If you are like me, you probably have a dozen putters sitting in your closet or garage at home. Unfortunately, they are sitting there because none of them seem to work.
Most golfers buy a putter because it "feels" good or it "looks" good. There seems to be very little science or logic in the decision of buying a new putter. Maybe those missed 10-footers could be a result of a misfit putter and not your stroke?
In using the S.A.M. putter-fitting monitor over the last four years, I have found that most amateurs have putters that really don't fit their stroke. If you are tired of missing those 10-footers, then listen up.
The major elements of putter fitting include:
4. Grip thickness.
5. Head design.
7. Amount of offset.
8. The amount of toe hang vs. face balance.
All of these factors influence your aim, your impact, and your rhythm. For example, if your putter is too upright, you will probably aim too far left of the hole. If your putter is too short, you will set back on your heels and push the putt to the right. If you have too much offset on your putter, you will unconsciously aim too far to the left.
If the greens you play are fast, and you have too much loft on your putter, you will come up short on your long putts. If your grip is too small for your hands, you will develop a very wristy and unreliable putting stroke. If your putter is not balanced and is too heavy for you, it will cause you to decelerate your putter into the ball. If you like to use a straight-back, straight-through stroke, then a face-balanced putter would be best for you.
These are just some of the examples of how certain variables of putter fitting affect the quality of your stroke.
The putting stroke is as individualized as your name, and that is why every golfer should get fit to his or her personal stroke. Regardless of what you do in your stroke, it is important to repeat that motion consistently. Getting your putter fit properly gives you the best chance of doing just that.
The great putters that I have had a chance to coach have four things in common: (1) Great visualization skills or the ability to see the ball go into the hole; (2) Centerface contact at impact; (3) Great rhythm and tempo; and (4) A clubface that is square to their intended line at impact.
All of these great putters put a premium on speed control rather than concentrating on the mechanics of their stroke. Having a putter that fits them correctly gives them their most natural stroke pattern, frees them up to think about making the putt and gets their mind off the mechanics of the motion.
Buy yourself an early Christmas present, and get your putter fit to your stroke. Watch those three-putts disappear as those 10-footers start going in the hole.
Dr. Jim Suttie, 2000 National PGA Teacher of the Year, is available for lessons through the end of this year and also the spring of 2013 at Suttie Golf at the Club at Twin Eagles in North Naples and Cog Hill Golf Club in Lemont, Ill. For lessons and program information call 800-765-3838 or email Jmsuttie@aol.com.