Unless you are especially eagle eyed you won’t have noticed a change in Rory McIlroy’s putter length for the start of 2020. The Northern Irishman had a brief fling with a 35-inch putter at the Farmers Insurance Open before reverting to 34 at the Genesis Invitational a week later. “I just felt a little bit more comfortable and was seeing my lines a little bit better,” he said.
So why did he change to a longer length in the first place?
“Sometimes with the 34 my right arm can get a little high and my right shoulder can roll over,” McIlroy explained. “But with a 35, a little longer, it puts my shoulder and my right elbow into a better position, more on plane with the shaft.
“So it looked really good on video and it felt good, but once I got out there, just that inch difference in the putter, it moves your eye line and you stop seeing your lines the way you usually do, and I especially struggled on right-to-left putts because when it’s a longer putter and the ball is above your feet, you feel like the putter is up in your belt.”
So why is putter length important?
A key element of putting is setup and getting your eyeline correct over the ball. Good posture and eyeline will help you see a straight line to the hole, not only helping alignment but also meaning you don’t manipulate your stroke to start the ball online.
If your putter length is too long you will naturally stand further away from the ball which in turn will move your eye line inside the ball. Not only will this affect your ability to see straight over the ball but it will cause you to have more arch, increasing face rotation making it harder to consistently square up the face and get your putts starting online.
It can also affect the lie angle of your putter as players subconsciously lift the toe off the ground which could promote a left miss.
In contrast, if your putter is too short your eyeline can get above the ball as you stand too close. This will reduce face rotation and can cause the lie angle to get too upright.
How to get your putter length right
The correct putter length varies for each player depending on factors such as height and stroke type.
The most common way of working out the correct lie angle is by taking a measurement from the ground to your wrist. If you don’t know how to do this you’re probably best getting custom fit or trying a variety of putters with a mirror on the green to check your eyeline.
I hope that’s helpful. If you have any questions please leave them in the comments below or you can tweet me.