Putter Length: How to Choose, How to Measure
Determine what length of putter is right for you
Whether you’re a professional golfer, a low-handicap amateur, or a high-handicapper, the number of putts you take during a round amounts to over 40% of your total score. That’s a surprising, but well documented, statistic. There’s no other shot type that even comes close to that percentage.
So it’s clearly not an exaggeration to suggest that no other part of the game has the same potential to impact your overall score as putting does. Given that fact, you might think that all golfers would be pretty meticulous about making sure that the putter they use is properly fitted, so they’ll have the best chance to improve in this vital part of the game.
Unfortunately, that’s not the case. In fact, the vast majority of golfers buy their putter straight “off the rack” and, as a result, it’s been estimated that as many as 60-70% of amateur golfers use putters that don’t fit them correctly, a common element of which is playing with the wrong length of putter.
With so much at stake (four out of every 10 strokes you take!), if you haven’t been properly fitted for the ideal length of your putter, now’s the time. This article was written to help you determine what length of putter is right for you.
The Potential Impact of Putting with the Wrong Length Putter
While everyone’s address position when putting is slightly different and unique to them, there are a couple of fundamental guidelines that should be followed by all.
First and foremost, a proper putting stance should place your eyes directly over the ball. From that position, it’s easiest to get the best view of the target line. It’s OK for your eyes to be slightly inside of this, but it’s never advisable to have your eyeline outside the ball.
Secondly, the best putters are usually in a stance where their arms hang naturally, so that the hands are directly below the shoulders.
If your putter length is too long, or too short, it may be difficult to achieve these basic and proper address positions and your stroke may be more inconsistent as a result. For example, with a putter that is too long, golfers may be forced to stand too upright, which often brings their eyeline too far inside the ball. Conversely, a putter that’s too short will force the golfer to bend too much at address and risk having their eyeline fall outside the ball.
Get the length right, though, and you’ll give yourself the best chance to consistently see the line better and to make a solid stroke.
The Basic Method of Measuring for Length
The key to measuring for putter length is to make sure that you are in your natural putting stance when you take the measurements, not in an erect standing position.
While in your normal putting stance, have someone measure the diagonal line that goes from the top of your left wrist to the bottom of the ball. It’s as simple as that. That measurement is your correct putter length.
That is the easiest and quickest way to determine the putter length you’ll need.
But.... there’s another, more scientific and more accurate, method of calculating your ideal putter length.
Do You Want to Get Really Precise With Your Length Measurement?
One of the premier golf instructors in the country is Todd Sones. He’s been recognized as a Golf Magazine Top 100 and a Golf Digest Top 50 Best Teacher. He teaches all aspects of the golf swing, but has developed a unique and particular expertise in teaching the short game, with an emphasis on putting. In addition to the many PGA pros that he works with, hundreds of amateur golfers go to him every year at his “Todd Sones Impact Golf Center” to get help with their overall game and for help on their putting.
He has developed, and patented, a method for custom fitting a putter that applies a more mathematical approach to the process of measuring for its ideal length. Here’s how it works:
If you look at the illustration on the left you can see that, when we stand at address, there is a triangle that is formed starting at our hands (see the blue dotted lines). One leg of that triangle goes from the golfer’s hands straight down to the floor (labelled as A^{2 }). The second leg of the triangle (the bottom) goes from the point where A^{2} meets the floor and goes out to the inside edge of the golf ball (labelled as B^{2}). And the third side of the triangle is actually the shaft of the putter, for which we need to calculate its ideal length.
For those who can remember that far back, we all learned in high school geometry how to calculate the length of that third side of the triangle once you know the lengths of the other two. By knowing what the lengths of both A^{2} and B^{2 }are, it’s an easy calculation to figure out what the third side is (i.e., what your putter length should be).
Start by simply taking measurements of the first two sides of the triangle. Calculate the ‘A’ side by standing in your putting address position and having someone measure the distance from the crease in your wrist down to the floor. Then calculate the ‘B’ side of the triangle by having them measure the distance from there out to the ball. Write down those two measurements.
