Golf Putters, the Key to Low Scores, or Lots of Frustration


If one doesn’t know how to use a golf putter, then it doesn't matter that he can smash a drive 300 yards and get himself out of a sand trap which means that par can turn into a bogey quickly.

In other words, as the old saying goes, “Drive for show, putt for dough.” As pros and serious golfers have learned, the key to shaving one or two strokes off every hole, and, hence, the difference between winning and losing, can be putting.

Because of the importance of the short game, golfers have several options when it comes to choosing the right putter. There’s the conventional (short) putter, the belly putter and the long putter.

golf putter Generally, most pros agree that if you can use a standard short putter, use it.

For a short putter, the ideal posture and swing is nothing like any other swing in golf. Instead of being behind the ball, your eyes should be directly over the line of the putt. Then, let your arms hang loosely in front and grab the putter with your palms.

The short putter requires focus and little wrist action. Golfers that struggle with either might try to the belly putter. As it suggests the belly putter actually rests on the belly button of the golfer. The advantage is better stability and balance. The wrist action is easier to control, while remaining in the ideal stance.

For those who want to completely take wrist action out of the equation, there’s the long putter, or “broom stick” putter as its known. The putter acts like a pendulum, with the golfer taking an upright stance. It could be the right choice for somebody suffering from back problems. The disadvantage, however, is the lack of a feel for the putt.

As is the case with most golf equipment, putters range from the economical to the pricey. While the swing might not be that complicated, that doesn’t stop some putters from retailing for nearly $300. Callway’s I-TRAX putter, for example, sells for around $250.

Perhaps unlike other club, there’s also a wide variety of looks for a putter. Yes, there’s the standard you used to use at the local putt-putt golf course. Then there’s models like Ben Hogan’s Baby Ben putter. There’s a groove in the middle of the face, featuring something called a “bee hive center.” The design is supposed provide better alignment and acceleration through the shot.

There’s also the MacGregor V-FOIL GT putter, which looks like a bicycle pedal at first glance.

Despite all the technology, however, making a putt requires the same skills: Make sure the putter is coming straight back and going through the ball.

As far as reading greens, even the pros have trouble with that sometimes. Even though it might look awkward, the best way is to get down and squat behind the ball. Try to see which way it slopes and try to judge the speed of the greens.

Even after all that, putting can still be the most difficult and frustrating part of golf. It’s said that touring pros make only 50 percent of their 6-foot putts. So the biggest tip for putting is practice, practice and, oh yeah, more practice.

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