Putter Fitting - The Fastest Way for Your Score to Sink or Swim

The single most important club in a golfer’s bag is their putter – period! This one single club accounts for approximately 40% of all the player’s shots on the course regardless of if they are a beginner or a golfing professional. That is why putter fitting is addressed so early in the text. Sadly, it has traditionally been one of the least fitted products by club fitters, if at all. Golfers typically self-fit themselves by picking out one putter amongst several that may be sitting next to an artificial green at their local pro shop or off course specialty store and noticing which one drains the most putts. It is also not unusual to find somewhere sitting idle in golfer’s garage or basement a few putters that once saw their day in the sun and got banished due to poor performance out on the course.

Putting is such an individualized process. From conventional, mid-length, armlock, broomstick lengths, blades or mallets style putter heads, small and large putter grips alike and even the player’s grip, stance and posture you are bound to encounter it all. But one thing is for certain, the fastest way to see a player’s score drop could very well start with the putter. So let us begin and see more putts sink!

Beginning the Process of Putter Fitting

Where and how will you be conducting the fitting?

One important consideration is where would you conduct your putter fitting? Some shops will operate in a retail environment where the customer is only able to putt on their carpet or possibly onto an artificial putting green that may not truly represent the speed of the greens. Or will the club fitter have access to a practice putting green at a local course or range where they can take their customer without creating a conflict of interest with the owner? Will you be relying on your eyes and ears to fit the golfer, or will you use the latest portable putting fitting device to gather accurate information and analyze the swing? Lastly, the fitting could be all done over the phone or internet as an on-line transaction or surprise gift for someone. In all these situations, how the fitting is performed will vary.

Personal Interview and Specification Check

Except for golfers brand new to the game, I would strongly suggest the customer brings their current putter with them so you can gather information on all the specifications as well as use it as a benchmark to compare to other putters you might have the customer try or modify it to fit the golfer better. Long before the customer starts to putt is the time to conduct the personal interview. For a review of the personal interview process and a list of possible questions, please refer to Chapter 3.

This is one time it might not be obvious to you if the player comes to you with a right handed putter that they will automatically need a right handed model. While rare, I have found players that seem to putt better using the opposite hand. For a golfer brand new to the game, you may need to ask or test them for handiness by having them putt a few balls. The main reason for asking for handiness first is if they are left-handed, there will be far fewer options to choose from.

Make certain to ask about their tendencies or where or how the ball travels such as long, short, left or right of their target. Perhaps, one of these responses may trigger some ideas of what to focus on, which in turn will streamline the golf club putter fitting process.

If they do have preferences, such as “I’d like to try an arm lock putter that I saw on TV,” that may narrow down some of the selections and again make you focus more on other fitting factors if the customer insists on a particular putter head or style. Take good notes and begin.

How to Fit a Putter in Today’s World

Putter Alignment

What are the biggest reasons for missed putts? It is alignment and the ball position in the stance. What other club in your bag is designed with intricate alignment guides to help? You certainly do not see it on a driver except for the small alignment dot or marking on the crown. To put this in perspective, you are putting a ball that is less than half the size (1.68”) of a regulation-sized golf hole (4.25”) yet making a straight 10 foot putt can bring a grown man to tremble. A 1° error one way or another is the difference of sinking a putt and completely missing the hole from 10 feet away. This is why a properly fit putter can instill confidence in making a putt when the player can trust the set up.

Putter Length (and Lie Angle)

Regardless of the head shape, material, construction, etc. the golfer must find a length that feels natural and comfortable as one needs the right length tool for the job! In the diagram is an illustration of a conventional putter stance with the player’s spine tilting approximately 40 degree with the arms dangling down and elbows slightly inward so the player’s eye can be comfortably over the ball.

The putter length is measured along the shaft axis from the ground line to the top edge of the grip with it in the proper lie angle (A) with the center of the putter’s sole touching the ground. Any change to either the length or lie and the eyes may be too far inside (too long / too flat) or too far outside the ball (too short / upright) without changing spine and arm angles, in which may no longer create a comfortable situation. Remember, we want to adjust the putter to the player and not the other way around.

Why this is important deals directly with where the golfer is aiming. By having the eyes inside or outside of the intended putting line can skew the player’s sense of direction. Inside the line, the target may appear to the right of where it is and cause a push. Conversely, outside the line, the target may appear to the left and result into a pulled putt. Not only does it affect aiming but balance too. The weight pronounced on the player’s heels or toes could cause inadvertent impacts out on the toe or heel.

diagram of woman golfer with eyes over the ball and lines indicating lie angle and putter lengthdiagram of woman golfer with eyes over the ball and lines indicating lie angle and putter length

You might ask why putter manufacturers would not produce their putters so you can look down like a croquet mallet and strike the ball with a “pendulum” stroke such as a long, side-saddle putting stroke. For starters, there are several design guidelines in the Rules of Golf. Currently, the USGA has no maximum putter length, but does have a minimum of 18 inches to be deemed conforming. The lie (B) must also diverge from the vertical by 10°. That is the upper portion of the shaft cannot be perpendicular to the ground. While it does not prevent the player from using the putter where the shaft diverges less than 10 degrees from the vertical, the rules are in place to avoid manufacturers assisting the player in positioning the shaft within 10° of vertical by virtue of their club design.

Fitting for the proper length is very straightforward, and with the use of putter fitting tools that are telescopic (and may also pivot to form various lies), really takes the guesswork at what length a player might need.

adjustable length putter shaft and wrenchadjustable length putter shaft and wrench

By having the player address the ball using a telescopic fitting tool or possibly a number of different putters of various lengths, it can be determined which putter feels most comfortable, while at the same time determining which one best positions his or her eyes are directly over the ball. A mirror or another device such as a CD disk placed under the ball works well when trying to determine if a player’s eyes are indeed over the ball.

The most common putter lengths are 33-35" for conventional putters, non-anchored counter-balanced putters 36-38”, arm lock putters 39”-42”, belly putters 41-43” and long broomstick putters will be in the 45-50” range. One thing about putter length fitting, it does not always coincide with how tall a player is. It all must deal with comfort and posture. A 6’ 3” golfer may prefer a 32” length as their arms hang straight down. You might find a 5’ 8” golfer that putts best with a conventional putter at 35” as their elbows are extended outwards. Those are personal preferences.

Non-Conventional Length Putters

Belly Putters

For golfers who struggle with their stroke, a belly putter can be an excellent choice to renew confidence back into their game. Here is the reason why. Certain golfers do not keep their hands steady during the stroke. Some might even say the golfer is “wristy” or “handsy.” With the butt end of the club anchored into their belly, there is less chance the hands will push or pull the putter off-line. Yes, a belly putter can also be used without being anchored to the body but might not stabilize the putter as well.

