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Short Putters


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#1 hammer1

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Posted 19 April 2012 - 07:52 AM

I am 5' 7'' tall and use a 30" putter so I can let my arms hang naturally--just like they do with any other club.  Then all I have to do is rock my shoulders.  I think the yips and poor putting in general come from putting with bent elbows.  How many other short putter users are out there and what is your rationale?

Edited by hammer1, 19 April 2012 - 07:53 AM.

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#2 indyvai

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Posted 19 April 2012 - 08:21 AM

I tried a 30"er many years back and found that for me the straight arms felt really unnatural... I felt how Bubba looks putting... lol!

I think the yips reside more in the wrists and upper body and not in the elbows... at least from my experiences...

I'm at 34" now... down from 35"... slightly less elbow bend... but I'm also 6'-2"

Edited by indyvai, 19 April 2012 - 08:22 AM.


#3 Imp

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Posted 19 April 2012 - 09:13 AM

I'm 6' and I use a 34". Love the control it give me.

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#4 dachtor

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Posted 19 April 2012 - 09:13 AM

I much prefer short putters and a feeling that my arms are hanging naturally. Almost straight. I'm 5'11" with long arms and have putted my best with putters no longer than 33 inches.

#5 CMUgol4

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Posted 19 April 2012 - 09:20 AM

I'm 6'5" and my putter is 31.5".  Best putter I have ever owned (in fact have to sell the Betti I just picked b/c it doesn't fit as well), just was this length at the store and was draining everything with it and is the only time this actually translated to the course.

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#6 Solutions Etcetera

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Posted 19 April 2012 - 11:31 AM

5'10" and use a 32.75". I simply take my natural setup and cut it down accordingly, and that is what it comes out to.

#7 sir shanks a lot

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Posted 19 April 2012 - 12:01 PM

I'm 5'11 and just started using a 33" putter.  It has made such a big difference in my putting!  I have short legs, long arms and a long torso.  So when I bend a little at the waiste and let my arms hang they are pretty much at my knees....LOL!

Edited by sir shanks a lot, 19 April 2012 - 12:02 PM.

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#8 jaskanski

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Posted 19 April 2012 - 12:12 PM

Robert Garrigus is the obvious choice for short putters on tour, although Ken Green probably used and even shorter one. Zinger also used his infamous blob on a (short) stick back in the early 90's too.



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Green.

Edited by jaskanski, 19 April 2012 - 12:12 PM.


#9 byronk

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Posted 19 April 2012 - 01:02 PM

I'm 5'7 but wrist to floor puts me in standard length irons. I use a 31" putter mostly cause I feel like im able to see the line better being bent over more.

#10 tityman

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Posted 19 April 2012 - 02:19 PM

I'm 5'9" and I play a 32"

I


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#11 JoEY C

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Posted 19 April 2012 - 02:53 PM

Im 5'7 also. Wrist to floor is 30 1/2". About to cut my 33 into a 30. Feel like i have much more control of the putter being shorter

#12 Maximilian

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Posted 19 April 2012 - 04:22 PM

I used 33.5" and 34" putters for several years. The thing I always struggled with, is that I brought the putter head outside of the line on the take away. Finally figured out that if I used a slightly longer putter and stood more upright, I got a much better take away just slightly inside of the line. Using a 35" putter now and won't go back to a shorter one. It took some getting used to a 35" putter again, but the comfort and confidence came back within short.

#13 GooseHook

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Posted 19 April 2012 - 04:36 PM

I'm 5-9 with long arms. Turns out that 33 is the best length for me, I tried to go shorter but it was hurting my lower back. I do play my putter at 2* flat, though.

Edited by GooseHook, 19 April 2012 - 04:37 PM.

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#14 dogsbe

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Posted 19 April 2012 - 04:51 PM

I am 5ft 9 and I chopped mine down to 32.5 inches and moved it to 5 degrees flat.  It was spot on perfect.  The only thing, it did my back in and it took me a couple of days to straight again.  My putter is back up to 33.5 inches now.

#15 Nines

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Posted 19 April 2012 - 06:31 PM

I'm 5'9" with stubby legs :) and I use a 33" Odyssey. The longer putters just make me feel cramped and the sole doesn't sit flat on the ground. Also the shorter putter allows me to bend more over the top of the ball which makes me feel like I get a better look down the target line.


#16 JBent9610

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Posted 19 April 2012 - 08:31 PM

View Postjaskanski, on 19 April 2012 - 12:12 PM, said:

Attachment 628x471.jpg

Green.

Wow is that short! According to google searches, Green is 5'10" and his putters are anywhere from 18"-28". Makes my 32" putter look long!

#17 danattherock

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Posted 19 April 2012 - 08:53 PM

View Posthammer1, on 19 April 2012 - 07:52 AM, said:

.  How many other short putter users are out there and what is your rationale?



6'6" and use 34.25" putters. Best putter adjustment I ever made.



One of the many excellent articles from Geoff's "Tips" section....




The Long and Short of Putter Length and Lie

by Geoff Mangum

Geoff Mangum's PuttingZone™ Instruction

http://puttingzone.com
geoff@puttingzone.com

ZipTip: EQUIPMENT: The Long and Short of Putter Length and Lie

Don't let the putter wag the puttee; figure out a setup that is best for a good stroke, and then fit the putter to your needs, or else you'll get stuck with "average golferitis."

***

What difference does it make if the putter is 35 inches long with a "standard" lie of 71 degrees? Isn't this about what EVERYONE uses? It's surely what almost ALL the putter manufacturers peddle, so what could possibly be the question? The long and short of it is: putters are NOT designed for optimal putting, but for buyers of putters, and by far most buyers of putters are NOT too good at putting. The dirty little secret is: Many many times, it's not the puttee -- it's the putter.

What's Stock.

Putters in golf shops all look the same length, and nearly the same lie. So-called "standard" putters are 35 inches long with a "lie" of 71 degrees. Many manufacturers typically offer lengths from 33 to 37 inches with lies varying from 4 degrees more upright than 71 degrees to 4 degrees flatter.

Does anyone recall the advice that the golfer's setup and technique should dictate the putter length and lie, rather than allowing the putter specs to dictate technique? The dog wags the tail! But in golf, the putter wags the puttee!

