Let’s be clear, having a perfectly fit bag is a massive step in the right direction to playing the best golf possible. However, it’s not practical to think that every golfer will line up at your local fitting house and get fit. It would be nice from my perspective as I want everyone to play well, but let’s be honest…some golfers don’t really care. And that’s GREAT!! My old man plays with a bunch of guys that sit in that category, and they play 3-4 rounds a week! I’d love to fit them all, but honestly, they enjoy the game as is.
Nonetheless, there is one piece of equipment (besides your ball, if I’m being picky) that needs to fit YOU no matter what. Your putter.
This is mandatory; no questions asked. It’s the one club you use the most often. The putting motion is simple, and if you putt it well, strokes literally melt off your score. Becoming a good putter is possible for literally anyone. I know it’s not as sexy as hitting it 330, but we need not live in fantasy land.
You don’t need to be Xander or Rahm to be a good putter. That goes for players at EVERY level.
I asked two of my colleagues Joe Toulon (Odyssey Performance Rep) and Michael Vrska (Head of custom fitting), what the Top 3 most important things to a successful putter fitting, and this is what they had to say:
Firstly, On TOUR, the pre-fit chat/interview is necessary to ensure the rest of the process is correct. In that discussion, I get a sense of a few things…
- Feel VS Real: Sometimes, a player may be feeling something and verbalize what they think, and during the fitting, we can confirm whether or not that feeling is true or not.
- Loyalties to head shapes: Although the options these days are massive, I would rather a player identify what they like to see at address and what inspires them to hit a good putt. Not only does it save a ton of time, but it also eliminates the adjustment variable to a newer style of head. With modern technology, I can build optimum performance into pretty much anything. I always have a place to go.
- Goals: Where are they now, and where do they want to be? Simple enough. You never want to go into a session without a goal. Otherwise, we are more or less hoping to get lucky.
The second aspect I look at is alignment. Is the player lined up correctly? This tip is more for the consumer than at the TOUR level. When working with elite players that can repeat a motion from any alignment time in and time out, it’s not something we typically want to disrupt. Some players have been aiming in a specific direction their whole life and have made it work for them. Nothing wrong with that, lots of Major Championships have been won doing it that way.
For the amateur, once again, it’s feels VS real. If the player isn’t lined up properly, adjustments will be needed in the stroke to get the ball online. Alignment is also static, and it’s something a player can repeat every time. Basically, it’s one of the variables we can control. Lastly, SOUND is a big factor, sound is a component of feel, and if a player prefers a specific acoustic, like the putter shape, I can narrow the search down quite a bit. At Odyssey/Toulon, we have multiple faces to choose from, so if a player has a sound they like, there is a good chance we can match it.
The pre-fit interview is essential to getting it right from a consumer standpoint. If the fitter listens intently to the player and the player is honest about their game, there will be clues as to what might work for a player. It’s also to get a sense of what the player has tried, what they like, don’t like, how informed they are on new technology, and their overall awareness of their putting performance. Sometimes all of us at an amateur level are better putters than we think; in some cases, it’s alignment aids or a specific head shape that ties it all together. The pre-fit process allows the fitter and player to hit the ground running.
The second thing I prioritize is the length of the putter. Most consumers purchase putters at a retail store or their local pro shop, and most production offerings sit at 34-35 inches. It’s imperative that the putter length match you and not the other way around. I have seen more putters not work because they were too long.
Grip size is another critical element. The putter must feel GOOD in your hands. There are no rules to what that might look like, but you should never have to adapt to your putter grip. It must sit naturally in your hands and offer you the perfect balance of ability and your own feels. Some payers think having a HUGE grip will calm their hands down and vice versa. Honestly, it’s a putting stroke, and a proper feel and consistent hand placement are more important than anything.
Wrapping it up…
I don’t care if you are a 30 handicapper or Jon Rahm; make sure your putter fits appropriately. We might not be able to pick up 10-20 yards, but my God, can we all save a bunch of strokes on the greens. Keep in mind that sometimes the putter you have already may be correct after a tweak here and there. Better to always know than to guess.
I had my first actual putter fitting late this Summer, and I’m rolling it better than EVER. Honestly. White Hot OG 7CH @ 34.75, 3.5 loft. Perfect. I’m now committed to this relationship:)