A belly putter stroke is no different from a conventional putter. The image on the left is a conventional putter and the one to the right is the belly putter set up. You maintain your normal posture, stance, and grip. While you might hear instructors say that you should tilt at your waist at a 45 degree angle for a putter that is only an approximation. This gentleman tilts at the waist at a 42 degree angle. This is by design to feel comfortable and balanced as well as get his eyes over the ball.

If the putter were too long, this would force the player to make a posture change and stand taller at address. Otherwise the putter head would be pushed further away from the body as there is nowhere else the putter could go when anchored to the body. If the belly putter were too short, it would not reach the ground without the golfer bending more from the waist or not be anchored.

side view diagram comparing the set up of a man using a conventional and a belly putterside view diagram comparing the set up of a man using a conventional and a belly putter

Here is a view from a different perspective. We see the end of the putter is anchored against the belly as well as how the hands grip the putter as normal. The difference is the area that was empty between the end of the grip and the player's belly on a conventional putter is now filled by the extension of the shaft and the grip.

How much? Well, if you consider a conventional putter readily available on the market is 33, 34 or 35” long, then most commercially available belly putters were 8” longer. But remember, not everyone has the same length arms or the same sized belly, so it is not an automatic 8” add on. If not anchored, then the length will be approximately an inch less.

Have the golfer set up to their normal putter and measure the distance from the end of the grip up to their belly along the same axis as the shaft. That should give you a good understanding of how much longer you should make their belly putter.

front view diagram of a man putting with a belly putter pointing our hand and end of the grip positions front view diagram of a man putting with a belly putter pointing our hand and end of the grip positions

Broomstick Putters

Long or “broomstick” putters are designed to be approximately 45″ to 50″ and were originally intended to have the end of the grip anchored to the body as well, but this time it would be the golfer’s sternum, Adam’s apple, or chin. In each location the putter is anchored will change the final length needed.

Ever since January 1, 2016, when the USGA and R&A banned anchoring the putter to the body, users of long and belly putters began to look for new ways to make the stroke simpler and stress-free. After the USGA ban on anchoring, broomstick putters never went away totally. Long-time users like Bernard Langer, adapted without anchoring as did others. Longer putters were meant to help cure the “yips,” which by all definition is a nervous affliction where the player lacks the fine motor skills to control the putter.

Typically a long putter’s head weight will be required to be much heavier than a normal to create the pendulum motion used with this type of putter. Not only is this one of the reasons we need dedicated putter head as we will see later when we talk about weight, but also why we cannot simply extend a conventional putter because we also have to be concerned with creating the proper lie angle.  Once again, fitting for length is best done by using a telescopic fitting club.

Arm Lock Putters

Another adopted putting technique after the anchoring ban became known as "arm lock". This is where the grip rests (or locks) against the left forearm (for a right-handed golfer) during the stroke. The benefits are to help quiet the wrists and let you rotate the shoulders.

The arm-lock style also creates a natural forward press or positions your hands ahead of the ball at impact. Just like broomstick putters, not any putter head can be a candidate for an arm lock putter. They are typically heavier than a conventional putter, but lighter than a broomstick putter. They will also require additional loft to be functional.

front view diagram of a person putting with an arm lock putterfront view diagram of a person putting with an arm lock putter

Counterbalanced Putters

Another trend and an alternative to belly putters are counter-balanced or counterweighted putters (which we will talk about later). These tend to be in-between the length of a standard putter and belly putter or 38” on average. The butt end stays short of the belly (non-anchored), but the golfer holds the club as they would with a conventional putter leaving approximately 3” of the grip extending beyond the wrists. The purpose if for the additional weight (either from the longer and heavier grip and/or an additional counterweight) to help offset the weight of the putter head, promote a pendulum stroke, and reduce the movement of the wrists.

diagram of hand position on a counter-balanced putterdiagram of hand position on a counter-balanced putter

Putter Length Assembly Tip

Putters tend to be impulse purchases. As a way to increase sales, a clubmaker can pre-assembly the putter by simply epoxying the head onto the shaft and aligning any special bends in the shaft.  But do not cut the butt end until the correct length has been found during the fitting process. The player can grip down on the shaft and putt as they normally would (assuming it is not too long and contacts the player) until it feel comfortable. The fitter can mark just above the upper hand, cut the shaft, and install the grip the player settled on. For longer putters, the club fitter can trim small amounts off of the butt until a final length is determined. All this can be done while the customer is waiting, which eliminates the time for the epoxy to dry and creates a satisfied customer as they can walk away with a brand new custom-fit putter. 

Putter Lie Angle

Choosing the correct lie is important from a directional standpoint, but not for the same reasons as you would see from an iron or wedge. Testing for the correct lie is encouraged to position the player’s eyes over their line of sight as we mentioned previously. When you think about it, for most golfers it will be easier from one time to the next to sole the club flat rather than have the toe or the heel up in the air.

However, if the lie is not exactly correct, it will not be detrimental to the direction. One notable example would be former PGA Tour player Isao Aoki who held the toe of his Bullseye style putter at least 1” off the ground at address. The reason is the loft, as we will talk about later, is not great enough to create a sizeable dispersion angle when the face is square. Remember, only if the face angle is closed (hook) or open (slice) at impact will cause it to have any side spin.

In the table you will see a scenario where the face is square and the lie if too upright or flat by 6° and we are attempting to make a 10 foot putt. If the loft is zero, so will the error. As the loft is increased to as much as 6° (which would be the upper range of loft you might find) the dispersion is only 1.3” either right or left and not enough to cause the ball to miss to one side or the other of our 4.25” hole. The diagram shows the scenario where the loft is 3° or considered normal.


Putter Loft Dispersion Angle Distance (Feet) Error (inches)
0 10' 0"
1 0.1° 10' 0.22"
2 0.2° 10' 0.44"
3 0.3° 10' 0.66"
4 0.4° 10' 0.88"
5 0.5° 10' 1.10"
6 0.6° 10' 1.31"


diagram of dispersion angle when a putter is 6° upright, straight and 6° flatdiagram of dispersion angle when a putter is 6° upright, straight and 6° flat

Putter Lie Adjustment

Putters are made from the widest variety of materials, most of which are the softest of the metals used in golf club manufacturing. These range from a number of stainless and carbon steels, zinc, brass, manganese bronze and beryllium copper, to name a few of the more common materials. Zinc putters, as they are die cast, cannot be altered. Their construction will cause them to break easily under the stresses of bending. Exotic materials such as beryllium copper tend to be a bit brittle and should be tackled by only the most experienced bender, if at all. Not only can many putter hosels be altered for lie (and loft), but the shafts can too with the proper bending bar. To bend the putter shaft, it is necessary that the shaft be epoxied to the head. Special putter bending machines are commercially available to securely clamp, register in the proper position as well as measure all the angles.

