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Buying Putters on Impulse
Is Dangerous to Your Health

What is it about putters? I get more people in my shop who show up with a putter they bought on impulse from a big-box retailer or a pro shop than I do all the other clubs in the bag combined. That's right: the one club they hit more in a round than any other--that's the one they think they can buy with no regard for anything other than how it looks and feels.

And you wonder why people call golfers crazy.

So, for all of you who are called to the siren song of the putter you are about to buy on impulse…please, come get a proper putter fitting first, and you will be far happier in the long run.

A proper putter for you will conform to these three key fitting parameters:

First, a consistent, proper set-up position provides a strong foundation for an effective putting stroke. We need to check your eye position relative to the ball, and we need the ball position in the right place in your stance. We need to make sure your hands and arms can move efficiently from set up position, and we need to make sure that the putter can be aimed accurately.

Second, you may not realize it, but every putter design encourages a certain arc of a stroke. Fitting a putter to your natural swing arc is critical to your success. Making putts is hard enough without having to fight your stroke and compensate for a mismatched putter. And, by the way, that's a war you will never win.

Third, how much did you think about loft? I know--that impulse putter sounded so sweet when you hit it. However, the loft of the putter needs to get the ball rolling quickly, and if you get the ball rolling quickly, you get better & more consistent speed. Don’t forget that the break you need to play is a function of that speed; and three-putting is more a fault of speed than direction.

One additional note about the importance of having the fitting first, and then buying the right putter: There are limitations as to how much your existing putter can be altered to match your proper fitting parameters.

Now, don't get me wrong: I agree that look and sound and intuitive feel in a putter are important, and those things should exist in a putter of proper design and exacting specifications. But a solid and true strike with a properly-fit putter will simply produce fewer putts: that means two-putting from 50 feet, and draining those nine-footers.

Now that’s a feel and a joy you will just love, not only now, but forever. So, please, do yourself a favor: get a properly-fit putter.

-- Wade Heintzelman