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How to Buy a Putter
Work with a professional clubfitter and take time to find that correct size and just the right feel.
It’s no secret that golfers often develop an ongoing love-hate relationship with their putters. When the putts are falling, all is well. But, when the violent lip-outs start rearing their ugly heads, a golfer can turn on his putter quicker than a kicked Rottweiler.
When it comes to buying a putter, the multitude of brands and styles out there today can make trying to choose one perhaps a golfer’s most confusing decision. The only way to wade through the many offerings is to take some time to try out as many as you can.
Whether you end up choosing a $20 putter from a local department store or a $500 custom-fit putter, the key is to make sure you don’t just like it, you should love it.
There are several things to think about when considering a new putter, including head style (blades or mallets), shaft and hosel (the heel, center or offset), face options (an insert or steel), balance (at the face or toe) and weight.
Then, there’s length, which is crucial when selecting a putter because it has such a huge influence on the arc of your stroke. The farther away from the ball you stand, the more you will tend toward an inside to inside arcing path. While the closer you are to the ball, the straighter back and through your stroke tends to be. For now, if a putter is long enough, too, it can be anchored to ones belly or chest to help prevent the yips.
Nowadays putter grips are becoming increasingly varied as the science of increased control grows. Most putters offer “traditional” handle grips with sophisticated non-slip materials and curves to match hand and finger placement. But there are those who add wraps and or use other shock- and sweat-absorbing handles for extra delicate touch.
And now jumbo, non-tapered are gaining traction. Some come with and counter-balanced grips, which can have weights added to the butt-end to match a heavier head, and can help one more easily find the right feel and cup — some say.
Perhaps even more directly related to performance for a player are things like look (It is critical to be comfortable and have confidence when looking down at your putter, making you feel like you have a chance to make every putt.).
And there’s feel (How does your putter feel in your hands and at impact? Do you like a firmer or a softer feel at impact?).
“Putting is all about confidence and feel, so first and foremost it must look good to the players eye, and feel good at impact” — Sam Bettinardi, vice president of precision putter maker Bettinardi Golf.
“From there, depending on what type of stroke he or she has (inside to inside, straight back straight through), you can then make a smart decision on what style would suit you best,” said Bettinardi, who in charge of sales and marketing for the Illinois-based company.
In response to the anchoring ban that is slated to go into effect Jan. 1, 2016, Bettinardi Golf made the decision to stop making belly putters altogether except for requests from PGA Tour players, who’d instead substitute belly with an arm lock. The latter allows golfers to brace the shaft against their lead forearm.
“We are firm believers in the arm-lock technology as Matt Kuchar has seen tremendous improvement in his putting stats over the last two years since he has used this putter,” Bettinardi said. “Counterbalance putters we feel are going to be more popular because it is easier to make the switch.”
Like any other club in your bag, a professional fitting (which 2nd Swing Golf offers) can be a huge asset when trying to choose a putter. A properly fit putter can significantly influence a player’s performance on the greens.
If a player can find the right fit and fall in love with a putter, they will have the confidence to make more putts and lower scores.