Putters are the most used club in any golfers bag. Due to the inherent simplicity of the putting stroke, it is sometimes thought a proper putter fitting can be overlooked or is of no consequence. We look at each component and cut to the chase and block out the noise to give you the facts about what really matters.
Broadly speaking, there are two types of putters: Blades and Mallets. For years, the Bullseye Putter was the standard by which all putters were measured. In the mid-1940s John Reuter Jr developed the putter from brass which could be used by both left and right-handed golfers. The Acushnet Corporation bought the brand and IP in 1962. The putter produced under the Titleist brand remained a stalwart until the 1980s and is still in production in a variety of models including the Bullseye Mallet 1, Standard Bullseye, Bullseye Light Blade, Bullseye Heavy Blade, Original Bullseye and with a Left and Right hand Bullseye Flange variant. Scotty Cameron has also introduced a line of Bullseye Putters within the American Classic Putter Family.
The Ping Anser putter was introduced by Karsten Solheim in January of 1966 and has set the standard for putter design ever since. It was the first cavity-backed, blade putter that introduced lines parallel to the face which helped with alignment. It was an instant success and has stood the test of time as the Ping Vault filled with gold Ping Ansers attests - racking up more than 500 Tour wins and 19 men's Major Championships.
Think Bullseye, Ping Anser or Tiger Woods Newport Two and you get the idea. Usually, blade putters nowadays are cavity-backed but have a parallel face and back edge. The Edel EAS 1.0 is the truest blade putter from Edel Golf whilst the Edel EAS 2.0 is a modified blade putter due to its curved trailing edge.
Broadly speaking, anything that is not a blade could be called a mallet. Due to the rules of golf and imposed on equipment manufacture by the USGA and R&A, there is only so far putter design can go. This is probably the most innovative space however with constant development in the space. The Edel EAS 5.0 is a mallet in every sense of the definition. The Edel EAS 4.0 is a hybrid mallet design. TaylorMade Spyders are another example of hybrid mallets.
Does Head Shape Matter in Putters?
Head shape influences aim bias. A blade putter is generally aimed left by the majority of golfers where a mallet putter is generally aimed right by the majority of golfers. If you have a consistent miss, putter head shape may be a contributing factor. Contact The Putter Tailor to get custom-fit for an Edel EAS Putter. Check out this 20-second video that explains more!
Putters & Face Inserts
Odyssey Putters put putter face inserts on the map with their black Stronomic insert which debuted in the 1990s. In the 2000s, Odyssey Putters have featured a White Hot putter face insert. Others prefer a milled face. Scotty Cameron putters, with wide use on Tour, have furthered the idea that premium putters are milled and milled faces are the final word on the matter. Recently, Evnroll Putters have introduced groove technology that transfers energy equitably across the face and especially on off-center strikes. Edel Putters make use of this concept. Initially, pixels were used and have been replaced by milled dots which based on a similar idea of energy transfer.
Face Balanced Putters
Phil Kenyon explains face balance and the fallacy of face balance in a video seen here. To test for face balance, balance the putter on your finger and the face should point skyward. If it does, your putter is face-balanced. The issue is we don't putt with a putter balanced on our finger... Putters that are not face-balanced have been labeled as having Toe Hang. Toe Hang has then been used to fit a golfer into a specific putter based on their arc or path. Strong arc and you need more toe hang, straight back, and straight through? You guessed it, less toe hang. Sounds pretty straightforward... just one issue, this is all based upon balancing a putter on your finger. Let David Edel explain the reason it doesn't quite add up in a video seen here...
Torque Balanced Putters or Lie Balanced Putters
The answer to the Face Balanced, Toe Flow, Toe Hang question is Torque Balanced. Resistance to clubface rotation should be tested for in the position and this is where Edel comes into its own. Edel Putters remain square to the target line when put in the position of play - not when balanced on your finger. Other brands have found ways of accomplishing this as well. For example, Axis1 and LAB but Edel is the only brand that has found a way of incorporating the technology whilst maintaining a traditional aesthetic.
MOI, Polar Balancing & Putter Design
Another popular marketing ploy has been MOI (Moment of Inertia), or a clubhead's resistance to twisting. The gold standard was to get to 10,000 (units of MOI) and some designs have been measured with to 23,000! High MOI has been sold as ultra-stable and therefore less susceptible to twisting on off-centre hits. Sounds great! David Edel discusses the myth of MOI in practical use in a video seen here. The issue with MOI is the same as Face Balanced putters... the putter is generally used at a lie angle of between 68* and 72*. If it were used at 90*, MOI would be the golden ticket. As a putter is not, MOI actually adds to instability when used in the putting position.
Putter Alignment Aids
There is no manufacturer that allows an individual to be fit for alignment aids with the exception of Edel Golf. Why? It doesn't make commercial sense when your only goal is to keep shareholders happy. Lines affect aim bias - in some cases, lines can help or hinder. One is not right nor wrong, but it based on the individual. Through the fitting process, alignment lines can be used to fine-tune aim but also affect loft and path. David Edel explains the role of lines and how they interact with putter geometry in a video seen here.
