You may be familiar with the phrase, “Its the Indian not the arrows”. Golfers often use this expression to convey that most errant shots are more often a matter of the player than a matter of their clubs.
However, sometimes it is a matter of the arrows (i.e. our clubs). Most commonly, club problems are less a matter of their brand and more often a matter of how they fit us. We find that one of the most commonly misfit clubs is the putter. The most common problem with the putter is that the shaft has not been sized and is too long. We wind up re-sizing the putters of about 60% of our players. Most in-stock putters have a grip size and shaft length for men 6′ and taller. Both because few shops carry a selection of women’s putters and because women often inherit their putters from male players, women are the most frequent victims of mis-fit putters.
A putter that is too long results in any of three perfomance-robbing outcomes:
The player must get use to holding the putter out from their body which reduces their natural balance and stability. They are more likely to sway and wobble during their putt.
If the player does not hold the putter out from their body the length of the shaft cramps their arms and hands in too close to their body denying them the accuracy of a free flowing swing,
Perhaps most importantly, a putter that is too long denies the player the critical advantage of putting with their eyes DIRECTLY over the line of the putt.
While determining the optimal fit for a putter is a simple matter, it is a more demanding task than we would want to attempt in this article. There is a preliminary way you can check your putter to see if it is seriously misfits you:
Using a two foot piece of tape or string to represent the line of a putt, set up the putter on this line in your regular putting stance.
While being careful not to move your head, release your upper hand from the putter and use it to drop a golf ball from the bridge of your nose.
Watch were it lands relative to that line. Repeat these steps a few times. If the ball doesn’t drop very near the line, its time to take that putter in for adjustment so your eyes are over the line.
If the eyes are not over the line you are making putting more difficult. Many players find that they are standing too far away from the line. When they attempt to move closer they find that the putter grip is rubbing against their clothing or their arms are not free to hang comfortably. If you find this to be true, your putter needs to be re-sized.
While the expense is nominal, you will find the benefit “phe-nomenal”.