Golf, a game of precision and skill, requires a lot of attention to detail. One of these details is ensuring your equipment fits you perfectly. While there are several factors to consider when selecting clubs, one of the most overlooked aspects is the length of the putter. Matching your height to the appropriate putter length can make a significant difference in your putting performance.
Why Putter Length Matters
The length of your putter can greatly influence your posture, stroke mechanics, and, ultimately, the direction and speed of the ball. Having the right putter length is gonna help you putt better!
What Happens If You Have The Wrong Putter Length?
Using a putter of the wrong length can introduce a range of complications to your putting and overall golf game. Here’s a breakdown of potential issues:
1. Improper Posture and Alignment:
- Too Long: A putter that’s too long may cause you to stand too upright. This can misalign your eyes, causing them to be too far inside the ball line. An upright stance can also lead to shoulder tilt, making it difficult to swing the putter on the desired path.
- Too Short: A putter that’s too short can force you to crouch or bend over too much. This can place your eyes too far over or even outside the ball line, potentially causing an inside-to-outside putter path.
2. Inconsistent Contact
With the wrong putter length, you’re more likely to make inconsistent contact on the putter face, hitting the ball off the toe or heel instead of the center. This can affect the speed and direction of your putts.
3. Compensatory Movements
To counteract the discomfort or alignment issues of an ill-fitting putter, you might unknowingly introduce compensatory movements into your stroke. These can create inconsistency and make it difficult to develop a reliable putting routine.
4. Distance Control Problems
If you’re not consistently striking the ball with the center of the putter face, gauging the correct distance can become challenging. You may leave putts short or hit them too aggressively.
General Guidelines for Putter Length by Height
While personal preferences and putting styles can influence the ideal length for an individual, the following guidelines are commonly recommended:
- Players under 5’0″ – 31 inches or shorter
- Players 5’0″ to 5’2″ – 32 inches
- Players 5’3″ to 5’4″ – 32 to 33 inches
- Players 5’5″ to 5’9″ – 33 to 34 inches
- Players 5’10” to 6’2″ – 34 to 35 inches
- Players over 6’2″ – 36 inches or longer
What is a Standard Length Putter?
The standard length of a putter can vary depending on the type of putter and the manufacturer. However, here are the general standard lengths for the most common types of putters:
- Traditional/Blade Putters: These usually range from 32 to 36 inches, with 34 inches being a very common standard length.
- Mallet Putters: These are typically available in the same range as traditional putters, often around 33 to 35 inches.
- Belly Putters: These are longer, designed to be anchored to the golfer’s midsection. Their lengths usually range from 38 to 43 inches.
- Broomstick or Long Putters: These are the longest putters, designed to be anchored to the golfer’s chest or chin. Their lengths range from 48 to 52 inches, though some can be even longer.
Why is Loft on a Putter Important?
Loft on a putter is an often-overlooked aspect of putter design, but it plays a critical role in ensuring a smooth roll and consistent putts. Here’s why the loft is important:
1. Getting the Ball Rolling
When the ball is at rest on the green, it often settles into a tiny depression or indentation, even on finely mowed and well-maintained greens. When struck by a putter, a ball initially experiences a slight skid or slide before transitioning into a true roll. The loft helps lift the ball out of its resting position and promotes immediate forward rotation, reducing the initial skidding phase.
2. Counteracting Forward Press
Some golfers use a forward press as part of their putting stroke, where they slightly lean the shaft towards the target before initiating the stroke. This action effectively reduces the putter’s loft. A putter with the correct amount of loft can compensate for this, ensuring the ball lifts slightly and begins its roll correctly.
3. Adapting to Green Conditions
Different greens can have different types of grass, mowing patterns, and moisture levels. These variables can affect how the ball sits on the green. Loft helps in adapting to these conditions, ensuring that the ball starts on the intended line with a consistent roll.
4. Consistency in Speed Control
A proper loft helps in achieving consistent ball speeds. If a ball skids excessively due to insufficient loft, it might lead to unpredictable distances, making it challenging to judge speeds accurately.
5. Putter Fitting and Personal Stroke Dynamics
Every golfer’s stroke is unique. Some might have an upward angle of attack, while others might have a downward or level stroke. The correct loft is essential to accommodate individual stroke dynamics. For example, a golfer with a pronounced upward angle of attack might benefit from less loft, while someone with a downward strike might need more loft.
6. Standard Loft and Customization
Most standard putters come with a loft of around 3 to 4 degrees, which is suitable for a broad range of conditions and putting styles. However, golfers can benefit from a putter fitting session where the loft can be adjusted to match their specific stroke dynamics and the typical green conditions they encounter.
Other Factors to Consider
While height is an essential starting point, there are other variables you should think about:
- Putting Style: Some players prefer an “armsy” stroke, while others utilize more of their shoulders. Depending on your style, you might prefer a slightly shorter or longer putter.
- Hand Position: The position of your hands in relation to the ball can influence the ideal putter length. If you prefer your hands ahead of the ball, you might need a slightly longer putter.
- Eye Position: Ideally, your eyes should be over the ball or just inside the ball’s line when addressing a putt. A putter of the right length can help achieve this position consistently.
- Feel and Comfort: Above all, you should feel comfortable with your putter. If a putter feels too long or short, even if it matches the standard guidelines, you might consider a different size.
To ensure the best fit, consider getting a professional putter fitting. Expert fitters use various tools and methods to determine the perfect putter length, taking into account your height, posture, stroke style, and personal preferences.