Hole By Hole
It's about golf.
Proven planning for picking the perfect putter
August 17, 2007
By this time in the Cape Region golf season, many players are thinking about a change of equipment.
For a lot of these folks, a lesson or two would probably be a better idea. Even so, there are good reasons to make sure your golf clubs are fitted properly, in order to have the most chance for success.
Itís also a primary reason why golf club manufacturers sell so many new drivers each year. Nonetheless, far more players should make sure their putters are the right ones for their game.
Look at the numbers. Drivers are only used thirteen or fourteen times in a round, while most golfers take thirty to thirty-five putts in the same game.
Cape Region golf pros and golf shops are happy to help you make this decision, which in most cases also costs a lot less than a new brand-name driver.
"The first thing I go for in fitting someone for a putter is length," said Devon Peterson, Shawnee Country Clubís golf pro. "But my preference is to first make sure their putting fundamentals are good. If their putting style or method is not correct, then itís hard to fit them properly. If itís okay, then the length issue is based on making sure their eyes are looking over the ball at the set-up."
"Youíre better off to putt more bent over than to be too tall over it," he said. "My own putter is 34 inches in length, but Iím thinking of changing it to a 33-inch."
Pete McCaffrey of Ruddoís Golf echoed Petersonís comments about putter length. "You want to make sure that the putter blade lies flat on the ground," he said.
Peterson said his next step in fitting a new putter is to adjust the lie angle. "All the club companies will help with fitting. They can adjust the lie to be a little more flat or more upright," he said. "After that, I check on grip size, which can vary depending on whether the person uses an opposing palm grip, or left hand low, or some other method."
There are also many putter head styles to choose from, including heel-toe blades, mallets, and more exotic designs, including circular rods or lengthy extensions toward the back. This is no minor consideration. "If you donít like the look of the club, you wonít putt well," Peterson said. "Ping learned that lesson with their Zing line. It was a good putter, but people just didnít like how it looked, and it didnít sell well."
McCaffrey said thereís no doubt about which putters are popular right now. "The Odyssey putters are by far our best sellers, by 10 to 1." Peterson said, "Any form of the [Odyssey] 2-Ball line sells the best, and then itís the Pings."
On the technical side, several putter makers stress that their clubs are face-balanced, meaning that if the entire club is balanced on one finger, the clubface floats parallel to the ground. Peterson is not particularly impressed with this innovation. "I think itís overrated. Itís best for people who can putt straight back and through, but about the only ones that really do that worked a long time putting between two strings. The real goal is to be as steady as you can over the ball."
Peterson also gave out some advice on what to look for out on the course. "People tend to hold onto their putters longer than their drivers, if theyíre good at it. If theyíre not that good at putting, then youíll see them change their putters more often."
If you see a golf bag with an old, somewhat beat-up putter in it, therefore, you might want to be careful about any betting with that clubís owner.
Demo day--Speaking of new equipment, Ruddoís Golf is holding a demo day featuring Nike golf clubs on August 26 at the Midway Par 3 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. McCaffrey said the company is bringing its custom equipment vans to the event, so most golfers will be able to pick up their new wands on the same day.
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© Frederick Schranck 1998-2007