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Match the right putter to your stroke

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The other day, I was reading through a club company’s literature and saw that they were offering 15 different putter models for their 2011 line. How great is that, I thought—that there are so many flatsticks to choose from! But then I thought that, for the average golfer, it could be slightly confusing. With so many models to choose from, how do you know what’s best for you? Of course, the best way to find your next putter is to get out on the practice green and start rolling putts. But it’s also important to keep in mind what kind of putter you are. What do I mean? Read on and find out—and find your next blade or mallet!

1. Choose A Putter That’s Right For Your Stroke
It may surprise you that different putter styles yield different stroke paths. Consider the three images you see here. In the upper-left-hand corner, I’m putting with a blade putter; in the one directly above, I’m putting with a mallet; and to the left, I’m using a long putter. Notice how the path differs between the blade and mallets?

To be honest, it’s sort of a chicken/egg kind of thing. If you use a mallet, you’ll be more likely to make a square-to-square stroke because it’s a face-balanced putter, meaning that the CG is below the shaft’s axis. That said, if you feel more comfortable swinging on a straighter path (every stroke arcs somewhat), and you’re currently using a blade putter, I suggest you switch. In fact, I bet it’s pretty difficult for you to make a straight-to-straight stroke with your blade because it’s heel balanced, meaning that when you balance it, the putter’s toe points to the ground.

Of course, the most radical move, and one that few players use, is the long putter, which creates a very straight stroke path. But you have to be comfortable with the added length before you put one of those in play. As a general rule, decide how you feel about the stroke before you choose a model.

2. Determine Your Putter Length By Your Setup
When putting, you want your arms to hang freely, so they don’t bow out. I’m pretty tall—6' 4"—so I use a fairly long putter—35.5 inches. If I was, say, Ian Woosnam, who stands 5' 4", and used the same putter, my arms would bow out and form a diamond shape. In that position, it’s virtually impossible to make a consistent, fluid stroke.

Take a look at this training grip that I’m using. If I just let my arms hang freely, and if my eyes look directly down at the ball, I can look at its “tape measure” and see exactly what length I need. Before you go out and buy a new putter, make sure you use one of these measurement aids. Knowing exactly how long a putter you need is part of the battle!

To get some helpful information, visit and check out their Putter Fitting Module.

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