Understanding the importance of putter-fitting
works with a
to determine the
proper length for
a new putter.
ut of the 189 players that have played at least 24
rounds of golf on the PGA tour this season, 181
of them are averaging less than 30 putts a round. Only
nine players are averaging over 30 putts, with the bottom
of the pack averaging 30.47 putts per round. The best
player on tour three-putts 0.69 percent of the time and
the worst player three-putts 5.56 percent of the time.
Chances are your stats are not quite as good, and
chances are your quickest way to lowering your score is
to improve your putting.
The first step to putting better is getting fit. An improp-
erly fitted putter makes it nearly impossible to correctly
set up to the ball. Putters too long make us stand too tall,
or cause the arms to be jammed into the body, or force
us to stand too far away from the ball. Putters too short
can cause too much bend, make balance difficult and
oftentimes put the eyes outside the target line. These
faults make it hard to see the line and difficult to make
the correct stroke. Having the correct length, weight, loft,
lie, grip size and model are all important elements of
putter-fitting and all will help you putt better.
A proper fitting will make sure you’re setting up to the
ball correctly. Fundamentals of the set-up include a
proper grip, eyes over the ball, arms and hands hanging
straight down from the shoulders and bending over from
the waist to get the weight on the center to balls of the
feet. Having the eyes over the ball makes it easier to see
where the putter is aimed, the hands hanging under the
shoulders allows the arms to naturally swing straight back
and through and being balanced helps us stay stable
throughout the stroke.
The grip can be one of the trickier parts of the set-up.
While we hold the club in the fingers during the full
swing, we hold the club in the palms when putting.
This allows the shaft to be an extension of the arms
and helps eliminate improper wrist movement during
Once the proper grip and set-up are established, the
correct length and lie angle can be determined. Fitting
loft and model type is then a discussion between the
coach and the student to learn how each influences the
stroke. It is important to know how the balance of a
putter affects the stroke, how loft can affect roll, how the
head and hosel affect aim and how weight and face
material affect feel. There are several great tools and
fitting systems that help find the right putter, but remem-
ber it is critical to develop a proper set-up first.
I am always surprised about the results I see once my
students develop a great set-up and then get a putter
that is fit for them. The stroke is almost always immediately
improved. Learning to read greens, to aim and control
speed is still essential, but often a great set-up and fit
putter will lead to a better stroke.
Take time this summer and do your scores a favor. Get
fit and develop a great set-up for the club that you use
most in your bag. ;;
Kevin Kihslinger is city manager of Golf TEC Milwaukee.
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