Putters Buying Guide: Why Use It, How to Use, What Is It, Who Is Using It, and What Brands, Best Options, and Comparisons
When you play golf, your fellow players expect you to understand as much as you can about each of the clubs in your bag. Each club plays a specific purpose in setting up your game on the golf course.
When you understand what each golf does, you can maximize their capabilities and plan your actions accordingly. Your goal is to keep your scores as low as possible, and understanding what each club can do for you can help immensely in achieving that target.
The putter is just one of the many golf clubs that should make your arsenal in golf. That doesn’t mean you take it for granted; the putter is vital in its distinct manner. This in-depth guide will discuss what a putter does, its importance to golf, and its main attributes. You can also read up on some of the most famous putters on the market, the brands that produce them for consumers, and what the big shots are using.
What is a Putter?
Attributes of a Putter
The head is the part that makes contact with the ball. You could take it to mean that the club’s head is influential to your actual performance when using the putter.
There are three designs that putter heads come in, namely:
- Blade type
Blade putters feature smaller heads than those made using the other two designs. The design is nearly similar to an iron or a fairway wood. However, the smaller head structure restricts the use of this putter to those who are precise with their strokes. Players can expect little to no forgiveness from this putter head design.
- Heel weighted putters
These putters improve the mechanics of the blade putter. These putters improve control by distributing the weight from the clubhead to the heel, which connects with the shaft. However, heel-weighted putters are still not as forgiving as the mallet putter despite this improvement.
- Mallet putters
Mallet putters have broader and flatter heads than blades. These clubs feature shapes that are more square than circular. Because of that, mallet putters have more efficient weight distribution. While they allow for less precise control than blade putters, mallet-type putters provide significantly higher forgiveness for players who struggle with making straight strokes on the green. In fact, mallet putters are the most forgiving.
BalancingPutter makers generally balance the putter on either the clubface or the toe. A face-balanced putter requires straight strokes; its center of gravity is placed below the shaft axis. The clubface travels straight towards the ball without opening and closing. This putter is ideal for players who like to keep their putting strokes on a flat line. On the other hand, a toe-balanced putter lets players use a wider backswing when putting. These putters will open their faces slightly on the backswing and gradually close until impact. Players who tend to arc their swings when using a putter will find the toe-balanced putter easier to control than the face-balanced variant.
Putter faces come in three types: metal-faced putters, insert-faced putters, and groove-faced putters.
As their name suggests, metal-faced putters have faces built out of metals like aluminum, bronze, brass, titanium, and even steel. These putters are famous for their firm and controlled feel upon impact. People who prefer a solid sound from their putts will prefer these putters over the other face designs. However, some metal-faced putters can have a softer sound as well.
On the other hand, the insert-faced putter combines a metal construction with a non-metal material in the center of the face. These putters feature high moments of inertia or MOI. MOI measures the club’s resistance to twisting during the swing. With high MOIs, insert-faced putters feature a lot of forgiveness on off-center putts.
Last but not least is the groove-faced putter. This design is a recent innovation and is said to improve ball motion on the green. The grooves on these putters’ faces hold on to the ball for a second upon impact to lift it off and toss it on the green. As a result, players can avoid the usual putting problems like skidding, back spinning, and sliding. The grooves ensure the forward motion needed for an accurate shot towards the hole.
Shaft and Hosel
Putters also differ in how the shaft meets with the head. The point where the head and the shaft link up is called the hosel in golf terminology. The three common configurations for the shaft and hosel are the following:
- Heel-shafted putters
This configuration places the end of the shaft at the head’s section that’s closest to the player. This part is the heel of the club.
- Center-shafted putters
These putters connect the shaft to the head’s center portion, as the name suggests. This configuration is perfect for players who like to take a wide backswing even when putting.
- Hosel-offset putter
This configuration also links the shaft to the head via the heel. However, instead of the shaft pointing straight downwards, these putters add an offset that bends the hosel backward towards the player.
Shaft and hosel configurations can directly affect a player’s performance on the green by shifting the weight on specific parts of the clubhead and hosel.
