Last week was the PGA Merchandise Show in Orlando, Florida, a yearly showcase of new advancements in golf equipment. New advanced equipment comes out every year aimed at improving your golf game. Through equipment upgrades, golfers have the opportunity to immediately improve their game.
The most advanced equipment, however, is not always right for the high handicap golfer. Many high handicap and beginner gofers play with a Titleist Pro V1 golf ball. Although Titleist may tell you differently, a Pro V1 tour ball is almost always the wrong choice for a high handicapper. A less expensive two piece ball is most likely a better fit.
Many golfers also have no problem dropping several hundred dollars on the newest driver, a club they use 14 times a round at the most.
The club you do not see many golfers begging to show you the bright, shiny, new model they just bought is the putter. In fact, more than a few golfers probably use a $10 putter. Golfers take a majority of their strokes with their putter. We need to put some effort into making sure the putter we are using is best for our game.
Length is an important factor when choosing a putter. You need a putter that conforms to your stance instead of changing your stance for a putter. A proper putting stance has you bent at the hips with your eyes over the ball. Cutting a putter shaft that is too long down to size is not a good thing to do as the weight of the putter head is matched to its length. Your shortened putter will feel too light.
Your putter also has to match your putting stroke. Your putting stroke will fall into one of three categories — straight back straight through, slight arc, or strong arc. A straight back straight through stroke is just what it implies. The putter head goes straight back and then straight through impact with the ball, with the putter face remaining square to the target line all the way through. An arc stroke means the stroke travels on a path that starts inside of the target, moves out to the target line for impact, and then back inside. The putter face will be slightly open at the start, square to target at impact with the ball, and then closed at finish.
Putter heads are weighted differently. A face balanced putter, where the weight is equally distributed from the heel to the toe of the head, is ideal for golfers that have a straight back straight through stroke. A toe weighted putter, that has more weight in the toe of the head, assists the face in moving from open to closed through the shot, making it ideal for golfers with an arc putting stroke.
So how do you tell if your putter is face balanced or toe weighted? Balance the shaft of the putter in the palm of your hand. If the face points up and is horizontal, it is a face balanced putter. If the toe hangs lower than the rest of the putter head, it is a toe weighted putter.
Finally, should you use a blade or mallet putter? While personal preference plays a small role as you can get both face balanced and toe weighted versions of both blade and mallet putters, face balanced mallet putters are best suited for straight back straight through strokes and toe weighted blade putters are best for arc strokes.
Go to your local golf store or pro shop if you’re not sure what type of putting stroke you have. They can analyze your stroke and make sure you have the right putter for your game.