STUDY: WHAT PUTTERS ARE GOLFERS PLAYING?
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STUDY: WHAT PUTTERS ARE GOLFERS PLAYING?

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STUDY: WHAT PUTTERS ARE GOLFERS PLAYING?

Are you a great putter because of the brand you use? Or do better putters simply tend to use certain manufacturers more often?

It’s a classic chicken/egg scenario that might take us back to the first time a teacher broached the concept of causal and correlative relationships.

Correlation can create a powerful association, even in the absence of a clear causal relationship. For example, smoking causes lung cancer. However, external weather and people’s clothing choice are strongly correlated.

DATA FROM THEGRINT

Quick refresher: TheGrint is an app-based handicap tracker with a multitude of on-course and community features. In addition, TheGrint’s platform interfaces directly with the USGA handicap system.

That aside, we took a closer look at TheGrint’s database to see what, if any, relationship existed between golfers, handicap ranges and putter brand of choice.

BEST OF THE BEST

The main takeaway here is that more golfers (37%) with a handicap between +5 and 5 use Scotty Cameron putters more than any other brand. Odyssey is second at 18 percent.

This isn’t particularly surprising given the reputation of Scotty Cameron putters on professional tours and the mystique surrounding its “Circle T” line.

The “Other” category (11%) is higher than PING, Bettinardi, Cleveland, Nike, Evnroll and PXG.

SOLID SINGLE-DIGIT

For golfers with a handicap between 5 and 15, brand preference is similar, though not quite as skewed toward Scotty Cameron. Cameron’s usage dips to 28 percent while Odyssey’s increased five percentage points to 23. TaylorMade remained at 16 and PING increased slightly (+2%).

MEAT OF THE MARKET

For golfers with a handicap between 15 and 25, Odyssey (27%) supplants Scotty Cameron (16%) as the most-used brand. TaylorMade (16%), PING (13%), and “Other” (15%) are the only other brands with a greater than 10-percent usage rate.

SLIGHTLY BELOW AVERAGE

For golfers with a handicap between 25 and 35, Odyssey (27%) remains at the top, followed by “Other” at 22 percent. Scotty Cameron ranks fifth just a shade under 10 percent.

BEGINNING GOLFERS

For golfers with a handicap between 35 and 45, the most common brand preference isn’t any mainstream manufacturer. Therefore, it’s reasonable to opine that most golfers in this category opt for the “whatever putter they can find” methodology.

CORRELATION OR CAUSATION?

Scotty Cameron, TaylorMade, Odyssey and PING are the four most prominently used putter brands across all handicap ranges. Additionally, a regression analysis of average putts by brand shows that the brand of putter has minimal impact on the number of putts per round.

What we don’t know is whether these golfers were fitted for the putter they use, recently switched models or how the picture might change if we assessed performance using a strokes-gained methodology. As such, it’s a relatively basic picture that lends itself to further discussion. That said, the primary question remains – Is it the putter, or the putt-er?

As always, tell us what you think!

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Chris Nickel

Chris Nickel

Chris Nickel

Chris is a self-diagnosed equipment and golf junkie with a penchant for top-shelf ice cream. When he's not coaching the local high school team, he's probably on the range or trying to keep up with his wife and seven beautiful daughters. Chris is based out of Fort Collins, CO and his neighbors believe long brown boxes are simply part of his porch decor. "Isn't it funny? The truth just sounds different."

Chris Nickel

Chris Nickel

Chris Nickel

Chris Nickel

Chris Nickel

Chris Nickel

Driver PING G410 LST Fairway Cobra SZ
Hybrids PXG (17°) Irons Mizuno MP 20
Wedges Vokey SM8 (50F - 56D - 60L) Putter Whatever floats
Ball Titliest Pro V1x
Chris Nickel

Chris Nickel

Chris Nickel





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      Pat White

      1 year ago

      I love my Scotty, had several others and most important thing is “you got to like the looks”. I had a Spider and it felt and looked like a big clump of iron and I could hardly ever find the feel with it.
      I had several pings, looks were good and I could get the feel more often. I believe a good putter can put with almost any brand, but it most decently gotta look good To You!

