Putters are undoubtedly one of the most personal clubs in the bag, and one of the most likely to be thrown into the nearest bunker when you miss another crucial shot to make par.
That’s why, whether you’re a Sunday morning slogger or shooting for a lower handicap, it’s crucial to have a stick that’s tailored to your stroke.
Although it may look like a putter swings in a straight vertical line, in actual fact the best technique is an arcing stroke that moves along that line and connects with the ball squarely, so that it rolls smoothly towards the hole.
Putters come in a range of head shapes and sizes, but they can be broadly broken down into blades and mallets.
Blades are often used by touch players with good hand-eye coordination who don’t have to worry about squaring the putter’s face to the arc of the golf ball.
Mallets offer more support in doing this and can instil more confidence in a player’s swing with their balanced weight.
With this in mind, we took to the practice green armed with a bag full of mallets, blades and everything in between to see how they felt in hand in terms of weight, grip and balance.
We were also judging them on how the ball rolled away from the face of the club and how in control we felt of our shot, no matter where we were on the pitch.
Ultimately, though, a putter should put you at ease and make you feel comfortable over the ball when everything is hushed because the more relaxed you are, the more focussed you’ll be on the shot and the more likely you are to hole out.
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Odyssey stroke lab triple track 2
We were interested to try this unique looking putter out. The three coloured lines run the length of the head, which need a ball with matching lines. The system requires that you line up the ball’s lines to the lines on the putter to make sure that you are addressing the arc of the ball at exactly the right angle, assuring that your shot heads off straight and true towards the centre of the cup. Lining up takes a bit of time, but after a while, it becomes part of your pre-shot routine and you’ll likely be rewarded with an immediate improvement to your putting game from any length.
Scotty Cameron special select del mar
If you have more of a swinging gait when you putt (where the putter arcs around the area where your feet are planted), then this is for you. It will encourage the putter to move squarely along the proper arcing path so that when you approach the ball, you’re not trying to manipulate the putter face with your hands, which can get you into all sorts of bother.
When testing, the milled metal face of the putter made contact feel more soft and it added to the overall control we felt. There’s even an option to fine-tune the weights in the head to tailor the swing and improve performance.
TaylorMade spider fcg 3
Another good putter if you have an arced stroke on the green. It offers good sightlines to the ball as we stood over it, as well as a nice weight and overall feel. The vertical sight line on the top of the clubhead allows you to line up a shot, even when the putter is in motion. The construction allowed us to get some topspin on the ball so that it stayed true to the line that we wanted and headed towards the hole nine times out of 10.
TaylorMade truss TB1
This is a well-constructed blade putter. Thanks to the design, there’s a solid link between the putter head and the shaft, which translates into a real sense of control at impact. Standing over the ball it offers good sightlines and if your stroke is often described by your playing partners as being “somewhere between an arc and a straight-through”, then this could be a welcome addition to your bag. Ultimately, we really liked the stability that this putter lent our stroke.
Ping heppler tomcat 14
From blades to mallets (nine in total), there is a dizzying array of models in the heppler range, which all aim to help your putting game in different ways. We really liked this one, which will suit players with a slight arc in their stroke or who even hit the ball straight. The design of the mallet head is based on the way that airport runway lights are spaced out to help pilots land their plane straight, and it seems to have the desired effect on the green too, as we had a discernible improvement in accuracy from ball to cup.
Want to putt like Justin Rose? Of course you do. As the name suggests this is the mallet putter that has brought him so much success on the PGA tour, and it could be the missing link between you and a lower handicap. The first thing we noticed was how well balanced it was in the hand, which translated to a nice smooth stroke and good alignment. While it’s one of the priciest we tested, you can actually feel where that money has gone – the centre of balance is bang smack in the middle of the head to give you increased accuracy. If it wins you a few wagers on the course, it will be well worth it.
This might look more old school than some of the other futuristic models in this round-up. However, it offers some good feel and roll to a player who’s looking to get back into the game after a long time off or who just wants to upgrade from a basic putter to something that’s going to aid alignment and add some confidence.
Odyssey stroke lab tuttle
This nice-looking putter will add a touch of class to any bag. The softer lines will help you if you want to be more instinctive, as opposed to getting caught up in technical thinking. The design – the shaft is weighted towards the head, and the body and steel tip is graphite – helps a stuttering backswing so that the ball is hit cleanly, creating a smooth roll across the green. Ball direction was excellent from both short and long shots and the overall feel was very relaxed, which translated into our putting stroke.
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