Selecting the Perfect Putter
By: Bruce Rearick and Matt Saternus
When you’re going to the store to pick out a putter, what are you looking for? Are you searching for a particular brand? A head shape? A finish? A certain feel?
In this lesson, Bruce Rearick of Burnt Edges Consulting will lay out what he views as the most important elements of a putter so that you can put the right one in your bag.
This Lesson Is For You If:
You’re wondering if you have the right putter in your bag
You’re interested in getting a new putter
You want to know why your putter does (or doesn’t) work
#1 – Length and Lie
This is the least sexy part of the putter buying process, but it’s critical that you get it right. The wrong length or lie will put you in a position where you don’t see the line accurately, and it’s all downhill from there.
Think of it like buying clothes. Finding your size isn’t the fun part, but what’s the point of buying a great shirt that doesn’t fit?
#2 – Toe Hang…And Then Some
The next step is figuring out what putter design fits your stroke. The most important element is the distance from the shaft axis to the center of the face, which is largely – but not completely – reflected in the toe hang.
Toe hang will also be impacted by the location of the COG relative to the putter face. If you have a mallet with a COG far from the face, it will have less toe hang than a blade with a COG near the face.
#3 – Swing Weight
Everyone has had the experience of picking up a putter and sensing, “Hey, this feels good.” You were likely reacting to the swing weight. The swing weight is, in simple terms, how heavy the club head feels.
Bruce’s recommendation is to start with a swing weight that matches your sand wedge – likely something around D6. If you need to release the club more, you can go to a lighter swing weight. Conversely, a heavier swing weight will slow the club’s release.
If you like a putter but don’t like the swing weight, you can modify it fairly easily. Adding weight to the head – whether with adjustable weights or lead tape – will raise the swing weight. If you add weight to the butt end, you will reduce the swing weight.
#4 – Total Weight
While swing weight gets a fair amount of attention in putting, very few people consider the overall weight. Bruce views overall weight as being key to distance control. Try matching the overall weight to your tempo.
If you’re an uptempo player, you may find better success with a putter around 500-515 grams. Players with more methodical strokes can get into the 550-575 gram range.
#5 – Grip
Finally, you should consider the grip shape. Bruce’s emphasis here is to pick a grip that works with your source of motion. Don’t pick a grip to “fix” your stroke. If your stroke is powered by your hands, choose a smaller grip like a PING Man grip. For the shoulder-driven stroke, a big SuperStroke grip can be a good choice.
Hopefully following these five steps makes the process of choosing a putter a little less daunting and a lot more successful. If you have any questions, please post them below, and we’ll try to help you out.
For more information on selecting a putter – and how to use it – check out Bruce Rearick HERE.
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