Ultimate Putter Guide for Every Golfer

By Todd Mrowice

TaylorMade putter on course

Selecting the right putter has a lot to do with personal preference. Are you gaming a putter that actually fits your putting stroke? The answer might surprise you. Finding the perfect flat stick that compliments your putting stroke can work wonders for your game.

We’ve all been there before. You’re at a golf retailer rolling putts with putters from different manufacturers with different head styles. Perhaps you picked up a model just for fun but then holed 10 putts in a row.

Without question, you should have confidence in your putter. It’s the club that you use the most over the course of your round. All of those different putters, though, are suited for different putting strokes. Putting strokes aren’t only for tour professionals to dissect. It’s proven that a proper putter fitting can help amateurs exponentially.

That's why we put together this complete breakdown of the different putter styles, and which types of strokes they fit best.

Putter Styles

Moreso than any other club in golf, putters come in all shapes and sizes. From large mallet putters to sleek blade putters, and everything in between. Here is everything you need to know about the varying styles of putters.

What is a Blade Putter?

A blade putter is the traditional, small-headed putter that typically has a cavity behind the face. Blades are the most commonl putter in golf retail. All manufacturers have their own designs with slight variations, but for the most part, they all play off of the original Anser-style putters.

Blade putters are significantly smaller than the large-headed mallet putters and have been proven to be less forgiving than mallets. However, many golfers prefer the feel of a blade putter over a mallet.

Blade putters are usually heel-shafted, but they do have a nitch market for center shafted models that sell very well.

What is a Mallet Putter?

Mallet putters feature a large head behind the face and has, by far, the most variations and eclectic designs. Due to the size, manufactures are a little more creative with how to distribute the weight in a mallet putter, this includes hollow bodies as well as removable weights.

Mallet putters have a higher MOI than blade putters, which helps players with a back and through putting style with consistent contact and distance control.

What is a Mid-Mallet Putter?

A mid-mallet putter has a club head in between a blade and a mallet, and is the perfect answer for someone looking for the forgiveness of a mallet but doesn't want to stray too far from the traditional size of a blade. Mid-mallet putters have become one of the more popular styles because of their versatility and appeal to players who want something in between.

When shopping for a mid-mallet putter you will find a large variety of heel and center shafted models.

Fang-Style Putter

A fang-style putter falls under the mallet category but has some very distinct characteristics. Instead of the back of the putter being rounded, the design has two fang-style spikes that come off of the back. Depending on the manufacturers, these can also look like wings. The Odyssey No. 7 was one of the first adaptations of the fang-style putter and still to this day is one of the most popular models on professional tours and among amateurs.

Toe Hang vs. Face Balance

There are two types of putter balances, toe hang and face balanced. Toe hang putters have extra weight distributed in the toe, whereas face-balanced putters, as the name describes, have a balanced face.

face balanced toe hang putters
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To determine if your putter is face-balanced or has toe hang, place it on a table or countertop with the head of the putter hanging off. If the putter toe naturally flips down towards the ground, you have a toe hang putter. If the face of the putter points up, you have a face-balanced putter.

Blade putters are more likely to have toe hang. The idea behind toe hang is that it assists players with more arc on their putting strokes because it helps the putter face get squared at impact.

Mallet and mid-mallet putters are typically face-balanced putters. Players that have a back and through putting stroke find the most advantage in a face-balanced putter because with no arc on their stroke, their putter never left the intended line.

Putting Stroke Variations

Just as there are several styles of putters, there are several styles of putting strokes. In addition to countless putting grips and methods, there are variations in the path of different players' putting strokes.

putting stroke arc visual

High Arc Stroke

A high arc putting stroke is also known as a strong arc. This is a putting stroke where the face of the putter swings out (open) in the backswing, comes back to square at impact, and then swings in (closed) on the follow-through.

Some arc putters include Ben Hogan, Ben Crenshaw, and Tiger Woods. Three of the game’s best putters, coincidentally. A high arc stroke should always be paired with a putter with toe hang weighting. This is where more of the head weight is concentrated to the toe, rather than the heel or middle.

Best Putter for High Arc: Sub 70 Sycamore 007

Sub 70 Sycamore putter

This style of putter has been used by generations of players. Intended for a high arc stroke, the Sycamore 007 putter makes it easier to get the clubface back to the squared position at impact. CNC milled from a solid billet of 1045 carbon steel, Sub 70 delivers a sleek and modern look on a classic shape.

Mid Arc Stroke

A mid arc putting stroke is also known as a slight arc or moderate arc. Simply put, this is a less severe arc than the high arc previously mentioned, but it's the same principle. The putter face opens when taken back, comes back to square, and then closes on the follow-through.

With this stroke you have more putter model options than a high arc, so feel free to look at blades and mallets.

Best Putter for Mid Arc: PXG Gunboat

This mallet putter is the perfect blend of a model with high MOI but also makes it easy to find the center with a mid arc stroke. It has a mid-toe hang so the weight is concentrated in two spots and the Pyramid Face Pattern gives it a silky smooth roll.

Back and Through Stroke

Also known as straight back, straight through, or no arc, this putting stroke is what many players strive for, but don’t necessarily need to achieve thanks to all of the different models of putters that accommodate different strokes. This is a stroke where there is zero arc, both in the backswing and follow-through. The head of the putter stays on the same line throughout the entire stroke. If you have a back and through putting stroke, a mallet is typically a great choice. The added forgiveness from a mallet can make a back and though player very effective on the green.

Best Putter for Back and Through: TaylorMade Spider X Hydro Blast Flow Neck

TaylorMade Spider X Hyrdo putter

The insanely popular Spider model from TaylorMade can be seen all over professional tours. This model has a sleek, new Hydro Blast finish but it also sports an ideal perimeter weighting which allows those with a back and through stroke to thrive when rolling it.

The Right Putter Length for you

Standard men's putters, not including arm-lock putters or long putters, range from about 33-35 inches, while women's putters are usually 32-33 inches. Finding the perfect putter length has a lot to do with feel, but there is a method to determine the correct length for your stance and height.

Take your putting stance and let your arms hang naturally. Measure from the floor to the top of your hands. That measurement is the putter length you should be playing. Note: it's much easier and more accurate to do this with a helper, or, go to your local golf retailer for a putter fitting.

Conclusion

If you’re unsure what kind of putting stroke you have, consider going to your local golf retailer for a putter fitting. They have all of the tools, and inventory, to point you in the right direction. A fitting is also usually free with the purchase of a club.

If you would like to learn about your putting stroke but prefer the DIY method, find yourself two golf tees and some string. Tie the string to each golf tee and then put the tees in the green so there’s no slack left in the string. Slide your putter under the string and make your normal putting stroke. Pay attention to how much your clubhead deviates from the path of the string. This will tell you how much, if any, arc is in your putting stroke.

About the Author

Todd Mrowice is a Staff Writer for GolfLink. He has been writing about golf for over 10 years including a long tenure at GOLFChicago Magazine. Todd has covered all aspects of the game including travel, products, business, and professional tours.