Welcome back to #ASKMYGOLFSPY where readers like you submit questions week after week to our team here at MyGolfSpy. Today, the topic is putters.
How important is putter fitting in the scheme of things?
Do you want to make as many putts as possible? Many golfers will only play with irons and woods fitted by a professional club fitter. Surprisingly, some of these same players will never get fitted for a putter. Take it from me. A properly fitted putter will help you make more putts.
Unfortunately, there is an “artist, not the brush” mentality out there in terms of putters. I’ve heard more than once that “a good putter can putt with anything.” I think that’s it a bit misleading.
Many amateurs are not good putters. They battle read, line and speed issues. While a properly fitted putter most likely won’t correct all these issues, it will reduce them. A putter that matches your stroke path, speed tendencies and alignment will help you make more putts.
Additionally, while a good golfer can likely putt well with any putter, he or she will putt better with a properly fitted putter.
How can I identify my stroke type? Can I do it myself?
While a professional SAM Lab-type fitting is probably the best way to quantify your stroke characteristics, there are ways you can self-identify components of your stroke.
The iPING app and phone cradle can give you data about your stroke from your home green. Just clip the phone to your putter and take five putts. The app will record your swing data and let you know your stroke characteristics, including stroke type. This is the same fitting engine that PING uses for their PLD custom putter program.
The big problem with DIY putter fitting is that your stroke is more than just its arc. You bring your hands, arms, legs, torso and eyes along for the ride every time you putt. All your body angles influence angles in the putting stroke and how you hit the ball—just like how your full swing can add or remove loft from the clubface at impact. Your putting woes could be blamed on a toe hang and swing arc mismatch but other factors influence the putting story as well. Perhaps all you need is your lie angle adjusted?
If you want to save some trial-and-error time, find a professional club fitter. Start your putter search there. The fitting may cost you but it will save you all of the money that you would have spent on non-fitted putters. If you are not sure where to start, Edel Golf offers one of the best fitting systems in golf for their EAS line of putters.
Do design, alignment aids and customization change the way the putter performs?
Absolutely. The physical design of the putter influences how it performs. Neck options have a huge influence. That is why most manufacturers offer different neck options. The Odyssey 2-Ball is an iconic design. For years, it was offered in one neck option. This spud neck fit golfers with straight putting strokes. Now you can find a 2-Ball with a slant neck, fitting a more arcing stroke.
Shape and alignment aids can also influence how you aim a putter. I think Edel Golf has the best system for matching a putter’s shape and aiming features to the individual. You may think a sightline helps you aim at the target but it could be directing your eyes elsewhere. Different alignment schemes can even affect how you address the ball, causing you to add or remove loft. Your distance control problems may not be a “during-the-stroke” issue but may originate before you begin your backswing.
Do you think 3D printing is the future of putters?
Will 3D printing replace the other manufacturing techniques? No way. It will supplement them and lead to some previously impossible designs. COBRA Golf is way out in front with bringing 3D-printed putters to consumers. When COBRA Golf rolled out the SuperSport-35 putter in 2020, it was groundbreaking.
Other companies are using 3D printing in the research and development stages of putter design. Maybe this means that they too will be adding 3D-printed components to their production putters. I’m curious to see where this technology goes. Perhaps we are on the cusp of something revolutionary like print-at-home putters where companies will sell digital putter files rather than putters to the consumer.
What is MOI and how does it affect which putters are best for my game?
MOI stands for moment of inertia. When it comes to putters, a high MOI value will help a putter resist twisting during the stroke. If you twist your putter less, you increase your chance to bring the putter back to square when you strike the ball.
Most of the time, we assume a putter with a high MOI score must be a mallet. Most of highest MOI putters are mallets. The Evnroll ER9 above has a MOI score over 10,000. Yes, that’s extreme. Anything over 5,000 is high. Some putters have even higher MOI but most manufacturers will tell you there are diminishing returns after the MOI passes a certain point.
Do high MOI putters need to be mallets? Not in 2022, they don’t. Odyssey released an unusually high MOI line this year with the Tri-Hot 5K putters. The 5K in the name references all of the putters having MOI values above 5,000. That alone is not newsworthy as lots of mallet putters score above 5,000. What makes the Tri-Hot 5K putters unique is that they are all high MOI blade designs. Odyssey’s multi-material design allowed these blades to achieve mallet-like MOI and, with that, mallet-like stability.
Mallet Versus Blade. Which one is best for what type of golfer?
All golfers should use mallets. Kidding. Well, kind of kidding. Mallets provide putter makers with the largest footprint for the incorporation of technologies that will make people putt better. MOI numbers are higher with mallets. The larger top at address can incorporate various line patterns, alignment balls and even technologies that let you know you are addressing the ball correctly. All this will benefit the average golfer. In fact, lots of pros on all professional tours are using mallets.
So we are agreed then. Mallets are universally better than blades. Except when they are not. If you look at the head-to-head data for the 2021 Most Wanted Overall Putter, the Odyssey White Hot OG#1 edged out the Odyssey Triple Track 2-Ball for best overall. In this case, the blade edged out the mallet at five and 10 feet in Strokes Gained with the mallet winning from 20 feet. Maybe it’s not time to toss the blade putters in the trash just yet.
In summary, find the putter that fits your stroke and your fancy. We live in the greatest putter era in the history of golf. I can’t remember another time when golfers had more putter choices. Legit design choices, not just color options. Granted, there is nothing wrong with wanting your putter to be a certain color!
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