Is your Putter working for you?
By: Lisa “Longball” Vlooswyk
You make more strokes with your putter than any other club. If you want to drop your score quickly you need to make more putts… period. This means having a putter that fits you perfectly.
For those players using a belly putter or a long putter the USGA announced a ban on anchoring putters effective January 1, 2016. You can still use your putter until then but this off season may be the perfect time to start looking for a replacement.
3 things to Consider:
1. Balance Point: There are two main types of putter heads. Faced balanced (weight in the head and toe are equally matched) which is good for a straight back and straight through stroke that keeps the face constantly square to the target, and the other is toe balanced which is beneficial to someone who has an arc in their stroke that the stroke travels on a slight curve from open to closed.
2. Head Design: There are a variety of head styles. Make sure you try them all before you put them on your “no go” list. You need to like the look of your putter. You need to like how it sets up. Do you like a traditional blade style or a mallet style?
3. Weight: The weight of the head is also a personal preference. It needs to offer control and a good feeling on long putts.
Once you have picked a putter that matches your stroke and you feel comfortable with the look and feel of it, you need to have it professionally fitted for you. Even if you have had your putter for 20 years you can have it fitted to match your stroke style and set up. You will roll straighter and more consistent putts.
The putter is the most important and used club in the bag. This service will often cost less than $50 but will mean 10 times more to lowering your score than your new $500 driver.
Personal putter fittings should be done by a certified club builder and address 6 areas. Lyle Helland, a Class A Certified Club Fitter and owner of Simply Golf in Calgary, AB, recently went over them with me:
1. Length: Many golfers with the conventional style of putting have putters that are too long. Most putters come off the rack at 35 inches. On average most men need a putter 34 – 32 ½ inches and most women from 33 ½ – 30 inches.
2. Lie Angle: This is the measure of how flat the putter head is sitting. Often players have the toe up when putting and need to have the lie flattened out to promote better ball contact.
3. Loft: Believe it or not your putter has loft like any other club. Loft helps get the ball rolling and through thicker grass. 3-5 degrees of loft is often normal and the loft is increased on players who like to do a forward hand press.
4. Weight of the Putter Head and Overall Weight: This is very personal. Sometimes players don’t even realize how a heavier or lighter putter can impact their “feel” helping them to become more consistent.
5. Grip Size and Shape: If your grip is too big for you, you can’t feel the putter head properly. If it is too small you tend to hold it too tightly and become “wristy” leading to a lack of consistency. There is a new trend for “fat” (oversized) grips on putters such as the one Phil Mickelson uses (Super Stroke). Many have a flat profile on one or more sides. The oversized grips tend to help keep the wrists locked.
6. Correct Off-Set: It is important to match the off-set of a putter with the dominant eye. A right handed putter who is left eye dominant does not need as much off-set as a right handed player who is right eye dominant.
Having your putter fitted and dialed-in to your stroke will give you confidence in your flat stick. Confidence will lead to more made putts.
Lisa is the 7-time Canadian Long Drive Champion for women, a golf entertainer and a motivational speaker. Lisa can be reached through Claudio at firstname.lastname@example.org