1. ALIGNMENT IS EVERYTHING
Our eyes and brains work in different ways.
What works for one golfer may confuse the next one.
You have to be able to set your putts off on the right line so try some different styles.
And remember, you could be using your putter for a long time. So you want an alignment aid that works for you.
2. TRY COUNTER-BALANCED
Counter-balanced putters will be a much more common sight within the next few years.
They are a few inches longer than normal putters but, crucially, don’t come into contact with your belly or chest and so will be a style you can continue to use next year when the anchoring ban comes into effect.
They feature a heavier head than is usual and additional weight at the top of the grip.
You need to leave a couple of inches showing above your hands to get the benefit.
The idea is that the putter head wants to keep moving forward and the weight in the grip is also pushing it through.
For many golfers, it results in a smoother, fuller follow-through.
3. BEWARE SOFT INSERTS
Putters tend to be designed with fast, smooth, close-cropped American greens in mind.
If your usual surfaces are a little more woolly than that, and with the occasional bobble, then you might want something a little different.
It’s great having a soft insert in the face that gives you extra feel when facing a slick downhiller, but not so good when your uphill 15-footer never threatens the hole.
It just isn’t that often here in the UK that we face greens stimping at 10 and above.
So unless your home course is one of the exceptions then we suggest you think of using a putter that has a slightly crisper fee.
4. GRIPS CHANGE IT ALL
There’s lots of choice on the market just now, with the SuperStroke range of oversized grips as used by runaway Masters and US Open Champion Jordan Spieth especially popular.
With one of these you’re effectively using a completely different putter.
We have noticed this when moving back and forth from regular putter grips to SuperStrokes.
So if you have lost confidence with your current flatstick, a great option is to change the grip rather than abandon the putter completely.
The theory behind these oversize grips is that they will make your stroke smoother by taking the small muscles in your hands out of the equation.
5. FRINGES AND SHORT ONES
When trying new putters it’s all too easy to throw down a couple of balls and hit putts from the 15 or 20-foot range.
That’s fine but you might learn a little more about your potential new partner on the greens by trying it from just off the green and, even more importantly, short range.
In the former case you might learn if a larger footprint can still get through the grass and in the latter instance, well, that’s what putting really comes down to.
While we all love holing the occasional long putt, what really separates the best putters from the rest is the ability to hole out efficiently.
Most of your putts out on the course will be from under eight feet so make sure you are comfortable.