As the saying goes, drive for show and putt for dough. Putting is perhaps the most important part of your golfing game, and if you can perfect your putting, you can save countless shots off your scorecard.
There are typically three different types of golf putters:
- Blade putters;
- High MOI putters; and
- Mallet putters.
Which putter is best for you depends on your putting stroke, your stance, and how comfortable you are with the weight of each putter. Ultimately it comes down to personal preference and how each golfer strikes the ball on the putting surface.
In this guide, we’ll be delving into each of the three different types of putters, which putter might be best for your skillset and how to use each putter on the greens effectively.
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What Are The Different Types Of Putters?
- Blade putters
- High MOI putters
- Mallet putters
Bladed putters are typically lighter than mallet putters, but mallet putters have a greater distribution of weight. High MOI putters are in between blade and mallet and are a lot more forgiving than a bladed putter but have less surface area than a mallet putter.
Depending on what type of swing you have, you will see different results depending on what putter you use. Let’s take a deeper look at all three different putter types and when you should use each. While you’re here, also check out our post on why pro golfers putt without their glove on.
Blade putters are the lightest type of putter you can purchase. Named because of their thin, streamlined putting heads, bladed putters are typically made of forged cast iron and usually have a narrow cavity back. They are the cousin of the muscle back bladed iron and are similarly less forgiving than a bladed iron. Check out our blog for why bladed clubs are harder to use than other types of golf clubs.
With the weight balanced more towards the club’s toe, bladed putters are better for golfers who have a strong arc in their putting stroke, players who curve the club round more in their backswing and twist around again in their follow-through.
As the most traditional type of putter commonly favored among golf purists, bladed putters can provide you with perhaps the best connection on the golf ball if struck right. The same as a bladed iron, the putter’s sweet spot is located towards the heel of the clubface. That allows you to hit up onto the ball to hit a truer roll on the golf ball. One of the best-bladed putters on the market is the Odyssey White Hot Pro, which has a large sweet spot that produces a great contact with the golf ball and a truer roll on the ball.
High MOI Putters
MOI stands for “moment of inertia.” It is a term used in golf to describe how much a clubhead resists twisting on its impact with the golf ball. The higher the MOI, the more resistance a club has against twisting, and therefore the more forgiving it becomes. That makes MOI putters great for golfers with a large arcing putting stroke and is also great for beginners and those who struggle with putting.
MOI putters are typically larger than bladed putters but are lighter and less dense than a mallet putter. But like a bladed putter, high MOI putters hold most of their weight in the toe of the clubhead and can be a lot more accurate than a bladed putter when it comes to faster greens. High MOI putter club heads are usually made of lighter materials than classic forged iron or steel used to build a bladed or mallet putter. Typically, they look a lot flatter and square compared to a mallet putter and often have gaps and holes in their clubhead, which help the club lose a little extra weight.
Many professional golfers, like 2021 Masters champion Dustin Johnson, like to use high MOI putters because of the greater control these clubs give them on harder, faster greens. If you’re looking for a performance-enhancing high MOI putter, check out the TaylorMade Spider.
The Mallet putter is the heaviest of the three and gains its name from its unique hammer-type shape. Being heavier and bigger, the putter’s density is spread across the club’s face, making it a better option for those who have a much flatter and straighter putting stroke. With their larger clubface, mallet putters typically have larger sweet spots, making them a very forgiving putter and great for beginner golfers.
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The larger sweet spot allows golfers to hit straighter and less off-center golf shots on the ball. Mallet putters also typically come with built-in alignment tools across the back of the putter’s head. That helps players read the line of the ball against the putter but can also help you find the sweet spot when you come through the ball with your clubhead.
Being a lot heavier, Mallet putters require less power and backswing when striking through the golf ball compared to other types of putters. That means they take a little time to get used to but can be very useful for beginners to help develop their control over the putt. Check out the Mizuno Craft mallet putter for a meaty putter that will help you stop three-putting.
How Do I Know What Putter To Use?
The correct putter depends on trial and error and your experience as a golfer. Go to your local club fitting room and practice with different types of putters. Beginners should use a mallet putter to help them develop their putting. More experienced golfers prefer laded and high MOI putters
As with everything in golf, there’s no set in stone, right or wrong answer for what type of putter you should be using. It comes down to practice and confidence with the putter in hand. Here are several factors you need to consider when heading down to the club fitting room to trial your new putter!
