Putters-which One is Right for You?

By: Tracy Patton

With so many to choose from, how do you know which one is right for you? The most popular styles of putters are blade, mallet, perimeter weighted, insert, and offset. Each one of these putters has it's own uniqueness.

Blade putters are narrow and flat with the best feel for the ball. Low handicappers favor blades. Blades differ in where the shaft enters the head. The shaft is either at the heel or center, where it enters more in the middle of the blade. Tending to be face balance, blade putters will suit a player with a straight putting stroke. These putters are suited to hard, faster greens that require soft control, making them a good safe choice.

Mallets have a large rounded head. The deep design of the putter's head allows for a lower and deeper centre of gravity that is far away from the face, reducing backspin on your putts. A lot of mallet putters have inserts on the face offering a soft hit from a large head. The weight is usually balanced throughout the club, providing golfers with a more consistent putting stroke.

Perimeter weighted putters are very forgiving because the weight is distributed around the edges. This putter provides for a larger sweet spot because the perimeter weighting stabilizes any slight mis-hits. These putters are great for beginning golfers or high handicappers.

Insert putters are designed with composite inserts made of a softer material. The advantage of using a light insert means the weight of the putter can be redistributed elsewhere on the putter face. Therefore the weight is added to the heel or and toe, offering a wider area for pure strikes. This wider area makes a larger sweet spot with more forgiveness. The inserts provide for a better feel on the putt and a smoother role, rather than a hop or skid. The only draw back is they do not produce sound. If sound is important feedback, this may not be the putter for you.

Offset places the actual putter blade back from the shaft slightly. This allows the golfers eyes to be more directly on top of the ball when standing over the putt. This will increase top spin for a truer roll.

Don't forget that it's also very important to choose the right length putter. If a putter is too short or long it can lead to bad posture, throwing off your view of the putting line. It is important to choose the right length for your body type.

Traditional length putters are the most common. They are approximately 33-36 inches in length. These putters use the golfer's natural swinging motion of your arms, like a pendulum, giving the putt a true roll.

Belly putters are latest craze amongst players. They are approximately 41-46 inches in length. The end of the putter rests in on your belly button while you swing the club back and forth. Resting the club shaft on your belly button creates a third point of contact, stabilizing the stroke and anchoring the body. The wrist action is easier to control as the length of the putter changes the dynamic of the swinging motion. The main disadvantages are distance control and feel. The belly putter requires golfers to use more large muscles and fewer small muscles during the putting stroke. Additional practice is required to develop the feel for distance control.

Long or Broom Handle putters are the least popular length to use. They are approximately 48-52 inches and up in length. Golfers stabilize this putter by pressing its top against their chest or resting it on their chin. These putters require a completely different grip. Most players grip long putters with their left hand, holding the putter into their body (thumb up), and the right hand working as a claw in the middle section of the putter to pull and push through the line of the putt causing the putter to swing like a pendulum. Putting all the power of the stroke in the right hand. This is a tough skill to master and hard to use in the wind.

Now that you've got a feel for what putter's are available to you and how they work, choosing the right putter will be easier. With about 50 percent of your shots being putts, it's important to pick a putter that works for you. Great putting will always save par.

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