There are limitations to bending that the club fitter has to be aware of.  The standard lie angle range is 70-72° for conventional putters. While some putters have a 90° socket for the shaft to fit into or a post for the shaft to fit over, they are designed for a shaft with a single (lie only) or compound double bend (lie + offset) to produce the normal lie angles. The club head materials that are bendable, along with the shafts, may only be safely bent 2 or 3 degrees from their stated lie angle. However, few materials are capable of being bent anywhere close to what is often required for a long putter (79°).

Hosel Configuration

Another clubhead design feature that is responsible for alignment before, as well as after impact, is the hosel configuration. Hosel configuration can be broken down into two categories: hosel type and shaft axis location. We will first demonstrate using a straight shaft, but the information will also apply to curved putter shafted putters as well.

If you read through the product literature of putter manufacturers, you will find that there are several hosel types. They may be listed as a straight plumber’s neck, angled plumber’s neck, slant neck, gooseneck, curved neck, long neck, short neck, long tang, short tang, etc. If you are unaware of the term tang, it is also known as a “spud” or the post where the shaft fits over and not to be confused with the orange flavored drink consumed by astronauts. Even the part where the shaft enters (barrel) can be long or short.

diagrams of putters with different hosels configurations and termsdiagrams of putters with different hosels configurations and terms

Putter Hosel Styles

When we speak of hosel styles, we really want to concentrate on the offset regardless of if it is a putter with a short neck, straight tang or straight / curved back short barrel hosel. The offset is the distance from the leading edge of the shaft (rather than the hosel like an iron) to the forward-most edge of the face. With as many putters with an over-fit assembly or a curved shaft that do not possess a hosel, it is easier to use the leading edge of the shaft as our reference point.

Most plumber’s neck putters feature a full offset. If you look at the diagram, the dotted line represents the leading edge of the shaft. The distance between it and the leading edge of the face is approximately to diameter of the shaft’s tip. Slant neck or curved necked putter can also be full offset if there is adequate amount of slant or curvature at the forward-most edge of the face.

The half offset is just that, half of the diameter of a normal shaft tip or @ 0.185” from the leading edge of the shaft to the leading edge of the face. Slant neck curved necked and some double bend shafts may fall into this category.

The next is no offset at all or non-offset. This is where the leading edge of the shaft is aligned with the forward-most edge of the face.

toe view diagram of a putter with a Plumber's neck hosel, slant hosel and straight hoseltoe view diagram of a putter with a Plumber's neck hosel, slant hosel and straight hosel

Lastly, there is one more option to explain which would be the face-forward putter. These are less common, but they do exist generally with putters that have a socket into the head or an over-fit post or tang. In these cases it may depend upon which shaft the clubmaker chooses to use.

Let us say the socket or post is set at a 70-72° lie angle as would a conventional putter. Those could either accept a straight shaft (as shown on the right) or an offset shaft (shown on the left). Depending upon how far back the socket or post is located from the face could leave the leading edge of the upper portion of the shaft (that above the bend on a curved shaft) behind the leading edge of the face. Using a straight shaft would assuredly leave the face forward. 

If the socket or post is set at a 90° lie angle, those could either accept a single bend shaft (as shown on the right) or a compound double bend shaft or one for offset plus lie angle (shown on the left). The single bend would create a face forward design for sure. In some cases where the socket or post is located far enough back could also produce a putter with negative offset or face forward design. We will find out the importance of the hosel configuration shortly.

diagram of putter with socket using either a compunt double bend or single bend shaft to illustrate putter offsetdiagram of putter with socket using either a compunt double bend or single bend shaft to illustrate putter offset

Putter Shaft Axis Location

Next, let us concentrate on shaft axis location. Ask any golfer what a center or heel-shafted putter would look like. Most would infer that a center-shafted putter must have the shaft attach to the center of the head and a heel-shafted putter is one where the shaft attaches to the head in the heel area like the top two images in the diagram below. While those are generalities, we also have to look closely at the hosel length and any slant or curve in the hosel or shaft to get a true sense of the overall picture.

diagram of center shaft putter and heel shafted putter hosel locationdiagram of center shaft putter and heel shafted putter hosel location

Now look at the bottom row of heads in the same diagram. The dotted lines represent the middle of the face both vertically and horizontally. Each of these heads has a standard plumber’s neck hosel but attached at different portions of the head. On the right hand image, the hosel is positioned at the very heel-most location on the top of the face. The diagonal line you see is the axis of the shaft which passes through toward the heel side of the face.

The middle diagram shows the hosel has been shifted forward to the toe by 0.3.”  What this does is allow the shaft’s axis to move closer to the center of the face. In our example, if we shifted the hosel yet another 0.3” we can get the shaft axis to pass through the center of the face. Some would call this center-shafted even though the hosel itself is not positioned at the center of the face.

If the putter had no hosel whatsoever, we would use the upper section of the shaft above any bend that exists below. If the upper axis of the shaft intersects the center of the face it is considered center-shafted. The more rearward could be considered heel-shafted or mid (or intermediate) shafted.

Hosel length also plays an important role. The two hosels (short neck and long neck) are super-imposed over one another so you can see how the long hosel has the shaft’s axis pass through the center of the face. However, the short hosel putter has the shaft’s axis pass toward the heel side of the center of gravity even though the hosel itself is in the same location. The USGA also has a rule regarding the hosel length as it cannot exceed 5” from the top of the neck or socket to the sole.

diagram of putter with a long neck hosel compared to a short neck putterdiagram of putter with a long neck hosel compared to a short neck putter

Putter Toe Hang

There is a correlation between the hosel configuration and the location of the putter's shaft axis. This will deal with face alignment, not only at address, which is for our alignment, but also the face alignment at impact. You may have heard the term “putter toe hang” or sometimes called "putter toe flow."  This is the expression of the face position when the putter is balanced on your finger (or other object) and is allowed to rotate freely along the shaft's axis. Toe hang is analogous to the gravity angle that is mentioned in many of the other chapters. However it the amount subtracted from 90 degrees (i.e., a 20° gravity angle would have a 70° toe hang).

Hosel configuration in relationship to the club head's center of gravity has a pronounced effect on whether the putter is face balanced or if the toe hangs and if so, by how much. Additionally, the toe hang of a putter should be matched according to the path of the golfer's stroke for the most accurate results.

