Best Putters for Beginners – Picking your putter

Best Putters for beginners

Choosing the best putters for beginners must be very hard. How do I know? Well, one thing I notice whenever I look into a golf buddy’s garage is the number of putters they have. ‘Why do golfers need so many?’ I ask. The usual reply is: ‘Well that one didn’t feel quite right,’ ‘that one was okay when I started out, but I have outgrown it.’ or simply, ‘I found a better one’.

Another regular feature of the golfer’s garage is that unique, almost magical putter. Sometimes this will be the first putter they owned or the putter their Pop gave them when they were 15. Or it can be that putter they used when they beat the club pro back in 1997. It is always ancient, often has no modern material at all but still has a special place and a good story to go with it.

Why am I telling you this? I think it shows that nothing matches confidence for a golfer. If you are starting out and do not yet have that magical putter, I can guarantee that day will come.

Everything can be even better if that unique putter is a good putter. It will become magical that much more quickly as you will play well with it.

What makes a good putter?

Modern putters are just great. The technology and materials available today mean that, with the right putters, you can get much better much more quickly.

Before we go on to look at technical specifications and different products, I want to recommend something to you.

Practise first. Practise before you buy.

This routine may sound a bit crazy. You might be saying to me “But you just said I would get better with a good putter, and now you are telling me to hit away with any old one!”

There is a method in my madness. Look at it this way. You need to know your characteristics to choose the best attributes in a golf club. Knowing your style is especially important with a putter, which you are going to use so much.

Get yourself out on the practice green and get working on those practice drills. After a short time, you will get a perfect feel for your natural game and style of play. To see what I mean, try watching Kevin Craggs short video on putting drills. He stresses process and practising short medium and long putts in order.

Practice routines with your putter

The putter is the most instinctual of your clubs. It is the one which is most sensitive to your particular stroke and how you play the game.

With a putter, everything is about how it feels and getting to know the ball. The speed of your shot, the pace you put onto the ball, your accuracy and your strength are all crucial factors in selecting the best putter for you.

Use your mind when you are practising. No-one will ever know your game as well as you, reflect on what you are doing and get a feel for your own game. With this mental attitude, it will still take time, but you will be on the right track.

When you practice, remember to use different distances with your putter. Practise on a familiar putting green; this will better enable you to concentrate on the clubs. Start with a putt at three feet, then six, then 15 feet and then 25 feet. That will give you a good feel for the putter over a variety of distances.

How to choose a putter

Once you have some practice in it’s time to select that unique putter. Whatever you choose, is not likely to be your putter for the rest of your golfing life, although it may well get a special place in your garage!

It’s okay to upgrade your equipment, including your putter, as you get better at the game. Indeed it feels lovely when you go out to buy a new piece of equipment because your skill level has gone up. But we do not want you to have loads of old putters in the garage because you keep buying the wrong one.

In this article, I am going to give you the lowdown on the best putters for beginners. Read on, and that first putter will see you through until your handicap is dropping fast.

What to look for

The length of the putter and how to find what is right for you

The one thing which has the most effect on your stroke is the length of your putter. The important thing is that when you are about to make your stroke your eyes are over the ball. As putters vary significantly in length, between 30 and 50 inches, then you can see there is a considerable margin for error.

A frequent mistake, and not just of new golfers, is to use a putter which is too long. There is a straightforward way to check this. Hold the club ready to make your shot and look at where your hands are. Are they below the grip? If so your putter is too long Even if your hands are on the grip, if  this feels uncomfortable and you want to move them down, then the club is probably too long for you.

Conversely, if you are bending too far over, and you will probably know this because you will feel the tension and even pain in your lower back, your putter is likely to be too short. If you want your hands to go above the grip, then that is another sign that you probably need a longer putter.

These tips will give you an indication that you have the wrong length putter. Now let me tell you a simple way of determining precisely the length of putter which will be perfect for you.

The length of your putter matters a lot. You can work out what length you need by following this routine.

  • Get into the address position
  • Put a ball in front of you
  • Lean forward from the waist
  • Lay your elbows on your rib cage
  • Take a ‘test’ putter

Grip

If your hands are on the gripper that is the right length. If however they are on the shaft you need a shorter putter. And if your hands are right at the top it would be best to try a longer version.

