Equipment

Gear Doctor: Putter length, hooks and finding the right ball

Every Wednesday, we'll tap into the expertise of our exclusive research partner, Hot Stix Golf, to answer reader questions and help you navigate the increasingly complex word of golf equipment. If you have a question for the Gear Doc, e-mail it to geardoc@hotstixgolf.com or post a comment below. He'll answer a few lucky readers' questions every week on GOLF.com. Dear Doc,
My 5-foot 7-inch, 17-year-old daughter wants a new putter. What length putter would be ideal for her? Mark Bradley

Dear Mark,
There is not a magic formula for length of a putter based on height
because it has a lot to do with posture in the setup position.

Here is a simple way to learn which length putter fits her best:
1.    Have your daughter stand in her normal putting position, you want
her arms to hang (dangle) straight down from her shoulders, her eyes
should be right over the ball to an inch inside the ball. (While
putting, your eyes should never be outside the line.)

2.    From that position try several putter lengths to see which length
allows her to be in that position and have the sole of the putter level
to a couple of degrees toe up. 

My guess is she will probably be somewhere between 31" and 34" but her posture may prove me wrong.

Dear Gear Doctor,
I have a 17° Nickent Genex 3DX hybrid with a stock stiff shaft that I
have using for about 3 months. I hit every other club in my bag
straight, but I hook this hybrid. Can you tell me why? Dominick

Dear Dominick,
Assuming you make fairly consistent swing with all your clubs, then it's either a shaft flex issue or a lie angle issue.

If the shaft is too soft the tendency is for a miss to be a hook, and
you may struggle with distance control as well. If the club is too
stiff, it usually leads to low and right misses, but I often see people
work harder with a club that is too stiff and therefore hook it.

If the club has a lie angle that is too upright for you, like any other club in you bag it will cause a hook.
Take a look at the bottom of the club, and if all your ground strikes on
the club are on the heel it is possible that it is too upright for you. Dear Doc,
In some of your previous responses, you have suggested that readers try
a different golf ball to either improve distance and/or accuracy. Is
there really that much difference between golf balls?
Kevin

Dear Kevin,
Yes. The golf ball you play makes a huge difference when it comes
to distance, accuracy, control trajectory and spin. In fact, there is a
variance in spin of up to 1000 RPM's with a driver at 100 MPH, and up
to 4000 RPM's with a wedge.

Knowing that, you can see how playing one ball on the spin spectrum instead of another can impact your performance.

Don't get too hung up on which ball optimizes distance off the driver.
You should hit balls with irons, wedges and your putter as well when
looking for the best ball to match your game. Make sure you choose a
ball that meets your needs in ALL aspects of your game.

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