Let us take a quick look at what causes toe hang or what is also referred to as gravity angle. We first need two dimensions. The one labeled A in our diagram is the center of gravity or CG offset of the head from the center line axis of the shaft in the heel-to-toe direction. The other dimension is B, or the CG offset of the head from the center line axis of the shaft in the face-to-back direction.

If A in our example is 0.29” and B is 0.66,” then the toe will hang 23.7°. This is simply the byproduct of the arc-tangent of the A/B ratio. By moving the position of the hosel closer to the center of the face or more toward the heel, or forward or rearward we can adjust the gravity angle. To make the putter face balance, the axis of the shaft will pass through the center of gravity in either the A or B plane or both. If in the rare occasion the A-axis would pass on the toe side of the center of gravity, then this would create a putter which would have a heel hang.

diagram with different view of putter toe hang along with center of gravity location in relationship to the shaft axisdiagram with different view of putter toe hang along with center of gravity location in relationship to the shaft axis

Examining the Three Putting Paths

There are three basic classifications for describing a putter's path. These are commonly referred to as straight back – straight through stroke, a slight arc, and a pronounced arcing path. And each type suggests a different amount of toe hang for best results.

diagram of straight-back-straight through, slight arc and pronounced arc putting pathdiagram of straight-back-straight through, slight arc and pronounced arc putting path

Year in and year out, the (Ping) Anser-style putter (heel-toe weight plumber’s neck blade) has stood the test of time and has been the best-selling putter style. The toe hang on this style putter usually averages around 35° and coincidently most golfers have a slight arcing path (white arrow) like pictured above in the center frame. This may be referred to as an open gate-close gate swing, inside-square-inside, etc. Basically the club, as it travels backwards in the takeaway, goes inside, and opens. The putter returns along the same path and then at one precise time the face is square (hopefully at impact) before returning on an inside path and the face closing on the follow through.

Golfers who have a pronounced arc path or more of an exaggerated inside-square-inside stroke generally prefer heel-shafted putters, which will have a large amount of toe hang (60° and higher). Look at the diagram on the right for a moment. We can see the lie angle along the axis of the shaft is 72°. However that is not where we are aiming as if the putter was center-shafted. The center of the putter face is further away (in this case 1”) from the golfer’s body than the shaft axis. A flatter swing plane (70.5°) is required to reach the ball, and this should naturally create a more arcing path than if the putter was in a more upright position.

diagram of heel shafted putter with 72° lie angle and a 70.5° angle from hands to the golf ball axis diagram of heel shafted putter with 72° lie angle and a 70.5° angle from hands to the golf ball axis

Face balanced (0° toe hang) or I should say “nearly” face balanced putters (5-20°) are suggested for golfers who possess more of a straight back – straight through path. This is where the face can remain “square” or closer to being square than you might find in the slight arcing path.

Imagine a long, broomstick putter’s stroke. Almost all commercially available long putters are center shafted, face balanced putters. The lie is much more upright (79°), coupled with the longer assembly length (48”) meaning the ball might only be 9” away from the anchor point on the body.

There is a side and bird’s eye view in the diagram to show this. To put that in perspective a normal 34” putter with a 71° lie angle may have the center of the face 11-12” horizontally from the butt end of the grip depending upon the shaft axis location as we saw above. What if the player held the putter with the shaft at 90° and set it in a pendulum motion? The face would remain square as it moved back and forth as the head were directly below the end of the grip without factoring in any wrist rotation. Conversely, if the putter were help parallel to ground and swung around the spine, a large arc would result.

As you can see, the arc changes depending how far away we stand from ball and part of that is a function of the length, lie and shaft axis location. 

diagram of person's posture and putter position using a conventional putter versus a broomstick putterdiagram of person's posture and putter position using a conventional putter versus a broomstick putter

Putter Hosel Offset

Let us add one more piece to the puzzle – hosel offset. Hireko developed a putter back in 2011 that was originally an R&D project to test not only ball direction due to the shaft axis location, but the offset too. The Dynacraft SPOT putter, as it became known, was available in 3 different hosel configurations. There was a plumber's neck featuring a full offset, a slant neck with half offset model and lastly a straight neck producing no offset at all. The interchangeable hosels could all be positioned in either the forward, middle or rear position and fastened in place with two screws so a fitter could immediately fit their player.

With one head and 3 adapters, you have essentially 9 putters that you can interchange adapters and the hosel positions until the player sees the most repeatability for themself. In 15 minutes or less, your customer could walk away with their recently fitted putter or at least know what to look for in another model.

diagram of a putter with 9 different possible hosel positions and offsets and different arc putting paths they benefitdiagram of a putter with 9 different possible hosel positions and offsets and different arc putting paths they benefit

What was interesting to see was the impact that the varied offset had on ball direction. For instance, if one had a tendency to pull the ball with the offset putter, they fared much better with direction using the straight or slant neck hosel. If they were more prone to pushing the ball more to the right of their intended target line, then the offset remedied the problem. This is why there are different putters designed for the player’s stroke.

diagram of a putter with a closed face, square face and open facediagram of a putter with a closed face, square face and open face

The shaft axis location along with the length and lie affect how far you stand away from the ball which controls the arc. The offset affects the face angle or at least the ball position in the stance. A putter with onset (or a face forward design) would require the player to position the ball further forward in the stance and change the perspective of how the putter looks as compared to a putter that is more offset and the ball could be moved slightly back in the stance.

This is no different than if one places the ball too far back in their stance that the ball will go immediately to the right for a right-handed player and if too far forward will be pulled left. Again, the biggest reasons for missed putts are alignment and the ball position.

diagram of the difference in ball position when putting with an offset and face forward putterdiagram of the difference in ball position when putting with an offset and face forward putter

Putter Loft

Let us now look at what causes the next reason why a golfer misses their putts – distance control. One contributor to distance control is the loft of the putter. Yes, putters do have loft, albeit not very much. Loft exists to extract the ball out of the depression it sits in (due to gravity) and be able to get the ball rolling. To show why, there are three diagrams showing the possible situations that can occur at impact.

