PUTTER FITTING 101 – K.I.S.S.
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PUTTER FITTING 101 – K.I.S.S.

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PUTTER FITTING 101 – K.I.S.S.

Putter Fitting 101

What was your first putter? I remember my first—a PING B60 knock-off. My grandma bought it for me in the mid-2000s. A bargain at $25. I used it from the eighth grade through high school. Memories were made with that putter, both sweet and bitter. More often, frustrating. I’m nostalgic just writing about it. I’m certain you might be, too, recalling your first. That’s the thing with putters. We form an overwhelming, everlasting bond with them. In the end, that might be our undoing, especially when it comes to shooting lower scores.

For me, times have changed. Shooting lower scores is my No. 1 goal and it should be yours. Back in 2010, when I graduated high school, I had zero comprehension of a putter fitting. It’s 2022 and there are still golfers who aren’t aware of putter fittings and the potential improvements they can produce.

This isn’t rocket science so let’s take a look at some key, simple ingredients that go into a putter fitting.

Fitting Ingredients

  • Toe hang
  • Loft
  • Length
  • Lie angle

Toe Hang

Picture this. You have just been exposed to the game of golf and now you have to choose a putter. Right off the bat, most beginners probably won’t know what “toe hang” is. Let’s keep it simple.

Take a putter in your hand, balance it about three-quarters of the way down the putter shaft and let gravity take over. This is a simple way for anyone to estimate what their putter’s natural toe hang is. Give it a go.

Why is toe hang important? Toe hang can have a direct impact on how efficiently one can return the putter face back to square at impact. Doing so will help your putts hit or stay on target more consistently.

Here are the five most common categories of toe hang styles:

  • Full Toe Hang – Commonly found in heel-shafted blades. The toe of the putter points more directly to the ground when allowed to hang naturally.
  • ¾ Toe Hang – Commonly found in blades with short and small hosels. The toe of the putter points down by about 75 degrees.
  • ½ Toe Hang – This toe hang originated with the PING Anser design. It occurs with most plumber’s-neck blade putters and hangs about 45 degrees.
  • ¼ Toe Hang – This toe hang can be found in both blades and mallets depending on the hosel design. The amount of toe hang is about 25 degrees.
  • Face Balanced – This toe hang can also be found in both blades and mallets. The face of the putter will point directly to the sky when allowed to hang naturally.

To throw you for a loop, there are putters that do not emphasize toe hang. For example, if you don’t know your toe hang, you can opt for L.A.B. Golf. They focus on Lie Angle Balance Technology to ensure the putter face returns to square regardless of your stroke. It is an intriguing design.

At the end of the day, knowing your stroke tendencies will enable you to determine which toe hang might be best suited for you. Sure, there are technologies out there (high-speed cameras, motion sensors, etc.) that can give you precise information. But we all don’t have access to those services and tools. Grab your smartphone, have a friend record you taking a few putts and search out someone you trust to give you insight on your putting stroke. Even better, the internet surely has some insight.

Loft

Each club in your bag has loft. Your putter should have the lowest measurable loft. Most putters have a standard loft of four degrees. It doesn’t mean every putter bought off the rack is going to be the exact stated loft. We’ve seen this to be true via Most Wanted testing.

Each golfer delivers the clubhead to the ball in a variety of ways. Some with a descending blow. Some with a neutral or level blow. Others with a more positive or upwards blow. The same goes for how golfers deliver the putter to the ball. Loft plays a critical role.

In many ways, the loft of a putter dictates the launch and spin of the ball. Much like driver launch conditions, you can utilize the loft of a putter to optimize your “launch conditions.” Don’t

overestimate this. Lower loft might benefit you. Higher loft might benefit you. Putters, such as Sik Golf, have Descending Loft Technology which offers consistent launch conditions regardless of how you deliver the putter to the ball.

Length

The length of a putter can have a significant effect on your putting, both positively and negatively.

