We’re Making Progress
No one wants to be 10, 20, or 30 yards behind their pals off the tee, so golfers are wising up and getting fit for their drivers.
No one wants to hit 6 iron into that par 3 when their buddies are hitting 8, so golfers are getting smart and getting fit for their irons.
No one wants to stuff their approach to 4 feet and then miss the putt, so golfers are…continuing to play whatever putter winds up in their bag.
Why aren’t golfers getting fit for their putters? One major reason is that golfers can’t see the improvement with a putter the way they can with a driver. In this edition of Golf Myths Unplugged, we’re going to show golfers that improvement…if it exists.
Myth #1 – Toe hang impacts face angle control
Myth #2 – Toe hang impacts strike consistency
Myth #3 – Toe hang impacts club path
Myth #4 – Toe hang impacts consistency
Myth #5 – Toe hang is important to putter fitting
How We Tested
For this test, we brought together six golfers, ranging in handicap from 10 to scratch. Each player hit five straight, ten foot putts with four different putters. We used putters representing a variety of toe hangs – toe up, face balanced, 45 degrees of toe hang, and 90 degrees of toe hang.
Each player tested the putters in a different order. Every putt was tracked by SAM Puttlab.
All testing was done at, and with the help of, Club Champion.
Predictably, a putter’s toe hang had a significant impact on our tester’s ability to control the club face. We found that, across the four putters tested, our players changed their face angle at impact by an average of 2.3 degrees.
Our testers did show a range of abilities to compensate for different putters. The smallest variance was 1.2 degrees, a change that could cause a missed putt at ten feet. On the other end of the spectrum, one tester saw his face angle vary 4.3 degrees, meaning he would miss a putt as short as three feet!
Many golfers don’t think about the impact of a mishit putt, but it can easily be the difference between making and missing. While many manufacturers gear their putter design toward minimizing the effect of mishits, our testing shows that if you really want to minimize mishits, you need to get into the correct toe hang.
Fighting an improper toe hang caused our testers to miss the sweet spot by an average of 8.8 mm. When in the proper toe hang, our testers missed the sweet spot by less than 1 mm. In the most extreme case, a player went from nearly perfect (0.1 mm from center) to absolutely awful (12.7 mm off center)!
Our testing showed that toe hang had a large impact on club path. On average, our testers’ club paths moved 4.1 degrees across the four different putters. Two players even saw their club path change from left-to-right to right-to-left as a result of changing putters.
In putting, far more than in the full swing, there are a lot of ways to be effective. There are boatloads of players who aim way left, aim way right, pull everything, push everything…and still make a lot of putts. However, any player who putts well is consistent, so we wanted to know if toe hang affects consistency.
The answer is an unequivocal “Yes.” Whether we look at single aspects of consistency (face angle, path, strike location, or face rotation) or overall consistency, we found huge disparities between putters that fit well and putters that didn’t. Our testers averaged an overall consistency score of nearly 80 with their best-fit putter compared to an average of less than 65 with their worst fit.
At this point, the answer to our final question should be obvious: yes, toe hang is important to putter fitting. If you want a putter that you can swing consistently, that you can hit on the center of the face,with a club face that you can control, you need the correct toe hang.
How do you find the correct toe hang for you? That’s where the fitting comes in.
It’s our hope that this data shows you just how important it is to get fit for the correct toe hang in your putter. While toe hang is just one variable in selecting the right putter, this test demonstrates what an important one it is.