The first is the level impact. As most putters have 3° of loft as an average, the ball does not start rolling forward immediately. The loft will launch the ball up in the air and out of the depression on the green with a little back spin, land, it might hop just slightly before it hits the ground again and then the ball proceeds to start rolling forward. 

diagram of a level swing with a putter and the ball coming off the face with ball airborne, landing and rolling forwarddiagram of a level swing with a putter and the ball coming off the face with ball airborne, landing and rolling forward

The next scenario is when the player adds dynamic loft at impact such as if the putter gets ahead of the hands. The ball takes much longer to start the true roll forward. As a result, distance control suffers.

diagram of a 2° ascending swing with a putter and the ball coming off the face with ball airborne, landing and rolling forwarddiagram of a 2° ascending swing with a putter and the ball coming off the face with ball airborne, landing and rolling forward

In the last scenario, impact is made with a descending angle of attack. There could be a couple reasons for this. One, the player strikes the ball before it is at its lowest portion of the swing arc such as when the ball is further back in the stance. The other shows why certain golfers prefer to press the hands forward to minimize loft at impact, so the ball starts rolling forward much sooner.

diagram of a 2° descending swing with a putter and the ball coming off the face with ball airborne, landing and rolling forwarddiagram of a 2° descending swing with a putter and the ball coming off the face with ball airborne, landing and rolling forward

Let us circle back to the arm lock putter style, which creates a natural forward press or positions your hands ahead of the ball at impact. Additional loft is required otherwise you would have negative loft. It is common for these types of putters to possess approximately 7 degrees measured when the shaft is perpendicular to the ground. Factoring in a 4 or 5 degree forward lean, this leaves the golfer with a 2-3° putter loft at impact.

Roll Face Putter

Few putters today have what is referred to as roll face or where the face in not perfectly flat but convex. However, the idea and function is very sound. Look at the diagram for a minute. The addition of the roll face decreases loft when hitting up on the ball and hitting lower on the face. Hitting down and making contact higher up on the face still creates a positive loft. 

diagram of roll face putters hitting a golf ball with a level, 2° ascending and a 2° descending swing diagram of roll face putters hitting a golf ball with a level, 2° ascending and a 2° descending swing

Putter Loft Adjustment

Just like any lie angle adjustment, there are limitations to bending for loft that the club fitter must be aware of. First, you need to pay attention to what type of material the head is made from. For instance, zinc putters cannot be altered without breaking. Curved putter shafts can also be altered with special bending bars, but both the shaft and head may only be safely bent 2 or 3 degrees from their stated lie angle. Fortunately, this should cover almost any situation you might encounter. The downside is the bending machines for putters can be rather expensive if there is not enough volume to warrant the investment.

The biggest problem is figuring out exactly how much to change the loft, if at all, and why most club fitters skip this step. This is where the use of portable putting fitting devices like the SAM PuttLab or the TOMI putting system can gather accurate information and analyze the swing very precisely. Without such a device, you may have to use a camera along with a ball that has been painted or marked so you can watch in slow motion how long it takes for the forward roll to begin. Another option is to putt on a wet surface as the ball will make skid marks where impact occurred on the ground and it will be obvious where the ball is skipping or aloft.

Putter Weight

The other factor that contributes to distance control is the weight of the putter head itself. This can be broken down into two categories. First is the head weight itself which can control the distance. The second factor is the overall weight and balance of the putter, which can control the timing and tempo of the stroke. So let us tackle each of these subjects separately.

Putter Head Weight

Let us use the distance equation as we did from the Weight chapter when using a driver as our example. The equation is exactly the same, but the constants change a little, most notable the mass of the putter head.  The most common putter weights are in the 340 – 350g range. But if you look hard enough you can find some inexpensive zinc putters as light as 295g. On the opposite extreme you can find putter heads that have a mass of 450g and beyond proving there is a lot of variety today. One other variable that changes is the coefficient of restitution, which is approximately 0.8 on a putter. We will use that as our constant on all our examples.

The first group of data on the left of our table will show a golfer whose clubhead speed with the putter is 4 mph or 1.8 meters per second just prior to impact. This is almost fast enough to sink a level, 10 foot putt on a typical or average speed green.

Using 4 mph as a constant, the 320g putter head will propel the ball and rest just shy of 9 feet 8 inches from where it began. By increasing the weight in 20g intervals, we can see that we are inching closer and closer to the hole with the same amount of speed.

On the right of our table, we have a 20 foot putt on a level green of average speed. It might require 8.2 mph clubhead speed to hole the putt. A stroke with the 320g putter may result into missing the putter just short of the hole, while the 340g putter will barely roll the ball into the cup. At 400g, the ball may be going too fast prior to the hole to fall in or too fast to take any break and possibly lip out.

Club Speed Head Mass Ball Speed Distance
4 mph 320 g 6.3 mph 9 ft - 7.9 in
4 mph 340 g 6.3 mph 9 ft - 8.7 in
4 mph 360 g 6.4 mph 9 ft - 9.5 in
4 mph 380 g 6.4 mph 9 ft - 10.3 in
4 mph 400 g 6.5 mph 9 ft - 11.2 in


Club Speed Head Mass Ball Speed Distance
8.2 mph 320 g 12.9 mph 19 ft - 10.4 in
8.2 mph 340 g 13.0 mph 20 ft - 0.4 in
8.2 mph 360 g 13.1 mph 20 ft - 2.0 in
8.2 mph 380 g 13.2 mph 20 ft - 3.3 in
8.2 mph 400 g 13.3 mph 20 ft - 4.5 in


The point I am trying to make is that putter head weight is important for a couple of reasons. So here are a few tips when you go to fit a new putter. Some people like the ball to die in the hole. I for one am guilty of that, partially because the course I played learning the game penalized you from going past the hole and often creating a more difficult come back putt. Coming up way short of the hole on a consistent basis is just as bad. Here is where you might want to check the customer’s head weight. Choosing a similar model that has more weight to it should help.

There is a term that you might have heard that states “Never up, never in.”  That simply means if you never hit the ball hard enough to get to the hole you will never make the putt. So if you are a little past the hole, that is probably going to be just fine. But if you are long past the hole on a consistent basis, then a lighter model might help your “hole” more putts.

If the golfer plays the same course all the time, you can get a quick read on what weight putter head suits them best. But if they travel from course to course, they may want to have a couple of different putters to choose from or one where weight can be added and removed (always prior to the round to be conforming). The reason is most golfers do not have the luxury of time to putt on the practice green before the round to get a feel for how fast or slow the greens are. Sure, they might roll a few, but not where they get dialed in.

Chances are they are going to look at the distance to the hole and in that split second take the putter back and stroke the putt with the force they would use on your home course, or they play the most often. If the greens are slower than what you are used to, you can bet they will be short all day.

On the other hand, if the greens are lightning fast, they will have wished they left the head cover on because the ball will be racing past the hole with their normal stroke. For many golfers, it is hard to adjust to changes in green speed and make those changes on the fly. With a back-up putter of a different head mass (or one where weight can be added or subtracted), it can help solve those issues when they travel to a different course.

