Instruction

Make More Putts By Matching Your Putter to Your Stroke

Photo: Jesse Reiter

Face-balanced putters (far left) work best with "piston" strokes. If you putt on an arc, a toe-weighted model works.

News flash: Your putter is making you miss. So claims Paul Wood, vice president of engineering at Ping and a master putter designer.

According to Wood, "Through years of research, and while working on our iPing mobile app, we found that players who choose a putter without accounting for how they putt are much more likely to miss putts in all directions than those who do."

This customization goes far beyond fitting for specs such as loft and lie. "The trick," Wood says, "is to look at the shape of your stroke and then select a putter with a weighting scheme designed to augment that shape." There are two basic style options: toe weighted and face-balanced. "The more arc you have in your stroke, the more toe-weighted your putter should be. Like to putt piston-style? You'll fare better with a face-balanced model." (Your putter is face-balanced if the face points toward the sky when you balance the club on your finger near where the shaft enters the hosel. But if the toe droops, it's toe-weighted.)

You probably have some arc in your motion. Despite the popularity of face-balanced putters, Ping estimates that only 20 percent of golfers can repeat a piston-style stroke. "You can see why there's a problem," Wood adds.

If you don't know your stroke shape, just observe your misses. "If you miss left more often than right, opt for a toe-balanced putter," Wood suggests. The reason? Toe-weighted putters tend to stay open through impact, while face-balanced models tend to close. On the other hand, if you push a lot of putts, a face-balanced putter can help correct the mistake. At the very least, you should experiment. Somewhere out there is the perfect putter for you.

For another putting tip to help groove your stroke even more, check out the video below.

Your Game: Use the End of the Handle as a Putting Fulcrum
By treating the butt of your putter like a fulcrum and keeping it pointed towards you, you'll be able to better control your putt speed and direction, says GOLF Magazine Top 100 Teacher Don Sargent.
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