The putter is one of, if not the most, important clubs in your bag. An average golfer uses it for over 40% of the shots in a round! When looking for a new putter, many people understand the value of finding the proper length and lie angle (if you don’t please stay tuned for a future post where we will get into that) but very few people know how the balance point of the putter head impacts your success.
The balance point of a putter head is dependent on how weight is distributed across the face. If weight is dispersed evenly, it is called face balanced. If the weight is more distributed out by the toe, it is called 90 degree toe hang. There are also various levels in between these two extremes. See the pictures below for examples.
By now, you’re probably asking “So what does this mean?” The different balance points are suited for different putting strokes. A straight back and through stroke benefits from a face balanced putter as it will fight rotations and help you square the face at impact. If you have an extreme arc in your putting stroke you should look for a putter that has a 60 or 90 degree toe hang as the toe weight will help control the needed rotation and prevent you from pulling or pushing your putts. Somewhere in between? Go with a 30 or 45 degree toe down.
How do you determine the balance of a putter? Well, it’s incredibly easy. You can simply set it on a ledge like I did for the previous pictures, just make sure the grip isn’t interfering with the rotation. Or you hold it across your fingers like the picture below. And remember, you can always ask a sales person at your favorite golf store that really cares about your game to help you out!
As a general rule, mallet putters like an Odyssey 2 Ball or a center shafted blade putter are usually face balanced and a traditional heel shafted Ping Anser is toe weighted. You will find variations to these rules so we definitely recommend taking a couple of seconds to know for sure.