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Putter Buying Guide: How to Choose the Right Putter for Your Putting Style

There is a saying in golf that most of you will be familiar with - “drive for show, putt for dough”. We might think this doesn’t really apply to the...

There is a saying in golf that most of you will be familiar with - “drive for show, putt for dough”.

We might think this doesn’t really apply to the modern “bomb and gouge” game where power is sometimes seen as the most valuable asset.

But the players who consistently win are highly proficient with the flat stick regardless of how far they hit the ball off the tee.

Putting and putters are the one department of the game that is most associated with looks, feel and individuality.

Although much technology is invested in the design of modern putters, golfers still tend to trust their instincts in purchasing a new putter based on how it looks and feels with a few practice putts.

If you also happen to sink a bunch of 6-foot putts in a row it’s almost certainly going to be a keeper!

Some players can stay loyal to a certain style of putter and never be tempted by some shiny new offering.

This is best demonstrated by three of the most successful putters of all time on the PGA Tour - Brad Faxon, Tiger Woods and Steve Stricker.

Woods’ “old faithful” Scotty Cameron design has been in his bag since 1999 and has helped him for 14 out of his 15 major victories.

Technology can also assist us understand more about the path of the putter during our putting stroke.

As we will show shortly, putters can be paired to the path your putter head follows helping to create a more consistent contact and roll to the ball.

There are three putting strokes that we all fall into which are:

  • Arc
  • Straight back, straight through
  • Out to In


This sees the putter's head move slightly to the inside on the backswing with the face marginally opening. To keep the putt online, the putter will need to be squared up at impact.

Straight back, straight through

As the name suggests, the putter does not deviate from the target line at any point in the stroke.

Out to in

Opposite of the arc where the putter head moves marginally outside the target line on the backswing and returns to the ball in an outside to-in path.

So, if we can get a better understanding of how our putting stroke works which type of putter is likely to work best for us?

Golf putting

Of all the different putter types that are available today, we can categorise them into three distinctive designs:

  • Blade
  • Mallet
  • High MOI


Probably the most traditional design available today.

The blade-style putter is a simple design which is best highlighted in the iconic Ping Anser, Anser 2 and the Scotty Cameron Newport design putters.

Blade putters tended initially to have more weight placed in the toe with the sweet spot favouring the heel end of the putter.

This type of weighting means the blade putters are more suited to the arc-style putting stroke we talked about earlier.

The reason for this relates to the added weight in the toe end of the putter would promote the blade opening slightly in the backswing before being squared up at impact.

Traditional blade-style putters feature what is known as the “plumber’s neck” hosel meaning that your hands are always positioned slightly ahead of the face of the putter at address and throughout the putting stroke.

Blade putters are seen very much like blade irons in respect of the way to maximise the performance of the putter is by connecting with the sweet spot consistently.


Mallet-style putters tend to have a bigger profile than their blade counterparts.

The sweet spot also tends to be bigger and the mallet design overall is more forgiving than the blade putter.

The weighting of a mallet design is more evenly spread throughout the head compared to the blade design.

Whilst the mallet style putter has been around for decades, its popularity increased with the Odyssey Rosse style putters that came out in the mid-90s.

These were then backed up by Odyssey’s highly popular “2-ball” designs which were launched in the early 2000s.

Mallet putters will also feature more in the way of alignment aids to help you line up your putt correctly and get it starting on the correct line.

Mallet putters are also more face balanced than blade putters which means they are more suited to the straight back, straight-through putting stroke.

Lastly, you see a wider variety of hosel designs on mallet putters to suit different looks and lie angles at address.

High MOI

High MOI (Moment Of Inertia) putters are similar to mallet designs however they take the concept further.

To help golfers keep the putter face square for as long as possible throughout the stroke

high MOI putters will feature strategic weighting at the back of the putter to help reduce twisting.

The design has become popular with putters like the TaylorMade Spyder series which feature two interchangeable weight ports at the back of the putter and has been highly successful in the hands of Rory McIlroy and Dustin Johnson in recent years.

Golf clubs

Face Designs

Putters can also feature different finishes on their faces which are all designed to enhance feel and feedback plus get the ball rolling better to its target.

The three different offerings are:

  • Insert
  • Milled
  • Groove


Inserts are designed to offer the softest feel and can be made using a variety of exotic materials to achieve this goal.

Two of the most popular designs have been the Odyssey “White Hot” inserts and Scotty Cameron’s Teryllium inserts with its distinctive copper-coloured finish.

Over time, inserts can start to wear and damage which can affect their overall performance.


Milled putter faces are also designed to provide a soft feel off the face but also get the ball rolling truer at contact.

If you look at a putter making contact with the ball in slow-motion you will see that the ball initially skids off the face meaning it doesn’t roll immediately after contact which can make distance control difficult.

Milled faces will feature intricate drilled patterns across the face which help to get the ball rolling quicker off the putter face.


A few putter brands have experimented with grooves on the putter faces.

The idea behind a grooved pattern is to combat the skidding motion of the ball after impact as described above.

Groove putters looked to maximise the ball’s roll but weren’t always necessarily the softest feeling putters.

Golf putting green

As we have seen, there are different putter styles out there in the marketplace that will work for all putting types.

Understanding a little more about what type of putting stroke you have can go a long way to helping you choose the right putter for you.

In choosing a new putter your choice can come down to how the ball feels coming off the putter's face depending on the type of surface the face has.

You may be a purist at heart and want to employ a blade-style putter but ultimately finding a mallet or a high MOI putter might see you hole more putts.

There is no doubt that finding a putter that works best for your game can save you shots over a round of golf.

Whether it’s holing a good putt to save bogey from double-bogey or draining a decent putt for an all-important birdie the putter could be one of your longest-serving clubs in the bag.

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