Having that good set of clubs is essential to any golf game. Since you will se your putter more than any club on every hole, it is vital to make sure its weight fits your swing style and your game. If you use the wrong equipment in any sport, or if you do not know how to use it, your game suffers; similarly, you need the right fit, including weight, for your putter to sink those holes.
How heavy should a putter be? Putter weight is dictated by the combined factors of shaft length, head weight, and grip weight; most putters are head-weighted at 350 grams. The heavier the putter is, the better the short distances when you hit the ball. Lighter weighted putters allow for longer distances but have difficulty controlling the direction of the ball.
Modern putters can weigh up to 400 grams to accommodate the increase in speed in golfing greens. The most significant factor in finding what works for you is to be fitted for your clubs from the start. Golf club fitting includes finding what best fits for you in all aspects and will correct any issues before you hit the green.
What Does Club Weight Mean?
The length of the club, head weight, and grip weight are essential factors in determining the weight of the club. The club shaft length needs to fit the golfer, so their position and stance are correct for the motion. The head weight should be comfortable to move and swing and not be burdensome on the golfer to swing. The type of grip and its contributing weight add to the kind of feel the club has as you swing it back and through the stroke.
What Does Club Weight Affect?
Club weight affects swing, direction, how far the ball travels after being hit, and the longevity of the roll due to inertia found in the club. Even where you position your feet and what aspect of the head strikes the ball can be affected due to weight. Getting a fitting will clarify what weight suits you best so you can swing with a smile.
These elements need to fit the golfer’s play style and perception of where they want to send the ball. Manufacturers put these three elements together in the formation and design of a golf club. It is challenging to get just a putter head alone: most shops sell the whole club. So, you need it to be measured on a scale that is fitting the entire system. Swingweight is that scale.
What is Swingweight?
Swingweight is, at best, an equilibrium of shaft length and head weight. When you adjust one, it impacts the feel of the other. If you increase the length of the shaft without modifying the head weight, it can feel lighter but still be the same weight in grams. Conversely, if you shorten the length of the shaft, it can feel heavier. If you increase the head weight but do not adjust the shaft, it can be cumbersome to make a stroke.
It is a science, but ultimately what works best for you comes down to the fit. You need to consider the speed of the green. If it is fast or slow, it will affect the kind of putter you employ to sink the ball. Also, the kind of ball can dramatically impact your strokes. Clubmakers, like Scotty Cameron, will actually put the swingweight scale on each club so you can know where you fit best with his line.
Swingweight is the way pro shops measure the weight of the club through a given shaft length. This is measured on its own scale. Swingweight is detectable, and if you find that your putter is too heavy, you can make aftermarket adjustments to the club.
You need to be fully aware that any adjustments you make affect overall swingweight. The swingweight scale runs from the lightest, C3, to heaviest, E9. Club designer, Ralph Maltby, recommends that weights range between C8 and D6. C8 is the lightest he believes a club should be, and D6 is the heaviest.
Things that Can Help Adjust the Weight of a Club
- Lead Tape: One 5 inch strip of lead tape usually adds about one club weight to a club and is used even by USPGA Golfers. It is debatable on its effect; however, it can be used by applying it under the grip to allow a “counterbalancing” effect to the club. It will increase the weight but could allow for more effortless swings and more distance/directional control as a result.
- Grip Materials:Different grips offer materials and weight to the shaft. Typically if the material on the grip is heavier, it will offer a counterbalance feel to the head weight making the club feel lighter and easier on the backstroke without changing the directional/distance control the head weight affords.
- Head Construction: How heavy the head is will affect direction and distance. Now that greens on golf courses are progressively becoming faster, distance and direction are becoming more of a factor in club design. Heavier heads provide help in both aspects. However, modern design is also keeping up with the balance that a heavier head means you need lighter construction on a club while still affording stability and strength.
How Heavy Should Your Putter Be?
Clubs are weighed in grams; since Golf originated in the UK, most measurements are in the imperial standard. Putters usually weigh somewhere around 350 grams. More modern designs have putters weighing over 400 grams. Weight is impacted by club height, how the putter head is seated, and the weight of the head. These comprise the swingweight. There is no perfect swingweight; rather, it is customized to you during a fitting.
Getting Yourself Fitted
Fitting is about giving yourself the best tools for your game. It is an overhaul to just going to the golf shop and picking up a club and using it. It is about helping you find the best fit for your game style and also giving you the science behind why the club fits you best. It is factoring a number of things that are not overtly apparent when you pick up a club at first glance. Here are some factors when you get fitted that will help you get the right putter weight for your game.
- Toe Hang
- Head Shapes
- Lie Angle
- Grip Style, Size
- Club Length
This has nothing to do with your feet. Toe hang is essentially the position the toe of the club will point if it hangs naturally. A Head has both a heel and a toe. The toe is the part of the head that is furthest from the golfer. The heel is the part of the head closest to the golfer.
This has a lot of impact on the way the ball is hit and where it will go after the put. If you have this club fitted, it will strike the ball the way you intend it to. If you are not fitted, the results are less than predictable. There are actually five different types of toe hang; it can be seen best from the top-down when holding the club on the ground.
