All too often, golfers will purchase golf clubs, including putters, straight off the shelves of your local sporting goods store, their local retail outlets, or from a fellow golfer. These purchases are made with no thought as to if that particular putter is even a proper fit to them or their game. Just like a fine suit is tailored to every inch of your body for exact fit your putter and every other club in your bag should be tailored to not only your body but your game as well. Everybody is different and unique.
There is no one off the shelf set of clubs designed to fit every single golfer, or even the majority of golfers. If you took the putter measurements of 10 professional golfers, you would find that all 10 had in someway, different measurements including length, lie angle, loft, offset, weight, and design. All blended together with one single purpose in mind: to help the golfer make more putts!
Can you imagine the frustration the pros would go through if they had to change their putting stroke to accommodate a different putter every time they decided to change their clubs? Yet 99% of all recreational golfers go about purchasing new clubs this way. They buy a club straight off the rack and then make the adjustments with their body to compensate for this new putter.
Let’s take a look at the biggest factor in putter fitting and how to correct it:
The length of your putter has a direct effect on how you set up to your putt. If you are like the majority of recreational golfers, your playing with a putter that’s either too long or too short for your natural stroke. Using a putter that’s too long for you will set the ball too far away from your body. This affects how your eyes are positioned over the ball, having your eyes not over the target line, but inside of it. This will also cause your arms and hands to be much closer than you want to your body, not allowing your arms to hang naturally. This causes you to manipulate your hands and arms through the stroke to compensate for the length.
Putters that are too short have the opposite effect. The ball is set too close to your body, causing your eyes to be well outside of your target line. Two short of putter will also cause you to have to extend your arms out further from your body causing to have to “reach” out to the ball during the stroke. To find your ideal putter length you can use a very simple method right from your own home.
Without a putter in your hands, set up to address over a ball as if you were going to putt. Let your arms hang naturally in front of you as you reach out and grip an imaginary putter in the most comfortable and natural feeling manner. This will set your hands in their most natural position without being influenced by gripping an actual putter.
Now without moving your hands or arms from this position, have a friend or spouse place your putter back in your hands. Notice where your hands are on the club NOW compared to where you gripped it in the past. You’ll probably be a bit surprised at where your hands end up on the putter. This is the correct length you should be playing with. Now with a piece of tape, mark one half-inch above the hand closest to your body on the putter grip, if your grip is now lower than before. If your new grip is higher up on the grip wrap the tape ½ in. below the bottom hand. This is how long of a putter you should be playing with.
Your local Golf Outlet or Pro Shop can take this information and make the necessary adjustments for you at a very minimal cost.