More and more manufacturers are coming around, though. Karsten Manufacturing, makers of the popular Ping putters, cautions golfers to get fitted for their putters, and makes lengths available from 30 to 42 inches, with lie adjustments 8 degrees either way off "standard." Zevo also makes custom fitted putters. Other custom putters can be found.

What's Wrong -- Too Long!

Does a 35 inch putter work best for the average golfer? The average US male is typically between 5 feet 10 inches tall and 6 feet tall. Standing upright, the hands typically hang so the wrists match the crotch in height above the ground or the inseam on his pants, and the typical inseam length is between 30 and 33 inches. The WRISTS of almost all male golfers naturally hang 30 to 33 inches above the ground, so almost all golfers can grip a 35 inch putter WITHOUT BENDING OVER AT ALL. This is certainly the case with 6-foot tall males and is even more the case with anyone shorter. So this applies to about 90 percent of all male (and almost all female) golfers.

Crooked Elbows or a Flat Lie with Hands Out Away and Eyes Inside the Ball. A 35 inch putter causes problems! If you have a 35 inch putter and place your hands on the grip BEFORE you bend over at address, your bending will necessarily cause your elbows to flex as your torso lowers your shoulders but your hands stay the same height. The arms have to collapse (elbows outward) to accommodate the shorter distance between shoulder height and hands height. The only other way to bend at address and keep the elbows from going out to the sides is to extend the putterhead farther from your body and stance as you bend, so your hands lower in height as your shoulders lower.

What's wrong with that (the tail wagging the dog)? Bent elbows during putting require upper arm and forearm tension to control the position of the elbows to keep the overall shape of the arms-hands-putter system constant during the stroke. This tension, even if maintained steadily, translates into added grip pressure and detracts focus from more important aspects of the stroke. A failure to pay attention to this problem leaves excess "play" in the system, so the system can vary in length going back and coming through in the stroke, making solid consistent contact very problematic. The great Leo Diegel in the 1920s took care of this problem by poking both elbows out sharply, in a style since known as "Diegeling."

In the same way, extending the putterhead away from your stance also causes defects in technique. First, this forces the eyes back from the ball, so your targeting suffers from defective sighting angles that cause misperceptions of the target location. Eyes inside typically cause the target to appear to the right of its actual location.

Second, this forces the hands farther away from the thighs and flattens the lie angle of the putter. The net effect is you cannot simply move back and through in the stroke, with the putter hanging from your light grip; instead you have to lift and carry the putter back, and this adds a requirement of constant tension to your arms and grip.

Third, the extended putterhead with eyes inside the ball forces a "gating" stroke path back around to the inside and then forward around back to square, with a follow through forward and back around again. Good luck having a square face at the precise instant of contact! In the 1920s and 1930s, Walter Hagen, Horton Smith, Bobby Locke and others tried to deal with this problem by "hooding" the left wrist to try to eliminate the gating effect -- letting the left wrist fold or break on the backstroke and then gradually returning the wrist to square as the putterhead approached impact, to keep the putterhead going straight back and through on a single line.

So what happens if you bend BEFORE assuming your grip on the putter, allowing your hands to sink down the club as your shoulders lower? Try it and see. Your hands will slide 5 or 6 inches down the handle before you feel you are in the old familiar address position. And you are probably at the very bottom of the grip material on the handle, or perhaps a tad onto the metal with your fingers.

The message should be pretty clear -- ALMOST ALL GOLFERS OUGHT TO HAVE A PUTTER THAT IS AT LEAST 2-3 INCHES SHORTER THAN "STANDARD" IF NOT MORE.

If you currently use a 35 inch putter, try letting your hands slip down the putter as you bend before taking hold of the grip. Your head and eyes should remain over the ball, your arms hang naturally without tension and elbow "play," your hands hang naturally beneath the shoulders, the putterhead is not artificially forced away from your body, and your stroke path does not have a huge "gating" effect.

What's Wrong -- Too Flat a Lie!

If the putter length is too long, you either have the elbows crooked or the putterhead out away from you. Neither is good. The "lie" of the putter is determined by the height of your hands above the surface at address and by the horizontal distance from your hands out to the ball. The purpose of the lie is to set the sole of the putter flat on the surface, given the position of the hands back and above the ball. If you have a hands position that results in either the toe angling up or the heel angling up, your lie is incorrect. Such a lie also alters the sweetspot location on your putterface, so beware.

The "lie" is the angle between the two lines that meet at the ball: the line back to your feet and the line up along the shaft of the putter. That's where the "standard" 71 degrees comes in. But this is just odd jargon. The real point is that the shaft angles back FROM VERTICAL (90 degrees) by 19 degrees with the "standard" lie (90 - 71 = 19).

What's wrong with that? Well, the geometry is pretty straightforward: a typical 6 foot golfer using a putter 19 degrees back off vertical cannot possibly place his eyes directly over the ball unless he bends WAY LOW (with his hands going far down the metal or else his elbows point out to the sides). The reason is that the typical horizontal distance back from the eyes to the shoulder sockets and hands is pretty constant for people, and is around 8 to 10 inches. With the eyes over the ball, a shaft running up from the ball at a 19 degree angle meets the plane of the hands 8 inches back at a mere height of 23 inches. On a 35 inch putter, in order to put and keep your eyes directly over the ball, your palms must be gripping metal or your elbows must crook nearly 6 inches outward or inward.

Even if you can find a grip height that does not cause undue elbow "play," AND you can keep your eyes over the ball, if the lie is too far back off vertical you still have the problem of having to support the putterhead during the back and through motion with some lifting tension in the arms and hands. This requires the hands to float away from you as you lift slightly to keep the sole hovering above the turf, out from the hands' natural hanging line beneath the shoulders. And you still have the "gating" problem for solid, online, consistent impact. This makes your grip and forearm tension too tight and any lessening of this level of muscle tone during the stroke results in the putter head drifting in towards your feet.

As a test, lift the putter just off the surface and then relax your arms and hands. If the putterhead drops back towards your feet, your lie is too flat. In effect, the putter is trying to get to a more upright position by falling back towards the line straight down below your shoulder sockets.

So What's Good?

