Updated: May 29, 2015
Golf Putter Reviews:I am an avid golfer and recently had my handicap down to a lifetime low of 11.5. I have always been of the opinion that having the right putter does not always equate to lower scores. The old adage in golf is "drive for show and putt for dough" - which directly translates to make your putts or else your score will suffer. I play weekly with 3 other guys and see them change putters at least twice a year thinking they will get better feel on long and short putts. The truth is that their handicaps have remained unchanged over the last year while my handicap was lowered 5 strokes (while keeping the same putter). The short game in golf which includes pitching, chipping and putting accounts for about 75-80% of all your strokes in a round so improving in that area will definitely lower your overall score. Ultimately putting can be a huge stroke saver when you get 1 putts continually in your round of golf. We wanted to do an article on what to look for in putters and offer reviews of the most popular golf putters.
Let's get into the various types and styles to putters. Face balanced putters have the face facing upwards when the shaft is balanced on your finger. The center of gravity will be below the axis of the shaft which means you should get a straighter putting motion when the putter goes forward. If you have a "back and through" motion, these putters work well. A toe balanced putter is one in which the toe points to the ground when the shaft is balanced on your finger. If you have an "in to out" putting stroke, these putters work well since the center of gravity is not directly below the axis. The 3 basic types of putters are blade, peripheral weighted and mallets. A blade putter is more traditional in look and used by players like Phil Mickelson. The small head and flat look are simple and produce soft hits which work great on fast greens (good for players with a straight putting stroke). Peripheral weighted putters are widely used by both amateurs and professionals although they are not face balanced like many people think. They are toe balanced and better for golfers with an in to out stroke. Mallet putters are becoming more popular since they offer more weight than say blade putters do. Mallet putters tend to be face balanced and therefore work better with those golfers who have a straight back and through putting stroke. The next thing to consider are the putter face and inserts. The goal of a putter insert is to give the golfer a softer feel when it comes to putting the golf ball. Metal faced putters are most commonly made with steel but modern versions also have aluminum, copper, zinc, titanium, brass, and bronze. They tend to be very strong and heavy but hit the ball with a controlled and solid feel. Insert faced putters are really just metal putters with a light-weight non metal insert. The theory on these inserts is that they give you more "pure strokes" and better forgiveness. Grooved faced putters help reduce skidding, back spinning, sliding or even hopping of the golf ball as it begins to roll after you putt it. Grooved faced putters keep the ball on line better and give it an "over the top" rolling action. Lastly, you have heel-shafted putters, center shafted putters and offset putters. Shafts and hosels of putters are generally made of steel. No big advantage to where the shaft connects to the putter head, just personal preference. We will discuss belly and long putters down below in more depth. The top makes for putters Odyssey, Scotty Cameron, Ping, Yes, Titleist, Nike, Taylor Made, Bettinardi, Wilson, Rife, SeeMore, and Never Compromise. Many putters will cost upwards of $200, but we found many that work just fine below $50. See our results below to the best putters in golf. We suggest that you browse the most popular golf putters online here.
Best Golf Putter:
Odyssey is the #1 putter in golf in terms of sales and customer feedback that is very positive. We have a hard time saying one putter is better than any others, but the Odyssey White Hot series consistently gets excellent ratings and reviews from experts and amateur golfers for giving the putter control and feel on all length putts. With a price tag at $120 I sure hope it saves some strokes off your game. We found more amateurs use the Odyssey putter, but professionals like the Titleist Scotty Cameron Studio Style Putters ($300). More low handicappers had better results with the Scotty Cameron putter than did higher handicappers. Perhaps they play more and have better feel on the greens to begin with. Putting really comes down to confidence and not necessarily the actual putter itself. Many pros could putt darn well with average putters, but amateurs rarely see much of a difference between high or low end putters. Practice and confidence will build a putting stroke much faster than any amount of money will. One style to consider that may actually help line up putts better and get you lower scores is the Odyssey White Steel 2-Ball SRT Putters ($70 to $100). These putters have an outline of a white golf ball shape (actually 2) that lead back from the center of the putter head so that you can imagine the putting stroke as a continuation of the ball on the putter. It makes sense and many people feel more comfortable (and therefore more confident) using a visual tool that this putter provides. Give it a try in a demo store first to see how it fits your eye.
Best Mid-Priced Golf Putter:The NIKE Blue Chip Series Putters ($50) are a good mid-range putter designed for forgiveness, reduced skidding, and more feel. Nike has done their research in trying to deliver golfers a putter that will give them more accurate putts on the greens. The soft, light Blue Chip insert sends your putts "on line and at the correct speed". They are available in both right handed and left handed models and so far have great feedback from golfers. Taylor Made putters are trying to catch up to their reputation as a great iron and driver manufacturer and seem to be headed in the right direction. Taylor Made putters give you quality, consistently feel putts at discount prices when compared to PING or Yes Putters in the same category. See the top rated Nike putters here.
Best Belly/Long Putter:Belly putters are roughly 41-46 inches long and long putters are slighly longer at 48-52 inches in length. In recent years they have become slightly more popular with players like Kevin Stadler, Bernard Langer, and Steware Cink all using some form of these. Belly putters do a great job of anchoring the putter to your belly area and essentially give you a more consistent and more controlled swing. The disadvantage to a belly putter is distance control and perhaps a little feel on longer putts. You end up using more large muscles and less small muscles in your putting stroke. Long putters are available, but few players try these "broomhandle" putters since they are very hard to get accustomed to. All the swing motion is done by the right hand while the left hand holds the putter close to the body. A few pros use these and even fewer amateurs. The PING G5i Craz-E Belly/Long Putters ($185) are some of the more recognized on the market and best rated.
We recently were sent a demo putter that is available in conventional, belly, long, and face-on versions, called the Reeso VTX. It is a rear-mounted shaft design, with an open frame design to aid in alignment. But what really sets it apart are some of its customization features. The shaft can be rotated to adjust the lie angle (USGA conforming) from 10 to 15 degrees. There are also ports in the rear of the head where you can add or remove weights, adjusting the putter, heavier or lighter, to the feel you prefer given the conditions. The build quality was excellent, from the grip to the customized name label, to the milling of the head. So how did it putt? We liked the 52g weights that came pre-installed -- adding the extra weights made the putter feel to cumbersome in our hands. One thing that took a little time to get used to was the angle on the bottom of the head -- instead of being perfectly flat like my existing putter, it has a flat middle section and then angles up slightly on the 2 sides, giving it a tendency to "rock" when you place it on the putting green. After a while, though, I found I was putting as comfortably as I do with my old-standard putter that I have used for a few years. I can't say my game improved dramatically, but the Reeso is an effective putter and does make lining up shots easier. Putters ultimately come down to personal preference and practice for most people. If you're in the market for a new putter, consider giving the Reeso a try. They run about $250 (lengths from 29-38" for conventional) and come with a 60 day, no hassle, money back guarantee, which is about as good as it gets. More details at their website: ReesoPutters.com.