- Early Putters
- Putter Development
- Finding The Best Putter of All Time For You
- Golf Putters Have The Following Characteristics:
- Reviews of The Best Putters of All Time
- Final Thoughts
Whoever it was, nothing can spoil a good game of golf more than not getting it in the hole. Three puts, and leaving it way short can be one of the most frustrating parts of the great game of golf. Having one of the best putters of all time will make all the difference.
It is surprising how little attention is paid to this very important club by the average golfer. It seems to be an attitude of, “well I need a putter, this one looks good, I’ll take it”.
It is equally interesting to see just how much technology has been developed around the putter in the last 10 or 20 years.
The first putters were typically made with a stick, or shaft, usually of Ash, and a head fashioned out of Birch, and was known as a “cleek”. Only in the mid 19th century, after the “feathery” ball was replaced by the “gutta-percha” ball did metal heads make an appearance.
Players like Bobby Locke and Bobby Jones played with hickory shafted putters with metal heads, commonly called “flatsticks”. Jones’s putter, which saw him win 13 majors, was known as “Calamity Jane”.
The next great leap in putter history came after WW2 when Ping came up with the ANSER, so named as it was to be the ‘answer’ to putting problems. Forged from manganese bronze the Anser was beautiful and very effective.
The Gary Players’ and Tony Jacklins’ of the day scrambling to get hold of them. They were a favorite of all the top pros and were used by Tiger Woods as a junior. The basic design of the heel fitted shaft was still the norm.
Then along came Scotty Cameron to help Bernard Langer win the 1993 Masters. He refined the basic Anser design by adding a soft trailing edge, a custom face milling, and a whole bunch of other modifications.
The putter revolution had begun, and we now have a staggering variety of styles, colors, and metals, alloys, and synthetic materials used to boggle the mind and complicate decision making.
As is the modern trend, every sporting brand has a research and development department, each trying through hi-tech to outdo each other. Along with this tech explosion comes a whole new vocabulary and terminology that we need to learn and understand.
Finding The Best Putter of All Time For You
Before looking at the different characteristics of putters, it is important to look at yourself, your height, build, and individual style and preferences. One of the most important style aspects is your stroke arc.
Do you have a straight-back-straight-through putting stroke, or do you have an arc? Some players arc from the inside, others from out to in, and there are simple ways to test and determine your putting arc style.
The next thing you need to find is your “lie”. If your putts are consistently inconsistent, such as your distance control is offline or inaccurate, or you regularly strike the wrong part of the clubface, your putter may have the wrong lie angle. The lie angle is mostly affected by the length, longer putters have flatter angles.
A good test is to spray the face of the putter with some foot powder, hit a dozen puts, and check the strike pattern. If the puts are tightly grouped in the center of the face, you have the right lie.
If tightly grouped off-center, you need a different lie. If they are all over the place the problem could be length, weight, balance or you just need more practice.
This brings us to putter length, the standard putter is 34 inches. This is ideal for a male of 5’10’’, bending at 40 degrees over the ball with his hands 32 inches above the ground. Standing too close to the ball, or not being able to get your eyes over the ball, your length is too short, or too long.
The loft of the putter, that is the angle between a level surface and the face of the club, is another important feature to get right. The standard loft is 2-4 degrees but can change with the ball and your stance at address. The loft provides lift and impact and is more important on slower greens.
Factors still to consider is the type of grip, there are more than half a dozen varieties, and putter head weight. The most common weight is 350 grams. Lighter weights are suitable on faster greens while a slightly heavier weight might be preferred on slow greens.
Golf Putters Have The Following Characteristics:
Putter head shapes come in one of three styles. First is the original blade, with its’ slender classic design, best suited for the straight-back-straight-through stroke.
Peripheral weighted putters, such as the Ping Anser, with a larger sweet spot offering more forgiveness for a straight or arc stroke. Lastly, mallet putters, with their distinctive deep heads and a lower center of gravity. These clubs suit the curved stroke and are highly forgiving if you miss the sweet spot.
The balance of the putter head will also influence your choice, with face-balanced putters favoring the straight stroke. Toe-hang putters are designed to minimize the twisting motion through your arc stroke.
There are further features that are more a matter of personal taste, style, and feel. The hosel, where the shaft joins the head, comes in various styles. They can be offset, double bend, short, plumber’s neck, or onset, each designed for a specific outcome or condition.
Heel-shafted and center-shafted putters don’t have a hosel as the shaft connects directly to the head.
