When it comes to choosing the right putter for you, there are a number of factors to consider.
Length: The average stock length putter is 34-35 inches. But length is generally a personal preference.
Lie and loft: Lie and loft are not usually customized, but certain companies do offer customizing. The average loft of a putter is between 2-5 degrees. If you generally play on fast greens, you’d want a putter with less loft, and higher loft if you play on slower greens.
Grips: Putter grips run from very thin to very thick and fat. The thicker, fatter grips have become very popular as they can stop your stroke from becoming to “handsie.” Also, the different grips that people use to hold the putter are endless. They run from the standard golf grip to reverse overlap, cross hand, the claw, the saw, split grip, long putter grip, etc. Experiment with the different grips to find out which is right for you.
Which putter is right for you?
Putters come in all shapes and sizes. Again, this is a matter of personal preference. But you can choose the correct putter to match your stroke.
If you have a straight back and straight through kind of stroke, you need a putter that is face balanced. That is, a putter that if you balanced the putter shaft on one finger until the putter rests horizontally, if the putter face also rests horizontal, or faces the sky, then that putter is face balanced.
If you have an inside to inside stroke (sort of like a windshield wiper), then you would do best with a putter that has some “toe hang.” That is after balancing the putter, the face hangs down at an angle, then that putter is said to have “toe hang”.
After all that, remember the “Three P’s” when putting.
Pressure: You need to have a nice light grip pressure when putting. You want to grip light enough so that you get instant feedback as to whether you’ve hit the sweet spot or not. Too tight of a grip will cause tension and you will have no feel or touch.
Path: The path your putter takes during the stroke can be either straight back and straight through, or an inside to inside path. Any other path (i.e. outside to inside, inside to outside) will cause inconsistencies.
Pace: Proper pace is very important in the stroke. You want to have a stroke that has the same pace back as it does through, sort of like a metronome. It is very important to develop a good feel and good distance control.
Tony Kelley is a first-year Assistant PGA Professional at The Island Country Club on Marco Island. Tony is a 32-year PGA member, spending the previous 32 years as the Golf Professional at Wyckoff Country Club, in Holyoke, Massachusetts.