Invest in the Right Putter

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.

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