Hot To Select The Right Putter Length: A Guide For Beginners
Putting is arguably the most important part of the game. We hit more shots without putter than any other club in the bag, and many golfers spend hours debating which putter style or grip to choose to help them shoot better scores.
However, there is an element of selecting the right putter, which is often overlooked, making sure you have the right LENGTH of club.
To work out your correct putter length, get into a comfortable putting position (but without holding a club).
Let your arms hang naturally, and measure the distance from the top of your hands to the ground.
This is the correct putter length for you.
Unless you’re massively tall or short, this will probably fall somewhere in the thirty-two to the thirty-six-inch range, with the majority of golfers suiting either a thirty-three, thirty-four, or thirty-five-inch putter.
Why Does It Matter?
Why is putter length crucial to making a good repeatable stroke and holing more putts? Well, that all comes down to the eye line.
If your putter is too long or too short, it can drastically affect where your eyes are in relation to the ball, which can kill your chances of making more putts.
If your eyes are too far inside the ball or too far over the top of the ball, it will dramatically impact how well you can see the line of the putt. This leads to subconscious adjustments and more missed putts.
An excellent way to test this is by using a mark on your ball to line up your putts. Have you ever gone through the process of reading a green, getting your ball lined up, settled over the putt, and felt like the line you positioned is all wrong?
This is probably due to your eyeline being in the wrong position. It creates the optical illusion of the line being altered, which can wreck your confidence over the ball.
Eyeline – and therefore putter length – are also very important to the stroke you make. Golfers with an arced stroke often like their eyeline to fall just inside the ball. So if you putt with an arced stroke, but your putter is the wrong length, it’s going to be very hard to get the face back square.
As said before, traditional putters fall somewhere between 32 and 36 inches. There are, however, a few exceptions to this rule.
A few years ago, BELLY PUTTERS were all the rage. There were putters with a much longer handle then pushed into the stomach to ANCHOR the club and keep it stable. Webb Simpson and Keegan Bradley both won majors using this method.
However, in 2016 anchoring the putter was banned, and belly putters fell out of style. Though they are still legal to use, the method that made them so effective is not, making them almost obsolete.
BROOM HANDLE putters, however, are still around despite the anchoring rule change. Broom handle putters are incredible tall clubs that often reach up to a golfers chest!
With these clubs, you place your top hand at the top of the putter, and your bottom hand in a more traditional position, creating a pendulum-like effect. Adam Scott famously uses one of these clubs.
Since the anchoring rule changed, you are not allowed to have the top hand pushed against your chest to stabilize it – but as long as there is no contact, the method is entirely legal. Many golfers, however, question whether those using broom handle putters are secretly anchoring them; to the naked eye, it can be very hard to tell.
Recently, ARMLOCK putters have become very prominent, thanks mainly to the golfing scientist Bryson Dechambeau. These putters are similar to belly putters, with longer handles, but the method is different.
Rather than anchoring them to a fixed point, you allow the handle to run up the inside of your left (top) hand. This stabilizes the putter’s head, making it harder to twist your hands and turn the face offline.
Armlock putters are entirely legal, and many golfers and golf pros have commented on how effective they are. However, if you’re considering getting one, beware: many in the industry believe the armlock method is close to anchoring and will soon be banned.
Should I Get A Putter Fitting?
With so many styles and lengths to choose from, many golfers will end up considering a putter fitting to make sure they select a club that is tuned to their stroke.
Fittings are always recommended when buying brand new clubs. Golf gear is expensive – a new putter can cost between $250 and $450. The cost of a fitting on top of that is minimal, with a putter fitting probably costing around $25-$50.
Many golf shops will also take the cost of the fitting off your club purchase if you buy from them in-store that day. If you’re going to invest a lot of money, it’s worth ensuring it goes to the right place!
However, a putter fitting is not completely necessary. Using the method above, you can get an accurate reading for how long your putter should be – and almost all golf shops have practice greens inside of them where you can test out putters to check your measurements feel right.
If you’re buying new, I would always recommend a fitting, as you don’t want to spend a lot of money on the wrong club.
However, if you’re buying second-hand – which is something most golfers should consider! With new clubs brought out every year, you can get fantastic models for half the price a few years down the line! – it might be worth using the old-fashioned method of measuring for yourself, as the percentage cost of a fitting compared to the new club becomes much more significant.