The length of your putter could be costing you strokes: how long is your putter? Do you even know? Is it the correct choice for your height and putting style?
Putting makes up 40-45% of your score, but it is often the club we spend the least time thinking about or applying the least amount of logic when we purchase.
In this article, we will look into how to measure putter length the right way.
- How Do I Measure Putter Length Correctly?
- Why Golfers Use the Wrong Putter Length
- What is the Proper Putter Length for My Height?
- Is a 35-inch Putter too Long?
- How Do You Know What Putter is Best for You? (Not Just the Length)
- Other Factors to Take into Consideration
How Do I Measure Putter Length Correctly?
The best way to measure to get the right putter most accurately is to use a 2 step process. This process is split into the address of the ball and calculating the distance in inches. This method is more effective than gauging putter length based on height.
Step 1. Addressing the Ball
The first step is completed without a putter so ditch it for now. Get into your normal position by standing at the address position – it is easier if you have a ball on the ground.
Step 2. Measure the Putting Position
Shape your hands in the putting position as if you were about to strike the ball with your putter, then have the club shop pro or a fellow golfer measure the distance from your wrists to the floor.
Your putter length is, on average, around 31 to 35 inches, dependent on your height.
Why Golfers Use the Wrong Putter Length
Think about how you decided to buy the current putter in your bag. Was it based on how cool it looked on TV, or did you make a bunch of putts in a row at your local pro shop astroturf green, and did you consider the length?
With so many top brands like TaylorMade, Wilson, Callaway, Odyssey, Cleveland Golf, and budget alternatives from the likes of PGX, it can be a nightmare to pick the best putter so let’s delve deeper into finding the right solution for you.
Based on recent findings, well over 50% of golfers use the wrong length putter – most of them are longer than they should be to achieve the best results.
What is the Proper Putter Length for My Height?
Let’s assume we are talking about standard putters, not arm lock or chest putters. The average man is 5 foot and 10 inches tall – based on this height; manufacturers recommend a putter length of 34 inches.
So why do 35-inch putters seem to be the norm?
On the PGA tour, the average putter length is 33 to 33 ½ inches, but how many 33-inch putters have you seen on the market? They are a little hard to find – you can order them online, but most putters you find in retailers are 34 or 35 inches.
Is a 35-inch Putter too Long?
Probably, but it depends. Of all the shots played in golf, putting is unique from player to player. Watching a tour event on TV will notice numerous different putting styles and putter lengths.
Michelle Wie’s “tabletop” putting style received a lot of attention a couple of years ago, and Robert Garrigus has used a short putter on tour for a couple of years. When I say short, I mean 28 inches!
If you genuinely want to see great players using different putter styles and lengths, check out the Champions Tour. It will be hard for you to find two players that putt it the same way.
From Scott McCarron to Bernard Langer, they have all figured out different ways to get the ball into the hole.
We wouldn’t recommend watching Vijay Singh putt right now – it is frightening. Trying different putting styles is excellent, but a lot is going on with Vijay’s stroke right now.
How Do You Know What Putter is Best for You? (Not Just the Length)
Finding the best putter for you can be a bit of a journey, but there is a shortcut. More and more companies are offering putter fittings.
Amateur golfers pay hundreds of dollars to get fit for drivers and irons but often skip the putter. Not only will you ensure the length of your putter is correct, but a professional fitter will also consider critical components like offset, loft, lie angle, weight, and grip size.
They will incorporate your height, stroke type, and level of play.
Do you think professional golfers buy putters off the rack? Putter fitting is relatively inexpensive and will give you the peace of mind that you have optimized this critical scoring club.
If you prefer to figure it out yourself or don’t want to spend the money to get fitted, here are some things to consider.
No Wrong Answer: Play with a Putter Right for You
Putting is about you being comfortable over the ball and hitting consistent putts. If that means you like a 38-inch putter or a 30-inch putter, go with it.
No one will make fun of your putter as you take a few dollars from them after the round. It probably makes sense to start with something between 33″ & 35″ but go with what allows you to roll the ball comfortably.
While putters come in all shapes and sizes, the first decision is whether you like a mallet or blade-style putter. Not sure; try them out on the practice green or the course.
Don’t focus on how many putts you make, but on how many good/solid putts you hit. How often do you hit your line? How is your speed control?
Tinker / Trial-n-Error
Putting is more of an art than a science. Jack Nicklaus won the 1986 Masters with an odd stance and a strange, oversized putter that no one had seen before.
Start with the standard – if you are 6 feet tall and prefer a mallet putter, try a 34-inch mallet and go from there.
When you are in your natural putting stance, does the putter lie flat on the ground, or is the heel or toe in the air?
Be creative. Don’t be afraid to try different length putters or styles. Look to other players for various ideas, grips, lengths, etc.
Many tour pros own a few different putters and will make a change based on green conditions or need a mental reset. Even Tiger Woods has gone away from his blade putter in recent years and played several tournaments with a mallet.
When explaining why he was trying the mallet, Tiger talked about needing a change to reduce frustration and see some putts go in the hole, and this was his solution in solving how to measure putter length that ultimately worked for him.
Other Factors to Take into Consideration
While it is not the only essential component of your putter, how to measure putter length is an easy one to check using the 2 step process explained above.
If you struggle on the greens and use a putter two inches too long, it may be time to try something new. One thing to remember is that putters are weighted based on length, so you can undermine the design if you cut a 35-inch putter down to 33″.
You are better off finding a putter built to be the length you desire.