Shaft length should not be taken for granted because it can affect a player’s posture and technique. A shaft that’s too long makes it harder for a player to maintain consistent contact and results in frequent off-center shots, for instance.
Golf rules dictate only a minimum length of 18 inches. However, current regulations don’t specify a maximum figure. Hence, there are three accepted standards for putter shaft lengths, namely:
- Standard Length
Standard-length putters remain common despite the resurgence of other length configurations. These putters are at least 32 inches and at most 36 inches. This configuration is ideal for perfect backswing and posture that guarantees shot accuracy.
- Belly length
These putters have shafts that extend up to a player’s belly. This configuration became popular because of players who anchored their putters to their bodies. This technique allowed golfers to retain their posture while adding a third point of contact. However, this style was declared illegal by the PGA in 2013.
- Long putters
Longer even than the belly-length putters, these clubs’ shafts can be as long as 52 inches. These clubs are hard to master as they require a different grip. Moreover, the technique’s performance can degrade with considerable wind speed.
The loft is a serious issue to consider when choosing your golf clubs. People usually overlook this concern when choosing putters since the loft angle is so low that it might appear negligible. However, the amount of loft a putter can give is still necessary due to ball motion after impact.
Balls usually skid and lose energy in the first few moments after impact with the putter. Energy loss can ruin the accuracy of your shot. The putter’s loft angle helps minimize energy loss by making the ball “jump” from the green and roll towards the ball.
For putters, the loft should be between 2 and 4 degrees.
Every golfer’s goal is to hit the ball with the club’s “sweet spot.” This part of the club’s face ensures the optimal transfer of energy and shot accuracy. Thus, it’s essential to know where the sweet spot is and how big it is when choosing which new putters to purchase.
Putters usually have marks to show where the sweet spot is, but some don’t have that information printed on their bodies. You can tap on the clubface with a metallic object and find the area that produces the best sound.
If you have a high handicap, you’ll also want to find the putter with the broadest sweet spot. A wide sweet spot makes the club more forgiving on off-center shots.
Moment of Inertia
The MOI is another attribute that you must ascertain when purchasing putters. The MOI measures the club’s resistance to twisting during the downswing. If a club rotates too much while it travels down, it will result in inaccurate putts. When considering your options, you’d have to pay attention to how high the putt’s MOI is.
Putters that distribute weight throughout the club’s face have high moments of inertia. The putter becomes more stable by moving the weight from the center of the face and spreading it out to the heel and toe.
Grips are the only contact points between you and the putter. You must be comfortable with your grip, or your technique will suffer. The grip’s weight will also directly affect your performance because it counterbalances the putter’s weight. If your grip is light, your putter will feel heavier and will become easier to control.
There are four grip types: soft, firm, long, and thick grips. Thick grips are preferred mainly by players who don’t want their finger or hand movement to affect their swing. On the other hand, long grips let a player customize their hold on the putter. Finally, the soft and firm grips differ only on the amount of feedback on impact.
Why Use Putters in Golf?
Unlike the fairway wood, driver and irons, putters play a specific function in golf – to send the ball to the hole across a short distance on the green. It requires the most accuracy and control to use among other golf clubs. The impact must be as light as a tap. A more vigorous stroke will make the ball lip out of the hole or roll in a different direction.
The putt’s design is also very different from its fellow clubs. It has the lowest loft angle, enough to make the ball jump slightly from the green. The club’s head is also flatter than the fairway wood or the iron. The stroke used for putters is also distinct – there is little to no backswing involved.
More creative players would also develop ways to use the putters outside the green. However, the primary purpose of the putt has always been for use on the greens.
Who Is Using Which Wedges in Golf?
Jon Rahm shifted to an Odyssey White Hot OG #7S at the start of the 2021 season. However, his performance statistics dropped, and he quickly returned to the Odyssey White Hot OG Rossie S putter. Rahm’s model is custom-made for his preferences and features a Microhinge Star insert on the clubface. Rahm’s Rossie S is also distinct for its lack of sightlines – the Spanish golfer finds the feature distracting.