For years, the putter shaft was simply a cut-down version of the iron shaft. Things have moved on and for the better! Putter shafts do flex during the putting stroke and this variable is best minimised and eliminated if possible.
Premium Putter Shafts
A recent phenomenon, the premium aftermarket shaft is for centre shafted putters or those with plumber's necks. The double bend putter shaft will have to wait for now. Just remember, face angle at impact is the single most important metric in putting, and a square face angle to the proper target is even more important. While there may be some gain from a premium aftermarket putter shaft, any gain will be negated if it is put into a putter head that you cannot aim, a putter that isn't weighted for your perception of feel or you have a grip that doesn't work with your biomechanics.
Accra FX Putter Shafts
The Accra FX Putter Shaft comes in four different tip flexes that influence feel and acoustics. Accra states a stiffer tip section is appropriate for more aggressive strokes (perhaps the Short Linear) and the softer tip more suitable for a longer fluid putting stroke (perhaps the Radial).
BGT Stability Tour
BGT has made waves with its $250 USD putter shaft upgrade... The Stability shaft can be used to retrofit any putter shaft on the market including double bends. The Stability Tour is the solution for direct shaft replacement in plumbers necked putters or centre shafted putters.
Hosels are an underappreciated part of the putter. Whilst most view them as purely an aesthetic, the function they serve can have a massive influence on putter performance. Firstly, let's look at three common variations of connecting the shaft and putter head.
Putter Hosel - Double Bend Putter Shafts
A popular putter shaft, this golf shaft is unique. It bends twice before being inserted directly into the putter head much the same as the center-shafted putter. Uniquely, Edel can adjust lie using the bends in the putter shaft. The lie can be adjusted from 68* to 72* and can be Forward Set (Shaft Forward), Standard (as shown below) and Back-Set (Face Forward). The Forward Set, Standard or Back Set shaft can influence loft, aim, and path. No other manufacturer can build putters with this degree of customisation not would know where to begin. Don't guess or go through the painful and expensive trial and error process, contact The Putter Tailor to be custom fit.
Putter Hosel - Plumber's Neck
The plumber's neck is a small metal piece that connects the shaft to the putter head. The shaft is straight and contains no bend. Plumber's necks can vary in length and offset.
No Hosel - Centre Shafted Putters
A straight shaft inserted directly into the putter head usually directly behind the centre of the putter face.
Putter grips were once thought to be simply a matter of personal preference. They do however have a massive impact on performance. David Edel explains more about the importance of the grip in a video you can see here. The grip on the club is of import and is directly correlated to the face angle.
The amount of putter grips currently available is astounding. Broadly speaking, Edel Golf promotes a round non-tapered grip. The SuperStroke Flat and Non-Taper grips have proved popular recently. Pistol grips have also proved popular for decades with constant variations on the theme being introduced with every product cycle. We have taken a deep dive into the subject which you can read here.
Weighting of Putters
Weighting in putters is still a massively misunderstood aspect of putter fitting. Some manufacturers provide adjustable head weighting and counterweighting but with no real explanation as to who would benefit. Putter weighting can affect path, cadence, and tempo. David Edel explains the relationship between your putting stroke and your putter's weight in a video you can watch here. To understand the weighting you'll first need to identify your stroke, whether Radial or Linear. To slightly complicate more, there are three types of Linear putters... just contact The Putter Tailor and they'll sort you out!
The Head Weight of Putters
Industry standards for putters have been set at 325 grams, 340 grams and now 355 grams seems to be popular. Why? It could be as simple as the stamps seen on PGA Tour players Scotty Cameron's... Whatever the case may be, the trend of heavier putters has been seen and perhaps this is in response to faster green speeds.
Weight added to the grip end of the putter. It increases the overall weight of the putter but makes the head feel lighter due to the shift in swing weight. The unexpected consequence of swapping grips and potentially shaft length can be a perceived difference in the feel of weight. Remember, all these factors are interrelated and can have a range of consequences - good, bad, and otherwise.
Putter Weighting - Internal Weight (Shaft)
For years, the Tour secret was to pour sand, lead or sugar down the shaft of the putter... why? Most of us probably didn't know but we were trying to dial in feel. Headweight too heavy? Adding weight to the shaft or grip can change or perception of feel and weight. All of these factors are part of an Edel Putter Fitting. Edel Certified Fitters don't use sand, sugar, or lead but weighted inserts that can be precisely placed to ensure the perfect fit.
Custom Fit Putters
The best way to become a better putter is to get the fundamentals right with some basic instruction. Once that's in place, get fit for a putter that fits you and your intrinsic putting stroke. This is where Edel EAS Putters come into their own. The equipment and knowledge of a Certified Fitter, like The Putter Tailor, make all the difference. The last piece to the puzzle is the ability to read greens. Aimpoint Express is the perfect solution to unlocking this ability. With these three things in place, there is no reason why you cannot be a proficient putter that enjoys that part of the game.