      Reply

      KailuaBoy

      1 year ago

      I have the PXG Bat Attack and its the best feeling putter I’ve used. No wonder it won best mallet putter. I can putt from distance with great accuracy and feel.
      Just my 2 cents.
      Aloha!

      Reply

      Jay Arr

      1 year ago

      I love my Scotty SB2. It gives me confidence, feels solid, was fitted to me and will last a lifetime. I can’t really see myself switching unless my back goes and I go broomstick like Bernhard. To me, Scotty makes the best looking and feeling putters; they don’t cost must more than the other big brand putters anymore.

      Reply

      HAC

      1 year ago

      It would be interesting to see this type of analysis for other things. For example, does getting fitted for a putter reduce the number of putts taken by players of a given handicap. How about wedges? Do players of a certain handicap benefit from more or less bounce, for example. Do they use different brands and does that make a difference? Etc., etc. Thanks for the interesting study.

      Reply

      Birdiedancer

      1 year ago

      Monkey see monkey doo Peer pressure is alive and well within the low handicappers. Or maybe they are more susceptible to subliminal advertising. The numbers in the charts show any brand will work in the right hands.

      Reply

      Adam

      1 year ago

      Still using my yes Tracy 2 putter and I have no reason to take it out of the bag yet, tried a few putters since and I haven’t seen a noticeable improvement, maybe I need to get a putter fitting, who knows.

      Reply

      Kevin

      1 year ago

      If Scotty had a secret sauce that makes putts drop then they’d win MGS award every year. The fact that nobody always wins proves the person holding the club is a larger factor than any tech in the club. Confidence (while subjective) is real and is largely self-induced based on the success/failure of a company’s marketing. Kudos to Scotty for good marketing. For MGS to truly compare putters their Most Wanted tests should cover the brand so the testers don’t know what putter they’re using. I’m betting donuts that would significantly change the results.

      Reply

      John Paton

      1 year ago

      Thank you for the information but I am thinking my lift doesn’t go all the way to the top floor because I’m missing something – 3 brands certainly seem to dominate the lower handicap range before a shift to just two of those three in the higher handicaps yet you note that there is no variance between number of putts and brands within the handicap segment – I’m was a very low marker and never putted any better with a SC
      John

      Reply

      RSeg

      1 year ago

      The stats should have been displayed the other way around. Divide the % of golfers in handicap rage per brand.

      For example:
      Scotty:
      +5 to 5 – 50%
      6 to 15 – 20%
      16 to 25 – 20%
      Over 25 – 10%

      This erases the effect of bigger OEM’s

      Reply

      Crusher

      1 year ago

      Better question is, did the “best of the best” get professionally fitted for those Cameron’s? I got fitted for an Eden putter (not paid endorsement) and will never go back. Improved just over 5 putts per round in first season.

      Reply

      gordon cook

      1 year ago

      Fairly obviously the data shows that if you can putt you can use anything. Often the best golfers are also more affluent and as such buy more expensive equipment. Does this mean its better, or do they THINK its better? Or does it make the lower handicap players more snobbish about using CHEAPER gear.?
      Just leave that one hanging. Main point being, put a scotty cameron in the hands of a 30 handicapper and they will not putt any better. Its all about practicing YOUR technique people……

      Reply

      Eric Fox

      1 year ago

      Surprised PXG is not a bit higher. I have tried pretty much every putter brand made. PXG for the current price is right up there.

      Reply

      Chet

      1 year ago

      Not surprised at all. This data is what putter golfers are using. Many folks I know (myself included) play the same putter for 20 years. PXG was only started in 2014. Which means if your putter is more than 10 years old, there’s no chance it’s a PXG. Nearly everyone I play with has a putter that’s more than 10 years old.

      Reply

      Steve Briggs

      1 year ago

      Good analysis Chris.

      I think this is very interesting in that as we get better we need our equipment to be at the top level. There is no question that Scotty Cameron putters are great putters, but the equipment is only a part of the equation as to how well we putt and I think the data points that out. We want the best equipment as we get better and the list of equipment manufacturers we think fit as the best narrows. We want to play the best and Scotty Cameron is one of them, but it isn’t the only one. A Scotty Cameron isn’t necessarily better than a PING or Odyssey but the marketing and image makes us think that to be the best we have to use a Scotty Cameron. This is exactly what MGS is all about, looking at data and helping us make informed decisions and not buying based on what marketing and history/tradition has told us is best.