For those brave enough to try using the Pythagorean Theorem to calculate what the length of that third leg of the triangle is, more power to you. However, for those of you who have no interest in actually doing the math (and you can count us among that group!), Sones did all the work for us and developed an easy-to-use table that gives us the answer.
Simply take your A^{2} measurement and locate it in the far left column of the table below. Then locate your B^{2} measurement in the top row of the table. The point of intersection of those two numbers, where that row and column meet, indicates your ideal putter length.
Here’s an example: If a golfer’s A^{2} measurement is 32.5 inches, and their B^{2} measurement is 10.5 inches, the intersection of that row and that column reveals that the ideal length for this golfer’s putter would be 34.25 inches.
A^{2 }Left Wrist |
B^{2 }Ground Part: A^{2 }to Inside Edge of Ball |
|||||||||||
Crease to Ground |
7.0 |
7.5 |
8.0 |
8.5 |
9.0 |
9.5 |
10.0 |
10.5 |
11.0 |
11.5 |
12.0 |
12.5 |
28 |
30.00 |
30.25 |
30.50 |
30.75 |
||||||||
28.5 |
30.00 |
30.25 |
30.50 |
30.50 |
30.75 |
31.00 |
31.00 |
|||||
29 |
30.75 |
30.25 |
30.25 |
30.50 |
30.75 |
30.75 |
31.00 |
31.25 |
31.25 |
31.50 |
||
29.5 |
30.25 |
30.50 |
31.00 |
30.75 |
31.00 |
31.25 |
31.25 |
31.25 |
31.50 |
31.75 |
31.75 |
32.00 |
30 |
30.75 |
31.00 |
31.50 |
31.25 |
31.25 |
31.50 |
31.50 |
31.75 |
32.00 |
32.00 |
32.25 |
32.50 |
30.5 |
31.25 |
31.50 |
32.00 |
31.75 |
31.75 |
32.00 |
32.00 |
32.25 |
32.50 |
32.50 |
32.75 |
33.00 |
31 |
31.75 |
32.00 |
32.50 |
32.25 |
32.25 |
32.50 |
32.50 |
32.75 |
33.00 |
33.00 |
33.25 |
33.50 |
31.5 |
32.25 |
32.50 |
33.00 |
32.50 |
32.75 |
33.00 |
33.00 |
33.25 |
33.25 |
33.50 |
33.75 |
33.75 |
32 |
32.75 |
33.00 |
33.50 |
33.00 |
33.25 |
33.25 |
33.50 |
33.75 |
33.75 |
34.00 |
34.00 |
34.25 |
32.5 |
33.25 |
33.50 |
34.00 |
33.50 |
33.75 |
33.75 |
34.00 |
34.25 |
34.25 |
34.50 |
34.75 |
34.75 |
33 |
33.75 |
34.00 |
34.50 |
34.00 |
34.25 |
34.25 |
34.50 |
34.75 |
34.75 |
35.00 |
35.00 |
35.25 |
33.5 |
34.25 |
34.50 |
35.00 |
34.50 |
34.75 |
34.75 |
35.00 |
35.00 |
35.25 |
35.50 |
35.50 |
35.75 |
34 |
34.75 |
35.00 |
35.50 |
35.00 |
35.25 |
35.25 |
35.50 |
35.50 |
35.75 |
35.75 |
36.00 |
36.25 |
34.5 |
35.25 |
35.50 |
36.00 |
35.50 |
35.75 |
35.75 |
36.00 |
36.00 |
36.25 |
36.25 |
36.50 |
36.75 |
35 |
35.75 |
36.00 |
36.50 |
36.00 |
36.25 |
36.25 |
36.50 |
36.50 |
36.75 |
36.75 |
37.00 |
37.00 |
Source: Todd Sones Impact Golf, “Tru-Fit” Putter Fitting System
Putting is a much too important part of the game to be using a club that isn’t fitted properly for length. The good news is that you can do this fitting yourself, right at home. Simply get the two measurements described above, and then refer to the table to determine the exact putter length that’s ideal for you.