If you are 6 feet tall or under and believe in the following statements, a "standard" putter is very likely causing you problems in your putting:

  • The setup should be comfortable;
  • The eyes should be directly above the ball;
  • The grip should be relaxed without tension in the arms;
  • There should not be excess "play" in the system during the stroke;
  • The putter sole should rest flat on the ground or just above the ground;
  • The stroke path should remain pretty close to on line, without "gating," especially in the foot before and after impact.
To putt with these principles, you cannot allow the putter to dictate your position or technique.

To determine your proper length and lie, you should assume a setup position with a comfortable back and neck bend so the eyes are directly over the ball and your arms are hanging naturally and completely beneath your shoulders. Then you need two numbers: A) the horizontal distance from the centers of your palms out to the ball, and B) the vertical height of the centers of your palms above the ground. Try holding a yardstick horizontally out above the ball and looking straight down with eyes above the ball to get A. With these two numbers, your length and lie are simple geometry.

A right triangle is formed with vertices at three points: the center of the palms, the ball, and a point directly above the ball horizontally out from the center of the palms. "A" is the distance from the hands horizontally out to the point above the ball. "B" is the distance from there to the ground, which is identical to the distance from the center of the palms to the ground. The angle at the ball of this triangle is the offset from vertical of the shaft.

The Lie. The number A divided by B gives the "tangent" of the offset from vertical -- a simple number indicating the constant ration of these two sides for this unique angle at the ball. The inverse of this "tangent" (called the "arctangent") gives the angle in degrees offset from vertical. Manufacturers describe lie as the angle up to the shaft from the ground, so your "lie" is 90 degrees less this arctangent number. The formula is Lie = 90 minus Arctangent(A/B).

The Length. The length to the palms is the hypotenuse (longest side) of the 90 degree triangle having vertices at the ball, hands, and a point out from the hands directly above the ball. The two shorter sides of the triangle are A and B. From the Pythagoreum Theorem, (A times A) plus (B times B) = hypoteneuse times hypoteneuse. Or, the hypoteneuse length is the square root of the sum of the two sides squared. Since this goes only to the centers of the palms, add about 4 inches to get the full length of your putter. The formula is Length = Square Root(A*A + B*B) + 4 inches.

Two Examples. A golfer is 6 feet tall and when he assumes his address position, his hands hang 27 inches above the surface (6 inches beneath his crotch, with the center of his palms about halfway down his thighs toward his knees), and the horizontal distance from his hands out to the ball and his eye line over the ball is 9 inches. His lie should be 18.4 degrees off vertical or 71.6 degrees. His putter length should be 32.5 inches.

Another golfer is 5 feet 6 inches tall and when he assumes his address position, his hands hang 25 inches above the surface (about 5 inches below the crotch, just above the knees midway down the thighs), and the horizontal distance from his hands out to the ball is 8 inches. His lie should be 17.7 degrees off vertical or 72.3 degrees. His putter length should be 30.2 inches.

In both cases, the putter is considerably shorter than stock and the lie is a little upright. The shorter the golfer, the more each of these is true. Unless you are very tall or have difficulty bending, stock putters very likely are hurting your game.

You can calculate your length and lie now, using this scientific calculator: Calc98

LIE: To get the ARCTANGENT, just type in the ratio then click Shift then Tan. The result in the display is the angle off vertical. For the lie angle up from the ground, the calculator sequence is A, /, B, =, Shift, aTan, MIn, 90, -, MR, =.

LENGTH: The calculator sequence is A, x^2, +, B, x^2, =, SQR, +, 4,=. This gives the total length of the putter.

CAVEAT: "Perfect" calculations tend to be too cute by half, and real golfers seldom set up on the course as "perfectly" as they try to set up in a fitting session, so don't go as low as the numbers suggest -- go as low as the numbers PLUS 1-3 inches of "extra" so the golfer has some flexibility to setup taller on occasion. Cutting a putter down is a one-way street, so don't go too far all at once. The 5' 6" tall golfer in the example should probably try a 31" to 32" putter for a while first, not a 30.2" putter, and the 6' 0" tall golfer should try a 34" putter.

Make This Part of Your Game.

Shorter putters and more upright putters should be the rule of the day. Oftentimes, poor putting is caused by using putters that other poor putters choose to use. Manufacturers are in the business of maximizing sales, not improving your game. They sell putters mostly to poor putters, as the average golfer score is well above 90. These putters are designed to fit into this majority technique. Don't be a go-along sucker! Get fitted for a REAL putter under the guidance of someone who knows how to putt very well. If you can't find a custom fitted putter, take a hacksaw and cut down a "standard" putter and get it regripped. The long and short of putter lengths and lies is that you won't ever get rid of these problems until the dog starts wagging the tail!

© 2001 Geoff Mangum. All rights reserved. Reproduction for non-commercial purposes in unaltered form, with accompanying source credit and URL, is expressly granted. For more tips and information on putting, including a free 10,000+ database of putting lore and the Web's only newsletter on putting (also free), visit Geoff's website at http://www.puttingzone.com, or email him directly at geoff@puttingzone.com.

<br class="Apple-interchange-newline">



#18 JJensen

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Posted 19 April 2012 - 09:33 PM

There is a guy probably 5" 9" at my course that plays with a kids 2-ball...... i laugh every time i see him with it
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#19 MadGolfer76

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Posted 19 April 2012 - 09:37 PM

I am 5'11 and have been fit to a 32' putter. I play 33' just to spit in the eye of convention.
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#20 Scaldy

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Posted 20 April 2012 - 12:56 AM

I'm 5'2 (female) and I went from 33 to 32 to now 31". I would love to try to go lower but I like a D2-ish swing weight. I have a Scotty Cameron NP2 loaded up with 30g weights and lead tape to max it out at around 385g.

What kind of putters and head weights are you guys using at 30"s? I'd love to know. I was looking at tearing down a Cleveland "almost belly" as it has a 400g head.