The proper length can assist with proper wrist and arm alignments, posture, centeredness of contact, and appropriate lie angle. If you play the wrong length, all of those aspects can be negatively impacted.

When the putter is too long, it will play too upright. If it is too short, it will play too flat.

Lie Angle

Lie angle plays a vital role in putter performance. It certainly can affect directional consistency and strike location. Most people set a putter or club down, look at it and determine that the lie angle is perfect, too upright or too flat at address. Lie angle is most important at impact.

Lie angle in an iron, driver or wedge is similar to the lie angle in a putter. It affects the initial direction. If your lie angle is off, it can have a tremendous impact on hitting your line and making putts. Get your lie angle checked out.

K.I.S.S

At the end of the day, putting is the name of the game. You can smoke bombs all day long but if you aren’t making putts, you aren’t going to score or improve. Keep It Simple, Stupid! It’s one of the sayings I’ve lived by, especially in the golfing world. It’s an overly difficult game already so take advantage of today’s technology, the vast amount of information available and get a simple grip on your putting. You can also check out our most recent Most Wanted Putter tests for blades and mallets.

Get fitted for a putter. It certainly won’t hurt you. If anything, you gain some valuable information. And remember, K.I.S.S.!

 

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Phillip Bishop

Phillip Bishop

Phillip Bishop

Cancer Survivor. Amputee Golfer. Essentially, a OneLeggedBoss. When he isn't facilitating testing or analyzing data, Phillip enjoys his family time, practicing and playing golf, unwinding with video games, capturing photos of nature, or devouring pretzels.

Phillip Bishop

Phillip Bishop

Phillip Bishop

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Phillip Bishop

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Phillip Bishop

Phillip Bishop

Phillip Bishop





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      George King

      2 years ago

      You went through the trouble of listing 5 different toe hangs. And then failed to explain how each one affects my putting stroke.

      Reply

      Mike

      2 years ago

      Great article. But weight s/b a factor also. After years of experimenting I realized I need a slightly heavier putter.

      Brought an LAB Golf model recently & LOVE it!!!

      Reply

      Steve B

      2 years ago

      Nice article @ Phillip Bishop. I’ve gamed an Odyssey White Ice 2-ball mallet for years and been very happy with it but for the heck of it I got fitted…and was flabbergasted that, as good as my face balanced putter was, a 5 o’clock toe hang putter with a 36″ shaft (I’m 6’5″) was a marked improvement.

      I was so shocked that I had to go back again the next day to confirm what the data, and my actual rolling it, had shown. Was a bit skeptical prior to the fitting but I’m now a believer: Putter fitting worked, for me anyway.

      Reply

      Greg

      2 years ago

      So I noticed you mentioned the LAB putters, which like the Edel putters are completely built and balanced for each customer. But you never mentioned the Axis 1 putters, which you can custom order. They are a tork free/toe up putters. And have been around longer than LAB or Edel, and found at the PGA superstores. Their Technology also works, for many players and and few pros, like Justin Rose.

      Reply

      Dennis Beach

      2 years ago

      No mention of “center shafted putters”. Played with a “Polar Balanced” putter since 2000. Bought it at 33″, cut it to 29″, added a SuperStroke 2.0 later on, and just retired it last year, when I bought a Cleveland Huntington Beach Soft 11c(c for center shafted). Wanted to update the putter, along with most of my bag, tried a few at PGA SS, and this putter really intrigued me. Not sorry I purchased this putter. I had an insert on my last putter, this putter does not have an insert, but has a knurled surface, which is not in a symetrical pattern. I have also cut this one to 29″, as that is where I get my eyes “over” the ball. Feels really good, and hitting center is not that hard, just follow the shaft…

      Reply

      Ray

      2 years ago

      I tend to putt with more of a pull with my right hand or front side more so then backside. I am a left hand golfer but do most things right handed. I am curious as to what would be the best type putter for me?

