Monday, February 11, 2008, 07:48 PM - PuttersIt's a truism to say that you drive for show, but putt for dough. Whether you can perform a tour-worthy 28 putts a round, or putt way over par, the putter is your most used club. We will help you choose the right putter for your game, with guidelines on weighting, feel and alignment so you can choose a design that suits your style - and your purse.
Posted by Administrator
Posted by Administrator
Mallets v Blades
Putters fall into the categories of blade, 'heel-and-toe' and mallet. Purists claim that even a cheap and cheerful blade forces a more consistent stroke, but many golfers - both pros and amateurs - now favour the larger sweet spot and high MOI (moment of inertia), which creates the resistance to twisting that you find on mallets.
Heel and Toe
They help us all to hole more putts with less-than-perfect strikes, as the deeper body also physically pulls the centre of gravity back from the face, encouraging golfers to develop an upward stroke for path-hugging topspin, and reducing the destructive 'bounce and skid' that can characterise the early stages of a putt.
Mallets really are all the rage as their deep bodies offer the most scope for the bold alignment features that have transformed the market. We used to be satisfied with tiny notches, dots or small arrows to point us in the right direction, but today's graphics include colourful stripes, long perpendicular sight lines, and even golf-ball sized circles that encourage us to line up the ball with the hole itself.
The Feel Factor and Insert Technology
Feel is vital when buying a putter, with a whole range of distinctive face inserts offering a slightly different sound and feel at impact. Heavier weights, such as tungsten and brass, are recommended for slower greens, whilst lighter alternatives such as aluminium reduce the total weight, which is of benefit on slicker surfaces. Many of the latest putters favour the soft feel of copper, aluminium or synthetic inserts, which offer a more controlled strike on today's manicured greens. Meanwhile, their lightness enhances a putter's perimeter weighting for extra stability.
The quest for perfection has brought us some amazingly exotic inserts, including gold-plate, platinum, and even 12-carat industrial diamond! As well as the more usual tungsten, nickel, copper and aluminium, of course. All are naturally reflected in the price, but generally you do get what you pay for.
Expensive putters tend to feature more accurately engineered weighting, more precisely milled (i.e. flatter) faces, and of course more sumptuous headcovers to protect that precious insert. Computerised milling of head from solid blocks of metal, especially, offers a high-precision alternative to forgings and castings, whose feel can be compromised when the hosel is welded to the head. Look out also for other features ranging from perfect face balancing (for golfers with 'square to square' strokes), premium grips (like the excellent Winn range) and belly or broomhandle shaft options for those seeking a more mechanical action.
The other thing to consider is the shaft length. Most will opt for a standard putter length, but long putters can benefit some golfers. Broomhandle and belly-putters, pioneered by 2002 European Ryder Cup captain Sam Torrance among others during the late 1980s and early 1990s, are tucked under the chin or into the belly. They are swung in a pendulum fashion, and crucially make demands on a different set of small muscles and nerves - and have revived the careers of several Tour players who have suffered from the yips.
By: Jonty Driver
Greatvaluegolf.co.uk - Golf Putters