Developed for Golfland Warehouse by Sean from PutterZone.com, this glossary aims to help you make sense of your putter fitting options. By finding a putter that is a better fit for you and your game, you can improve your putting performance and shave strokes off your score.
This glossary is part of Golfland Warehouse’s larger mission of offering exclusive educational insights to help you make informed purchasing decisions.
Putter fitting questions? You may contact Sean Weir, editor of PutterZone.com, directly at the "Ask Sean" Help Center if you have any questions about our putters. You may also want to check out Sean's putter fitting book, Putter Perfection.
Face BalancedA face-balanced putter is one whose face remains parallel to the ceiling when you balance the lower part of the shaft on your finger—signifying that the axis of the shaft is in line with the putter head’s center of gravity. This is in contrast to a “toe hang” putter, in which the face angles toward the ground when balanced on your finger. A face- balanced putter is best for a “straight back and straight through” style of putting stroke, while a toe-hang putter favors an arcing style of stroke.
Head Weight and Swingweight
Putter head weight is entirely personal. A head weight of 350 grams and above is on the heavier side, and anything beyond 365 grams could be considered heavy. Some golfers prefer a heavier head because they feel it smoothes out their stroke. Others prefer a lighter weight because they believe it gives them better touch on the greens. You should also be aware of the phenomenon of swingweight, which is related to putter length. Swingweight dictates that the same 350-gram head, for example, will actually feel a bit heavier on a longer putter than it does a shorter putter.
Putter length is personal to your height, physique and setup. For many years, most recreational golfers just accepted that 35 inches was the standard for men and 34 inches was the standard for women. Yet numerous PGA Tour professionals use putters that are shorter than 34 inches. The first step in finding the right putter length for your game is to understand that there is no “standard” length. From there, you can investigate which length is right for you.
Lie angle is the measurement of the angle between the shaft and the ground when the putter is resting flat on the green. Most putters come with stock lie angles between 70 and 72 degrees. When the lie angle on your putter is correct for your physique and setup, the sole will be flush with the ground, fostering consistent results. If the lie angle is incorrect—with either the toe or heel sticking up off the ground at setup—it can cause mystifying pushes and pulls. So keep an eye on your putter and make sure it is flush with the ground. Lie angle can be adjusted if necessary.
Loft is the angle of the face that lifts the ball upon impact. Most putters come with lofts between two to four degrees. As a rule of thumb, you need less loft on your putter if you routinely play on hard, fast greens. If the loft is too high or low for your stroke and playing conditions, it can result in skidding or bouncing. A correct loft will promote quicker topspin for consistent results.
Milling is a machining process that cuts the putter from a solid block of metal with remarkable precision and reliability. Milling is more costly than casting a putter from a mold, hence the higher price tags on milled putters. The base metal for milling is also more expensive, but it offers superior grain and quality for excellent natural feel. Some putters are “skim milled,” meaning that just the face or exterior is milled into shape. Such putters should not be confused with putters that are 100-percent milled from a solid block of metal.
Moment of Inertia
Moment of Inertia (MOI) is the measurement of a putter's head weight properties. High MOI is achieved by distributing a larger portion of the total weight to the perimeters of the head, away from the head’s center of gravity. A putter with high MOI is more resistant to twisting and turning on impact, resulting in added forgiveness and better consistency on miss-hits.
A putter can have varying degrees of offset. In a putter with no offset, the leading edge of the shaft is in direct line with the leading edge of the putter face when looking down at the putter. In a putter with offset, the leading edge of the shaft is slightly ahead of the putter face when looking down. “Full shaft” offset means that the offset is equal to the width of the shaft, while ½-shaft offset signifies that the offset is roughly equal to half of the width of the shaft. Offset putters are preferred by golfers who like to have their hands slightly ahead of the ball during the putting stroke.
A toe-hang putter is one whose face angles toward the ground when you balance the lower part of the shaft on your finger. This is in contrast to a “face-balanced” putter, in which the putter remains parallel to the ceiling when balanced on your finger. A face- balanced putter is best for a “straight back and straight through” style of putting stroke, while a toe-hang putter favors an arcing style of stroke. Toe hang can be measured like the hour hand on a clock—if the toe hangs slightly when balanced on your finger, it corresponds to 4 o’clock. If it points directly toward the ground, it corresponds to 6 o’clock. A putter with steep toe hang (ie: 6 o’clock) is going to favor a more pronounced arcing stroke.