12 March 2019
Getting better at putting is one of the easiest ways to get a lower score on the golf course and get your handicap down. In this guide we'll go over the best putters for high handicappers - these are the putters that are going to reduce your number of 3 putts and make the putts within 3 feet a breeze.
It always surprises me that people don't realise that the putter is the club you use the most during a round of golf. Your driver you'll probably use 12-13 times at the most around a lot of golf courses, but your putter you'll be using 24 times if you have an amazing round, and may be up to 40 times if you are struggling on the greens.
So why we people pay hundreds of $'s or £'s sometimes nearly every year on a new model driver, plus get fitted - but often they never consider getting fitted for a putter or even just testing new ones out.
Of course smashing a golf ball 300 yards plus with a new driver feels great (OK I only get about 230 carry and 260 total on a good day!), but it's also an amazing feeling walking off the 18th knowing you've had under 30 putts in a round with no 3 putts.
There are two types of putters : face balanced putters, or toe balanced putters.
How do you find out your putters balance?
Simply rest the putter shaft on your fingers and if the toe of the putter points down like this:
You have a toe balanced putter.
If the face of the putter stays horizontal like this:
You have a face balanced putter.
The general guidance is your type of putting stroke should determine which type of putter you should go for.
Straight back and through
If you use a straight back and straight through putting stroke the putting theory is you should use a face balanced putter. Most face balanced putters are mallet type in looking as it is easier to balance the weight across the face of the putter with the mallet design.
Putt with an arc
If you putt with an arc to your stroke as shown by the practice aid in the image below, general guidance is to use a toe balanced putter.
Toe balanced putters are almost always a blade type design. These putters have more weight based in the toe of the club - hence the name toe balanced. The theory being the heavier toe of the putter will help the clubs face to rotate from a neutral, to open, to neutral to closed position giving the stroke the arc.
Grip sizes have changed dramatically over the last 5 years or so. Previously everyone putted with a thin pencil style grip, and anything difference was a sign of weakness.
But as soon as professional golfers such as KJ Choi and more recently Jordan Spieth started using thicker grips it seemed more acceptable for amateurs to be using them too.
A thicker grip will in theory take the feeling out of the players fingers and hands and promote a stroke made more with the shoulders. This may help putters who are more mechanical, and methodical in their approach to putting.
A standard thickness grip will give more feeling feeling in the fingers during putting
Most putting grips have a flat edge that aligns on the shaft so it is perpendicular to the club face. This promotes having the two thumbs placed on the flat section of the grip if you are using a standard putting grip, and helps get the backs of the hand parallel to the club face.
If you are sticking with tradition all you need to consider when picking a putter is how tall you are. 34 inches seems to be the standard length for a putter shaft, but if you are shorter or taller you may want to go up or down an inch or two.
If you are thinking of having the putter shaft and grip rest against your left forearm like Matt Kuchar you'll need to get a longer shaft. You'll also need to think about the degrees of left your putter has as you generally lean the shaft forward when it rests against your left arm.
These days there are a plethora of options when it comes to putters. Grip size, shaft length, head type and size. With so many different options the best thing to do is get down your local golf club and try various models out on the practice green. Usually if you know your local golf professional they'll let you try the putters out on the course as well.
Putting is 90% a confidence thing. If you have a putter that makes you feel confident you are probably holding the right club in your hand on the greens. This is certainly the case for me - I prefer a straight back and through putting stroke, but put with a blade putter which is more suited to an arc stroke. But I feel I line up better with a blade putter and so this makes me feel more confident. Rules are there to be broken! And putts are there to be made :)
These are the common models:
Ping Anser - toe balanced
The basic design of the Ping Anser was sketched out by Karsten Solheim in 1966. Weight in the toe and heal are designed to give a consistent distance even when you don't strike the ball in the middle of the putter.
Odyssey White Hot - face balanced
The favourite putter of many great putters including Luke Donald and Henrik Stenson. Odyssey launch a new model each year with slight variations on the face design and colour options but the basics remain the same.
Taylor Made Spider - face balanced
The Taylor Made Spider putter is a relatively new design that has been made popular by players winning majors such as Jason Day and Dustin Johnson. If you can get past the top line looks of the Spider putter it is a face balanced putter that is very forgiving, with the mallet look sure to give beginner golfers a lot of confidence.
Scotty Cameron Newport Select - toe balanced
Want to feel like Tiger Woods when you are putting? Then make sure you purchase a Scotty Cameron Newport Select 2.5. The Newport Select comes in a variety of slight design differences for the blade and hosel design, but the basic are the same. I had one of these putters and if I was putting well it was great. But the sweet spot is not very large on the putter face and so mis-hits can end up quite short of the hole.