How to Choose A Putter

How to Choose a Putter

how to choose a putter

Na Yeon Choi of Korea on the 18th green at Oakmont at the USGA Women's Open in 2010.

Deciding how to choose a putter has become more and more complex over the past 20 years. The main reason for this is the incredible amount of different putters out there and the fact that certain “styles of putting” have now become mainstream.

Here are some tips that will help you figure how to choose a putter that is best for you

5 Step Guide: How to Choose a Putter

 

1) Choosing a putting style/technique. Spend some time with a qualified golf professional to help you understand the different styles of putting and to help you identify how to choose a putter that will work best for you. The main “styles” to choose from are:

a) conventional
b) long putter
c) belly putter

 

By identifying the style that best fits your game, you eliminate 2/3 of putters from which to choose.

At this point it is important for you to understand that there are two major trends in putting technique: 1) the putter travels essentially straight back and straight through (Jack Nicklaus) 2) the putter follows an arc back and through (Ben Crenshaw/Tiger Woods)

Depending on the putting style you choose, you will be either putting straight back and through (long putter), putting on an arc (belly putter) or will need to choose between one or the other (conventional). As you can imagine, it is the conventional style that demands more reflection as you will be making more choices along the way.

For those who have decided to go with the conventional putting style you will have an extra step in deciding how to choose a putter. In essence, you will need to decide if you wish to putt straight back and straight through or if you wish to putt on an arc, as the balance of the putter (due to its design) will facilitate one technique or the other. You should take time to experiment with each method. Your decision on how to choose a putter should ultimately be based on a combination of which style appeals to you intellectually and the results of your trials. Of course, the advice of your golf professional could prove to be invaluable at this point.

2) Choosing a putter design based on aim. Your golf professional should have also given you some solid tips regarding proper setup position. One of the main ingredients to proper setup is the position of the eyes relative to the ball. The position of your eyes directly influences your ability to aim the putter face.
Aiming the putter face is one of the more complex components in deciding how to choose a putter. Indeed, the design of the club head and that of the hosel (the part of the club that connects the shaft to the club head) of the club influences your aim. Without proper aim, your putting stroke will always contain compensations. I have never found a real adequate explanation for this phenomenon, but suffice it to say that once you have chosen a style of putting, you should try putters with different hosels and head designs to find one that you aim the best.

To do this, you will need the help of someone else. Have a friend (or a professional) stand along the target line while you aim at a target. He will be able to tell you if your aim is accurate or not. Qualified club fitters often have a laser to make sure that your aim is perfect.

3) Choosing putter length. Finding the proper putter length is important as the length of the putter will influence your setup and the overall balance of the putter. For the long putter and the belly putter, the length of the putter is simply determined by your height.

For those choosing to putt conventional, a qualified golf professional will be of great help in understanding proper putter length.

Ultimately, putter length is determined by your setup position.
Here are a couple of tips on putter length for those of you doing this on your own:
a) you should have enough bend at the waist so as to allow your arms to swing freely
b) a good setup position will have your arms slightly bent at the elbows
c) your forearms should be lined up with the shaft of the putter
d) you should have about an inch of the shaft extended past your grip


4) Looks and feel matter.
 Once you have chosen a putter style based on the principles of aim , you will need to find one that feels and looks right to you. This is where trying different putters comes into play.

You should have narrowed your choices down quite a bit at this time. You are now ready to go to a golf shop and try out all the putters that fulfill the requirements based on your chosen style, setup position and aim. Feel and looks are different for everyone, much like choosing a nice suit or dress. As you try different putters, you will naturally find some that you like and others that you don’t like. Trust your initial reaction to each putter.

5) Price. Of course, you will always have to make the final decision regarding price. No one can make this for you. The cost of golf clubs most often reflect time and money spent on research and development and the time spent on the craftsmanship of the club. Clubs that are less expensive are often mass produced following a mold. The good news with modern clubs is that the mass produced clubs are the result of many years of technological development led by research and development that been dissimulated and shared. This means that even though the higher priced club usually reflects better quality, you can still trust a less expensive option when deciding how to choose a putter.

 

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