As a beginner golfer, there are a lot of things that are on my mind as to why I am not hitting the hole more often. Is it my form? Is it the new terrain? Although these factors can surely affect performance, and it does, one of the other aspects of the game that is not really considered is putter length. Putters are one of the most essential parts of golf equipment and can most definitely affect your performance. With the right putter length, you can dramatically improve your performance on the field.
How do you get the exact putter length for you? This system is a 5-step process, including length, loft angle, and lie angle, as well as swing weight and head design. We will go over all five steps, as I break it down to detail.
Although it may be a bit tedious, golfers should get the exact putter length for them. By doing so, they would optimize their performance and level the playing field against better golfers. In this article, I will go step-by-step to avoid the possible confusion that can be associated with getting the right putter length for you.
How Length Affects Performance
As I have mentioned already, putter length is associated with performance on the field. If you put the right time and effort into it, then you can definitely have a great putter accompanying you. Simplified, putting is nothing more than your ability to consistently control the golf ball.
You primarily control the golf ball in two ways: distance and direction. This is obvious when we see others play and even watch films on it by experts. You may be 3 feet away from the hole but at a weird angle. Or, you may be hundreds of feet away from it, but your angle is straight on.
Whatever angle that is, or distance, putter length greatly matters. It is easier to get a successful put when you know proper fitting. Here are four factors:
First, we have length. This affects both distance and control of the putt and is of utmost importance with personal consistency. This length will be determined with the type of putting stroke you personally use.
Putting stroke is generally just the position or form of the golfer, and there is one common one used by many. Most of the time, golfers slightly bend over at the waist while also slightly bent until the eyes are over the ball. This is the most common golfers’ stance. It is square to the putting line, and both arms are hanging down under the shoulders.
How Loft Angle Affect Performance
The ball is also positioned out from the left heel of the golfer. The stroke should be a pendulum-like motion and the shoulders as an initial pivot position.
Putters for men are mostly sold between 34 and 35 inches. Women’s’ putters are at 33 inches. Both the golfers will find shorter lengths than the standard, however. The average seems to be 33” for men while for women, it is 31”.
Another aspect to consider is the loft angle of the putter itself. This has an amazing effect on both distance and direction. A putter requires a lot to be able to putt with any consistency. The perfect angle that a putt has should be between 3 and 4 degrees. Adjust accordingly since it will greatly matter when you are on the green.
Here is why it is important: when the golf ball settles on the grass, it deepens slightly towards the ground. Rather than pushing the golf ball through the mud and dirt, you want to lift it out of its depression and into the air. By doing this at the correct putt angle, it eliminates the ball bouncing, which leads to inaccuracy.
Also keep in mind the loft degree, which is 3-4.5 degrees. If the loft is reduced at 1 degree, it is not enough to get the ball out of the depression. This result comes with a bounce. If the loft is at 5 degrees, the ball is going to get lofted way too high. Both cases result in less accurate and less consistent putts. Other than the right length, you have to consider the loft angle as well.
How Lie Angle and Weight Affect Performance
The next step we have is the lie angle. Unlike the loft angle, the lie controls almost all directional things on the green. Since a putter has a loft, anytime the lie angle is not properly fitted, the ball will go into another direction. Essentially, you want it to be parallel to the ground to minimize any possible misdirection.
Here is a good example: a golfer putting with the toe of it sticking up in the air. This means that the golfer is holding the putter too flat to build an angle it was designed for.
Assume a random putter, has a 4-degree loft and held 3 degrees too upright. Since the angle is tilted it makes a slight misdirection. If the putter had a 0-degree loft, on the other hand, this misdirection would not exist. However, we would have more difficulty in achieving good distance accuracy. Thus, the proper lie angle on a putter is very important.
Another aspect to consider is the swing weight. This is a means to be sure that the head and length have a proper weight ratio. This is a huge factor in distance control, but also directional. The golfer needs to have enough force in the head to get a proper feel for the putter. If it is too light, then you will most likely overshoot and overestimate the backstroke. If it is too heavy, on the other hand, it would be hard to get distance and it will be physically strenuous. However, the harder the weight, the easier it is on short distances.
In putter weight, the best is between a C-8 to a D-6. Most weights, however, fall into the A-1 to C-0. At the maximum, this is still 8 notches below the required minimum. Please check that swing weight on the putter. If it is needed, put lead tape on the putter making sure that the entire sole is covered.
If you are following the current trend of counterbalanced putters, you need a lot of head weight for a better smooth stroke. We usually start with heavier weights, like 400 grams. These heavier weights need some counterbalancing to give a proper feel. A standard one is around 300 grams, and you need a counterbalance weight.
Can You Make a Putter Longer?
Like shortening a putter, you can also increase it in length. This is for players that are very tall and feel that they are reaching too far down to grip the club. This is also for players that want an open-square-closed stroke. It is a fairly straightforward process. You would essentially need a metal or plastic plug that is glued into the shaft, and make the grip go on top. This will save you a lot of money and you only need to invest a little number of skills for it.
The first step you would have to do is to cut off the old grip. You can do this by using a utility knife and start at the bottom. Then, cut straight through with the knife being pointed away from you. By far, the safest way to do this is to use it in a vice using a rubber shaft grip.