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#21 Buzzkill

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Posted 20 April 2012 - 01:04 AM

I'm 5'6" and I use a 31" putter.  I should be using a 30" according to Geoff Mangum's putting theory.  I couldn't make such a leap from my normal 33" putters of the past but I'm a firm believer in his method now and can easily chocked down on my putter after a few months of actual play.
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#22 Buzzkill

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Posted 20 April 2012 - 01:11 AM

View PostScaldy, on 20 April 2012 - 12:56 AM, said:

I'm 5'2 (female) and I went from 33 to 32 to now 31". I would love to try to go lower but I like a D2-ish swing weight. I have a Scotty Cameron NP2 loaded up with 30g weights and lead tape to max it out at around 385g.

What kind of putters and head weights are you guys using at 30"s? I'd love to know. I was looking at tearing down a Cleveland "almost belly" as it has a 400g head.

Don't know my swingweight but my setup is as follows:

Miura KM-350
Head obviously weighs 350
Shaft and grip is 170
Counterweight on top is 90
Total weight is around 620

Love the putter with the counterweighting - if you get bored then try it, it's a whole different experience and for the better.  No more sloppy backswing during the stroke so you can focus on speed.
Titleist 913D3 7.5
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#23 GooseHook

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Posted 20 April 2012 - 07:32 AM

View Postdanattherock, on 19 April 2012 - 08:53 PM, said:

View Posthammer1, on 19 April 2012 - 07:52 AM, said:

.  How many other short putter users are out there and what is your rationale?



6'6" and use 34.25" putters. Best putter adjustment I ever made.



One of the many excellent articles from Geoff's "Tips" section....




The Long and Short of Putter Length and Lie

by Geoff Mangum

Geoff Mangum's PuttingZone™ Instruction

http://puttingzone.com
geoff@puttingzone.com

ZipTip: EQUIPMENT: The Long and Short of Putter Length and Lie

Don't let the putter wag the puttee; figure out a setup that is best for a good stroke, and then fit the putter to your needs, or else you'll get stuck with "average golferitis."

***

What difference does it make if the putter is 35 inches long with a "standard" lie of 71 degrees? Isn't this about what EVERYONE uses? It's surely what almost ALL the putter manufacturers peddle, so what could possibly be the question? The long and short of it is: putters are NOT designed for optimal putting, but for buyers of putters, and by far most buyers of putters are NOT too good at putting. The dirty little secret is: Many many times, it's not the puttee -- it's the putter.

What's Stock.

Putters in golf shops all look the same length, and nearly the same lie. So-called "standard" putters are 35 inches long with a "lie" of 71 degrees. Many manufacturers typically offer lengths from 33 to 37 inches with lies varying from 4 degrees more upright than 71 degrees to 4 degrees flatter.

Does anyone recall the advice that the golfer's setup and technique should dictate the putter length and lie, rather than allowing the putter specs to dictate technique? The dog wags the tail! But in golf, the putter wags the puttee!

More and more manufacturers are coming around, though. Karsten Manufacturing, makers of the popular Ping putters, cautions golfers to get fitted for their putters, and makes lengths available from 30 to 42 inches, with lie adjustments 8 degrees either way off "standard." Zevo also makes custom fitted putters. Other custom putters can be found.

What's Wrong -- Too Long!

Does a 35 inch putter work best for the average golfer? The average US male is typically between 5 feet 10 inches tall and 6 feet tall. Standing upright, the hands typically hang so the wrists match the crotch in height above the ground or the inseam on his pants, and the typical inseam length is between 30 and 33 inches. The WRISTS of almost all male golfers naturally hang 30 to 33 inches above the ground, so almost all golfers can grip a 35 inch putter WITHOUT BENDING OVER AT ALL. This is certainly the case with 6-foot tall males and is even more the case with anyone shorter. So this applies to about 90 percent of all male (and almost all female) golfers.

Crooked Elbows or a Flat Lie with Hands Out Away and Eyes Inside the Ball. A 35 inch putter causes problems! If you have a 35 inch putter and place your hands on the grip BEFORE you bend over at address, your bending will necessarily cause your elbows to flex as your torso lowers your shoulders but your hands stay the same height. The arms have to collapse (elbows outward) to accommodate the shorter distance between shoulder height and hands height. The only other way to bend at address and keep the elbows from going out to the sides is to extend the putterhead farther from your body and stance as you bend, so your hands lower in height as your shoulders lower.

What's wrong with that (the tail wagging the dog)? Bent elbows during putting require upper arm and forearm tension to control the position of the elbows to keep the overall shape of the arms-hands-putter system constant during the stroke. This tension, even if maintained steadily, translates into added grip pressure and detracts focus from more important aspects of the stroke. A failure to pay attention to this problem leaves excess "play" in the system, so the system can vary in length going back and coming through in the stroke, making solid consistent contact very problematic. The great Leo Diegel in the 1920s took care of this problem by poking both elbows out sharply, in a style since known as "Diegeling."

In the same way, extending the putterhead away from your stance also causes defects in technique. First, this forces the eyes back from the ball, so your targeting suffers from defective sighting angles that cause misperceptions of the target location. Eyes inside typically cause the target to appear to the right of its actual location.

Second, this forces the hands farther away from the thighs and flattens the lie angle of the putter. The net effect is you cannot simply move back and through in the stroke, with the putter hanging from your light grip; instead you have to lift and carry the putter back, and this adds a requirement of constant tension to your arms and grip.

Third, the extended putterhead with eyes inside the ball forces a "gating" stroke path back around to the inside and then forward around back to square, with a follow through forward and back around again. Good luck having a square face at the precise instant of contact! In the 1920s and 1930s, Walter Hagen, Horton Smith, Bobby Locke and others tried to deal with this problem by "hooding" the left wrist to try to eliminate the gating effect -- letting the left wrist fold or break on the backstroke and then gradually returning the wrist to square as the putterhead approached impact, to keep the putterhead going straight back and through on a single line.

So what happens if you bend BEFORE assuming your grip on the putter, allowing your hands to sink down the club as your shoulders lower? Try it and see. Your hands will slide 5 or 6 inches down the handle before you feel you are in the old familiar address position. And you are probably at the very bottom of the grip material on the handle, or perhaps a tad onto the metal with your fingers.

The message should be pretty clear -- ALMOST ALL GOLFERS OUGHT TO HAVE A PUTTER THAT IS AT LEAST 2-3 INCHES SHORTER THAN "STANDARD" IF NOT MORE.

