The art of putting is unique to every golfer and the selection of putter is down to the look, feel, and putting stroke of every individual.
We look at the question that many golfer’s ask – Does the type of putter make a difference?
The putter is the most frequently used club in any bag. On a good day, it could make up 30 percent of the total shots during a round.
The continuous improvement in putter technology shows that different putting strokes require different solutions to enable you to lower your scores and reduce your handicap.
Technological advances in the Moment of inertia (MOI) technology reduce the twist in the putter head on off-center strikes for more consistent results.
What is the difference between putters?
Putters come in a variety of shapes, sizes, and weights.
According to the history of golf putters, in the sixteenth-century putters were made from hardwood such as beech wood.
After the introduction of the Utta Percha golf ball (AKA the “guttie”) in 1848, golfers started switching to clubs and putters with metal clubheads for an improved feel.
The original putter design was in the form of a blade and later enhanced by Karsten Solheim when he founded the Ping golf company and developed the Ping putter later named the Ping Anser.
The blade-shaped putters are still frequently used by golfers of all levels. These putters are generally lighter than mallet putters but can be designed to use heavier materials to suit your putting stroke.
Mallet putters are larger than blade putters providing more forgiveness and consistency throughout the putting stroke.
This allowed manufacturers to generate a deeper center of gravity. The larger putter head provides the opportunity to have a stable face and thus a higher MOI for extra forgiveness on off-center putts.
As Mallet putters are generally face-balanced they tend to suit golfers with straight-back – straight-through putting strokes.
Peripheral Weighted Putters
Peripheral weighted or heel-toe weighted putter evolved from the blade putter design being long and thin at address.
The design was made famous by the Ping Anser putter with toe and heel weights on either side of the cavity back.
Having the weights moved to the side retains the soft touch of a blade putter while providing consistency on off-center strikes.
These putters are versatile and will suit most putting strokes.
Face Balanced Putters
Face Balanced putters present the putter face upwards toward the sky when balancing the shaft on your finger.
This is a result of the center of gravity being directly below the axis of the shaft.
These putters are less likely to open during the backswing and suit golfers with a straight putting stroke.
Toe Balanced Putters
Toe Balanced putters will push the toe towards the ground when balancing the shaft on your finger.
This is due to the center of gravity being towards the toe of the putter head rather than below the shaft axis.
These putters tend to open during the backswing and close during the forward stroke back to the starting position.
Golfers with an arc-putting stroke will benefit from this weighting.
How much difference does a good putter make?
The art of putting requires you to be confident in your putting stroke and distance control.
When standing over a putt you have to be confident in the look, feel, and sound of the putter.
Putters can become quite expensive at the top of the pricing spectrum.
The price however does not guarantee that it would suit your preferences. Some golfers can experience the same success from a cheap putter if it is set up to their preference.
Protecting the putter face against dents is extremely important for consistency and holing more putts.
A dent in the putter face could push the ball offline from the time it leaves the putter face resulting in missed putts.
Does having a good putter help?
A putter that instills confidence in your putting stroke and has sufficient alignment markings will aid you in holing more putts.
No putter can fix any inconsistency in your putting stroke.
The bottom line is that yes, a good putter will help but the best putter for you is that one that works for you.
Is a putter fitting worth it?
Although a putter fitting will not cure all problems, it can save you strokes and lower your handicap.
Research has shown that a fitted putter can save a mid-handicap golfer up to 43 percent of putts and a high handicap golfer can benefit to the tune of 83 percent.
Cheap putter vs expensive putter:
- Better materials are used in the construction of expensive putters. They use forged steel and milled faces increasing the production costs. Cheap putters are made in bulk, aimed at average length golfers to keep production costs lower.
- Great designers lend their names to expensive putters while cheaper putters do not have to incur this expense.
- Brand names play a significant role in the popularity of a putter hence some golfers are prepared to pay a premium for this.
- Customization is often part of the package deal with expensive putters while cheaper putter is play-as-it-is off the shelve.
How to Choose A Putter?
- Ensure that the shaft (putter length) is suitable to your stance and height. To measure for a standard size putter, not the long belly putters, take up your putting stance, let your arms hang loosely by your sides.Measure the distance from the ground to the crease in your wrists to determine the best length. Putters range from 32 inches to 52 inches for long handle putters.
If you feel uncomfortable with a standard-length putter you can select a longer putter that you can anchor against your forearm but not your body.
- Putter heads vary vastly from blade putters to huge mallet putters. Your putter must suit your eye and enhance the feel of the stroke. If too heavy, bulky or it does not inspire confidence, it will impair your stroke.
- Inserts promote a softer feeling off the face which some golfers prefer while others prefer a harder impact.
- Know your putting stroke and select the putter accordingly. Straight putting strokes will do better with a mallet putter or a face-balanced putter. Golfers with a curved putting stroke will benefit from blade putters or toe-balanced putters.
- Ultimately your choice of putter must inspire confidence when addressing a putt irrespective of whether it is used by your favorite professional or its price. Once you have ingrained the putter of choice into your putting stroke, it will be hard to say goodbye to the putter.
Selecting a putter that suits your eye and putting stroke will go a long way in getting you to hole more putts. However, having a solid putting stroke is key to the process and no putter can solve an inconsistent stroke.
Any feedback or comments will be appreciated in the comments section below.
What type of putter is easiest to hit?
Mallet putters are the easiest types of putters to hit. The weight in the club-face is balanced and helps golfers keep a consistent putting stroke. This leads to straighter putts and better speeds.
Do I need toe hang or face balanced putter?
If you have a medium or strong arc when you put, use a toe hang style putter. If you use small arc or straight back and straight through putting method, then use a face balanced putter. It does come down to preference. Head down to your local golf store to try out different styles of putters.
Does a cheap putter matter?
Yes, a cheap putter matters. A cheap putter will usually be lighter and is not made from top-quality materials. The performance might seem fine, but using a more expensive putter that promotes consistency is highly recommended.