      With that said, I love my Scotty Cameron, but I also love my PING’s and I switch periodically between them. I haven’t had a putter fitting yet but it is on my list of things to do in the near future and I am very curious as to what I will find when I do it.

      Reply

      Thomas A

      1 year ago

      These are the top 4 brands of golf’s OEMs. I am Jack’s complete lack of surprise.

      Reply

      dr. bloor

      1 year ago

      Yep. This is a study in marketing effectiveness. Once you get past the Aura and Mystique of Cameron, the real correlation is with the number of square feet each OEM buys in the putter corral at your local Golf Galaxy.

      Reply

      Dave R

      1 year ago

      One conclusion I drew was higher putter cost by handicap level. +5 – 15 Handicap golfers play more Scotties than higher handicaps. Skilled golfers are more willing to make a $300+ investment in a Scotty than less skilled golfers. I would consider Odyssey, Taylor Made, Ping as mostly moderately priced, with some higher priced options available. There’s also representation from higher priced boutique brands in the first tranche – Bettinardi, PXG and EVNROLL which again would speak to a willingness to make an investment >$300. I agree with assessment on last tier – they likely don’t care enough to make a big investment and play whatever is handy. I’m surprised to see that Nike is still a player given that they have been out of the golf equipment business for the last 5 years or so.

      Reply

      HAC

      1 year ago

      Not surprised that better players pay more for golf equipment. They tend to be people who play more and are more into golf. A guy playing several times a week would be much more likely to find it worthwhile to spend more for equipment than a guy playing a few times a year.

      Reply

      Dennis

      1 year ago

      I wonder if everyone was fitted for a putter if the results would be any different. I would guess that the lower the handicap the player is the more likely the player is fitted for the putter. I also wonder how much time people practice putting considering it accounts for about 40 to 45 % of a players strokes. A pro whom I respect once told me and many others for every hour you hit balls you need to spend an hour putting..

      Reply

      Clay Nicolsen

      1 year ago

      Interesting analysis.

      Given that every brand makes a blade, a face-balanced putter, a toe-hang putter, and a mallet, there is no way to know which style each player used.

      I would love to find a similar analysis using blade vs mallet. I’m guessing the results would show significant differences, other than scratch players are a bit better than 10 handicappers, who are a bit better than 20s, who are a bit better than 30s.

      Reply

      Kim

      1 year ago

      Totally agree!

      Reply

      Mike H

      1 year ago

      I would also like to see not only the type of putter but the type of grip. I see all kinds of good putters and a lot of them equipped with the Super Stroke or comparable over sized grips and wonder what low HC vs higher HC use?

      Reply

      Peter

      1 year ago

      Using my golf app stat tracker I average 34 putts a round with odyssey OG mallet from 25 years ago but recently upgraded to Scotty Cameron and with very limited data, I’m down to 31 and a low day and PB 26. I definitely think new putter has improved my putting and predict data will prove it.

      Reply

      Peter

      1 year ago

      Do those numbers take into consideration your chipping? My “one-putt’ stats are nearly always all about how good my wedge is working around the greens.

      Reply

      Jim

      1 year ago

      great article, thanks for that. the only thing I believe about putting is this, no matter what high level of golf you play, amateur or pro, whoever putts best that week wins the tournament…

      Reply

      Garrett

      1 year ago

      Interesting results!!

      I’d be interested to see the percentage of “Other” playing LAB putters. I can’t imagine using anything else going forward.

      Reply

      James C

      1 year ago

      I had an AMAZING honeymoon period with my LAB Mezz Max. Last couple of rounds I started pulling midrange putts out of nowhere, which is very frustrating because that’s where it was really fire in the honeymoon period. Short putts unbelievably good with it though.

      I could probably get used to any putter but this one is still very, very good.