A measure of a putter’s forgiveness is its’ MOI, or moment of inertia. Putters with larger heads and faces reduce twisting and error from shots missing the sweet spot.
Finally, the putter head design will feature some kind of milling, grooves, or inserts that affect the contact with the ball. These variables will influence the feel, sound, forgiveness, roll, and spin. That being said, it is largely a matter of taste, as are the Fang, Spider and other unusual designs mostly found on mallet heads.
Reviews of The Best Putters of All Time
It’s time to take a closer look at some of the best golf putters of all time.
This traditional heel-toe weighted blade putter from Bettinardi is a gem. To promote that locked-in feeling and ideal hand position at address, the BB29 features a mid-slant neck, a squared frame, and a crowned topline.
The construction is milled soft carbon steel, with the aggressive Super-Fly face milling, combining to deliver a super soft feel. The finish is the new Stealth Black with the trademark electric yellow paint scheme, makes for a putter that stands out and makes a statement every time it comes out of the bag.
This image is further enhanced with the distinctive Bettinardi branded Lamkin Deep-Etched grips, available in standard or jumbo.
The setup is perfectly square, from the bumpers to the face, the cavity to the edges, everything lines up square leaving no doubt as to aim and alignment. The new Super-Fly milling not only softens the feel as it increases the feedback through the hands but improves the consistency of the ball off the face.
Here’s one for the ladies. Do you often find it difficult to keep the face square, and starting the ball rolling on line? Innovative design technology from Odyssey has addressed this problem and introduced features in the Toe Up, proven to reduce this error.
The Toe Up has been designed with the emphasis on making it easier to control the head through the stroke. The first design feature that greatly influences the performance of this putter is the Stroke Balanced Technology.
Most modern putters tend to move the center of gravity back from the club face through perimeter weighting. With the Odyssey Toe Up the center of gravity is placed directly behind the face, reducing torque through impact and presenting the face square to the ball and the line.
This setup ensures that the hands stay ahead of the center of gravity at all times. Unlike other putters, this Odyssey has a face that balances “toe up”.
Another modification is the positioning of the hosel, placing the shaft axis directly over the center of gravity. This not only provides stability but further reduces torque during the stroke.
Because the center of gravity in the Odyssey Toe Up sits so far forward, the face of the putter does not have an insert. The face is instead milled with a chemically etched oval pattern that increases friction to set the ball off quickly and on line.
With the updated white hot insert this new Odyssey demonstrates a huge improvement in both feel and sound. The White Hot Pro 2 has a plumber’s neck offset shaft, and heel-toe balanced weighting, useful for alignment and forgiveness.
The dashes on the bottom of the putter are for Odyssey’s innovative Eye-fit system and help you to work out your best eye position at address. The comfortable grip comes with clear markings, and there is a Jumbo grip option.
This putter comes in the classic blade design with a very attractive, glare-free Gun Metal finish.
TaylorMade has a long history of quality sporting goods production, and their putters are right up there with the best. The OS Daytona is another classic blade design putter. The OS standing for the oversized head, for greater stability, and a high moment of inertia. The other outstanding feature is the high contrast, bright red on silver steel, raised sightline for easy aiming.
The larger oversized head is constructed from 304 stainless steel with a milled aluminum insert showing a larger sweet spot. Vertical deep milling provides better ball gripping and roll as well as improved feel and sound.
The raised contrast sightline, combined with the stability of the larger head, keeps you more online and finding the bottom of the cup more often.
Their slogan, “Go Big – Go Better”, find the hole and make more putts.
The Huntington Beach Soft #6 features a mid-mallet shape with a double-bend shaft.
This putter is enhanced with Cleveland Golf’s Speed Optimized Face Technology, for consistent speed and distance on your putts. This technology features a unique diamond CNC pattern which increases friction resulting in a truer and more consistent ball roll.
This precision milled face will normalize ball speeds across the face of the putter, even when you strike off-center.
Cleveland’s testing has further shown that 304 stainless steel is 51% softer than 17-4 stainless steel, and together with the deep CNC diamond face milling, gives exceptional feel and confidence to this classic putter.
Lastly, we have a club suited for beginners and the budget-conscious. The Pinemeadow Men’s PGX is priced below $ 40, but don’t let that make you believe that it can’t deliver.
This mallet designed putter is weighted to deliver a smooth spin on the ball and a reduced skid. It has a clean white color with prominent alignment features promoting easy setup.
