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There are hundreds of putters in the market today. So how do you decide what best suits you. Putting a true and consistent roll on the ball is the most important fundamental to being a great putter.
There are 4 characteristics that need to be looked at when choosing a putter
Length, Lie, Loft & Head Shape/Style
If we start with length they will all fall into three basic categories: the conventional putter, the belly putter and the
Broom handle putters.
What putter length is best for you? The easiest answer is that it’s a matter of personal preference. If you’re thinking of
going away from a conventional putter to a belly or broom handle putter, you simply need to get on a putting green and
see which putter length feels best and produces the best results.
Each type does have qualities, however, that might narrow the choices. And we’ll take a look at those now:
Most teaching pros agree: If you can use a conventional putter, then you should use a conventional putter.
To achieve the ideal putting posture, take your stance and lean forward so that your eyes are directly over the line of the putt. Let your arms hang loosely down in a straight line from your shoulders, then bring your hands together with palms facing each other, this is the ideal putting posture.
So why do some pros (and more amateurs) go to the belly or long putters? Conventional putters require nerves of steel and an absolute minimum of wrist action. Poor putting nerves are often called the “yips“; those with excess wrist action are said to be “handsy.”
If you suffer from the yips or are too handsy in your putting, then trying a belly or long putter could be for you.
The Belly Putter
The belly putter provides a third point of contact – the abdomen (along with each hand) – between the putter and the player, which provides stability and balance to the stroke.
The main advantage of this putter (which usually range from 41 to 44 inches) is that the putter is anchored against your body giving it a more stable position, wrist action is easier to control, while the player remains in a posture that is closer to the text book position.
However, since belly putters are longer and generally have a thicker grip, feel can be reduced. Therefore distance control can be more difficult.
The Broom Handle Putter
This putter turns the putting stroke into a true pendulum swing, totally eliminating wrist hinge. Golfers take an upright stance, so those who suffer from weak or aching backs get some relief.
But the long putter – typically 48 to 52 inches in length means even less feel and feedback. It also means that controlling distance becomes a quite different art.
Once you have worked on the correct posture the putter lie needs to be adjusted to ensure the putter head stays flat to the ground. Many club players use putters that are too long and therefore force them to stand further away from the ball or end up being toe up. This will result in a closed face at impact, which over time can cause you to adjust your stroke and can result in a poor unreliable putter motion.
Putters that are too short will cause the reverse with the face being open at address.
Nearly all putters will have loft, somewhere between 2° to 5°. This should vary dependant on whether you have your hands behind, inline or ahead of the putter head. The loft of the club is designed to balance this aspect of your position at impact.
If your preference is to arc the putter head more during the stroke, then look for something where the point or toe of the head drops towards the ground when balancing the putter on your finger. This type of putter will help produce more natural through swing release. If however, you would prefer to swing the putter more in-line with little rotation then a putter that is more “face balanced” will provide more stability during the stroke. Here the putter face will stay straight when balanced on your finger.
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