- Full Toe Hang
- ¾ Toe Hang
- ½ Toe Hang
- ¼ Toe Hang
- Full Balanced
The loft is the angle of the face that causes lift on the ball after impact. This can affect how the ball bounces and where it travels after impact. If the green slope is slow or fast or even has hills, your amount of loft will affect its trajectory. The loft is one of the most undervalued and overlooked elements of a club and your stroke. Though the club feels right when you line up and take that stroke, your loft on the club, no matter your swing, can affect the ball and its path in a significant way.
In his book, The Search for the Perfect Golf Club, author Tom Wishon says, “Offset is a design condition in club heads in which the neck (or hosel) of the head is positioned in front of the face of the club head.” The benefit of offset is, in effect, it allows the golfer to bring the face of the head to square up with the golf ball, preventing it from slicing or spinning the ball to the right or left by not being square on the ball.
The head of the club ideally will strike the ball on the face of the head in the center and not slice the ball left or right. Offset allows the golfer to square up in the middle of the swing at the point of inertia. Without getting too in-depth, this makes the desired impact and moves the ball in the direction with the correct amount of distance for the desired putt.
There are a lot of head shapes that do not directly impact weight. This is a preference and can allow the golfer to rely on visual guides on where the center of the head will strike the ball.
Lines in some of our modern club head designs allow the golfer to set up his/her alignment over the ball and strike it in the right spot. Newer head designs allow for the toe and heel to have varied weight distribution allowing an even and predictable strike through the stroke.
Lie angle is a factor that solely impacts directional control. Lie angle is the degree of lift on either the toe or the heel of the putter head as it strikes the ball. If the bottom of the putter head is flush and flat to the ground, there will be no effect, but putting straight toward the goal.
However, if the heel has a lift of even 3%, the effect will push the ball left or right, depending on the hand of the golfer. It will move as much as by ½ % offset. If the toe is lifted, it will have the opposite effect. Keeping the lie angle at 0% is the best option to improve putting.
This is overall how much the club weighs. Weight has effects on directional and distance control. With a club that is either too heavy or too light, you will affect distance or direction in a significant way.
If it is too light a putter, and you will have extreme directional control but lack distance. If your putter is too heavy, you will achieve distance with varied results, and very little directional control. Make sure your weight is the fit you need.
Most big stores sell clubs premade, and they do not normally sell components like the head or shaft individual, so you have to look at the weight of a club based on how it swings in your hands. This is best measured by swingweight. Normally you can get an older putter under C8, but you want to stay in the medium range from C8 to D6 to ensure the proper fit.
Counterbalance is any weight you add to the club that will bring some balance to the other weighted elements and will keep those other weights from bringing a disproportionate effect. Think of swinging a sledgehammer to a putting stroke. All your muscles would have to adjust for this very awkward and out of balance swing. Counterbalance provides the much-needed adjustment to make a golfer keep a loose grip and move in small short strokes while keeping the weight needed to force the ball in the right direction and with speed to get there.
Grip Style & Size
Materials that make the grip will affect the overall club swingweight and change the feel of the putter. Higher grip weight allows for higher handicapped players to augment their play style and hand placement to isolate movement in small muscles in their hands and achieve a higher putt accuracy. The more weight added by the grip provides a counterbalancing effect from the club head weight.
Proper club length is key to ensuring distance control and direction control. Most putters range from 30 inches for ladies and as high as 35 inches in men. Finding the correct posture over the ball is key to measuring the proper length for you. Your eyes must be over the ball to make sure you do not need to make angle adjustments when you put.
With the correct stance and club length, you should feel your hands at the end of the club. Once it is correctly fitted to you, 50% of your putt will have directional control, while the other 50% of it will place distance control right in your hands.
Putter Weight: Slow vs. Fast Greens
When thinking about your putting game and weight, it is essential to consider that most of the golf game is on the green. How you use your putter matters as well as what you will experience on the course. Slow versus Fast Greens will dictate how you plan to use your putter. If you are fitted for your clubs, you can simply adjust your stroke. However, if not, and you are adjusting the weight on the club, you need to be aware of how your putter will fare on fast or slow greens.
How fast the ball travels on the course greens is measured either slow or fast. It can be different daily, and depend on when it was cut, weather, temperature, etc. These are all factors in how well the ball moves through the greens. Fast greens mean you do not need a bunch of power to make it travel 25 feet or more. Fast greens consistently give higher handicapped golfers or beginner golfers more trouble.
If your putter’s weight is a concern, then fast greens will just exacerbate it further. Slower greens mean the ball needs more power to get through the green. It can be from wet conditions, humidity–even when it was last cut. You will need to adjust your stance and stroke, and ultimately, you will need more power to move the ball to the hole.
When you adjust the weight on a putter, you need to be aware you also affect how it will perform on fast or slow greens. This will dramatically change your stance, stroke, and follow-through, and therefore, your end game. Ultimately, whatever you do to adjust the overall heaviness of your putter, you need to compensate, so your game gets better moving forward.
It is vital that you visit a pro shop and set up a time to get fitted for your putter. If you can have help from a pro, you can see where your game can go wrong with either fitting issues or the weight of your putter. The better you understand the tools of the game, the better you can play.