With all the custom fitting done in the modern golf world, the putter is often the last club considered. A classic mistake that golfers make is to focus more on tweaking their driver than their putter. Playing a putter that is the correct length for you will aide setup, consistency of stroke, speed control and it will directly affect the number of putts in your round.
Before researching and purchasing your next new putter it’s important to know what you already have in your bag. If you are like me, there is a bag of putters in the garage, all at varying lengths. Finding the one that fits you properly is imperative.
Properly measuring a putter is rather simple when you have the correct equipment and procedure.
Supplies Needed for Measuring the Length of a Putter
I’m sure you have a tape measure and a yardstick somewhere in your home. Unfortunately, many people try to use these to measure a putter and results will be inconsistent. The correct equipment to use when measuring a putter is a 48” straight edge similar to this one. (48″ Aluminum Straight Edge).
In addition to the straight edge ruler, you will also need a flat and level surface to work on. Trying to measure the putter length while in the grass or even on an uneven putting green can sometimes cause the measurement to be off.
Procedure for Measuring a Putter Length Correctly
Unlike an iron or a Driver, the shaft of a putter is not always installed directly in the heel. Putter shafts are most commonly near the heel or directly in the center of the putter head. This fact will change the way the putter is measured.
How to measure a putters length:
Step 1 – Hold your putter so that the center is flat on the ground. Even if your typical stance has the toe slightly up at setup hold the putter so its center is flat on the ground.
Step 2 – Now take the bottom of your measuring device and place it in line with the center of your putter.
Step 3 – Now keeping the measuring stick as close to the shaft as possible line the top of the grip up with your ruler.
Step 4 – The number that shows at the top of the grip is the length of your putter.
Check out the great video below on how to measure the putter correctly.
Common Lengths for Putters
Putters vary in length generally from 32 to 52 inches. If your putter is a stock putter off the shelf from a golf warehouse then the length will likely be around 34-35 inches. If you are getting a measurement of 34 ⅛ you are likely using a 34-inch putter.
Putters can be cut to custom lengths. The USGA has some restrictions when it comes to putters and length. A putter (like all golf clubs) must be at least 18 inches in length. Drivers, woods, hybrids, and irons must remain less than 48 inches to be considered legal. Putters are not subject to this rule. There is no limit to the length of a putter.
How to Know if your Putter is the Correct Length for You
Now that you know how to measure a putter properly you can make some decisions about the next steps. Are you looking to purchase a new putter that fits you properly? Putter length will directly affect consistency in speed and distance control. Here are the most important things to remember when determining if a Putter length is correct for your game.
When standing over the ball you should be able to drop a ball from your eyes down to the ball in play. The two balls should collide. This is a simple trick to make sure you are directly over the ball and able to swing the club like a pendulum. If your stance is extremely bent over to get you into this position, your putter is too short. If however you are trying to get this position and your hands have gone off the bottom of the grip and onto the shaft your putter is too long.
The type of stroke you take when putting will also have some effect on your stance. Some players swing the club more around, others are down the line and of course, there is the guy who invented his stroke. Make sure before cutting your putter or purchasing one that is custom fit to your height to practice lots of strokes with your traditional swing. One of the best ways to become a great putter is to have confidence. If you don’t feel comfortable you will not have confidence.
Player height can be a very good indication of proper putter length. As mentioned before, it’s also important to make sure you are comfortable and in your traditional stance, but player height gives you a great starting point. As a general rule of thumb, most players are currently using a putter that is too long for them.
Walk into any golf store and you will see men’s putters sold at 34 and 35 inches. What you may not know is that the average putter length on tour is about 33.5 inches. You know just as well as I do that this is not because players on tour are shorter. Plenty of tall tour players that understand the benefit of getting their eyes over the ball at setup.
Women’s putters are almost always sold standard in 33 inches. Most will need to get their putter cut down to the proper length. I hope that in the years to come we will see more progress with custom putters and easier accessibility to 31 and 32-inch putters for all players.
The actual process of measuring your putter is not a difficult one. Finding the correct length for yourself, and the perfect putter for your stroke can be a bigger project.
Just to review, make sure you have the correct tools and a flat surface to work on. Keep the center of the putter flat on the ground and the measuring device lined up with the shaft the entire way up. Your final measurement should be within the range of 32”-55” unless the puter was already custom cut or fitted.
Any professional club fitter will tell you that the most important part of finding the perfect putter for your game is the length.