Perhaps one of the most challenging parts of golfing for high-handicap golfers is shooting lower scores. Well, this can be challenging for mid and low-handicap golfers, too, because “just putting” the golf ball into the hole can be more than just a feat of luck. Putting, like other golf shots, needs careful execution to put the best possible results on the scorecard. And if you don’t have the right putter length, it can really put a damper on your score.
If you don’t “putt” well, no matter how good your other shots are, it can be hard to score low with your handicap. It all starts with selecting the putter that’s best for you. And while putters come in different shapes, sizes, and materials, your putter length is the starting point. So, how do you choose which putter length is correct for you?
What Is a Putter?
If you’re a beginner and have yet to get acquainted with putting, it’s a gentle stroke that hits the ball across the green toward a hole. It can be as challenging as other shots like drives and chips, and it also needs an appropriate golf club. A putter is a golf club with a short handle and metal end designed specifically for putting. While its function is simply to putt the golf ball into the hole, its head designs vary for various situations.
Golfers used to call putters “putting cheeks.” Putters were made of either beech, hazel, or other wood, and their designs evolved over time. In the 1900s, iron clubheads entered the scene up until the golf world settled on what it has now. Putters have a shaft attached in places to distribute the club head weight evenly. After years of evolution, putters now improve every golfer’s performance.
What Is the Function of a Putter?
Putting is a short-distance shot that you can only deliver properly with a putter. Basically, a putter allows you to lightly hit the ball to make it roll softly into the hole. Golfers usually use a putter when they’re close to the hole on the putting green, but some also use one in other course areas. Putters are also common in miniature golf courses because golfers are generally close to the holes.
How does a putter function the way it does? Well, the golf club has a flat and low-profile and loft striking face. The loft affects how you hit the ball and how it rolls after. A putter’s slightly lifted and tilted loft lifts the ball gently out of the grass and reduces its bounce. The ball will only smoothly glide into the hole.
Unlike other golf clubs, putters have non-circular grips and bent shafts. Some putters also have positional guides. The bent shaft helps you better feel where you are with the ball, providing more accuracy than other golf clubs. It also improves stability by positioning the clubhead face directly in line with the ball center.
Different Types of Putter
Putters come in many designs, each offering different performance characteristics to accommodate different preferences. Here are some variations of a putter that you might need in your golf bag:
Putters typically have 32 to 35-inch shafts. Long-shaft putters help in reducing random movements, which you may recognize as “yips.”
There’s also a putter that anchors against your belly. It’s six to eight inches longer than a typical putter, giving you more stability and control.
A long putter is longer than a long-shaft putter. In fact, it’s the longest putter and anchors to your chest or chin! This putter reduces the impact on your other joints when putting.
Belly and long putters have helped many golfers in different ways. However, the guidelines from 2016 up to now prohibit players from anchoring any club against their bodies.
A fetch mallet is a putter that golfers can use to putt and retrieve the ball after dropping it into the hole.
There are also two types of putter heads that you can consider when choosing your putter. On the one hand, the blade is the most traditional and the smallest and lightest club head. It’s compact and narrow enough with the weight in the face. On the other hand, a mallet has the heaviest head and resembles a half-circle. It reduces the risk of digging by sliding across the green.
Choosing the Right Putter for You
Let’s say you’ve selected the type of putter you want and are excited to practice your putting skills. How do you know the putter you’re getting is the right one for you? Putters come in many different lengths, depending on your height.
Generally, putters range from 32 to 36 inches in length and should be adjusted according to the golfer’s height. A shorter putter length is better for shorter golfers, while a longer putter length works best for taller players. Follow these steps to find the putter length suitable for you:
Step 1: Get Into Your Putting Stance
Imagine you’re about to putt. Visualize the course and where the ball is, and then pull a putting stance.
Step 2: Hang Down Your Arms Naturally
Stand with your arms relaxed under your shoulders and slightly away from your body. Let your elbows hang in the air.
Step 3: Measure the Distance From Your Wrist to the Ground
Have someone measure the distance from your wrist to the ground. It should be about 32 to 36 inches, depending on height and posture. The distance is precisely the right putter shaft length for you.
Optional: Go By Your Height
Selecting a putter length by height is also a great place to start when choosing the putter that’s best for you. Here’s a guide to putter length by height to give you an idea:
- Over 6’4”: 36-inch putter
- 6’2″ to 6’4″:35.5-inch putter
- 6’0″ to 6’2″: 35-inch putter
- 5’8″ to 6’0″: 34.5-inch putter
- 5’6″ to 5’8″: 34-inch putter
- 5’4″ to 5’6″: 33.5-inch putter
- 5’2″ to 5’4″: 33-inch putter
- 5’0″ to 5’2″: 32.5-inch putter
- Under 5′: 32-inch (or less) putter
You can always try putters with different lengths before buying until you find the length you feel most comfortable with. It’s also possible to have a custom putter based on your exact height and putter stance. And yes, adding half an inch can also make a big difference!
Why Does the Putter Length Matter?
“I just need to get the ball into the hole. Maybe any golf club in my hand will do.” You can try, but your score will likely suffer. Getting the correct putter length is essential to hitting accurate putts and sinking putts with ease. Here are two main reasons to always use a putter with the proper length:
A putter of the right length will put you in an optimal position, allowing you to determine your swing arc. You get to play with an optimal lie angle, which you create when you rest your putter head behind the ball on the ground. Without the right lie angle, the ball could go in a direction you don’t intend.
Your stance in golf is probably the most important factor in your putt. When you have a putter of the correct length, you can putt without any strain or tension in your body. Moreover, if you putt with a putter that’s too long, your eye position will be too far underneath the ball. If it’s a putter that’s too short, your eye position will be too far over. The length will affect how you see the target line.
If you use a putter that’s too short, you’ll inevitably swing too hard. You’ll chip the ground and the ball if it’s too long. Therefore, putters of the correct length allow you to putt with the exact necessary power.
A putt may be just another golf shot, but when you’re serious about the sport, you know just how crucial it is to master it. It can significantly affect your score, making putter selection vital in shooting putts. Remember, as a high-handicap golfer, putts can make or break your game.
Golf putters put the ball into the hole and make putts a whole lot easier, and putter length plays an important role in helping you reach your golf goals. Sure, you can have just any old putter in your golf bag, but why settle for less when you can have a putter length tailored to your height?
Now that you know how to select a putter length by height, find one and put it into practice. You’ll quickly feel and see the difference between putters of the right and wrong lengths. It’s one of the many investments you must make if you want to putt better and shoot lower scores. Get the putter that’s right for you and enjoy the game more. Good luck and happy putting!