Double check this by getting a buddy to help. As you stand in the address position, get your pal to measure from the ground to the top of your hands. This measurement is the length of the putter you require.

The weight of your putter

The weight of the putter needs to feel comfortable for you. If you are testing out a new putter, make a natural movement you make on the golf course. Go for the one which feels right. It is worth mentioning counterbalance putters here. These have more weight in the grip and the clubhead, and this can help stability. The weight helps you to keep your hands steady and not rotate them when you make a shot.

The design of your putter

Along with most golf clubs, the putter has undergone considerable changes over the past three decades. The main reason for these innovations has been to lower the centre of gravity. This development has meant a thicker clubhead, and then the changes in metal technology have allowed the golf designers could be much more radical in the shape and design of the clubhead.

Now, modern clubheads have peripheral weighting to increase the moment of inertia. This change makes the club more forgiving, that is if you mis-hit the ball your shot will not go completely off track. The increase in the moment of inertia reduces twisting if your putter connects slightly off center with the ball.

Even the putter has an angle, or loft, on the clubhead, this might seem surprising as we use the putter to hit the ball along the ground. The small amount of loft is useful though, it helps to reduce bouncing on the ball and will help you get out of any small depressions on or around the green.

The rules of golf do not allow a loft of more than 10 degrees on a putter.

There are other rules of golf for the putter, but most of these allow extra features on the putter. The golf rule makers do not permit some features on other clubs which they allow on putters.

For example, the putter is allowed to have more variations on the grip. For most clubs, the grip has to be round, and that is it, for the putter; however, the rule-makers in golf allow a flat top and a curved underside.

Another variation is the shaft. All the other clubs have to, by golf law, have a straight shaft. The putter is different; it is allowed to have a bent shaft should you prefer that. One recent innovation is a double bend on the shaft, many golfers have found this very useful as it can make it easier to hit the ball right.

The advantage of an offset putter is that it keeps your hands in front of the clubhead before you play your shot. What is the benefit of this? You may ask. Well, the theory is that if you do this, you will use your dominant eye more effectively as you take your shot. There is a whole science about eye contact and golf shots, and it is worth considering as it can improve your game a lot. For here, however, I would mention the standard advice about dominant eye and putter. That is if your left eye is predominant use a conventional putter if your right eye is dominant at least try out an offset putter.

Materials

Every putter has a flat area on the club head where the ball connects with the club. The difference in performance comes from the different  elements with make up the club head.

The primary material in the head of the putter is metal, usually aluminium, or titanium or steel. These metals provide a reliable contact with the ball but can make it hard to feel where the ball is going.

Recently, the manufacturers have been adding an insert to putters. These inserts are made of a softer material and give a better feel when you hit the ball. Inserts also help with the stability of the putter. For more information on inserts see this video.

Another feature worth mentioning is grooving. Grooves on the head of the putter can help you put topspin on the ball.

It is worth trying different types of putters in different circumstances to get a feel for what suits you and where.

The club head shape

Now let’s move on to the club head on your putter. Here there are two basic choices. The blade putter and the mallet putter.

A blade putter has a narrow and flat club head. Many experts believe that this offers a better feel for the ball. A mallet putter has a more rounded and larger clubhead and is generally thought to give a more consistent performance. You might have guessed that mallet putters are often a better choice for new players. But each has its uses for different shots, so you may want to have both in your golf bag.

There are two types of putter head, face balanced and toe balanced. To find this outstretch out your putter with the shaft parallel to the ground if the clubhead is facing up, you have a face balanced putter. If it is facing down, it is a toe balanced putter.

The face balanced putter is suitable for delivering a straight stroke on the ground, and a toe balanced putter will help you provide a good arced stroke.

The shaft of your putter: what to look for

Nearly all modern putters have a steel shaft, which works well for everyone. The club feels, and you will get a consistent performance rain, shine or change in temperature.

The hosel, that is the part of the golf club where the shaft meets the putter head has more variety. Which type of hosel fitting you choose is a matter of personal preference, and different golfers will find the hosel placement can be a help or a hindrance.

You can choose between a heel shafted putter, where the shaft connects to the putter head directly at the point nearest to you. Then there is the center-shaft putter, where the connection is near the centre of the club head.

