Six keys to picking the proper putter in golf

Six keys to picking the proper putter in golf

Equipment

Six keys to picking the proper putter in golf

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Recreational golfers are lousy putters, as a bunch.

That generalization might sound a little harsh, but according to data collected by Shot Scope, a U.K.-based shot-tracking system, golfers with a single-digit handicap average 32.8 putts per round. Players with handicaps from 10 to 17 average 35.1 putts, while the typical golfer with a handicap between 18 and 28 needs more than 37 putts to complete 18 holes.

For comparison, every PGA Tour pro ranked inside the top 207 in the category averages fewer than 30 putts per round, typically on faster and trickier greens than amateurs play. Heading into the Masters, Justin Rose led the Tour in number of putts per round with 26.8.

To putt well, a player must gauge how hard to hit the ball and read how it will curve based on the humps and undulations on the putting surface. Speed control and green reading are skills that generally improve with experience and with lessons from a certified instructor, but using a properly fitted putter is also critical.

Finding your perfect putter involves a lot more than just rolling a few balls across the pro shop carpet or buying the same club your favorite pro uses. These six steps, along with the advice of a good custom fitter, should help you find a wand that brings some magic to your putting. 

Swag Golf putters and covers. (David Dusek/Golfweek)

6. Make sure the length is ideal

Before you worry about anything else, you need to ensure your putter’s length is ideally suited to the way you stand over the ball.

A putter that is too long forces you to stand taller at address and tends to pull your eyes too far inside the target line, and that distorts how you see the path the ball will take to the hole. A putter that is too short will force you to roll your back into an uncomfortable position and can shift your eyes outside your target line.

Most putter makers offer stock options in 34-inch and 35-inch models, and there are some 33-inch putters on the market too. A good custom fitter can reveal exactly how long your putter should be. If you are between sizes, such as 34¼ inches, for example, a fitter easily can trim the shaft, re-grip the club and make it perfect for you.

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