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 apply the least amount of logic when we purchase. In this article, we will look into how to measure putter length the right way.
Think about it – how did you decide to buy the putter that is currently 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 astro-turf 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 are using 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, putter manufacturers recommend a putter length of 34 inches, so why does 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 the most unique player to player. If you watch a tour event on TV, you 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 years. When I say short, I mean 28 inches!
If you truly 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 the same way. From Scott McCarron to Bernard Langer, they have all figured out different ways to get the ball into the hole.
I wouldn’t recommend watching Vijay Singh putt right now – it is a bit frightening. Trying different putting styles is great, but there is a lot going on with Vijay’s stroke right now.
How Do You Know What Putter is Best for You?
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 key 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…
There is No Wrong Answer
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 is going to 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 comfortably roll the ball.
While putters come in all shapes and sizes, the first decision to make – do you like a mallet or blade-style putter? Not sure, try them out on the practice green or even the course.
Don’t focus on how many putts you make, but 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, large putter that no one had seen before and no one has really used since.
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 heal or toe in the air? This can be a quick indicator that your putter is the wrong length.
Be creative. Don’t be afraid to try different length putters or styles. Look to other players for different ideas, grips, lengths, etc.
Many tour pros own a few different putters and will make a change based on green conditions or needing a mental re-set. In recent years, even Tiger Woods has gone away from his blade putter 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 important component of your putter, length is an easy one to check. If you struggle on the greens and are using a putter that is two inches too long, it may be time to try something new.
One thing to keep in mind is that putters are weighted based on their length, so you can undermine the design if you simply cut a 35-inch putter down to 33”. You are better off finding a putter that was built to be the length you desire.