With the growing emphasis on personal club fitting, the so-called “standard” putter length of 35 inches for men and 34 inches for women is increasingly being questioned.
In fact, the truth is that when it comes to putters, the new "standard" is that there is no standard. After all, people come in all different shapes and sizes—and thus so do putters.
There is a growing trend in the instructional community toward advocating shorter putters, and numerous PGA Tour professionals play with shorter sticks. For example, Boo Weekley is six-feet tall but plays with a 33-inch putter.
Nevertheless, some leading instructors, such as Stan Utley and Pat O’Brien, teach a more upright putting setup and offer a word of caution against the trend toward shorter putters.
As Pat told PutterZone.com, “It comes down to leverage. If you’re forced to bend over more, gravity starts pulling you down toward the ground. And because there’s downward pressure being put on the club, it’s harder to move. For me, it's all about freedom of motion.”
So what’s the right length for you? Good question. As the instructional debate shows, it not only comes down to your own personal physique (including height and arm length), but also your putting style (a more upright setup vs. more bent over).
A good approach is to find the putting style that works best for your game, and then find a putter length that works best for your physique when you employ that putting style.
And in order to do that, you need to let go of the old notion of a “standard” putter length, because it no longer exists. Don’t be afraid to go shorter—or longer—if it can help raise your game.
P.S.- Putters can easily be shortened and even lengthened by a qualified provider. Please know, however, that shortening or lengthening a putter will change its swingweight, which is the impression of how heavy or light a putter feels.