Putter buying tips
CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. -- Hayden Matthew piddled with some putters inside Golf Headquarters on Tuesday.
She doesn't need a new putter.
But almost every golfer can use an upgrade with the flat stick. After all, it's the most used club in a golfer's bag.
"I'll have guys ask for a $500 driver, then ask me for whatever putter we have on sale," said sales manager Chris Harris. "That doesn't make sense to me. A good amateur golfer is going to putt 32 times per round but hit driver half that many times."
Putter sales could be on the rise for the final six months of 2015. Technology always is adapting, and the anchoring ban will go into effect for USGA competitions once the calendar flips to 2016. Golfers playing in major competitions -- from Chattanooga District Golf Association events all the way to PGA Tour events -- no longer will be able to anchor putters during their strokes.
With a myriad of options available from dozens of major companies as well as smaller companies, Harris provided a quick checklist for purchasing a new putter between now and New Year's.
But remember, "If there's a number that's infinity beyond infinity, that's how many putters are out there," Harris said.
His checklist is rather simple and focuses on comfort and look instead of what measurements a computer system will spit out -- like getting fit for a driver or irons.
The first suggestion is knowing what type of putting stroke the golfers uses, whatever is natural. It can be straight back and straight through; it can have a small arc like Dave Stockton teaches or a much wider arc like Ben Crenshaw used.
"A vast majority of golfers have a small arc," Harris said. "That's the case even if the golfer thinks they're going straight back and straight through. The club face opens a little at the take-away."
Harris' next piece of advice certainly can't be measured by lasers. And it goes a little against the grain, but he has years of experience selling clubs. His second piece of advice for picking a putter is rather simple.
Choose something that looks good to the player. As Jerry Rice, possibly the greatest football player of all time, once said in a roundabout way, "You have to look good to play good."
Choose something that fits the eye, whether it's a blade, a mallet or something that looks like a spaceship prop in a 1980s movie. Look good, feel good, putt good.
The length, weight and balance point of a putter are up for personal preference. It makes sense for a taller player to like a longer putter, but that's not always the case. Phil Mickelson is 6-foot-3 and typically uses a 31-inch putter. That's on the short end of the putter spectrum.
Adam Scott, Webb Simpson and Keegan Bradley have decisions to make between now and Christmas. What do they do with their long putters?
Harris said that most amateurs who have been using anchored putters in recent years -- or their entire careers -- have opted for a counter-balance putter. It's longer than most and contains weights inside the tip of the handle as well at the base of the club.
Such weight distribution mimics the feeling in the hands of an anchored club without it actually touching the body.
Scott, Simpson and Bradley are still trying to find the perfect putter. They're doing the same as golfers across the country, the Southeast and Chattanooga -- they're testing on feel.
This article was written by David Uchiyama from Chattanooga Times Free Press, Tenn. and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.