Production models feature the same mid-mallet shape and face inserts as Jon Rahm’s customized model. The Rossie S also has ergonomic pistol grips that help improve posture and control.
The legend, Phil Mickelson, uses a custom Odyssey blade putter. Dubbed as the Phil Mickelson Major Winner putter, the club bears a left-handed configuration and features a deep double fly-cut face milling from 303 stainless steel. This design caters to Mickelson’s preference for a soft feel upon impact instead of the solid sound and feedback most putters offer.
Odyssey released in 2021 a limited-edition putter copying Phil Mickelson’s custom putter. Only 125 copies were made available at a price tag of $1,000 each. Each putter featured Mickelson’s 71-degree toe hang and the SuperStroke Pistol GT Tour grip.
Considered the “Tigress of Golf,” Karrie Webb’s prowess rivals that of PGA counterpart Tiger Woods. She is one of the few golfers to have reached $1 million in career earnings in just one year. A native of Ayr, Queensland, Webb is part of the World Golf Hall of Fame and the Ladies PGA Hall of Fame.
Webb owes much of her prowess on the greens to the Ping Scottsdale TR Grayhawk putter in her bag. The mallet-type putter features variable-depth groove technology that helps equalize ball speed regardless of which part of the club the player hits the ball with. This feature also enhances the putter’s forgiveness on off-center shots and mis-hits.
Tiger Woods famously used various putters, but he gravitates back to his custom Scotty Cameron GSS Newport 2. This putter had won him 14 out of his 15 major championships, so it’s no wonder that Woods would return to using this model after experimenting with others for a time.
He had sold one of his two Newport 2 putters for $393,000 in 2020. This particular model sported a “Tiger Woods” engraving on the heel and a large red dot in the middle of the cavity. The putter is a blade-type modeled after the original Anser by Ping and is a prototype built specifically for his use and preferences.
One of the few lady golfers that could keep Karrie Webb on her toes, Annika Sorenstam came out of retirement in 2021 to qualify for the U.S. Senior Women’s Open. For that qualifier, Sorenstam packed an Odyssey White Hot OG Rossie. This club is a near-identical twin to Jon Rahm’s Rossie S, with only the face insert and neck the main differences between the two.
Scottie Scheffler makes putting look easy with the Scotty Cameron Special Select Timeless Tour-type GSS prototype. Without the Scotty Cameron putter in his hands, he wouldn’t have ranked #1 for putting average in the 2020/2021 PGA Season. What’s his score for that season? Scheffler turned in an impressive 1.719 putting average with the Special Select.
Cameron Smith astonished the crowds with his winning performance at the TPC Sawgrass event this year. In his earlier competitions, Smith even managed to keep Jon Rahm at bay to win his fourth PGA Tour championship. That’s no easy feat, as Rahm is currently the #1 player in world rankings today.
Smith’s methodical prowess in golf can be partially credited to his use of a Scotty Cameron 009M prototype. The young champion is said to have a precise touch and rhythm with this putter in his hands.
Joaquin Niemann is a Ping user, from his irons to his putter. As of April this year, the Chilean golfer has been seen using a Ping PLD Anser prototype. This particular putter uses a SuperStroke Flatso 1.0 flat grip, a distinct product for its pentagonal profile. Another champion that incorporates this grip into his golf clubs is Jordan Spieth.
Sam Burns rocketed through the ranks in 2022, starting from beyond 100 to becoming no. 11 in the world by March 2022. He recently bagged a victory at the Arnold Palmer Invitational and successfully defended his Valspar Championship against Davis Riley.
A staff player at Callaway Golf, Burns’ bag is full of Callaway golf clubs. For his putter, he uses an Odyssey O-Works Black 7S. The only non-Callaway items on his arsenal are his Adidas ZG21 shoes and Travis Matthew apparel.
