In the intricate world of golf, where every shot is a unique challenge, the putter stands out as the most individualized club. If you’re new to golf, let’s explore the when, how, and why of using the putter, delve into the nuances of its setup, and unravel the diverse types and specifications available.
When to Use Your Putter
Putting, often referred to as the most individual aspect of golf, holds the key to fine-tuning your game. The putter comes into play predominantly on the green, but its significance extends beyond that. For new and high-handicap golfers, mastering the putter on the green can swiftly improve scores.
One critical aspect to focus on is pace control. Unlike professionals, amateur golfers might not consistently hit approach shots close to the hole. Working on distance control with the putter becomes crucial in such situations.
As an example, consider the average proximity to the hole for an approach shot between 125-150 yards:
- PGA Tour average: 24 feet (approx)
- Mid-handicap amateur: 48 feet (approx)
Putting from 48 feet is significantly more challenging than putting from 24 feet. The probability of a 3-putt for a 90-scoring golfer increases to roughly 41% from 18% in these scenarios.
Putting From Off The Green
The versatility of the putter extends beyond the green, particularly when dealing with the “Texas Wedge” scenario. If your ball lies just off the green, with a bare or hard surface, using the putter, or the “Texas Wedge,” becomes a viable option.
When the ground under the ball is challenging for a clean chip shot, the putter eliminates the risk of mishits. The old adage holds true – a lousy putt from off the green is often a better result than a bad chip.
The Vital Role of the Putter
Putting well is not just about sinking birdie putts; it plays a crucial role in maintaining momentum during a round. A well-timed putt can turn a potential double bogey into a manageable bogey or even a par. This ability to “get out of jail” preserves confidence and ensures a round stays on track.
Putter Set Up at Address
Proper setup is fundamental to successful putting. Just like any other golf shot, reducing tension in your setup enhances your chances of putting well. Maintaining a light grip pressure is crucial, allowing the putter to be easily pulled from your hands without effort.
The setup involves aligning your feet, knees, hips, and shoulders parallel to the target line. Experimenting with feet width within shoulder width provides a solid base. Determining the ball position at address can be achieved through a straightforward drill, ensuring optimal positioning for a smooth stroke.
The market offers an array of putters falling into three primary categories:
1. Blade Putters
Exemplified by the iconic Ping Anser, blade putters feature a design favoring a slight in-to-out arcing putting stroke. The cavity in the rear allows for weight distribution, emphasizing control and precision.
2. Mallet Putters
Mallet putters, with their semi-circular design, are forgiving on off-center hits. The clear sight lines assist in alignment, making them suitable for golfers of varying handicaps, including professionals.
3. High MOI Putters
High Moment of Inertia (MOI) putters, based on the mallet design, prioritize stability. Additional weighting in the toe and heel ensures consistent contact and minimizes face twisting. Professionals and amateurs alike benefit from the stability these putters offer.
Putter Key Takeaways
Putting remains an area of golf where individualism thrives. The variety of putter styles, head shapes, lengths, and grips allow golfers to tailor their strokes for optimal performance. Good putting distinguishes great rounds from good ones, making the adage “drive for show, putt for dough” as relevant today as ever.