Like I said before, most golfers self-fit themselves for the putter. They go to a golf retail store with a putting green and there may be a plethora of putters to choose from. After a while they might find one that rolls the ball well and with distance control. Guess what? The first thing you are feeling is the head weight that complements their stroke – at least on that one particular practice green.

Longer putters or putters where there it is counterbalanced with a heavier grip, counterweight, or both requires more force to get the putter in motion than if held in the conventional manner. These type of putters tend to be heavier than a conventional putter head (385-400g). Putter heads specifically designed for long putters are the heaviest, ranging from 400-500g. For golfers that have the yips, or they have a looping swing path, they may find a heavier head useful to keep the putter steady along with counterbalancing as we will discuss next.

What is the Stimpmeter?

Have you wondered just how fast the greens you play compare to those of another course you play regularly or perhaps to the conditions that are in the US Open? The speed of the green can change during the course of the day depending upon the amount of moisture from any dew or precipitation that may occur, how much the grass grows during the day, the amount of play and marks left by fellow golfers strolling all over the green.  In addition, the amount of slope or the terrain is inconsistent from one green to the next just due to the lay of the land.

It is important that if you are putting on the practice putting green prior to the start of the round that all the greens you play during the round should be just as consistent. The ability to read a putt is not necessarily knowing not only the distance but relying on the speed as well. A course with well-kept conditions helps make a true test or challenge by rewarding those able to precisely read the greens more so than relying on luck. However, this always was not the case as there are no standard for how fast the greens should be.

A devise, aptly named the Stimpmeter, was designed in 1937 by Edward S. Stimpson and later modified in the 1970’s by the USGA’s technical department. It was management device to measure the speed of the green to assist golf course superintendents and greens keepers with the ability to maintain the green conditions, so they were consistent from one to the next.

person kneeling on a putting surface placing a ball on a Stimpmeterperson kneeling on a putting surface placing a ball on a Stimpmeter

The Stimpmeter is a 30 inch long aluminum ramp with a V-shaped channel for a golf ball to be placed. It is positioned on a (relatively) level part of the green at a 20° angle and a total of three balls are released and allowed to run down to the green and roll. Where each ball comes to rest is measured relative to the base of the Stimpmeter, then is re-positioned approximately at the same place the other three balls laid to rest and the process repeats itself 180° or in the opposite direction. The distances the 6 balls traveled are added up and divided by six. This reading is the average number of feet the ball rolls.

Most public or municipal golf courses are set to a Stimp reading of between 7 and 10.  Slow or soft greens would be in the 5 to 7 range, while most courses on the PGA Tour would be in the 10-12 range. Consider US Open course that are typically the fastest at 12, with even the slightest of tap of the putter with the ball above the hole, the ball can easily run far past the hole or even off the green! This is why custom club fitting is important when selecting the proper putter weight for the course(s) you play the most often.

Overall Putter Weight

Not only are we concerned with head weight, but overall weight and weight distribution. The latter two is what controls swing weight. You rarely hear of putter swing weight, but every putter has one. The swing weight comprises of the component head weights (head, shaft, grip and any counter or mid weights within the shaft) as well as the length. By now, you have already found the length (lie and loft too) the golfer feels comfortable addressing the ball and placing their eyes directly over the ball. We just talked about the influence of head weight for distance which leaves us with the shaft, grip, and any alternative weighting that you may choose to use.

Putter Shaft Weight

So far, we have not mentioned shafts for putters. This is not to say the shaft is not important, rather there is smaller selection of “putter” shafts to choose from especially if you are working with putters requiring curved shafts and models dedicated to long putters.  Could you place a graphite shaft in a putter? There are a limited selection commercially available and those are about the same weight as their steel counterparts. There are even putter shafts made with a combination of a steel tip section affixed to a graphite upper body. Aluminum putter shafts are no longer an option. While we are not ruling out putter shaft weight as a way to control overall weight, there are just too few options to make it a viable fitting option.

Putter Grip Weight

Grip weight on the other hand is the complete opposite. Often the weight is dictated by size with smaller grips being the lightest and super jumbo sizes being the heaviest. Plus, you have to compare rubber grips to other rubber grips and synthetic grips to other synthetic grips in size and their weight.  There are lighter weight low-density synthetic grips that are jumbo sized yet weigh the same as a grip much smaller in size.

Choosing the grip style, size, and weight has to be addressed as some point in time but often times it is one of the last steps. In the back of your mind you will need to address the grip weight when fitting for size. Larger putter grips have been around for several years now. They are designed to encourage less tension in the muscles of the hands and forearms. The result is less of a “wristy” stroke. Instead the player uses the big muscles in their shoulders to have more of a pure pendulum stroke.

While in theory this works great, there are a few things to be aware of. Making a grip bigger usually causes it to be heavier as you have more material. In some cases is can raise the weight considerably. Using a heavier putter grip is the equivalent to back-weighting or counter-balancing a putter and leads to less head feel. While back-weighting does help certain players, I treat grip sizing and back-weighting as independent variables.

If your customer relies on their wrists to propel your putts and then have no problems with distance control or direction, then there is probably no need for them to change from a smaller sized putter grip. But if that does not describe them, take a good hard look at the larger putter grips on the market. Make sure to use the grip weight specifications to your advantage when sifting through your options. If they like the present balance of their putter (which is utilizing a standard sized model) choose one of the lighter oversized models. 

Putter Grip Length

Depending upon the putter style your customer wants, it may require grips that are longer than normal, which can further refine the options available. Expect longer grips to weigh more and add to the overall weight of the putter. Below is a list of recommended lengths for each category.

Putter Type Recommended Grip Length Range
Conventional Putter 10-11”
Wrist Lock Putter 13-14”
Counter-Balanced Putter 13-16”
Arm Lock Putter  17-21”
Belly Putter (Non-anchored) 16-17”
Belly Putter (Anchored) 17-19”
Broomstick Putter 2-piece split grip or 21”


Putter Counterweighting

Here is one option for retro-fitting an existing putter or optimizing the weight and weight distribution of a brand new putter. There are a couple different reasons for counterweighting a putter. One is to “quiet” the hands during the stroke and improve consistency. In other cases, it can help reduce the head heaviness of a putter.

This requires trial and error fitting often by having a hole cut into the butt end of the grip to allow for various weights to be added and fastened in place with a tool. Commercially available products from Tour Lock Products and Balanced Certified are available along with installations tools. It is not uncommon to see counterweights ranging from 50 to 100g (or more).