This season has started off well for young J.J. Spaun. He recently bagged the championship at the Valera Texas Open, his first victory on the PGA Tour. Spaun can credit his success to a Scotty Cameron Newport 2 GSS prototype putter like Tiger Woods. If this putter has dialed into his performance the way it did with Woods, Mr. Spaun has plenty of positive things to look forward to this year.
However, note that these players primarily p play with clubs customized according to their level and playing style. Some of these clubs may not be fit for the golf hobbyist or the weekend golfer just looking to raise their handicap levels.
What Brands Produce Putters
Bettinardi is a 24-year-old club manufacturer based in Illinois in the USA. The company’s founder, Robert Bettinardi, worked for Callaway as a CNC miller from 1991 to 1993. After that, Bettinardi moved to Scotty Cameron until 1998, when he decided to finally start his own golf club manufacturing company.
Bettinardi used his experience and skills to design milled putters to work with his new company. One of his company’s breakthroughs is the honeycomb milling pattern, a technique that Bettinardi Golf had patented for its own use.
Like Bettinardi Golf, Scotty Cameron is the brainchild of a skilled putter maker who also worked with brands like Cleveland, Mizuno, and Titleist. In 1992, Cameron finally produced his own line of putters that he called the Scotty Cameron Classics. The putter maker won renown when Bernhard Langer wielded a Cameron prototype when he won the 1993 Masters Tournament.
Scotty Cameron’s most famous user, however, is Tiger Woods. He had two custom Scotty Cameron GSS Newport 2 putters in his arsenal, one of which he used to win 14 Championships in a row. Woods may experiment with other brands every now and then, but he always returns to the GSS Newport 2.
Formerly known as Cleveland Classics, the company became known as Cleveland Golf after Skis Rossignol’s acquisition. Although ownership of the company would transfer from one parent firm to another, Cleveland Golf’s reputation as a high-quality putter manufacturer remained constant throughout the transfers.
Cleveland Golf is now owned by Sumitomo Rubber Industries. SRI also owns the Srixon brand of golf clubs through its subsidiary SRI Sports Limited.
Cobra’s founder is Thomas L. Crow, an Australian amateur champion. According to Mr. Crow, American golfers during the 1970s purchased clubs at random and hoped that one of their new acquisitions could raise their handicap levels. Crow founded Cobra Golf in 1973 with a particular focus on average golfers. The company became known for being the first manufacturer in the United States to fit graphite shafts to their products.
Cobra partnered with Greg Norman, one of Australia’s most popular professional golfers, together with Hale Irwin and Beth Daniel. In 2009, Rickie Fowler also joined Cobra’s team of partners.
Edel takes pride in being an innovator in the golf club manufacturing industry. Not content to stay abreast with its competition, the company is always hard at work creating products that change mindsets and performance. Drawing on the firm’s extensive experience in engineering and design, Edel has also created a network of custom fitters that helps you build the best golf club for you.
Edel also offers free educational courses about golf on its website and blog. This stays true to its founder’s goal to become someone that made a mark in golf and gave back to the community.
Ping came out of its founder’s desire to improve his own putting and share that newfound ability with the world. Karsten Solheim used his engineering knowledge to design a putter that got around his deficiencies in putting, and the rest is history.
Ping would later be known for the veritable Anser putters. Solheim built the first Anser putter in 1966. Julius Boros used the prototype during the Phoenix Open in 1967 and won. Boros’ victory increased recognition for the Anser putter, whose design Solheim immediately patented in the same year.
The brainchild of entrepreneur and philanthropist Bob Parsons, PXG started operations in 2014. Parsons wanted to launch his own golf products after expressing dissatisfaction with the available technology at the time. A successful investor in the technology industry, Parsons used his considerable resources to bring in top talent to man his new company.
PXG immediately developed a thermoplastic elastomer that they used to seal the cavity in a hollow club head. The company said that the new innovation improved the feel and performance of its future products. Aside from that, PXG also attracted attention for Ryan Moore’s decision to use PXG prototypes for his 2015 PGA Tour season.