If you currently use a 35 inch putter, try letting your hands slip down the putter as you bend before taking hold of the grip. Your head and eyes should remain over the ball, your arms hang naturally without tension and elbow "play," your hands hang naturally beneath the shoulders, the putterhead is not artificially forced away from your body, and your stroke path does not have a huge "gating" effect.

What's Wrong -- Too Flat a Lie!

If the putter length is too long, you either have the elbows crooked or the putterhead out away from you. Neither is good. The "lie" of the putter is determined by the height of your hands above the surface at address and by the horizontal distance from your hands out to the ball. The purpose of the lie is to set the sole of the putter flat on the surface, given the position of the hands back and above the ball. If you have a hands position that results in either the toe angling up or the heel angling up, your lie is incorrect. Such a lie also alters the sweetspot location on your putterface, so beware.

The "lie" is the angle between the two lines that meet at the ball: the line back to your feet and the line up along the shaft of the putter. That's where the "standard" 71 degrees comes in. But this is just odd jargon. The real point is that the shaft angles back FROM VERTICAL (90 degrees) by 19 degrees with the "standard" lie (90 - 71 = 19).

What's wrong with that? Well, the geometry is pretty straightforward: a typical 6 foot golfer using a putter 19 degrees back off vertical cannot possibly place his eyes directly over the ball unless he bends WAY LOW (with his hands going far down the metal or else his elbows point out to the sides). The reason is that the typical horizontal distance back from the eyes to the shoulder sockets and hands is pretty constant for people, and is around 8 to 10 inches. With the eyes over the ball, a shaft running up from the ball at a 19 degree angle meets the plane of the hands 8 inches back at a mere height of 23 inches. On a 35 inch putter, in order to put and keep your eyes directly over the ball, your palms must be gripping metal or your elbows must crook nearly 6 inches outward or inward.

Even if you can find a grip height that does not cause undue elbow "play," AND you can keep your eyes over the ball, if the lie is too far back off vertical you still have the problem of having to support the putterhead during the back and through motion with some lifting tension in the arms and hands. This requires the hands to float away from you as you lift slightly to keep the sole hovering above the turf, out from the hands' natural hanging line beneath the shoulders. And you still have the "gating" problem for solid, online, consistent impact. This makes your grip and forearm tension too tight and any lessening of this level of muscle tone during the stroke results in the putter head drifting in towards your feet.

As a test, lift the putter just off the surface and then relax your arms and hands. If the putterhead drops back towards your feet, your lie is too flat. In effect, the putter is trying to get to a more upright position by falling back towards the line straight down below your shoulder sockets.

So What's Good?

If you are 6 feet tall or under and believe in the following statements, a "standard" putter is very likely causing you problems in your putting:

  • The setup should be comfortable;
  • The eyes should be directly above the ball;
  • The grip should be relaxed without tension in the arms;
  • There should not be excess "play" in the system during the stroke;
  • The putter sole should rest flat on the ground or just above the ground;
  • The stroke path should remain pretty close to on line, without "gating," especially in the foot before and after impact.
To putt with these principles, you cannot allow the putter to dictate your position or technique.

To determine your proper length and lie, you should assume a setup position with a comfortable back and neck bend so the eyes are directly over the ball and your arms are hanging naturally and completely beneath your shoulders. Then you need two numbers: A) the horizontal distance from the centers of your palms out to the ball, and B) the vertical height of the centers of your palms above the ground. Try holding a yardstick horizontally out above the ball and looking straight down with eyes above the ball to get A. With these two numbers, your length and lie are simple geometry.

A right triangle is formed with vertices at three points: the center of the palms, the ball, and a point directly above the ball horizontally out from the center of the palms. "A" is the distance from the hands horizontally out to the point above the ball. "B" is the distance from there to the ground, which is identical to the distance from the center of the palms to the ground. The angle at the ball of this triangle is the offset from vertical of the shaft.

The Lie. The number A divided by B gives the "tangent" of the offset from vertical -- a simple number indicating the constant ration of these two sides for this unique angle at the ball. The inverse of this "tangent" (called the "arctangent") gives the angle in degrees offset from vertical. Manufacturers describe lie as the angle up to the shaft from the ground, so your "lie" is 90 degrees less this arctangent number. The formula is Lie = 90 minus Arctangent(A/B).

The Length. The length to the palms is the hypotenuse (longest side) of the 90 degree triangle having vertices at the ball, hands, and a point out from the hands directly above the ball. The two shorter sides of the triangle are A and B. From the Pythagoreum Theorem, (A times A) plus (B times B) = hypoteneuse times hypoteneuse. Or, the hypoteneuse length is the square root of the sum of the two sides squared. Since this goes only to the centers of the palms, add about 4 inches to get the full length of your putter. The formula is Length = Square Root(A*A + B*B) + 4 inches.

Two Examples. A golfer is 6 feet tall and when he assumes his address position, his hands hang 27 inches above the surface (6 inches beneath his crotch, with the center of his palms about halfway down his thighs toward his knees), and the horizontal distance from his hands out to the ball and his eye line over the ball is 9 inches. His lie should be 18.4 degrees off vertical or 71.6 degrees. His putter length should be 32.5 inches.

Another golfer is 5 feet 6 inches tall and when he assumes his address position, his hands hang 25 inches above the surface (about 5 inches below the crotch, just above the knees midway down the thighs), and the horizontal distance from his hands out to the ball is 8 inches. His lie should be 17.7 degrees off vertical or 72.3 degrees. His putter length should be 30.2 inches.

In both cases, the putter is considerably shorter than stock and the lie is a little upright. The shorter the golfer, the more each of these is true. Unless you are very tall or have difficulty bending, stock putters very likely are hurting your game.

You can calculate your length and lie now, using this scientific calculator: Calc98

LIE: To get the ARCTANGENT, just type in the ratio then click Shift then Tan. The result in the display is the angle off vertical. For the lie angle up from the ground, the calculator sequence is A, /, B, =, Shift, aTan, MIn, 90, -, MR, =.

LENGTH: The calculator sequence is A, x^2, +, B, x^2, =, SQR, +, 4,=. This gives the total length of the putter.

