Golf Putter Buying Guide
Selecting the right putter is imperative to a golfers' success on the golf course. There is a lot that goes into purchasing a putter, so this golf putter buying guide is here to help aid you through that process, and to help show you how to buy the right putter to save you as many strokes as possible on the course.
On average, a golfer is going to use his putter over 40% of the time during a round of golf. Well, unless they get the perfect putter and make every putt from all over the green, then the percentage should be much lower and the happiness much higher!
What Putter Should I Buy?
A question on the forefront of a lot of golfers' minds, there many things that need to be looked at and addressed when deciding between putters. Figuring out what ultimately will be the best one will have you hitting more consistent putts on the course and improving your game.
When searching for that new putter it is important for the golfer to first analyze their own personal putting style. Then examining the golfer's personal preferences on the putter components, head shape, and type of putter all add up.
Next, there are more technical things to look at when searching for a new putter that are imperative. Finding the best putter length, putter shaft type, and putter head will all play a huge factor in the golfer's decision in which new putter they choose.
In this guide, we will break down the different technical aspects and how to translate it to each individual person to ultimately answer the question of what putter you should buy.
3 Types of Putters
There are several different types of putters and ways to classify putters into separate categories, but the most common way to distinguish putter types would be face balanced putters against toe balanced putters, with the rare exception being a counterbalance putter.
1). Face Balanced Putters
A face balanced putter will face upward when resting the shaft of the putter on your finger. This is because the weight of the putter is more central allowing for the putter's center of gravity to rest right below the shaft axis.
A putter face balanced this way will open and close less through the putting stroke. If you have more of a "straight back, straight through" putting stroke, this version will favor you. Typically, if you are someone who pulls the ball, face balanced putters will help open the face on your putting stroke allowing for straight putts.
2). Toe Balanced or Toe Hang Putter
These are the counter to a face balanced putter. A toe hang putter gets its name because when you rest the shaft on your finger the head's toe will hang towards the ground because of the weight in the putter's head being more in the toe.
If you are someone who has more face rotation in your golf putting stroke, then this will be the type for you. If you are someone who is pushing putts, a toe hang putter will help you close the golf club face through your putting stroke.
3). Counterbalance Putters
Counterbalance putters are the third type but are far less common than the other two. The counterbalance has extra weight in the club that allows for a higher MOI (moment of inertia), allowing the ball to come off of the clubface at a faster speed.
Another crucial part of finding the right putter, is making sure you have the correct length of putter. A traditional putter will be anywhere from 33" to 36" long, while the standard length is 34".
To find the correct putter length that fits you, let your arms hang free to the ground while in your stance and measure from the ground to where your wrist and hand meet. This should be the length of your putter shaft.
Another way to determine the length of putter you need is by going off of your height. While not always 100% accurate, going off of your height is a strong baseline to use when assessing your situation.
Finding the right length is going to be a critical part in saving putting strokes, so be sure to make sure you have the proper length before going any farther.
Putter Head Types
There are two types of putter heads that are most common among golf putters. The putter head that you choose will ultimately depend on personal preference, but both give a lot of options that can improve your game.
Mallets are known for their large heads that are normally shaped in a square, semi-circle, or half-moon like shape. A newer putter to the market, mallet putters are designed to have the majority of the weight in the head being away from the club face.
The mallet putter is one known for its stability, usually leading to a straighter putting stroke and style.
A blade is the rival to the mallet, as the blade is known as having the more traditional heads. Blades dominated the putter market for a long time and are still very popular.
The weight distribution usually leads to a toe hang with the putter head providing an easier way to rotate it through the putting stroke for those who have an arc stroke.
2 Face of the Putter Options
Another part of the putter head is the putter face. The putter face is the part that actually strikes the golf ball. There are two types of faces that you can choose from: insert or milled.
1. Insert Face
An insert putter face is known for the fact that it has a soft insert in the face of the club head that provides a softer feel on the green. The soft insert allows a golfer to hit putts with the golf ball making little to no sound.
An insert allows more forgiveness across the clubface where the ball is hit. Hitting the sweet spot is optimal and with these putters it tends to be larger which benefits golfers whose style is inconsistent.
2. Milled Face
A milled putter face is usually made out of one piece of material, most traditionally steel, and has a milled pattern forged into it. A milled face is known for having a more consistent feel, as well as the ability to be more accurate with distance control.
A milled face is not as forgiving, forcing putts to be hit on the somewhat smaller sweet spot for the most consistent results. Hitting the sweet spot is essential for getting the ball on the intended line.
The severely open and close styles of putting stances will generally have trouble with a milled putter.
There are three types of shafts that golfers have to choose from: heel shafted, center shafted, and offset putters. The label describes where shafts connect to heads.
A shaft is imperative to the feel golfers have and will dictate the way golfers will need to visually line up the golf ball on their putts. "Feel" is perhaps the most important determiner of how long putters stay in a player's bag.
The most common shaft on the market, a heel shafted putter is where the shaft is connected to the heel of the head (the side closest to the golfer). With heel shafted putters, golfers are able to guide the putt with the head of the putter.
The next popular type of shaft is the center shafted putter. This version of shaft is similar to the heel shaft in the way in which it is connected to the putter's head, the difference being that the connection is in the middle, or center, of the head.
Offset Shafted Putters
Less common, but still popular amongst many golfers, the offset putter brings a new look to alignment on the putting surface. The shaft is designed to have the putters head sit back a bit behind the shaft.
This will aid the g0lfer in aligning their putts along with being more visually pleasing to some. There isn't much of a difference in regard to performance when choosing a shaft, it comes down to which look and feel the golfer is going to be more comfortable with.
A golfer trying to find the right "feel" for their style putting will do well to try multiple different shafts and alignments.
Q) How much should I spend on a putter?
A) This club is going to be one of the longer lasting clubs in your bag, as well as being the most important club in your bag. Spending the money necessary to purchase the right type of putter to fit your game is something to seriously consider doing.
It also may be worth getting a putter fitting done to ensure the best fit club to help you start making every putt. Many golfers own multiple putters to work on that elusive feel.
Q) Are there any types of unconventional putters?
A) Yes. Belly putters are the most common type of unconventional putter design. It takes a very niche approach to putt using longer length putters, but they can be effective if learned properly.
Belly putters are a long putter that allow the golfer to putt in a pendulum motion to make a straight back, straight forward motion. But be careful in that long putters may not be anchored to the stomach when putting according to the USGA.
Q) Does my putting stroke affect what I should buy?
A) Yes. The way in which you swing will determine what you should look for when making this purchase.
Q) What is the best putter for a high handicapper?
A) High handicappers often can benefit from using a mallet putter. The mallet has alignment aids that can help a high handicapper line up the club to the ball more effectively.
Alignment is a large factor in being able to hit the ball more consistently. A mallet might also provide more consistency in distance control and will allow the player to get a consistent feel on the green.
Q) What is the best putter for a mid handicapper?
A) Mid handicappers are able to play a round more freely with different putter designs. As all putters, it comes down to feel and what the golfer's personal preferences are.
Some players prefer a mallet, some prefer a blade putter, it comes down to how the players want the ball to come off of the face. It is important for a mid handicapper to understand their putting stroke in order to find the right to fit their game.
Q) What type of grip should I have?
A) Putter grips and the grip size a golfer uses are 100% dependent on personal preference. Some players like a smaller grip to counterbalance the head weight, others like a bigger grip to aid in their alignment.
Even how you position your hands at contact plays a role. A hands ahead style, for instance, may want a different grip than those with a more neutral contact point. Either way, whichever putter grip is chosen, it ultimately is up to personal preference.
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