ore than any other club in the bag,
the putter evokes emotion. But that
feeling often is subtle. Although
manufacturers tout advancements such as
high moment of inertia and insert technology,
it’s unlikely a putter will elicit the “wow factor”
one gets from pounding a driver into tomorrow
or the “hot knife going through butter” feel
that seals the deal on a set of irons.
With putters it’s intimate—and often personal.
It’s why something that looks like a science-fair project gone wrong is a thing of beauty to
one player, while something that could pass
for a piece of jewelry appeals to another.
According to surveys done by several
companies, most golfers own, on average,
five or six putters. That means they’re almost
always in the market for a new one.
Sound like you? Here are some hints for
getting the most out of your next putter
➤ CHECK YOUR ALIGNMENT
Golfers aim their putter in several ways. Some
aim the leading edge of the putter, some use
the alignment aid on the club, some combine
the two characteristics and some don’t aim
much at all. How to figure out which type of
aimer you are takes some work. But if you’re
near a fitting facility that has a laser device
to check your stroke, you’ll be able to better
see how different putter-alignment elements
(circles, half-circles, lines) can help you aim
properly toward your target.
➤ THE RIGHT LOFT TO GO ON A ROLL
Golfers pay close attention to the loft on their
driver but give little thought to the loft on their
putter. Standard loft is between three and four
degrees, with some as low as two degrees.
Players with a strong forward press typically
need more loft, otherwise they are merely
driving the ball into the ground. Those with
an upward stroke benefit from less loft. Ball
position also plays a role. If you putt with the
ball off your front foot, less loft helps.
➤ GET FIT TO SAVE STROKES
It’s shocking how few golfers get properly fit by
an expert for a putter, especially considering
the number of putts you must make each and
every round. Length, loft, stroke type, face-balanced versus toe-balanced are all putter
variables that should be considered. If you
can’t find a good fitter near you, a few
manufacturers now offer digital apps that
can help you self-fit a putter.
➤ TO BELLY OR NOT TO BELLY?
Belly putters are the latest craze and the
temptation is to see what all the fuss is about.
Be careful, though. Belly putters usually take
a fair amount of practice to develop a good
feel for distance control on long putts. It’s also
important you get fit for such a club. One size
does not fit all in belly putters and getting the
proper length will help keep you out of the
market for another putter in the near future.