How to Choose the Right Putter Length

Published on 06/16/2023 · 7 min readIs your putter the right length? Golf Expert Tyler Monroe explains why putter length matters and how to determine the right putter length for you!
Tyler Monroe, Golf Expert
By Golf Expert Tyler Monroe

Photo by Gene Gallin

How to Choose the Right Putter Length

The equipment golfers choose can either put them in the perfect position to perform consistently on the golf course or can be another element they are battling to make par. The putter is not an exception to this rule. Considering that half the strokes made in a round are done with the putter, the importance of a club that fits comfortably in a golfer’s hands cannot be overstated. This piece of equipment can be the difference between a good round and an exceptional one.

From the basics to the advanced levels, a properly fitting putter begins with the player, the right style putter, and then the right putter length. Straightforward graphs for the appropriate length needed based on a player's height are available, but they don't accurately account for every golfer’s putting stroke mechanics, posture, and arm hang. The length of the putter should blend seamlessly with the set-up and harmoniously with the golfer's focus on the putt in front of them.

Fundamentals of the Putting Stroke

Photo by Gene Gallin

Any Google search on the putting stroke will show how many different opinions there are on the “right” way to putt. Whichever putting technique you choose, having a repeatable stroke and fitting the putter length to that technique will lower the number of putts per round and improve scores. Adhering to a few fundamentals including setting up with the eyes over the ball to see the correct break and line to the hole, swinging with rocking shoulders to limit tension in the arms and wrists, and having a consistent pre-shot routine will also have a positive impact on distance control and directional control and ultimately the length of the putter required for the stroke.

Importance of a Good Setup and Posture

The way we set up our putting stance posture for a putt is critical for multiple reasons. Having bad posture, instead of bending in the knees and waist, puts unnecessary strain on the back and can hamper a player’s putting ability. This discomfort can also lead to a decrease in the desire to practice or play which limits a player’s potential. Being in a comfortable athletic posture will therefore lead to improved attentiveness over each putt and encourage longevity in playing your best game.

If the goal is to return the clubface to its exact address position at a controlled pace so that the putter head is in perfect alignment with the starting path to the hole at impact, limiting the variables in the putting stroke and setup can increase the likelihood of repeated success.

Some methods to improve this ability include:

  • Standing taller to the ball and allowing the arms to hang naturally. This puts greater emphasis on swinging with the shoulders versus the wrists which can succumb to tension brought on by pressure.
  • Locking the wrists, using various hand positions on the club, or using a larger grip to limit hand movement in the putting stroke for increased control.
  • Aligning the shoulders, waist, and feet together to the line of the putt to limit any unneeded rotation and change in force administered to the golf ball that could affect the speed and thus the distance of the putt.
  • Setting up to the golf ball with good posture to get a good read on the break. Having the eyes above the ball line so that you could drop a ball from the eyeline and have it either hit the ball you’re playing or drop just inside of it. This will provide a good indicator of where the posture should be and thus the length of putter needed. Having the eyes over the ball line provides a better visual of the break and path the ball will be traveling to the target.
  • Envisioning standing in concrete and allowing the only movement to come from the rocking shoulders.

Reducing the excess movement or levers in the putting stroke can be useful in simplifying the squaring of the putter's face at impact, hitting the ball in the center of the face, and ensuring predictable ball speeds and distance. Fitting the putter length to this good setup and posture will help enable players to gain the most control of the two main elements of well-struck putts–speed, and direction.

Fitting the Putter Length at Home

Once the optimal setup for each golfer's technique is established, measuring the proper length of the putter can be easily done at home.

  1. Take a comfortable, relaxed, and repeatable putting stance.
  2. Allow the arms to hang naturally.
  3. Measure from the top of your hands at the wrists to the ground.

Using this measurement will determine whether a standard putter length of 34-inches would be suitable, if a longer measuring 35-inches or more, or if a shorter putter under 34-inches would be better.

Photo by Tyler Monroe

The Impact of Incorrect Putter Lengths on the Golfer

Incorrect putter lengths for each player's stroke and posture will have detrimental effects on the golf ball's path to the hole and can cause poor habits.

  • If the putter is too long for the player, the toe raises and the heel of the putter is pressed to the ground. This creates an upright angle causing the ball to move to the left of the intended target.
  • If the putter is too short for the player, the toe gets pressed to the ground and the heel raises. This creates a flat lie angle, causing the ball to move to the right of the intended target.

Often, golfers will make minor adjustments in their setup and stroke technique that aren’t repeatable to overcome being off-target, leading to more inconsistency and missed putts. When the difference between a good putt and a great one is a mere matter of inches, having an incorrect length and lie angle may mean despite all of a player's effort, the putt never had a chance to drop once it left the putter's face.

Adjusting the Length of a Current Putter

Photo by Robert Ruggerio

Adjusting the length of your putter by cutting the shaft down or adding extensions from the butt end can be a short-term fix. The downside is that the balance point and feel will also be changed. Putters are designed with head weight, shaft, and butt end weight to provide a swing weight that delivers consistent feel, balance, and forgiveness to the putter. Adding weight at either end of the putter after adjusting it to the desired length can return the club’s original feel. A visit to a local club repair shop may accomplish this task more precisely.

Other Important Attributes of a Perfect Putter

The right length has a dramatic impact on putting performance but it is not the only factor in finding the best putter. The design, size, weight, hosel, alignment aids, visual appeal, loft angles, and grip size are among many other attributes which play a role in producing the ideal putter for each player. With brands like TaylorMade and Odyssey designing more elegant, and sophisticated options than ever before, every player has access to a perfectly designed putter for their game. If you’re looking to match a putter to your game, talk to a Golf Expert for help.

A quick assessment of the current shots, stroke type, wrist involvement, path back and to the golf ball, the head weight preferred, and mallet or blade head shape desired, among several other specific issues, and the right putter can be matched for you.

The Game Within the Game

Photo by Tyler Monroe

Draining a 30-foot birdie to win the match, saving par with the putter, or simply avoiding having any 3-putts on the scorecard by putting well consistently is every golfer’s pathway to lower scores. Being a masterful putter takes a few talents and techniques, somewhat removed from the rest of the game and golf swings performed. The formula to achieve success is not only achieved by the PGA Tour Professional or the Top Ranked Female Golfers in the World. It can be accomplished by any player through practice, perseverance, learned feel, experience, improved mechanics, and a trusty well-fitted putter that enables confidence to play its part. Whether the challenge is beating your personal best score on your home course or winning all the skins in a friendly match on the PunchBowl at Bandon Dunes, putting—the game within the game—always has a part in playing our best.

Contact me or any of the knowledgeable Golf Experts here at Curated to discuss your particular stroke style, posture, and set-up to determine the best putter length for your game.

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