Try out both types. You may well find that one type helps you to align the ball to where you want it to go, while the other seems to get in your way and is a distraction. It is down to preference so try out both

There is another factor to consider. And that is the offset of the hosel. The position of the hosel affects the centre of gravity. Most putters have some degree of offset, again try out and see what suits your game.

I want to put in an important word here. There is no point in trying out different putters unless you hold your putter correctly, and this is a thing which a surprising number of even experienced golfers get wrong.

Paul Williams shows you how to do it in just over a minute in this excellent little video. Do watch it. It is well worth a minute of your time.  

Other types of putters

Perimeter-weighted putters are exceptionally forgiving (that is they enable you to make a shot still even if you mis-hit the ball). By distributing weight around the edges of the clubhead, the club provides a larger sweet spot (that is that place on the club the ball needs to connect with the club to hit an accurate shot).

Alignment putters have big club heads with markings which help you align the ball to its target.

Long putters, also known as belly putters are long clubs which you can fix to your chest or stomach. The idea is to get more stability.

However, many tournaments and courses ban these clubs.

I hope that is enough background information for you and now I will offer you my five favorite putters for beginners.

This club is excellent value and a good buy for a putter for beginners. The symmetrical design means both left and right-handed golfers can use it.

It is sturdy and hardwearing, and you can expect several years of good use out of it before you upgrade to a higher tech putter. The shaft is quite long, so is more suitable for men of above average height, although we have heard of smaller women playing very happily with this club. Not only is it is a great training putter, but you can also use it for playing full rounds of golf.

It is light and sits comfortably in your hand, with a great balance and a feeling of responsiveness. Although it has few bells and whistles, this can be an advantage in your first putter. Its simplicity should not deceive you though the engineering is excellent even if it is not easy to see. Even very experienced golfers still use it for training and practice.

Pros

Affordable and straightforward. And suitable for right or left-handed players

Cons

You may find it a bit simple and prefer more technology right from the beginning. The face is not as flat as some more expensive putters.

Wilson Harmonized Square Heel/Toe Golf Putter
  • Square Heel/Toe Putter
  • Eye catching vertical seam grip is designed with a slightly larger diameter to improve feel
  • All new cosmetic for 2013 and the Harmonized Putters provide responsive feel and precise accuracy on and around the green
  • All-weather, oversize three piece paddle grip for great feel and control
  • Multiple density micro injections on the club face

A blade edged putter which is exceptionally good for the price. It has a padded face, with a microinjection polymer, giving it a soft feel and making it one of the most forgiving putters currently on the market. Its weighting is perfect, and it provides excellent stability off the ball, helping confidence in golfing beginners. Its design makes it easy to line up and keep your head in the correct place in relation to the ball. The line site on the club head is an excellent aid to beginners who develop their skills at alignment. The wide grip is also a useful feature for beginners, as it allows you to find your natural grip while still feeling comfortable with the club.

It looks great too. The putter has a micro-injection face insert to aid alignment and accuracy.

Pros

This putter offers great quality at an amazingly low price. The weighting and stability are as good as some much more expensive putters.

Cons

It’s a bit too light for some players. Not as robust as more expensive models, some paint chipping after heavy use. It does not come with a head cover. There is a lack of bounce off the club face.

Odyssey Men's White Hot SuperStroke RX 1 Putter (Right Hand, 35")
  • White hot feel is even better: we've taken the Legendary white hot insert Technology and we've combined it with a Dual layer injected molded insert that has a softer core so you get a putter that's the ultimate in speed and feel
  • Better roll from our oval pattern urethane insert: the oval design that created quicker, better roll in our Metal-X and Odyssey works models is in white hot RX
  • Increased friction on the face: we've also added a textured clear coat to the striking surface that works with the oval to increase friction and help get the ball rolling faster. When you add all this together, you're onto something really big
  • Tour proven head shapes and a new V-Line fang: we've taken head shapes that have proven themselves around the world. The V-Line fang combines our 7 PT RH WHITE HOT RX 1 SS 35 with the V-Line mallet for improved alignment and accuracy
  • Multiple grip options choose from our Standard rubber or SuperStroke grip options to find the perfect setup for your stroke

Odyssey’s putter range is deservedly well-known, and this is an excellent addition to their range. The designers do not have beginner golfers in mind with this club, but still does an excellent job for the beginner. It has a unique insert design, with a dual layer injected moulded insert, which makes it a very forgiving club. It uses Odyssey’s well-regarded ‘white-hot’ insert technology to give it both speed and feel. The clubhead has a clear textured coat which increases friction when you strike the ball, and this adds speed on the green. It comes with a choice of grips.