TaylorMade went far beyond its humble beginnings in 1979. Founder Gary Adams had started the company with just two employees, a leased building, and a single product. Over time, TaylorMade gained popularity through the endorsements of champions like Ron Streck. His victory in the 1981 Houston Open made the TaylorMade brand a household name in golf.
TaylorMade is one of only two golf brands to hit $1 billion in revenues. The company hit that milestone in 2006, just 3 years shy of its 30th anniversary. At that time, the company was under the Adidas Umbrella, which would sell the company to KPS Capital Partners in 2017.
Size does matter, and Callaway is a testament to that. Callaway’s distribution network reaches 70 countries worldwide, and its revenues hit $1.2 billion in the fiscal year 2018. Aside from that, Callaway also manages a portfolio of numerous brands, including OGIO, Odyssey, Strata, and Ben Hogan.
Callaway also enjoyed professional partnerships with famous golf players, the most recent of which is the current global no. 1 player Jon Rahm. Aside from Rahm, names like Annika Sorenstam, Phil Mickelson, Henrik Stenson, Xander Schauffele, and Arnold Palmer had endorsed Callaway.
Haywood is one of the newest golf club manufacturers in town, and it doesn’t disappoint. Their signature wedges enjoyed immense popularity upon launch in 2018. The company has since ventured into other products, including putters and apparel.
Joshua Haywood and Haley Lloyd founded the company in 2018 after being dissatisfied with existing options for wedges. Like Bob Parsons before them, the couple instead launched their own brand and built clubs that they thought would satisfy both budget and expectations in performance.
Best Options and Comparisons
Bettinardi Queen B 6
The Bettinardi Queen B 6 is part of the premium Queen B series. These golf clubs are a curious blend of aesthetics and functionality. The B 6, like its siblings, feature an eye-catching Rose Gold finish that also happens to minimize glare under the sun. Made of 303 stainless steel, the Queen B putters are resistant to damage while ensuring a solid feel on impact.
With a loft of 3 degrees, the Queen B 6 features patented micro-honeycomb milling on the club’s face. Bettinardi’s proprietary design minimizes the contact area between the putter and the ball. Not only does this enhance feel, but it also optimizes the transfer of energy and forward ball movement.
Cleveland infused this unique putter with several revolutionary features. The company infused the face of the putter with 47.3 grams of tungsten. Putting a significant amount of tungsten also transfers the putter’s center of gravity to that area and enhances off-center forgiveness.
The Frontline also comes with Cleveland’s Speed Optimized Face Technology or SOFT. This technology puts grooves on the club’s face and enhances speed for off-center shots. The SOFT technology, coupled with the tungsten weighting, improves shot accuracy even for people with higher handicaps. For instance, miss-hits will still go the distance you intended for the shot.
Cobra King SuperNova
Cobra breaks ground with the King SuperNova, its latest fang-style putter. The putter features a 3D printed nylon lattice, which Cobra says is a collaboration between the company and Hewlett-Packard. The nylon lattice enhances the club’s moment of inertia (MOI) to help players maintain putting consistency and accuracy.
The SuperNova also features several design elements to optimize weight distribution. Tungsten weighting on both the rear and front portions of the heel and toe improves control and stability. 261 grams of stainless steel moves the center of gravity downward for additional stability. At the same time, a forged aluminum crown distributes mass around the perimeter of the putter for further twist resistance.
Cobra King Stingray
The King Stingray by Cobra is perfect for mallet users that would like to improve their alignment at address. The King Stingray features an oversized mallet head with an iconic sightline down the middle to help players set up the most accurate shot possible.
The oversized mallet head has been designed using the proprietary Descending Loft Technology, which helps mitigate the effects of too much shaft lean at address. The DLT helps ensure consistent accuracy while using the King Stingray on the greens.
The carbon fiber sole also helps enhance performance by improving weight distribution. Even with the 304 stainless steel frame in the head, the King Stingray is still 18 grams lighter than most mallet putters. Users can also further improve stability by adding weights to the adjustable sole weight.