      Reply

      Mitch Kornfeld

      2 years ago

      I have been using the same perfectly balanced Acushnet Bull’s Eye putter since 1970 (I think it was $12.95) and I have no intention of ever buying a new putter.

      Reply

      Nick

      2 years ago

      After playing the game for over 70 years at a fairly high level, I believe a good putter can putt with just about any design, After a few strokes the brain adjusts to the variables of the instrument such as toe hang, lie, loft and even the look.
      Ultimately reading the green and executing a consistent stroke is far more important than the various differences in putter styles. I have seen my good friend David Lee (Gravity Golf) make putts from 20 feet using a 2 X 4 piece of lumber and using a leg of a chair. So much for putter design.

      Reply

      Steve S

      2 years ago

      I tend to agree. Have one friend who is a good putter and can putt with anything. Another friend who is the best putter I play with and he’s convinced that he HAS to have a face balance putter or he won’t make putts. Crazy.

      Reply

      James C

      2 years ago

      This is true of all clubs. Give me five swings with a ladies driver and I’ll figure out the timing to hit it straight. That doesn’t mean it’s a good fit for me or will hold up under pressure. But it’s true that the worse you are, the more a fit can benefit you.

      Reply

      Adrian J Cemel

      2 years ago

      Interesting you placed a Mati putter in the pic of four. Any particular reason?

      Reply

      Chris Parker

      2 years ago

      IMO the Edel Fitting process and therefore concluding with the purchase of an Edel putter(RH only) is the best option fir all golfers

      Reply

      RSeg

      2 years ago

      No mention of putter weight? For me that is the most important part due to the fact that it determines swing tempo and speed. You can aim left and push the putt and make it but if you don’t get it to the hole there is no compensation on earth that will correct that

      Reply

      Tim

      2 years ago

      Funny to read the comments from Steve and Paul…I got fitted in a Edel putter in 2017 and it is “toe up. Odyssey had a “Toe Up” putter, and that’s how it was named, a few years ago and discontinued it. The putter face was ahead of the shaft. I bought it, played it a couple of weeks and couldn’t adjust to the look, went back to the PGA Superstore, returned it and got the Edel. The black head and painted lines have faded, they don’t do refurbishments, in the market again. Considering the Evnroll & the new Mizuno, scheduling a fitting next week.

      Reply

      pineneedlespro

      2 years ago

      Started playing golf in the 1960’s, my putter was a Bullseye, I had painted the steel shaft a flat black color to kill the sun shinning on the shafts reflection.
      Now I like a face balanced putter to match my straight back straight through putting stroke.

      Reply

      Chuck

      2 years ago

      I found it. In my bag!

      Reply

      mackdaddy9

      2 years ago

      I think you need to include grip in there too. Having the putter feel good in your hands is a huge factor in making putts. The proper size and shape grip helps with a stable stroke.

      Reply

      EWPRO

      2 years ago

      I can putt good with any putter, If it looks good and feels good and is the right length. Confidence in what is in your hands and that a golfer can make the putt he/she is standing over the ball will go in the hole.

      Reply

      Bob

      2 years ago

      Unfortunately most golfers will select a putter their favorite golf pro uses.
      Like the rest of their clubs. Driver of course is selected based on the most yards
      Advertised.

      Reply

      Steve S

      2 years ago

      No mention of toe “up” putters? They do exist. I have a Tommy Armour Zaap Alpha that is toe up. Good for correcting a stroke that tends to push putts to the right(for a right handed golfer.)

      Reply

      Mark Liquorman

      2 years ago

      I personally think Lie Angle is the most important factor. You need to get a putter that “fits” the way you address the ball and swing. You don’t want to modify what is comfortable for you to “fit” the putter.

      Reply

      Paul

      2 years ago

      Ahhh, and for those of us who have, at minimum, watched a David Edel video, the shape of the head affects one’s aim. Mallet=aiming more right. Blade=aiming more left. Proven too…

      Reply

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