60g Tour Lock counter weight installed into the butt end of a red Winn putter grip60g Tour Lock counter weight installed into the butt end of a red Winn putter grip

While counterweighting a driver or another full swing club may see a drop of a swing weight for every 4g of weight added, putter counterweights tend to require more weight per swing weight. Weights that are 60, 80 or 100g tend to be fairly long a less concentrated at the very butt end of the shaft. To demonstrate, here are the results of a 34.75” putter.

Swing Weights and Putter Counterweights

Original Putter E3 Swing Weight
with 60g counterweight C9 Swing Weight
with 80g counterweight C4.5 Swing Weight
with 100g counterweight C0 Swing Weight


I mentioned I treat grip sizing separately than counterbalancing for a reason. Certain golfers may be able to counterbalance their putter by grip alone, but this will require a much larger size which may feel uncomfortable to the player. By utilizing the correct grip size that gives the player a relaxed feel and then counterweighting it to optimize performance is always your best choice.


Mid-weight is like a counterweight with the main difference being the location of the weight. Mid-weighting shifts the weight between the hands and the head to increase overall weight, but not necessarily decrease the head feel. Again, commercially available products (like Tour Lock Opti-Vibe) are available to slide them down inside a hole cut in the grip cap and pushed down to a desired location. For fitting, any weighted object that can be fastened on the outside of the shaft. Just remember, if you find a weight and location that works best, consider whether you can modify the putter, so it conforms to the Rules of Golf.

Not only is there trial and error fitting on how much weight to use, but finding the location that might happen to optimize an existing or brand new putter. With so few options in putter shaft weight, mid-weighting provides an additional option for club fitters.

Putter Head Style 

Most club fitters might want to start with the head design in the putter fitting process. However, if you need a specific weight or lie angle, such as in the case of a long putter or if the putter needs to be non-offset and more of a center-shafted configuration, this may limit the choices you can offer your customer.

Blade Putters

Putters come in all types of shapes, one of which is referred to as a blade style putter. These possess a long and narrow shape with more weight concentrated toward the face or striking surface. A typical blade putter is nearly match the size of the hole (4.25”) from heel to toe; often anything larger will not be visually acceptable. There are two types of blade style putters called a flat back and cavity back.

In the diagram to the left shows an example of a flat back blade. Weight is more or less uniformly placed along the back side of the back of the face.  In this case, the toe is a little wider than the heel to help balance out the weight of the hosel. This type of putter is reserved for better ball strikers as there is little in the way of any game-improvement features when a putt is miss-struck.

diagram of a flat back putter and cavity back putter from a top and back viewdiagram of a flat back putter and cavity back putter from a top and back view

The most common type of putter is the cavity back blade as shown on the right. In the center of the back is a cavity or hollowed out area. That weight is displaced toward both the heel and toe areas (shaded areas). The purpose is just like a cavity back iron which is to provide relief on off-center shots. Any time the ball is not struck in-line with the center of gravity the face will twist closed (heel) or open (toe) and the ball will lose a certain amount of distance. The further away impact is made from the center of gravity, the greater the distance loss. By offering some heel and toe weighting, the moment of inertia is increased and not only will the ball travel closer to the same distance as if perfectly struck, but straighter too.

Mallet Putter

A mallet style putter is not always shorter from heel-to-toe than a blade style putter but is wider from front to back. The purpose is to move the weight further back and create greater perimeter weighting and a higher moment of inertia. The larger mallet style putters are becoming increasingly popular with today’s golfers as they provide the maximum amount of forgiveness.

diagram of a unique looking mallet putter from a top angled perspectivediagram of a unique looking mallet putter from a top angled perspective

By moving the weight further back, it helps stabilize the clubhead from twisting with the same amount of heel and toe weighting as a blade style putter. The more rearward (and lower) center of gravity is also more effective at starting the putts to start to roll sooner.

We mentioned the moment of inertia. It is a byproduct of the weight distribution from heel-to-toe and face-to-back. However, the weight of the putter has a major factor. A heavier head is less likely to twist on an off-center shot compared to the same size and weight distribution head of lesser weight.


Putters are constructed using many different techniques. They may be cast, forged, or milled but the most important consideration is the weight distribution. A basic heel-toe weighted Anser-style putter could be investment cast from 431 stainless steel and be the exact same size and dimensions as a putter completely CNC (Computer Numerically Controlled) milled from a solid block of 304 stainless steel. But does this create a better putter? The difference is the milling, which will cost several times over that of the cast putter because of all the machining time and excess material that needed to be removed.

It is common to see only the face of a putter is milled flat. This is done to ensure a perfectly flat face for the ball to strike the putter with.

Face Inserts

Another common feature on putters is the addition of face inserts. The inserts may be made from a number of items such as aluminum to proprietary polymer inserts, each of which is softer than the material the head is constructed from. Some of the polymer inserts will provide the softer sound and yes, contributes to the feel. Not only is the putter material and construction a personal preference, but so too is any sound and feel from any face insert and thus worthy of consideration.

Whether part of an insert or strictly part of the face, you are seeing increased grooves or face surface treatments applied to the face. These can range considerably from manufacturer to manufacturer but still must meet certain regulations according to the Rules of Golf regarding spacing, depth and sharpness. Their purpose is to limit the friction or surface area contacting the ball and thus allowing the ball to roll better immediately after impact.

Topline Shape

Another consideration from a personal preference standpoint is the shape of the topline. A putter can be possess a straight, top, slant top or curved top. The purpose of the slant and curved top putter is to give the appearance to the golfer that the putter is more upright. It may also have an insignificant influence on weight distribution, but not as much as the angled flange that we saw in the diagram with the flat back blade.

diagram of putters with a straight top, slant top and a curved topdiagram of putters with a straight top, slant top and a curved top

Putter Grips

One important parameter to take a close look at is the grip’s alignment. The putter grip is normally produced with a flat area on the front or top. This allows a player to position their thumbs, promoting a square hand placement in line perpendicular to the golfer’s target. If the grip is crooked it may be the reason why the player struggles making their putts. Simply re-aligning may make a world of difference in draining more putts.

We did not mention this, but it is possible for a putter to have a face angle other than square. However, most golfers will use the leading edge of the face to align the putter perpendicular to their target line. This is why it is so important that the grip is aligned properly.

Putter Grip Size 

The number one form of fitting is often performed when re-gripping the player’s clubs. Every 1-3 years golfers will usually have new grips installed onto all their clubs depending upon frequency of play. The only exception is their putter as they do not tend to wear down as quickly. But this is not to say it should not. For instance, if a player is having a larger grip installed onto their irons and wedges and you notice a smaller grip is on their putter, you might also suggest taking a look at their putter grip size too.  