Edel EAS 2.0
EAS 2.0 now lets players exercise more control over their speed with more head weight options. There are currently five choices from 340 grams to 360 grams at 5-gram increments. Users can also change alignment plates to make their aim more accurate and consistent. The line schemes are also easy to understand with just a glance.
The proprietary Torque Balanced Technology also increases the EAS 2.0’s moment of inertia by removing any weight at the club’s toe and transferring the mass to the sole. This ensures a straighter putting stroke, while the honeycomb pattern on the face adds forgiveness for off-center shots.
Aesthetics, material construction, and performance come together in the Haywood Signature putter. The putter comes in a limited edition black or a sleek silver premium finish. Both models sport a single sightline down the middle of the blade for setting up at address and a carved Haywood signature on the head’s body.
Despite being a blade-type putter, the Haywood Signature features a broader face than other models. Grooves milled on the carbon steel face enhance the putter’s forgiving attributes and give every impact a solid feel and satisfying sound.
Players can also adjust the head weight by adding 5 or 15-gram weights to the default 10-gram weights. The weight kit is sold separately.
Ping PLD Anser Putter
The Ping PLD Anser is Ping’s latest iteration of the beloved Anser classic putter. The PLD Anser comes in a sleek black finish devoid of any sightlines. The PLD Anser is heel and toe weighted for that perfect balance, while the lightweight graphite shaft adds to the unparalleled control players enjoy when using the putter.
The PLD Anser also features Ping’s Deep AMP milling pattern. The groove patterns on the putter’s face keep the number of contact areas with the ball low, creating a soft feel on impact.
Finally, the putter features a pistol-type blackout grip that further enhances your posture, stance, and control at address.
PXG 0211 Lightning
Named after the highly versatile P-38 Lightning, the PXG 0211 Lightning features the company’s proprietary Runway Reticle technology.
This technology features geometric symbols running down the middle of the putter’s body towards the lone sightline on the top. These symbols emulate the function of instrumental landing signals on an airport runway and help the player accurately aim the mallet head for the stroke.
The 0211 Lightning also features a flared cavity that moves mass away from the center and redistributes it around the clubhead’s perimeter. This results in better twist resistance and an optimized center of gravity.
Scotty Cameron Special Select Newport
The Special Select Newport by Scotty Cameron features a tungsten-balanced sole that offers maximum forgiveness for off-center shots. Made entirely out of 303 milled stainless steel, this putter takes on a non-assuming appearance that’s otherwise confidence-building at address.
Special Select Newport putters offer 3.5 degrees of loft and a lie angle of 70 degrees. The shaft falls within the standard length, with 33-inch, 34-inch, and 35-inch length options. Players can further adjust the loft by one degree lower or higher. Players can also adjust the lie angles to be 2 degrees higher or lower than the default.
TaylorMade Spider GT Notchback
Stability and control are what the TaylorMade Spider GT Notchback is all about. This putter features perimeter-weighting with 172 grams of tungsten. Much of this mass is distributed to the heel and toe. Players get a putter that’s extremely forgiving and easy to control. High-handicappers can boost their confidence with the stability and twist resistance the Spider GT Notchback brings to the table.
The Proven Roll aluminum face inserts add to the forgiveness factor by ensuring shot consistency and accuracy. The aluminum beams bend at 45 degrees, giving the ball optimal topspin upon impact.
Your choice of putter ultimately depends on several factors, including your handicap and your playing style.
Building a good club collection is vital to becoming a skilled golf player. Of course, you cannot compile a good club arsenal without understanding each item you add to your golf bag.
In this context, understanding what putters do and what makes up a good putter is essential to making the right choice. Doing your due diligence is not just a priority but an obligation when you’re looking for the ideal putter for you.
You could also take inspiration from what professionals use for their games. However, you should also remember that Tour Players have very low handicaps. The clubs they play with may suit their handicap level and not yours. Going over to a custom fitter and making a few test swings using your options should be more helpful. Doing so also helps you familiarize yourself with the putter and how to maximize its capabilities.