      Reply

      Steve S (the old and handsome one)

      1 year ago

      Not surprised that the putter makes little difference. The average 190 lb man’s arms weigh 12-15 lbs each. So you have to move 25 to 30 lbs of body mass to move a stick with a head on it with a total weight 1.5-2 pounds. Hand/eye and muscle control is 1 or 2 orders of magnitude more important than the stick.

      Reply

      Tim Root

      1 year ago

      I look at it a little differently Handsome Steve. I think players gravitate to the putter they have the most confidence in regardless of handicap… So looking at the # of putts by brand doesn’t necessarily mean that all the putters perform the same, only that people using those putters have about the same number of putts per round within a given handicap range – and that could very well be because they are using the putter model (and brand) that they have the most confidence in and success with.

      Reply

      Stoosher

      1 year ago

      I’ve been using the Wilson “L” model. Great mallet putter. Averaging 30..1 putts a round. Pretty good percentage inside 8 feet. The Wilson cost about a third of the Scotty Cameron. Doubtful the extra expenses would be worth it.

      Reply

      Larry Roach

      1 year ago

      It is an individual preference. I have been using a putter I bought new in 1976. I still use it and very comfortable with it. Too many golfers just change to make a change without working to make their stroke better. A little work and they can make a difference My putter is a 1976 Ping Answer and it suits me well

      Reply

      John Willson

      1 year ago

      So, the message comes down to this: It makes no difference what putter one uses–which has been my experience for about 50 years.

      Reply

      Chris Nickel

      1 year ago

      That’s an erroneous conclusion that I think many people might draw from this. The reality is that there is a large difference in performance based on a number of variables – and that’s what our Most Wanted testing assesses every year.

      That said, what this data seems to suggest is that the brand (not model, length, etc) isn’t a determining factor of performance, based on solely a putts/round analysis.

      Reply

      Grape

      1 year ago

      I think John had a very accurate conclusion given what has been presented in this article. Brand doesn’t matter and neither does putter. It is all personal preference. It’s not like the low handicap players are all running around with magic wands. I’m a 5 handicap and put up the same exact numbers no matter if I use a putter that was “fitted” for me with the latest tech or one thats 15 years old with off the shelf specs.

      Rich

      1 year ago

      I agree with you Chris. I also think that this study looks at the data in an overly broad way. You really need to look at model of putter and strokes gained for each putter to draw any real conclusions. Not to mention other factors such as fitting.

      Rolfie

      1 year ago

      Spot on. My 45 year old Ping Anser is just as good at rolling putts into the hole as anything mentioned here.. I was watching PGA/LIV players missing putts from 2 ft with the latest and greatest and MOST expensive LAB putters.
      If you can’t putt, you can’t putt.

      Reply

      Jon Silverberg

      1 year ago

      Or, stated differently, the difference in putting results impacts your handicap , but that difference seems to be equipment independent.. That leaves both the golfer’s putting skill and the greens size and difficulty on the golfer’s most-played courses. (It is my belief that course slope and rating do not adequately account for greens size and difficulty.).

      Reply

      Mike

      1 year ago

      Disagree on that one. I currently use a fairly heavy, face-balanced mallet. Put me in a blade with a steep toe-hang al& I’m totally screwed on the green. I sort of agree that brands don’t matter but type of putter absolutely does.

      Reply

      Steve

      1 year ago

      Awesome article. Curious what putters fall under the “other” category. Also it looks like Top Flite is listed twice on the 25 -35 chart.

      Reply

      Bennett Green

      1 year ago

      Hey Steve – thanks! Check that out, Callaway was missing its place.

      Reply

      Luc

      1 year ago

      I’m guessing that since majority of golfers are 15 handicap or higher that Odyssey wins most popular putter category, no contest.

      Reply

      Thomas

      1 year ago

      My favorite part about playing the EVNROLL is singing “Even Flow” by Pearl Jam in my head before every putt. Increases makes by 10% guaranteed.

      Reply

      Bennett Green

      1 year ago

      I’m glad someone else was thinking it.

      Reply

      Dave R

      1 year ago

      I love my Evnroll putters. Our greens are fast for a tournament, killing my partners on the greens. I wasn’t singing evenflow, but I will now!

      Reply

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