Archive for February, 2008

Pick a Putter

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Spring is for love, and many are searching for the putter that will have made all these years and pretenders worth it.  You are about to embark on the most personal of pairings…a new relationship with a putter…and this time love will last!  I often said,  "you must really like your spouse, but you had better love your putter"!
I hope to provide some information about putter design, grip size, putter length, lie, and loft that will help you find a good match.

Here are a few tips to help find a putter that is a good match for you.
There are countless varieties of putters in all shapes and sizes.  From a weighting standpoint putters are either "face balanced, or toe weighted". What is the benefit of a face balanced putter?  A player with a "straight back-straight through" or pendulum stroke may be more effective with the face-balanced putter. Putters with this design tend to maintain a stable face angle throughout the putting stroke. Golfers with an inside-to-square-to-inside stroke may benefit from a heel-shafted putter whose face tends to swing open and close with the stroke.

Grip size is another variable that runs the full range of possibilities.  The size of the grip tends to impact hand/wrist release.  Smaller grip more release, larger grip less release.  Pendulum style putters tend to prefer larger grip that "quiets" the hands, while the open to close putter prefers a smaller type.

The length of the putter is primarily determined by a player’s height, but posture and hand position can affect that as well.  Ideal length allows you to practice!  Generally the ball directly below the eyes at address is considered ideal.

The lie angle on the putter is important for the same reason it is on irons..to reduce twisting as the sole makes contact with the ground. The more centered to sole is in striking the easier it is to stay square.

The proper loft depends on your preferred hand position and the speed of the greens most frequently played. For most golfers on average putting surfaces the standard loft of 3.0 – 3.5 degrees is fine.  Players with a pronounced forward press (that they maintain through impact) may benefit from additional loft while those that play on faster putting surfaces may benefit from less loft.

These are guidelines that hope help you find the right putter…. Though I do believe the right one will beckon.  The putter you choose has to help you visually line, stroke the ball, and make the putt. 
If it goes in it was a perfect putt…period.

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