The second step is to clean the area of the shaft under the grip. Pull away all the tape from this area. Again, if you will be using a knife for this step, move it away from you. The next step is to wipe the shaft clean. Put some solvent on cloth and wipe the remaining bits of adhesive away. Before moving on, make sure it is totally clean.
Last Steps: Making a Putter Longer
The fourth step we have is to glue in the extension plug. Follow the instructions that are labeled on the glue to fix the grip extension in place at the end of the shaft. As the instructions say, leave it dry for a certain period of time. Usually, this means leaving it overnight. Be very careful with this step as it is crucial to move on to the final stages.
The fifth step is to cut the shaft and allow the glue to dry. Once it is completely dried off, measure the length of the shaft you want and mark that with the marker pen. For extra length, cut the shaft using the pipe cutter at a ⅓ in shorter than what you have cut off, or ⅓ off an inch. How the pipe cutter works is by clamping the shaft against a blade which scores and eventually the shaft as you turn the cutter around it. At the start, tighten it as much as you possibly can. Keep rotating the cutter until the excess part that you want to come off falls apart.
Final Steps for Putter Extension
The sixth step is to carefully wind the tape down the grip in a spiral shape. Then, tape it over the join between the end of the shaft and the extension plug. In this step, be very careful that the tape is evenly spaced and that there is no overlap that exists. If you desire the regular thickness, leave a gap between each wind of tape. Finally, tuck it into the end of the shaft to seal it up. It is important to note that some tape is 3 inches wide. If so, stick a single length and fold it round onto the shaft for full coverage.
The seventh step is to slip on the grip. We must first remove the backside of the tape around the shaft. Then, we take our new grip and put the solvent in it. This allows it to slip over the tape and activate some adhesive. Now, put both your fingers at the ends of the grip, and continuously turn it
Finally, put it in an upside-down position to make sure that all the areas are well washed. While wet, line up the flat front side of the putter so it is at the right angles to the putter face. Then, slip the grip over the shaft. Before heading on into the eighth and final step, make sure the grip is fully pushed into the shaft by holding the putter head and its butt end on the ground and push down firmly.
The eight and finals step is to ensure the grip is aligned. Put the putter the right way up again and look down and the flat front surface of the grip to check the alignment. If the face of the putter does not seem right, repeat the process. Be sure to also know if the grip is straight and on the shaft. Now, wait for adhesive in the grip to dry, which is about 4 hours.
Can You Shorten Your Putter?
Yes, you most definitely can. Like the steps above in lengthening it, you can also shorten it. The standard putter length is around 35 inches, but you may want to cut that down if you are shorter than the average golfer. Another reason to do this is if you want your shoulders and eyes to be more over the ball. The steps are essentially the same in lengthening it, so this will be a brief overview.
First is to cut off the old grip with the knife away from you. Then we clean the shaft and wipe it clean. Now, we cut the shaft to the length that we want it to using a marker pen. Like in lengthening, we want to cut off ⅓ of an inch shorter than the point we marked.
The next step is a little bit different. To wind a new tape, there are some parameters we need to follow. For a 1-inch tape, we have to carefully wind it in a spiral formation. We need to make sure it is evenly spaced. For wider tapes, 3-4 inches, stick a single length vertically onto the shaft and fold it around.
The final step for this is to slip on the grip and ensure it is properly aligned. First, the backside has to be removed and use the solvent the same way you did previously. Again, make sure the grip is fully pushed into the shaft and it is tight.
Putter Length and Performance
The length of the outer has a huge impact on stroke and performance. If you pick out the wrong one, it will throw you off dramatically. Most putters range from 32-52 inches and are specifically designed to keep your eyes on the ball. The shaft should fall neatly in line with the forearm.
In golf, it is most common to choose putters too long. Therefore, you should most likely opt for a shorter shaft. However, if you are experiencing back pain, you may need a longer putter. There are three main ways to get the correct length for you: get into your address position, let your arms hang naturally downwards, and have someone measure, from the ground to just above the top of your hands. This length that is measured should be the length of the shaft.
Face and Toe Balance
There are two different types of putters: face and toe balanced. The former is best for a straight back stroke since they keep the clubface square all the way through impact. Even at the point where the shaft is balanced, the putter points up. Toe-balanced complement and are more suited for an arced putting stroke by squaring the clubface. When the shaft is balanced, the toe will drop and angle to the ground.
There are also two different types of putters, the blade and mallet. The blade is narrower and flatter, offering a great feel for the ball. For those who do not want a handicap, this is the way to go. The mallet putters are large and rounded, and the weight is balanced throughout. This allows golfers to achieve more consistent performance.
There are also three different features, called insert putters, perimeter-weighted putters, and alignment putters. Insert putters are made with composite inserts, and of softer material. They have a better feel and a smoother roll. This is located in the face of the putter, defining the sweet spot for the golfer.
The perimeter-weighted one is exceptionally forgiving and has a design that more evenly distributes weight. They have a larger sweet spot, so this is more for beginners just trying out the game. Further, we have the alignment putter that comes with larger clubheads and with geometric aids. It is easier to make the ball go to the hole with this putter.
Finally, we have the counterbalance putter or the long putter. They are elongated and anchored to the chest as you putt. Golfers turned to these clubs to stabilize their hands during the game. Long putters have been banned for official use, however.