CAVEAT: "Perfect" calculations tend to be too cute by half, and real golfers seldom set up on the course as "perfectly" as they try to set up in a fitting session, so don't go as low as the numbers suggest -- go as low as the numbers PLUS 1-3 inches of "extra" so the golfer has some flexibility to setup taller on occasion. Cutting a putter down is a one-way street, so don't go too far all at once. The 5' 6" tall golfer in the example should probably try a 31" to 32" putter for a while first, not a 30.2" putter, and the 6' 0" tall golfer should try a 34" putter.

Make This Part of Your Game.

Shorter putters and more upright putters should be the rule of the day. Oftentimes, poor putting is caused by using putters that other poor putters choose to use. Manufacturers are in the business of maximizing sales, not improving your game. They sell putters mostly to poor putters, as the average golfer score is well above 90. These putters are designed to fit into this majority technique. Don't be a go-along sucker! Get fitted for a REAL putter under the guidance of someone who knows how to putt very well. If you can't find a custom fitted putter, take a hacksaw and cut down a "standard" putter and get it regripped. The long and short of putter lengths and lies is that you won't ever get rid of these problems until the dog starts wagging the tail!

© 2001 Geoff Mangum. All rights reserved. Reproduction for non-commercial purposes in unaltered form, with accompanying source credit and URL, is expressly granted. For more tips and information on putting, including a free 10,000+ database of putting lore and the Web's only newsletter on putting (also free), visit Geoff's website at http://www.puttingzone.com, or email him directly at geoff@puttingzone.com.

<br class="Apple-interchange-newline">




Here's a visual of what this post is talking about, for those who like their trigonometry:
putters.JPG
SLDR 460, Elements Chrome 7F5T
PING G25 , Elements Chrome 8F5T
SLDR Rescue 19°, hM3 Black Tie
SLDR Rescue 24°, Speeder 9.8 HB
JPX 825 Pro/ MP- T4
Piretti Potenza
WITB Link

#24 hammer1

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Posted 20 April 2012 - 08:09 AM

Danattherock: Thanks for posting that great article.  Lots of good stuff in there and It seems to back up my hunches.  

Scaldy:  I'm not sure of the swing weight on my 30" putter--I'll have my local shop check it out within a few days and will get back to you.  Whatever it is, I like it!!!  Now, if I could just start hitting my irons like I hit my driver and chipping the ball more consistently, I'd be dangerous. :crazy:

Edited by hammer1, 20 April 2012 - 08:25 AM.

PING K15 driver, 10.5*, TFC 149D shaft
PING K15 3 wood, TFC 149F shaft
PING G15 hybrids, 20* and 23*, TFC 149H
PING G15 irons, 5-PW, TFC 149I
PING Eye 2 XG SW and LW, TFC 169I
PING Zing 5 KS stainless steel putter

#25 Eagle006

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Posted 20 April 2012 - 12:01 PM

I'm 6'4" tall so have always played longer putters.

Like many here I have gradually realised that shorter and more upright works better for me. As a result I've recently gone down to 34" and 74* lie angle. Loving it so far. Much more control and consistency of strike.


#26 tatertot

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Posted 20 April 2012 - 02:01 PM

View PostGooseHook, on 20 April 2012 - 07:32 AM, said:

View Postdanattherock, on 19 April 2012 - 08:53 PM, said:

View Posthammer1, on 19 April 2012 - 07:52 AM, said:

.  How many other short putter users are out there and what is your rationale?



6'6" and use 34.25" putters. Best putter adjustment I ever made.



One of the many excellent articles from Geoff's "Tips" section....




The Long and Short of Putter Length and Lie

by Geoff Mangum

Geoff Mangum's PuttingZone™ Instruction

http://puttingzone.com
geoff@puttingzone.com

ZipTip: EQUIPMENT: The Long and Short of Putter Length and Lie

Don't let the putter wag the puttee; figure out a setup that is best for a good stroke, and then fit the putter to your needs, or else you'll get stuck with "average golferitis."

***

What difference does it make if the putter is 35 inches long with a "standard" lie of 71 degrees? Isn't this about what EVERYONE uses? It's surely what almost ALL the putter manufacturers peddle, so what could possibly be the question? The long and short of it is: putters are NOT designed for optimal putting, but for buyers of putters, and by far most buyers of putters are NOT too good at putting. The dirty little secret is: Many many times, it's not the puttee -- it's the putter.

What's Stock.

Putters in golf shops all look the same length, and nearly the same lie. So-called "standard" putters are 35 inches long with a "lie" of 71 degrees. Many manufacturers typically offer lengths from 33 to 37 inches with lies varying from 4 degrees more upright than 71 degrees to 4 degrees flatter.

Does anyone recall the advice that the golfer's setup and technique should dictate the putter length and lie, rather than allowing the putter specs to dictate technique? The dog wags the tail! But in golf, the putter wags the puttee!

More and more manufacturers are coming around, though. Karsten Manufacturing, makers of the popular Ping putters, cautions golfers to get fitted for their putters, and makes lengths available from 30 to 42 inches, with lie adjustments 8 degrees either way off "standard." Zevo also makes custom fitted putters. Other custom putters can be found.

What's Wrong -- Too Long!

Does a 35 inch putter work best for the average golfer? The average US male is typically between 5 feet 10 inches tall and 6 feet tall. Standing upright, the hands typically hang so the wrists match the crotch in height above the ground or the inseam on his pants, and the typical inseam length is between 30 and 33 inches. The WRISTS of almost all male golfers naturally hang 30 to 33 inches above the ground, so almost all golfers can grip a 35 inch putter WITHOUT BENDING OVER AT ALL. This is certainly the case with 6-foot tall males and is even more the case with anyone shorter. So this applies to about 90 percent of all male (and almost all female) golfers.

Crooked Elbows or a Flat Lie with Hands Out Away and Eyes Inside the Ball. A 35 inch putter causes problems! If you have a 35 inch putter and place your hands on the grip BEFORE you bend over at address, your bending will necessarily cause your elbows to flex as your torso lowers your shoulders but your hands stay the same height. The arms have to collapse (elbows outward) to accommodate the shorter distance between shoulder height and hands height. The only other way to bend at address and keep the elbows from going out to the sides is to extend the putterhead farther from your body and stance as you bend, so your hands lower in height as your shoulders lower.

