 inch putters.  These are very common because the putter should be at the perfect height to easily hang your arms and grip.  This length helps the player use the putter more as a pendulum therefore making it easier to give the putt as true a roll.

Belly Putters (41-46 Inches):  These putters are the latest fad to hit the golf world.  Belly putters add stability to the putt by creating a third point of contact – your belly.  This type of putter uses an anchoring technique to create the putting stroke.

Long Putters (48-52 Inches): The least common of the three putter lengths.  This type of putter varies between resting above the belly button and the chest.  They also require a complete change in grip compared to traditional and belly putters.  The putting stroke with a long putter is tough to master.

The act of anchoring a putter while putting is deemed illegal in competition by the R&A and USGA as of January 1st 2016. Long putters may still be used in competitive play as long as it is not anchored.

Putter Grips

There are many different grips for putters on the market.  Since grips are interchangeable, this is not a high priority when choosing a putter.  The most common grip on putters are the flat edge.  The flat edge grip is played away from your body to help guide your thumbs.  Many companies offer different sizes and diameters of grips to improve your play on the greens.  A thick grip will help reduce your hands and wrist movement of your stroke but sacrifices the feel and vibration of a standard grip.

There are a variety of golf grips on Amazon!

Conclusion

There are a number of different things to look for when purchasing a putter.  The shaft length, putter face, putter head, and hosel are the most important features you should look for. Find a putter that allows you to set up comfortably and consistently hit good putts.  The best way to find the perfect putter is to try out as many putters as possible.

Happy Hunting!

Image Source

Putt for the Par” by Pierre M / CC