Buying Guide - How to Choose a Putter

Published 03/03/2010 08:04:00

Putting is the most individual aspect of the game and golfers approach this shot with a variety of pre-shot routines, set-ups and grips. Not surprisingly, the club they use varies enormously.

Putters can have shafts that are extremely short or as long as a broomstick handle. The blade can be flat on both sides of the head, partially rounded on one side like a mallet, heel-shafted, centre-shafted or offset. Some sport a flange, and many have an aiming line.


The shortest club


Putters are traditionally the smallest club in the bag because they're designed to keep the ball on the ground. A putt is the only shot in golf where the ball should remain in contact with the ground at all times. Although you can get long putters, the principle is the same.

Putters also generally have the least loft of all clubs in the bag. This further dampens their ability to pick the ball up off the floor.


Types of Putter


Putters can generally be categorised into three groups:

  1. Blade putter - this is the most commonly used putter, mainly because it is easy to use and flat. Beginners like the blade because it tells you if your stroke is straight. 
  2. Mallet putter - these have big heads and are much weightier than the other types. These are more forgiving for strokes that are off-centre.
  3. Alignment putter - these are weighted to the back of the head in order to prevent the club twisting during the stroke..



Putter Length


When buying a putter, make sure the sole rests flat on the ground when you are holding it in a comfortable position. If the putter is too long, you will have to stand further away from the ball and if it is too short, you'll have to stand too close.

Putters generally come in at 33-36 inches but if you are very tall or very short, make sure you get one to fit. Don't just buy the first putter that comes along, try a variety and eventually you'll find the right size for your unique biomechanics.


Putter Weight


Firstly you must make sure the putter has good balance and the proper swingweight for you. Balance is the distribution of weight in the clubhead and swingweight is the weight distribution along the length of the whole club.

You may also have heard the term "heel and toe" which refers to the most common form of balance in putters. With a heel-and-toe putter, most of the weight is concentrated in the two ends of the blade. The idea is to prevent the putter from twisting in your hands when the blade strikes the ball. If it does, the ball will go off line.

The swingweight of putters can vary from very light to quite heavy. Many good golfers prefer a heavier club, which helps them make a smooth, rhymic motion.


Putt With Confidence


The most important thing to remember when choosing a putter though, is "will this club get the ball in the hole every time?". Feel, weight and looks all contribute. Don't be afraid to try a new putter and lose your sentimental attachment to an ill-suited club.


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