What's wrong with that (the tail wagging the dog)? Bent elbows during putting require upper arm and forearm tension to control the position of the elbows to keep the overall shape of the arms-hands-putter system constant during the stroke. This tension, even if maintained steadily, translates into added grip pressure and detracts focus from more important aspects of the stroke. A failure to pay attention to this problem leaves excess "play" in the system, so the system can vary in length going back and coming through in the stroke, making solid consistent contact very problematic. The great Leo Diegel in the 1920s took care of this problem by poking both elbows out sharply, in a style since known as "Diegeling."

In the same way, extending the putterhead away from your stance also causes defects in technique. First, this forces the eyes back from the ball, so your targeting suffers from defective sighting angles that cause misperceptions of the target location. Eyes inside typically cause the target to appear to the right of its actual location.

Second, this forces the hands farther away from the thighs and flattens the lie angle of the putter. The net effect is you cannot simply move back and through in the stroke, with the putter hanging from your light grip; instead you have to lift and carry the putter back, and this adds a requirement of constant tension to your arms and grip.

Third, the extended putterhead with eyes inside the ball forces a "gating" stroke path back around to the inside and then forward around back to square, with a follow through forward and back around again. Good luck having a square face at the precise instant of contact! In the 1920s and 1930s, Walter Hagen, Horton Smith, Bobby Locke and others tried to deal with this problem by "hooding" the left wrist to try to eliminate the gating effect -- letting the left wrist fold or break on the backstroke and then gradually returning the wrist to square as the putterhead approached impact, to keep the putterhead going straight back and through on a single line.

So what happens if you bend BEFORE assuming your grip on the putter, allowing your hands to sink down the club as your shoulders lower? Try it and see. Your hands will slide 5 or 6 inches down the handle before you feel you are in the old familiar address position. And you are probably at the very bottom of the grip material on the handle, or perhaps a tad onto the metal with your fingers.

The message should be pretty clear -- ALMOST ALL GOLFERS OUGHT TO HAVE A PUTTER THAT IS AT LEAST 2-3 INCHES SHORTER THAN "STANDARD" IF NOT MORE.

If you currently use a 35 inch putter, try letting your hands slip down the putter as you bend before taking hold of the grip. Your head and eyes should remain over the ball, your arms hang naturally without tension and elbow "play," your hands hang naturally beneath the shoulders, the putterhead is not artificially forced away from your body, and your stroke path does not have a huge "gating" effect.

What's Wrong -- Too Flat a Lie!

If the putter length is too long, you either have the elbows crooked or the putterhead out away from you. Neither is good. The "lie" of the putter is determined by the height of your hands above the surface at address and by the horizontal distance from your hands out to the ball. The purpose of the lie is to set the sole of the putter flat on the surface, given the position of the hands back and above the ball. If you have a hands position that results in either the toe angling up or the heel angling up, your lie is incorrect. Such a lie also alters the sweetspot location on your putterface, so beware.

The "lie" is the angle between the two lines that meet at the ball: the line back to your feet and the line up along the shaft of the putter. That's where the "standard" 71 degrees comes in. But this is just odd jargon. The real point is that the shaft angles back FROM VERTICAL (90 degrees) by 19 degrees with the "standard" lie (90 - 71 = 19).

What's wrong with that? Well, the geometry is pretty straightforward: a typical 6 foot golfer using a putter 19 degrees back off vertical cannot possibly place his eyes directly over the ball unless he bends WAY LOW (with his hands going far down the metal or else his elbows point out to the sides). The reason is that the typical horizontal distance back from the eyes to the shoulder sockets and hands is pretty constant for people, and is around 8 to 10 inches. With the eyes over the ball, a shaft running up from the ball at a 19 degree angle meets the plane of the hands 8 inches back at a mere height of 23 inches. On a 35 inch putter, in order to put and keep your eyes directly over the ball, your palms must be gripping metal or your elbows must crook nearly 6 inches outward or inward.

Even if you can find a grip height that does not cause undue elbow "play," AND you can keep your eyes over the ball, if the lie is too far back off vertical you still have the problem of having to support the putterhead during the back and through motion with some lifting tension in the arms and hands. This requires the hands to float away from you as you lift slightly to keep the sole hovering above the turf, out from the hands' natural hanging line beneath the shoulders. And you still have the "gating" problem for solid, online, consistent impact. This makes your grip and forearm tension too tight and any lessening of this level of muscle tone during the stroke results in the putter head drifting in towards your feet.

As a test, lift the putter just off the surface and then relax your arms and hands. If the putterhead drops back towards your feet, your lie is too flat. In effect, the putter is trying to get to a more upright position by falling back towards the line straight down below your shoulder sockets.

So What's Good?

If you are 6 feet tall or under and believe in the following statements, a "standard" putter is very likely causing you problems in your putting:

  • The setup should be comfortable;
  • The eyes should be directly above the ball;
  • The grip should be relaxed without tension in the arms;
  • There should not be excess "play" in the system during the stroke;
  • The putter sole should rest flat on the ground or just above the ground;
  • The stroke path should remain pretty close to on line, without "gating," especially in the foot before and after impact.
To putt with these principles, you cannot allow the putter to dictate your position or technique.

To determine your proper length and lie, you should assume a setup position with a comfortable back and neck bend so the eyes are directly over the ball and your arms are hanging naturally and completely beneath your shoulders. Then you need two numbers: A) the horizontal distance from the centers of your palms out to the ball, and B) the vertical height of the centers of your palms above the ground. Try holding a yardstick horizontally out above the ball and looking straight down with eyes above the ball to get A. With these two numbers, your length and lie are simple geometry.

A right triangle is formed with vertices at three points: the center of the palms, the ball, and a point directly above the ball horizontally out from the center of the palms. "A" is the distance from the hands horizontally out to the point above the ball. "B" is the distance from there to the ground, which is identical to the distance from the center of the palms to the ground. The angle at the ball of this triangle is the offset from vertical of the shaft.

The Lie. The number A divided by B gives the "tangent" of the offset from vertical -- a simple number indicating the constant ration of these two sides for this unique angle at the ball. The inverse of this "tangent" (called the "arctangent") gives the angle in degrees offset from vertical. Manufacturers describe lie as the angle up to the shaft from the ground, so your "lie" is 90 degrees less this arctangent number. The formula is Lie = 90 minus Arctangent(A/B).

