Most golfers have 14 clubs in their bag – which one do you hit the most times? Which single club can make the difference between a good day and a bad one? That answer is your putter.
Nothing frustrates a golfer like the three-putt. You hit two great shots, have a nice look for birdie, but walk off the green with a bogey.
How did you choose your current putter? There are so many different options – are you sure you have the best one for your stroke? Do you have more than one? Some golfers like to change putters between rounds if they have off day on the greens. Dustin Johnson has famously switched putters in the middle of a PGA tour event and many professionals try different models when they practice.
The putter is the most unique and individualistic club in your bag. There is no one right way to putt – if you find something that helps you smoothly roll the ball online, go with it.
Maybe it is time for you to try something different – jump start your short game.
Set Your Budget
Before you start shopping for your new “flatstick” determine how much you want to spend. The putter seems like such a simple club, there is a lot of technology that goes into building the modern versions. You can spend anywhere from $25 to $600 on a new putter.
The putter is a critical club to improving your score but be honest about your game. If you are just getting started, you probably don’t need to spend more than $150 and if you can’t afford that, there are plenty of options in the $75 - $100 range. Of course, another great way to save some money is to look for used putters.
Once you settle on how much you are willing to spend, it is time to consider the different options.
The Putter Options Can Feel Endless
When you go putter shopping, lack of options will not be a problem. A putter has numerous features, but the critical ones are style, length, and brand.
First, let's discuss style. The two primary styles of putters are Mallet and Blade.
Mallets will have larger heads and are typically a rounded, square shape, but you can find all sorts of shapes. Mallet putters have become more popular on professional tours over the last several years – for reference, Rory McIlroy and Jason Day putt with Mallet putters. The Mallet putter offers more forgiveness if you tend to mishit putts and are easier to line up correctly. The only downside to a Mallet putter, is you may lose some feel on quick greens.
A Blade putter is the simpler design that has been used in the game of golf for centuries. The most famous example is the putter that Tiger Woods has used to win his 15 majors. The blade provides more feel and is typically better if you have arc stroke versus straight back, straight through.
One idea is to own both a Mallet and a Blade putter – providing you with the ability to change back and forth as needed. Golf is mental and sometimes trying something new, can help you reset your stroke.
Second, you will need to pick the length of your putter. If you visit a golf store, almost all of them will be 34” or 35” long. For most players, one of these two will work just fine. Putting is all about being comfortable, so if one feels better than the other, go with it. If you can’t decide, we recommend going with the shorter putter.
And finally, what about the brand? Many different golf manufacturers make putters – some of the famous brands include Odyssey, PING, TaylorMade, Scotty Cameron, Titleist, and Bettinardi, but there are others. A brand is only important if you care about it – if not, go with the putter that looks and feels the best to you. At the end of the day, the best putter is the one that makes the most putts!
Gotta Go to Work – Put in the Practice
You have navigated the putter marketplace and made your selection. Now it is time to put in the practice time if you truly want to improve your scores and lower that handicap. The great thing about your putting stroke, is that you can practice anywhere. You don’t have to drive to the course or the driving range.
You can practice from the comfort of your home with an indoor putting mat or on your carpet. The key is to make a repetitive stroke you can trust. Learn how your new putter feels. Does the ball roll off the face smoothly or is there a little pop to it?
When you head to the course to play around, always allow yourself at least 15 minutes to warm up on the putting green. Focus on learning the green speed. Practice 5-foot putts. The goal is to gain confidence in your putting before you reach the first green.
Navigating the different putter features and options can be intimidating but enjoy the process. Try out different styles, brands, lengths, and price points. If you are shopping in a golf store, they almost all have an indoor putting green for you to leverage. If you are going to buy from your local club professional, they will let you try on the practice green, if not the actual course.
You never know which putter will fit your unique stroke. You might think you want a Mallet, but notice you make more putts with a Blade. Select the putter that feels the best, gives you confidence, and “rolls the rock” into the hole.
Ultimately, the putter is the most important club in your bag. One a bad day, it can account for close to 50% of your shots. But it can also save the day – 3 bad shots and 1 great putt is typically something we call a Par.
Enjoy your new putter. Practice your stroke. Make more putts and shoot lower scores.