For golfers, golf equipment can be the second coming of Arnold Palmer or a curse equivalent to the double dog dare. The question is how to separate marketing hype from reality, at least the golf world reality. I am re-starting this series of articles that will help you make an informed decision when looking into the next golf weapon.
Green to Tee: Golf equipment exposed the PUTTER.
We start with the green because the green is where the most strokes are won or lost. What puts the ball in the hole? A putter does. During a round of golf the putter is scheduled to be used at least twice on each hole. No other club can boast that usage.
Most golfers know that getting a fitted driver or set of irons can help lower your score and enjoy the game. More importantly, it helps beat your buddy so you don't have to pay for that cold beverage at the end of the round. Unfortunately, most golfers don’t get a putter fitting. A good putter fitting is more than picking up different models until you start making putts. It is every bit the technical process as finding the proper driver or iron. If you can’t get to a club fitter use these tips to get the best putter for you.
Length- an average putter length of 32.5-34 inches fits most golfers. When looking for length your eyes need to be somewhere near the intended line. You’ve heard “get your eyes over the ball” that is true for a great line but slightly inside the line is OK too.
Lie- for the average stance the putter should sole flat on the ground. Lie angle has an impact on direction of the putt. Putters are designed to be used when the sole is flat. If you push your hands down the toe will come up so a flatter lie is needed. The opposite is true if you stand very tall to a putt.
Loft- is determined by the placement of your hands at impact and how the ball reacts when hit. This parameter is used to minimize ball skid. If you forward press when putting a greater loft may be required to get the ball rolling properly. If you putt with your wrists and lift the ball a lower loft may be the answer to minimize the skid or hop of the ball.
Grip Size – a comfortable grip is paramount to a confident putt. That last thing to worry about when a coke and dog is on the line is if the grip feels good. If you are a wrist type player struggling with consistency then a larger wider grip can help calm the stroke. If you hold the putter in your fingers instead of the palms then a smaller grip can deliver the comfort you need.
Head Style- this one get over looked a bunch. If you are a screen door type putter meaning the putter arcs around you during the putt a heel mounted or toe balanced putter is the key. If you use a newer stroke such as the pendulum stroke then a mallet or face balanced putter is the style for you.
Weight- back weighting is the preferred part of the McGolf fitting. It puts the weight where it is needed (the hands) and it helps in making the stroke smooth and the ball rolls quiet. You will need to find a fitter for right for you. When I wrote this article 4 year ago I knew of only two putters that use weight in their putters. The first is the Heavy Putter (still in production) and the second is made by Kirk Currie. Now there are more makers of heavier putters such as Pirretti, Odyssey (certain models) and Bobby Grace Putters but none except the Heavy Putter back weight the putter.
There are plenty of good putter companies out there and you can expect to shell out anywhere from 99 to 399 for that magical club that finds the hole when you can't. It will depend on your fitter, your sense of style and method of manufacture. In all cases when the putter is fitted to your style and game the ball rolls smoother, straighter and finds the bottom of the cup more often.
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