Finding a putter that works for you
19 APR 2017
By Peter Mumford
Putters are the most personal of all golf clubs.
They don’t have to match the rest of the clubs in your set, they don’t even have to be the same brand. All they have to do is work.
The list below shows the Top 20 players from the Official World Golf Rankings and the putter models they use. Oddly, there are six TaylorMade models, six Scotty Cameron models and six Odyssey models. The other two putters are a Bettinardi and a PING.
1. Dustin Johnson – TaylorMade Spider Tour Black (M)
2. Rory McIlroy – Odyssey Microhinge prototype (B)
3. Jason Day – TaylorMade Spider Limited (M)
4. Hideki Matsuyama - Scotty Cameron Newport 2 GSS Timeless (B)
5. Jordan Spieth – Scotty Cameron 009 Prototype (B)
6. Henrik Stenson - Odyssey White Hot XG #7H (B)
7. Sergio Garcia – TaylorMade Spider Red (M)
8. Justin Rose – TaylorMade ARC1 Tour (M)
9. Rickie Fowler – Scotty Cameron Newport 2 Prototype (B)
10. Adam Scott - Scotty Cameron Xperimental Prototype (B)
11. Justin Thomas – Scotty Cameron X5 Tour (B)
12. Alex Noren - Odyssey PT Prototype #1 (B)
13. Jon Rahm – TaylorMade Spider Red (M)
14. Paul Casey - Scotty Cameron Newport 2 Prototype (B)
15. Patrick Reed - Odyssey PT Customs (B)
16. Tyrrell Hatton - Ping Vault Oslo (M)
17. Matt Kuchar - Bettinardi KM2 D.A.S.S. (B)
18. Charl Schwartzel - TaylorMade Spider Tour Black (M)
19. Phil Mickelson - Odyssey Versa 9 White (with Microhinge Insert) (B)
20. Danny Willett - Odyssey Versa 1Wide (White-Black-White) (B)
Several players are under contract to one equipment company but likely for only 12 or 13 clubs in the bag, meaning they’re free to use another brand of putter. Rickie Fowler (Cobra), Charl Schwartzel (PXG) and Matt Kuchar (Bridgestone) all fit that category while Rory McIlroy is testing a mish mash of clubs to find a suitable replacement for the Nike equipment he played the past few years.
Amongst our Top 20 players, the TaylorMade Spider Tour Red or Black shows up 5 times and has some impressive wins to its credit this season: Dustin Johnson (3) including two WGC events; Sergio Garcia (The Masters) and rookie Jon Rahm at the CareerBuilder. However, not to be outdone, Justin Thomas also has three wins with his Scotty Cameron putter while Hideki Matsuyama (2), Rickie Fowler and Jordan Spieth also have wins with a Cameron model.
The point is that each of those players found a putter that worked for them. It would be safe to say that they had a choice of all the best putters available in the world. And given that they’re the best players in the world, you might think they would arrive at some sort of consensus and say, “hey, we’re all going to use that one because it’s the best.”
However, as you can see, there’s no consensus on brand or model or even style. The list splits fairly evenly between blades (12) and mallets (8) too although Matt Kuchar’s Bettinardi model, that he helped design, is known as a “wide blade”, which almost makes it a mallet.
So, how do you know which putter is right for you?
Well, you could grab a bunch of them from the pro shop and test them on the carpet or out on the putting green to find one that “feels” right. Or you could try all of your playing partners’ putters, especially when they make a long putt to beat you. Or you could pick a putter based on what your favourite PGA Tour player is using. Most of us have been using decision making like one of the above examples for a long time, which is why we have a garage or basement full of putters that don’t work.
A slightly more scientific method for finding the right putter for YOU would be to get properly fitted. Just like a new driver or new irons, there are a lot of variables about putters that can help you determine which style and model is best for you. Things like the arc of your swing, your eye position over the ball and where your hands are at address and impact. Proper grips are critical to great putting too.
One thing is certain – your putter will make or break your score, which makes it vital that you have absolute confidence in it. So before the season starts, take a few minutes with your club pro or your equipment fitting centre to make sure the putter model you’re using is the best one for you.
Peter Mumford is the editor of Fairways Magazine. Follow him on Twitter @FairwaysMag