In a previous tip, Sacks Parente co-founder and putter expert Steve Sacks explained why looks are important when selecting the best putter. The look of a custom putter typically comes into play during the decision-making process, but once you’ve picked a look that you like, what length should you get? Here, Steve gives us some valuable advice about finding the ideal putter length for an improved golf game.
His first tip about putter length may not be popular with many PGA professionals and instructors. According to Sacks, most players use putters that are too long. Instead, he recommends going shorter—much shorter. Sacks suggests using 32” to 34” or less in some cases, or even investing in custom putters to reach a player’s ideal length.
Sacks says, “Bending over the ball with a short putter puts most players directly over the ball, which helps with both aim and alignment. The farther away your hands are from the ball, the more precise your putting stroke needs to be. This is actually quite simple to prove. All you have to do is look at a protractor like the one pictured. Go to the bottom/middle and see how the lines radiate out. The farther they get from the starting point, the farther apart the space between the lines gets.”
According to Sacks, one of the most important positions you can keep yourself in before and after a stroke is the 90-degree position. “At address, your hands are the starting point, and the putter head is the 90. When you take a putting stroke, no matter what else you do, you have to get back to that 0/90 position. That starting spot is your square, at target position. If you don’t get back to that exact spot at impact, chances are you’ll miss the putt.”
Although you can’t be perfect every time, Sacks coaches golfers to get closer to the ball in order to make more putts. However, he advises that if you have a bad back or physical limitation that is exacerbated by bending over a shorter putter, don’t do it. Your health is more important.
While many believe posture to be of the utmost importance in a good putt, Sacks argues that posture doesn’t really matter that much: “There is no set posture that applies to everyone. It becomes a combination of how you see the ball at address, how you see your target, what’s comfortable, and whether or not you’re aiming where you think you are. I will admit that some postures make it easier to repeat a stroke, but if it negates everything else, why go there? As with many things in life, you must find a balance that works for you.”
And finally, don’t forget to work on your putting grip. Sacks says, “Don’t death grip the putter grip. The harder you squeeze the grip, the more tension is in your hands and arms. Tension and putting are not a good combination. You want to be comfortable and relaxed while standing over the ball. Your grip should be soft with just enough pressure to hold the putter in place through a stroke. When you find the proper putter length, a comfortable posture, and a relaxed grip, you’ll start to have more fun and make more putts.”