As golf professionals, we see a lot of flaws in how people practice and where they focus their energy in an effort to get better at golf. Watching most golfers come down to practice, purchasing two large buckets and heading to the range to hit balls until their Hands & Back are sore. Once finished they put their clubs back in their vehicles and drive away. Forgetting to practice the most important part of the game, Putting. This part of the game for most “bogey” golfers accounts for 40% or more of their total strokes. While we understand why, people skip this part of practice. It is not glamourous, and all you hear about golf or on TV right now is the obsession with hitting the ball further. In this series of articles, we are going to start where most great golfers do, focusing on our putting. First and fore most improving our abilities around the green, then working our way back to the long game. Before diving into the fundamentals of putting (grip, stance and posture). We are going to start with the most important part of putting, the selection of your Putter.
In order to properly choose a putter, we first have to understand the three common stroke types in putting.
The golfers stroke moves the putter back along a straight line, and move the putter through and forward on a straight line.
The golfers stroke moves the putter back on very subtle arc. If you were to imagine a straight line, the putter would float back slightly inside this straight line, and on the fore stroke will return back to the center at impact, then float ever so slightly back inside that imaginary straight.
The golfers stroke moves the putter back on a stronger or more pronounced arc in relation to the imaginary straight line.
Throughout my career as a Golf Professional, I have noticed that approximately 80% or more of golfers will putt with either the Straight back, Straight through or the Slight Arc stroke types. Though the Strong Arc is the least common of the putting stroke types, we do see select golfers have success with this stroke.
Now, knowing your putting stroke, how do we go about selecting the correct putter? It is actually quite simple, though, it takes you as the golfer being truthful about which stroke type you truly are or would like to be. Yes, you can figure this out on your own by using chalk lines or string, and putting mirrors, and/or your phone on your camera.
Using your own putter or when you stop by your local golf shop to check out their selection of putters and follow these steps to determine the putters balance point. The balance point is often between 4 – 8 inches up the shaft from the putter head. To find the balance point, use your index finger, as the point to balance the putter, once the putter has become balanced, observe the face of the putter (flat part in which you contact the ball) and the toe of the putter (furthest point of the putter from the shaft). Now, pay close attention to the following because these three differences need to be fit for the golfer’s stroke type outlined earlier.
If the face, stays flat and points to the sky, well this means that the putter is suited to the golfer with the Straight back, Straight through stroke type.
If the toe only slightly hangs down, this putter is suited best for the golfer with the Slight Arc stroke type.
If the toe of the putter drops down and points to the ground, well you guessed it, that putter will best suit a golfer with a Strong Arc stroke type.
Many golfers often ask, why do Putters do this? Well, for the most part it’s based on the manufacturers design, the weighting of the putter, and/or the design of the neck of the putter. Once you determine your stroke type, you’ll be better equipped at determining which is the best putter to for you to choose/use. Which in turn, will give you the best chance at becoming a successful, confident putter.
Now, knowing your putting stroke type and which balance point fits your stroke type when choosing a putter, the remaining putter options are based on your personal preference.
Blade vs Semi-Mallet vs Mallet?
Lighter vs Heavier?
Sight lines on top?
These decisions are based on personal preferences, and still serve an important purpose when we begin to talk more about the fundamentals of putting.
The stroke then becomes about the golfer allowing the putter to do work. Too often we notice that golfers will try to force their putter to fit their stroke type which it may not have been designed for, and then struggle making putts. Considering that we’ve just learnt that putters are designed to float a certain way, it becomes even more important to be truthful to yourself as a golfer. What is your desired stroke type? After matching the correct putter will lead to much better results.
It is also important to consider that the correct putter may already be in your bag, you may just need to learn the proper stroke to swing it on. So, grab your putter and find its balance point to learn which putting stroke your putter is designed for. Spend some time practicing the correct stroke type for your putter and realize how much better of a putter you can become!
After all this, If you still struggle with putting, give one of our 4 Golf Professionals a call and we’d be happy to get you Putting on the right track!