For club fitters, it is a good habit of stocking various sized putting grips (standard, mid-size, jumbo and super jumbo). Note there is no such category as “ladies” grip sizing when it comes to putter grips. These can be held by the golfer as they come out of the box (good), installed onto cut-off shaft butts (even better), or installed onto the same type of putter (best) so the player can get a feel in real conditions.

Putter grips are offered in far more sizes and shapes than swing grips to be able to create standard size charts. To give you an example, let us use the Winn Excel and UST-Mamiya Soft Touch lines are they are both offered in the 4 basic sizes. Measuring 2” below the grip cap we have the dimensions from side-to-side as well as top-to-bottom to show why.

  Winn Excel UST-Mamiya Soft-Touch
Putter Size Side-to-side Top-to-bottom Side-to-side Top-to-bottom
Standard 0.81" 1.03" 0.88" 1.07"
Midsize 0.92" 1.07" 0.97" 1.15"
Jumbo 1.11" 1.32" 1.18" 1.18"
Super Jumbo 1.53" 1.53? 1.65" 1.54"


Putter grips are not sized the same as non-putter grips. You do not find charts for -1/32” under men’s standard or +3/32” over. Rather they are sold “as is.”  If the name does not say midsize, jumbo or some other descriptive term, assume it is standard sized. Secondly, putter grips are not sold in multiple-core sizes like a non-putter grip. They may be 0.580,” 0.590” or 0.600” to match the popular butt diameter sizes of steel putter shafts. For long putter grips you may find 0.600” and 0.620” to fit over the larger diameters associated with the extra-long putter shafts. Rarely do clubmakers try to create custom sizes with build-up tape. The only time it will be used to fill a gap caused by the tapering of the shaft, so the mouth of the grip is not loose on the shaft. Plus, synthetic grips will not stretch like rubber grip can.

Most importantly, you will not find templates or grip sizing charts based on the player’s hand size like you would non-putter grips. Comfort is king. If a player who has small hands is “wristy,” the larger sized grip may steady the hands to provide better directional and distance control.

Putter Grip Shape

If you look at the butt end of putter grips you will find various appearances. Pictured here is just a sampling.Putter grips can have an oval shape, although they will taper further down creating a flat portion at the top for the thumbs to rest. Others will have a more pronounced rectangular shape in which the grip is narrow from side-to-side, but deeper from top-to-bottom. These two categories are the most popular grips you will find and usually the stock offering on most putters.

diagram of a pistol putter grip shape from the side and end caps of different shape putter gripsdiagram of a pistol putter grip shape from the side and end caps of different shape putter grips

Not common, but you do encounter rectangular grips that are shaped just the opposite, with the wider dimension from side-to-side. Some putter grips will be more uniform from side-to-side and top-to-bottom creating more of a square appearance.

In addition, there are 3 basic styles of which are called pistol, paddle, or round referring to their relative shape. A round grip would be, well…round like a grip for an iron or driver (although some may have a flat top). A paddle is a round tapered grip with a flat side on top, while a true pistol is oval or narrow from side to side with a slightly curved shape like the knob end of a pistol handle. From there you will find many more variations and even combinations of pistol and paddle shapes.

There is no rule that putter grips have to have a flat side. Using a non-putter grip on a putter is perfectly fine if the customer likes the feel of it better and has no issues with alignment.

There are specific rules regarding two-piece grip installation for long putters. For one, the grips must be a minimum of 5” long and the grips must be separated by a minimum of 1.5” unless they were to join and form a continuous grip without a waist or bulge. The grips must also be circular in cross section.

Grip Weight Revisited

As mentioned previously, grip size is also a byproduct of grip weight. Using too heavy of a putter grip could reduce the head feel for some golfers much the same way as too large or too small of a grip has on their feel. Pay close attention to the weight as much as the size. If the player prefers a particular grip for its texture and size and happens to be heavy, it might require offsetting the counterbalancing by suggesting a heavier putter head.

Putter Grip Material

Putter grips are made from any material that an ordinary grip is made from such as rubber, cord, synthetic and even leather. The most popular are the synthetic putter grips as they are softest to the touch and come in an assortment of colors and patterns. You can reference the Grip Fitting chapter to see the pros and cons with each material.

Putter Assembly Tips

We mentioned earlier that putters can be partially assembled without butt cutting or installing a grip. Once you and your customer have settled on a length and the shaft is cut to that dimension, there are a couple more things the club fitter can do. One is to install split grips. Yes, you can save some of the grips that you have removed from different putters assuming they are still in reasonable condition. Keep ones of different sizes, shapes, weights and even materials. You can slip them onto the butt end and the player can putt on your putting green to get a feel for the grip.

two split putter grips next to 3 different length putter counterweightstwo split putter grips next to 3 different length putter counterweights

At the same time as you are testing for the grip, you can also try to see if counterbalancing will work as well.  Commercially available putter counterweights can be placed inside the butt end and then the grip can be slipped over for the player to putt with. You and you customer can see quickly if counterweighting optimizes the player’s stroke.

Static Putter Fitting

Trying to match a player to a putter without either seeing the player putt or without getting his or her feedback from testing a variety sample putters, is, in all honesty, next to impossible. A couple of hints that may help would be to ask the player if he bends over or stand erect during putting as the length is a great starting point. Ask the player where their miss-hits tend to go. If their putts are being pushed, then suggest a model with more offset. If the putts are generally short, choose a heavier putter.

Ask if the player has seen or putted with any designs he remembers liking. This may help in the selection of head style. Ask if the player thinks he or she putts straight back and through or inside-to-out. While they may not know for sure, if he or she does, the straight path will be better matched with a face-balanced putter.

Putter Fitting Summary

Why not fit the most used club in the bag as this would certainly have the biggest impact on scoring? Golf putter fitting has gone a long way in the past ten years from being virtually ignored to now having more sophisticated devices to measure and analyze the player’s stroke not to mention more fitting tools in which to facilitate the process. Putting has a proven correlation to scoring. Do not ignore it when fitting any customer.

  • Length, lie, shaft axis location, and offset all help put the player in the proper alignment prior to and upon impact.
  • Loft and head center of gravity and face inserts can help control the roll.
  • Weight, weight distribution and grip size can help with speed, tempo, and solid impacts.
  • The variety of putter shapes and materials (not only for the body but the insert as well) may seem unlimited. Make sure to have an ample collection of demo putters where you can test not only for looks, but for performance as well such as any alternative weighting.
  • Make sure to have a selection of demo grips either on shaft butts or in an actual putter for the customer to feel and even see a difference in their stroke.
  • The use of telescopic shafts, an adjustable putter or the use of portable putting fitting devices can all help speed up the process of obtaining a custom fit putter.

Modern Guide to Golf Clubmaking

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