The Benefits of a Putter Fitting: Why Custom Is Worth It

By Nick Heidelberger

putting instructor works with a golfer

Golfers are notorious for investing crazy amounts of money into equipment that is proven by data to offer only minimal gains. But when it comes to investing in a putter fitting that can significantly lower their scores, they’re mostly disinterested.

Sure, the thrill of being fit for a putter simply can’t compare to that of a dopamine-inducing, swing-as-hard-as-you-can driver fitting where distance gains pop up on a 15-foot screen like winning lottery numbers. The reward of a putter fitting is more of a slow burn, and the result will incrementally save you fractions of a shot several times per round until your scores subtly creep lower while your confidence on the green mounts.

“I’d say the putter and the driver are the two most impactful clubs in determining your actual score,” said James Tracy, Master Fitter and General Manager at 2nd Swing Golf. “If you’re tying importance to its impact on your handicap, the putter is probably the most important club to get fit for.”

Why is Putter Fitting Important?

On the greens, golfers employ countless putting techniques, from the claw and left-hand-low grips, to long putters and the Michelle Wie-style tabletop posture. Blade, mallet and fang might sound like comic book adversaries, but they’re actually garden variety putter heads.

To the naked eye, a putting stroke and full swing don’t have much in common, but they do share one ultimate truth: returning the clubface in the proper position at impact dictates the success of the stroke. And just as every golfer has their own putting style, each style calls for specific characteristics in the putter itself.

What Exactly is a Putter Fitting?

When you get fit for a putter from a professional fitter, you can expect to identify the optimal length, loft, offset, weight, shape, balance, alignment aid, and even face material for your specific putting stroke. For a club you use 30-plus times per round, that’s an investment worth making.

Fitters use various technologies to evaluate how the golfer returns the putter head at impact, the most important data piece in determining a putt’s success. From there, the fitter can begin to diagnose faults and identify elements in a putter that can address those faults. For example, if a right-handed golfer tends to miss putts to the right, a fitter and their technology may identify a slightly open face through impact. With this information, the fitter might suggest a more face-balanced putter, which promotes maintaining a square face through the putting stroke.

“You have to be able to leave a putter fitting with the confidence that you’re going to make more putts, because putting is all there in your brain,” Tracy said. “Do I use a line or do I not use a line? Do I putt with a lot of rotation or do I putt with very minimal rotation? Having the right length and loft ensures that you are in the right posture and you’re setting yourself up to be consistent so you’re able to control your speed better. On their own, these little things probably don’t make a huge difference, but when you put them all together and it gives you the confidence that when you look down you think ‘I’m going to make this 10-footer’ not ‘I hope I’m going to make this 10-footer’ that really impacts putting performance as a whole.”

How Much Does a Putter Fitting Cost?

Many clubfitters, including 2nd Swing, offer a putter fitting for free with a purchase, with most new putters ranging from $150-$400. Taking advantage of a free putter fitting while making your next putter purchase is a no-brainer if you want to get your money’s worth from your purchase and find the optimal putter for your game.

Online Putter Fitting

Many manufacturers, including PING and Odyssey, offer online fitting tools that can help golfers get the fitting process started in the right direction. However, these tools should not serve as a replacement for a live fitting where real data is collected and clubs are compared side-by-side.

Why Wait?

Using a putter custom fit to your stance, grip, arc, and putting technique will increase your chances of making every putt you look at. Multiply those benefits by 31, the average number of putts needed for amateur golfers over 18 holes, and you just might see why a custom fit putter can be the most important club in your bag.

Image: Dean Mitchell/E+ via Getty Images

About the Author

Nick Heidelberger is the Editor of GolfLink. He has a degree in journalism from the University of Idaho and has been an avid golfer for more than 10 years. In the years prior to joining GolfLink, he worked for the New England Section of the PGA of America.