The Length. The length to the palms is the hypotenuse (longest side) of the 90 degree triangle having vertices at the ball, hands, and a point out from the hands directly above the ball. The two shorter sides of the triangle are A and B. From the Pythagoreum Theorem, (A times A) plus (B times B) = hypoteneuse times hypoteneuse. Or, the hypoteneuse length is the square root of the sum of the two sides squared. Since this goes only to the centers of the palms, add about 4 inches to get the full length of your putter. The formula is Length = Square Root(A*A + B*B) + 4 inches.

Two Examples. A golfer is 6 feet tall and when he assumes his address position, his hands hang 27 inches above the surface (6 inches beneath his crotch, with the center of his palms about halfway down his thighs toward his knees), and the horizontal distance from his hands out to the ball and his eye line over the ball is 9 inches. His lie should be 18.4 degrees off vertical or 71.6 degrees. His putter length should be 32.5 inches.

Another golfer is 5 feet 6 inches tall and when he assumes his address position, his hands hang 25 inches above the surface (about 5 inches below the crotch, just above the knees midway down the thighs), and the horizontal distance from his hands out to the ball is 8 inches. His lie should be 17.7 degrees off vertical or 72.3 degrees. His putter length should be 30.2 inches.

In both cases, the putter is considerably shorter than stock and the lie is a little upright. The shorter the golfer, the more each of these is true. Unless you are very tall or have difficulty bending, stock putters very likely are hurting your game.

You can calculate your length and lie now, using this scientific calculator: Calc98

LIE: To get the ARCTANGENT, just type in the ratio then click Shift then Tan. The result in the display is the angle off vertical. For the lie angle up from the ground, the calculator sequence is A, /, B, =, Shift, aTan, MIn, 90, -, MR, =.

LENGTH: The calculator sequence is A, x^2, +, B, x^2, =, SQR, +, 4,=. This gives the total length of the putter.

CAVEAT: "Perfect" calculations tend to be too cute by half, and real golfers seldom set up on the course as "perfectly" as they try to set up in a fitting session, so don't go as low as the numbers suggest -- go as low as the numbers PLUS 1-3 inches of "extra" so the golfer has some flexibility to setup taller on occasion. Cutting a putter down is a one-way street, so don't go too far all at once. The 5' 6" tall golfer in the example should probably try a 31" to 32" putter for a while first, not a 30.2" putter, and the 6' 0" tall golfer should try a 34" putter.

Make This Part of Your Game.

Shorter putters and more upright putters should be the rule of the day. Oftentimes, poor putting is caused by using putters that other poor putters choose to use. Manufacturers are in the business of maximizing sales, not improving your game. They sell putters mostly to poor putters, as the average golfer score is well above 90. These putters are designed to fit into this majority technique. Don't be a go-along sucker! Get fitted for a REAL putter under the guidance of someone who knows how to putt very well. If you can't find a custom fitted putter, take a hacksaw and cut down a "standard" putter and get it regripped. The long and short of putter lengths and lies is that you won't ever get rid of these problems until the dog starts wagging the tail!

© 2001 Geoff Mangum. All rights reserved. Reproduction for non-commercial purposes in unaltered form, with accompanying source credit and URL, is expressly granted. For more tips and information on putting, including a free 10,000+ database of putting lore and the Web's only newsletter on putting (also free), visit Geoff's website at http://www.puttingzone.com, or email him directly at geoff@puttingzone.com.

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Here's a visual of what this post is talking about, for those who like their trigonometry:
putters.JPG

I think there is one mistake on the visual (although I very well could be wrong) - you have to add 4 after you get the square root.
Driver: Cleveland Custom XL - 9
Irons: Ping G15 - 4, 6, 8, PW
SW: Cleveland CG 14 - 54
Putter: Wilson KC IV

#27 displayname

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Posted 21 April 2012 - 12:56 AM

My former boss was about 6'2" and he used a 22 inch putter. I know he was a single digit player, but I know he also was know to "generously" track his own scores. Any way around it, that is still the shortest putter I have ever seen a grown man use, and he gets laughed at on the first green every time he plays with someone new.

#28 cmrl1986

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Posted 21 April 2012 - 01:58 AM

5'10" and at just a hair under 34" on the putter and 1 degree flat. I have been trying to get more up right though. I do putt better that way as I'm more over the ball. Plus, back surgery 3 weeks ago (at age 25) means everything is going to be a bit more up right.
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#29 stym1e

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Posted 21 April 2012 - 02:02 AM

View Posthammer1, on 19 April 2012 - 07:52 AM, said:

I am 5' 7'' tall and use a 30" putter so I can let my arms hang naturally--just like they do with any other club.  Then all I have to do is rock my shoulders.  I think the yips and poor putting in general come from putting with bent elbows.  How many other short putter users are out there and what is your rationale?

I'm 5' 9" tall and I cut down my new putter to 31.5" last fall. I think this setup is pretty close to yours if we look at our heights and putter lengths. My arms are not totally straight... they are bent just slightly and this feels very very comfortable and natural to me. It's very easy for me to keep the putter head going straight back and straight through impact when I'm standing at appropriate distance from the ball. My posture is pretty much bent and I'm keeping my legs straight and my knees "locked back". I also have my weight heavily on my heels... so much that I could "lift" my toes if I wanted to.

With this posture and weight position I've noticed that the best distance from the ball is where my eyes aren't exactly over the ball. My eyes are actually just an inch or two away from over the ball so I'm standing 1-2 inches further from the ball. This makes it easier for me to aim my putt and it's easy to keep the putter head on the right line during backswing and follow through. I'm right eye dominant so I think this setup is not very common for a player like me...(?). I'm actually using an aim line on my golf balls so I always take my posture according to the aim line that's on my ball...

This is my new gamer and I couldn't be more happier:

Posted Image

My grip is the 2 thumb grip from Lamkin. It makes my wrist really passive and putting feels so good.

Edited by stym1e, 21 April 2012 - 02:05 AM.


#30 rjp322

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Posted 21 April 2012 - 02:21 AM

Are you guys adjusting the weight of your putter when you have it so short?


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