You can’t improve your putting simply by
choosing a putter that you happen upon.
Choosing a Putter requires some thought. There is an over-choice and it is easy to be swayed by marketing hype. Beware the buyer.
Certainly it can help if your existing one is well past its use-by-date or ill-suited to your stroke, but don’t fool yourself into thinking that equipment is the full answer to excellence on the greens.
The sound view is that you should first learn the fundamentals of a good setup and repeatable stroke. However, the design of the putter can sometimes help to fix certain stroke errors.
Only then start looking for a putter that matches your body specifications, complements your technique, and has visual appeal.
So what is your best buy, should you decide that you must have a new putter? The variety of makes and models available today is huge, and you will be faced with an over-choice.
The mistake is to rush out on a whim choosing a putter simply on high-tech marketing hype, or the reputation of the maker. Start your search by understanding that there is no one putter that outstrips the competition.
It is true that everything works better with the right putter in your hands as confidence plays a big part in your success on the green.
However, there are a number of features you should first consider before choosing a putter.
(For information on additional putter features click on the relevant link shown opposite.)
In broad terms there are three different shapes to consider – classic blade putters, heel-toe weighted putters, and mallet putters that are usually face-balanced.
Each putter shape has a different distribution of weight. A rough and ready way to check this is to balance the putter on your extended fingers under the shaft near the putter head.
1. Classic blade putters (for example, a Ping Sedona) hang with the toe pointing to the ground.
2. Heel-toe weighted putters (for example, a Ping Anser 2) hang at a 45 degree angle (4 o'clock) to the ground.
3. Mallet putters (for example, Odyssey Two-ball) are usually face-balanced with the putterface pointing to the sky.
The choice of putter head shape and weighting are a matter of preference:
Apart from different putter shapes in choosing a putter you also have a choice in different putter types - a standard putter, a belly putter and a long putter.
I have tried all three, but prefer a standard type putter cut down to match my height and arm hang.
The only advice I can give you is to try them and draw your own conclusion. Both the belly and long putters are designed to stabilise your stroke by providing a fixed anchor point against your body.
Long putters have the added advantage of allowing you to stand more upright at address and so put less pressure on your back.
The cost of a putter is typically related to the reputation of the maker and the method of production.
However, using cost as the most important criterion in choosing a putter can be a mistake.
The shaft attachment point helps to balance the putter and gives it a certain look.
There is no one right way to fit the shaft into the putter head as long as the maker abides by the Rules of Golf for conforming putters.
An alignment aid is important when choosing a putter for two reasons.
Some putters are easier to line up than others are. In my opinion sighting lines are better than circles as their straight edges offer a sharper contrast.
However, there is no alignment aid that will help all players. You need to experiment to see which element helps you to aim better.
If you look at the face of a putter you will notice that some have a face insert of a different material and other don’t.
There are several reasons for an insert.
For golfers using a two-piece distance ball to juice up their drives, an insert can compensate for the harder cover material.
I have used putters with and without inserts and I don't think you should factor in too much importance to an insert. There are other more important features to consider when choosing a putter.
MOI stands for Moment of Inertia and refers to how easily the putterface twists during contact if you mishit the sweetspot. As MOI increases, the importance of centre contact on the putterface goes down.
As an amateur you are likely to have more mishits towards the heel or the toe of your putter than on the sweetspot. When you hit a putt off-centre, you are sacrificing a degree of distance and directional control.
Increasing the putter head size is a common design feature to compensate for any mishit.
There are a number of large-headed putters on the market. The putter head may often appear ugly and the look may not fit the eye of many golfers. Nevertheless, the design increases the MOI and helps you to minimise the effects of a mishit.
If you prefer the more traditional look, it makes more sense for you to putt with a heel-toe weighted putter than a blade putter.
This is because the MOI is about three times greater, even though both head weights are the same. The playability factor is simply better.
Choosing a putter doesn't have to be complicated if you have a clear idea of your options. Scotty Cameron believes that the most important consideration when choosing a putter is how it looks at address.
The look, the feel, the weighting, and how the ball sounds off the putterface is personal.
Switching to a new softer model of Callaway ball Phil Mickelson recently opted for a harder insert in his putter to preserve the sound that he liked.
The solution in making a choice of putter is to try as many putters as you can before deciding which one fits your stroke and your eye best.