The Pinemeadow Men’s PGX receives a high rating, and good reviews from golf critics, and delivers a consistent, confidence building result.
The Ghost Tour series of putters from TaylorMade was designed with one thing in mind, to be artfully seductive. Every line, curve, surface, and color, blend together in harmony to make a real standout statement.
The sole of the Ghost Tour putters sports a sleek black ion plating with the upper surface painted white to contrast against the green. The trailing edge features two new black lines enhancing alignment at address and through the stroke. The contrast of the black cavity area with the white club gives great feedback on centering the ball.
The inserts are TaylorMade’s PureRoll consisting of 20% Aluminum and 80% Surlyn. This promotes increased feel, a smooth roll, and better distance control. The grooves on the PureRoll insert grip the ball nicely producing more forward spin and a consistent roll on off-center strikes.
The putters are fitted with TaylorMade step-less shafts, and new premium TaylorMade rubber grips with a red cap. These grips hold up well in rainy conditions or with sweaty hands and are not sticky when dry.
TaylorMade’s Ghost Tour range offers three-blade versions, the Daytona 12, Daytona 62, and Sebring 62. They also have four mallet-style putters, the Maranello 81, Fontana 72, Monte Carlo 12, and Corza 72.
The high tech design is all smooth and “sexy”, no sharp edges, with a provocative color scheme and finishes. The usual “TaylorMade” print in the back of the putter head has been replaced with a button logo to finish off the smooth look.
Odyssey produces a wide range of very impressive putters and the O-works Red #7S is amongst the most popular in both amateur and professional ranks. The Red #7S putter is not a true mallet but rather sports two weighted alignment wings extending backward from the clubhead.
These wings provide stability and increased MOI, and the Red #7S from Odyssey is rated in the top 10 MOI putters. The face insert is the well- known O-works microhinge which lifts the ball into a better roll.
The slight toe-hang and a short slant neck make this putter well suited to a slightly arced putting style. This slant neck has previously only been available to tour players but is now released to the general public. The #7 is also available with a double-bend shaft and face balanced.
Unlike some other brands, the aiming, or alignment features on the O-works Red #7S are rather unobtrusive but most effective. There are three simple white alignment spots and sightlines on the flanges which are bold enough. Two black lines from the top edge to the back flange give an indication when the sole is flat on the ground and the eyes are properly placed above the ball.
No selection of the best putters would be complete without the inclusion of the legendary Scotty Cameron Select.
The body is constructed of stainless steel, with an aluminum insert, providing optimum balance and weight distribution. The putter is kept square and flush through the four-way back-to-front side-to-side balancing.
This blade style putter, with refined contours, looks sleek and the refined sightline and slim top-line milling add to the accuracy at address.
The plumber’s neck offset hosel, the heel-toe weighting, and the four-at balancing ensure peak performance for both straight and arced shots. Solid feedback comes from special vibration dampening material, which also improves the sound and feel.
Karsten Solheim designed a new putter in January of 1966, this putter had an offset hosel, a cavity back, low center of gravity and lines to help square the face. This putter was to be the answer to the problem, the problem was putting. Karsten’s wife gave the club its name, suggesting leaving out the W.
In 2016 the Ping Anser celebrated it’s 50th anniversary, with an unbeatable record of over 500 tour wins, including 19 majors. Further bragging rights belong to Anser as the most copied design and Solheim’s innovations are still found in most putter designs today.
Originally constructed out of brass which was much too soft, the high-strength manganese bronze version took over. In the mid-1970s more than half of the tour pros were using a Ping Anser on the greens, an incredibly high standard.
The Cadence TR Anser 2 is one of the latest models and features two versions, a heavy black, and a lighter blue insert model. The graduated grooves on the face seem to enlarge the sweet spot and greatly assists the roll of the ball and the distance control. The feel on both models is great with the blue soft insert tending to hold the ball just a fraction. The balance and forgiveness are top class even on off-center shots.
Golf has come a long way since the days when King Henry IV had his crude sticks made for him in the 1500s. Putters have not been left behind in the technology revolution, and the flatstick now belongs in the museum.
If you consider that the average golf course has a par rating of 72, with a mix of par 3, 4, and 5 holes, it allows for two putts per hole. That means a perfect par round would require 36 putts or exactly half of your score.
With that in mind, it might be a good idea to spend a bit more time finding the right putter.
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- 7 of The Best Mallet Putters
- 5 of The Best Putters This Year
- How to Measure a Putter Length the Correct Way