But before you go, remember to check out our guide on what equipment you’ll need to bring for your club fitting session!
1.You Must Know Your Swing Type
As I’ve said above, each putter caters to a different swing type. If you have a lot of arc in your putting stroke, then a toe-weighted putter like a blade or a high MOI putter will be more beneficial for you. But if your backswing is straight and horizontal against the line of the golf ball, you should look to use a mallet putter that is weighted across the heel and face of the club.
If you’re unsure of how the weight is distributed within a golf club, balance the club’s shaft on your finger. If the clubhead drops down so that the club’s toe is facing the ground, that means most of the club’s weight is situated in the toe. If the club’s face points to the sky, as a mallet putter should do, then the club’s weight is distributed primarily in the heel and base of the club.
How do you figure out your swing style? Grab yourself a golf ball, two plastic rods, or sticks, and place the ball in the middle of the two alignment rods. Next, grab your putter and address your shot as if you were about to putt on a green. Initiate your backswing, and just as you get to the top of your backswing, stop and hold that position.
You should now be able to judge the arc on your putting stoke by the angle it is against the two alignment sticks on the ground. If your putter is straight over the rods, then you’re a straight putter, but if it’s a little further back from the rods, then you’re most likely an arc putter.
For more tips on how to improve your golf swing, check out our guide on the six muscles you need to work on to strike the ball better.
2.You Need The Right Length Shaft For Your Height
Finding the right length of a putter is more important than understanding what swing type you have. With a putter that’s too long, you can catch your shot on the ground before you strike through the ball, and with a putter that’s too short, you run the risk of topping the ball. Neither gives you a good connection on the shot, and that’s why it’s essential to trial different-sized putters to find the correct length for you.
Hitting the sweet spot on your putter is key to getting the ball in the hole. That means when identifying the right length of putter for your size, your arms should hang naturally at your waist as you grip your putter, and the clubhead should be flat against the ground. Clubs are measured from the clubhead’s heel right up to the top of the grip, and traditionally most players will use a putter somewhere between 32 and 36 inches in length.
3.The Size Of The Sweet Spot
Depending on your abilities, the size of the sweet spot can help you hit smoother, more flush putts. I recommend beginner golfers opt to use a putter with a more prominent sweet spot than those made entirely of forged iron.
The larger the sweet spot, the easier it is to keep the ball on target and maintain your length over the putt. Although clubs with larger striking zones are often a lot heavier than those without them, typically being mallet putters, they aren’t great for low handicap golfers who tend to Putt on fast greens.
The higher quality of club you use, the better your shots will be. Take a look at our analysis of how golf club-quality can drastically improve your game here.
4.The Size Of The Grip
You’ll also want to consider the thickness of the grip of the putter. You can buy a range of sized grips for your putter, and each will have a different impact on your accuracy and how well you judge the distance of each shot. Putters with thicker grips make the club feel lighter in your hands, while narrow gripped putters make the club feel a lot heavier.
The handle’s shape and firmness also come into play, with firmer grips giving you more feedback than a softer grip. Cushioned handles can absorb more of the ball’s impact on the clubhead, and that’s very useful if you’re putting with a high MOI club, which can sometimes feel very metallic when you strike the ball. The cushioning helps to alleviate some of that feeling to help you hit smoother, better-weighted putts.
Can golf grips be reused? Learn the truth in our article.
What Is The Best Putter For An Average Golfer?
When it comes to finding the best putter for an average golfer, you need to be comfortable and confident over the shot. With that in mind, the most forgiving putters are mallet putters, and they are perhaps the best and most suitable putters for high handicap golfers.
Confidence in your putting technique and comfort when using your putter can go a long way when it comes to syncing pressure putts on the golf course. Even the pros work by these principles. Tiger Woods, for example, last year stopped using the putter that had won him 14 out of his 15 major titles. He now uses a putter that is better for his back and ensures he’s a lot more comfortable when putting.
As putting is one of the easiest parts of your game where you can save shots, your putter is perhaps the most important club in your bag. It would help if you had confidence that nine times out of ten, you’re going to hit a good shot with your putter, as a missed putt can be devastating on your scorecard at the end of the round.
That’s why it’s so important to choose the right putter for your abilities while also experimenting with different putting styles and putter types to find that confidence. High handicappers should opt to use larger mallet putters that are more forgiving and work their way up to using bladed and high MOI putters as their skills increase.
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