Putter
Swingweight

Importance of putter swingweight

as a measurement


IN SHORT

Swingweight in putters is not that important as it is a one-off club and does not need to be matched with the other clubs in the set.



Changes

Most off-the-shelf putters are too long to allow you to hang your arms naturally at address and the trend has been to shorter-length putters with heavier head weights.

There is also more choice in putter grips with the opportunity to fit your putter with an oversize grip in order to reduce wrist movement.


Putter Head Weight

A common concern is - What will be the effect on the putter swingweight when shortening the length of my putter or fitting it with a heavier grip? This, of course, presupposes that the present swingweight of the putter as designed by the manufacturer is best for you.

Many putter manufacturers in order to reduce inventory use the same gram head weight in putters of different length. They don't bother with the relationship between the putter head weight and the length of the putter.

This runs contrary to the advice of custom club builders and club fitters that the weight of the putter head should be adjusted for different lengths.


Definition

Mitchell TourGauge Swingweight scale

Mitchell TourGauge
Swingweight Scale

Scale measurements are calibrated by the letters A-G and the numbers 0-9. Each combination of letter and number is known as a swingweight point. A0 is the lightest measurement, progressing up to the heaviest, G10.

The main application of swingweight is in matching the clubs within a set so they feel the same weight during the swing.

Swingweight is a static measurement and has nothing to do with the actual weight of the club, only how its weight is distributed.

The swingweight scale uses a 14-inch fulcrum (balance point) to compare the relationship of weight at the head end to the weight at the grip end.


Example

For example, if a club is placed on sharp edge 14 inches from the grip end, and a weight is then attached to the grip end to balance it in a horizontal position, this weight (expressed as an alpha-numerical coding) will reflect the swingweight of the club.

In short, swingweight is the measure of the balance of a putter's weight between its grip and head ends.


Putter Swingweight

There are four factors that affect the Putter Swingweight.

Conversion Formula:

(Ball Park only)

+/- 1/2 inch putter shaft length equals +/- 3 swingweight points

+/- 5 grams putter grip weight equals -/+ 1 swingweight point

+/- 2 grams putter head weight equals +/- 1 swingweight point

Take a standard putter of 35-inches with a head weight of 330 grams and a D4 swingweight. Now cut an inch off to reduce the putter to 34 inches and refit the same grip. An inch of shaft is approximately 3.2 grams. This 3.2 gram weight loss in the shortened shaft is minimal and you can probably ignore it.

Using the above conversion the effect of cutting an inch off the grip end reduces the swingweight by six swingweight points from D4 to C8.


Custom Built

When fitting a putter the primary variable is the overall length of the putter - and in most cases it means shortening the shaft. Custom builders and club fitters acknowledge that the weight of the putter head should be increased as you reduce the length of the putter.

To illustrate this point, here are some specifications for a Scotty Cameron Studio Select Newport 1.5 putter:

  • Length : 33", 34", 35"
  • Headweight : 360g, 350g, 340g
  • Swingweight : C9-D1, D2-D4, D6-D8


Quick Fix

If your putter is a standard off-the-shelf selection and you want to increase the head weight because it feels too light, a quick method is to use lead tape. Steve Stricker added lead tape to his Odyssey White Hot 550 to put it at D-2 swingweight.

This doesn’t works so well if you are reducing a 35 inch putter to 31 inches as the amount of lead tape needed becomes unmanageable. The alternative is to add lead powder or sand down the shaft.


Importance

Swingweight in putters is not that important as it is a one-off club and does not need to be matched with the other clubs in the set.

The proper putter swingweight is all about the balance of the club. It is an approximation of how head-heavy your putter feels during your stroke - heavy, light, or just right. In other word it is a matter of personal preference.

According to Geoff Mangum of the PuttingZone "It is very unusual for a human to be able to notice any swingweight change involving less than 10% of the overall weight, so going from 320 grams to 332 grams is too hard to notice (only 12 grams, when 10% is 32 grams).

Going from 320 to 340 grams really isn't all that noticeable either. You would probably have to go to 350 or more grams to really notice the change".


Real Issue

The real issue for putters is their overall weight and their moment of inertia rather than the actual putter swingweight according to an arbitrary coding.

Some putters are too light for you and some too heavy.


To view a video clip of Ralph Maltby explaining How Swingweight Affects Putting CLICK HERE


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