The clubhead is a mallet type but with an innovative ‘V-line fang’ design for greater control of the ball.

Pros

A high-quality putter which can take you from beginner to low handicapper. The soft feel on the ball is a useful feature for the beginner as it enables you to develop a feel for your strokes as you gain experience. This versatility makes it very good value. The high level of technology makes it easy to customise.

Cons

Not a budget option. The customisation may be a disadvantage for beginners, as the wide variety of options on offer may be confusing until you have developed your golfing game.

Odyssey Works Versa 2-Ball Fang Tank Putter with SuperStroke Grip, Right Hand, 35-Inch
  • Fusion RX Insert
  • Alternative Putter Designs To Find Your Balance
  • High Contrast Alignment

This club is another high-tech putter from the well-known Odyssey range, and it is an excellent putter. It has a mallet style head with modern design. The superb engineering has brought great weight and stability to this putter. It also comes with an oversized handle as an option. It has a cutting edge insert in the face which adds roll to the ball and has been praised by professional golfers. Its high contrast appearance is an aid to alignment. It is face-balanced and has a double-bend shaft, with the bends just above the putter head.

The steel mesh on the face adds a good feel and makes a distinctive and satisfying sound when you hit the ball. It includes a head cover. Counterbalanced through the grip, it does not have weights in the grip or in the putter itself. Its perimeter weighting gives excellent stability and forgiveness if you make an off-center putt. It has a counter-balance technology, and this means the manufacturers  have made the bottom and the top of the putter heavier to help you make a consistent smooth stroke time after time. A putter which can take you from your first rounds of golf to being much more experienced.

Pros

Another excellent Odyssey putter. Great Hi-tech looks. Wonderful feel when hitting the ball.

Cons

The steel mesh on the face can peel off after use.

Golf Clubs Scotty Cameron CAMERON & CROWN Newport Mallet 1 Putter Custom Designed at 33" (33 INCH, Newport)
  • Precision milled sight line in the flange provides enhanced alignment to give feel a mild assist via technology.
  • Sole-to-topline inlay fused to the stainless steel body with a vibration-dampening membrane .
  • Balance and forgiveness from two 20 gram heel-and-toe weights in the head, Scotty's tour-validated specification at 33"
  • Enhanced alignment from the pop-through flange alignment system that allows the player to address the ball squarely with the ball positioned properly forward in the stance.
  • Comfort with feel from the new small white Matador grip which is comfortable in the hands, without sacrificing feel and feedback .

The highly-regarded putter designer Scotty Cameron has designed this putter. It has a mallet head and face sole technology. This putter is yet a further innovation at the cutting edge of putter technology. It uses the most advanced metal technology, combining specialised stainless steels and aircraft grade aluminium inlays for exceptional feel and forgiveness in the clubhead.

This luxury putter comes in three shaft lengths, so it is suitable for players of any height. A single bend shafted club, it is customisable with enhanced alignment options. Its state of the art technology includes a vibration dampening system and a weighting technology, matched to the different shaft lengths. It’s milled clubface also adds to the stability of the club and will give you confidence even on the hardest shot. It looks good too, with milled flanged sightlines and crisscross visual cues. It is glare resistant has the Cameron branding gold black gray and white colour scheme.

Pros

This putter offers an enjoyable golfing experience. The different shaft lengths mean it is suitable for nearly all golfers, including women golfers. Each club comes with a serial number guaranteeing it is the genuine article

Cons

Only one. The cost.

Best Putters for beginners – Conclusion

The variations in putters are vast, both in price and technology. You may want to start with one of the less expensive putters until you get your skills up and that is fine. For us, however, the Golf Clubs Scotty Cameron CAMERON & CROWN Newport Mallet 1 Putter Custom Designed at 33" (33 INCH, Newport) is the standout putter. Although it seems expensive, it will serve you well for many years to come, and its technology will make the game more enjoyable right from the start.

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