If you’re like most golfers, you know how important putting is to consistently shooting lower scores.
I bet if you look at your lowest rounds, you also had the fewest amount of putts during those memorable rounds. Conversely, if you look at some of your recent rounds where things got so bad you contemplated using an eraser on the scorecard, I bet your putting wasn’t great.
Don’t get me wrong, a bad day of driving or a case of the chipping yips can screw things up but overall, putting plays a huge role in scoring every round. Even though putting seems simple, there’s actually a lot of moving parts that factor into your overall putting.
Of all the golf clubs in the bag, I would argue the short stick matters most.
Different factors like the putter you choose, the type of greens you play on, the style of your stroke, head weight, and the putter length all play a role in your putting. In this post, I want to break down that last point – putter length – as it’s not talked about nearly enough (and has a huge impact).
Once you read this entire post, I’m confident that you will know how to find the proper length for your game.
Putter Length 101
So what does putter length matter?
Well, for one it has a lot to do with your eye position at address. If your eyes are too far over or underneath the golf ball, you’ll likely see the incorrect line, adjust your backswing unconsciously, and not make nearly as many putts.
One of the biggest mistakes that so many players make is they play a putter that is too long. If you go into most golf stores, you will find that an overwhelming majority of clubs are 35.” But as we’ll discuss in the next section, this is generally too long of a putter for most golfers.
Too long of a putter makes it hard to find the right line, get the proper face rotation and can also have a huge impact on your distance control too. Luckily, you can find the right size for your game with a few easy steps.
How to Measure Putter Length
Luckily, you don’t have to spend hundreds of dollars on a custom putter fitting session to find the right size for your game. Here’s how you can measure it at home with the help of another person:
Step 1: Using a real or imaginary ball, get into the address position (without a putter) as if you were about to stroke a putt. Do not make any adjustments or try to adjust your normal posture. It is really important to get this part correct or the entire measurement will be off.
Step 2: Let your arms hang from your body in a natural position. With the help of someone, have them measure the total distance from the top of your hands (basically your wrist) to the ground.
Step 3: The measurement should be between 32-36” depending on your height and posture. This distance is the normal putter shaft length for you and should make it pretty easy to find the right one for your game.
This is the preferred way to measure your ideal length instead of just basing it off of your height. The reason is that you might bend way over the ball and thus, need a shorter putter. Or, you might stand tall and close to the ball and need a longer one. This is why it’s good to not base your length solely on your height.
Putter Length Guidelines
While the three-step process from above is the most surefire way to measure your flat stick, here are some general guidelines from PnP Golf that can help.
- Under 5 feet = 32 inches or smaller
- 5’0” to 5’2” = 32.5 inches
- 5’2” to 5’4” = 33 inches
- 5’4” to 5’6” = 33.5 inches
- 5’6” to 5’8” = 34 inches
- 5’8” to 6’0” = 34.5 inches
- 6’0” to 6’2” = 35 inches
- 6’2” to 6’4” = 35.5 inches
- Above 6’4” = 36 inches
Please remember these are general guidelines based on height and don’t factor your putting style, posture, and arm length.
Putting Alignment and Posture
While picking the right size is important, I want to briefly talk about posture as well. I was hesitant to include this for one reason – there is no one correct posture for standing over the ball.
Think about it, Jack Nicklaus had a very different stroke and setup than Tiger Woods but both got it done on the greens in huge tournament. In general though, here are some fundamentals to setting up to the ball properly:
- Set up with a shoulder width stance and feet square to target.
- Hips, arms, and shoulders all aligned toward your target line.
- Slightly bend in your knees so that you are in an athletic position.
- Bend slightly at your waist so that your eyes are directly over the ball (or slightly underneath it).
This should feel comfortable at address and allow you to see the line and let your arms hang naturally. But if you find that your hands are gripping down on your shaft, you might be bending too far down or have a putter that is too short. Conversely, if you are standing too straight up and down you might need a longer putter so you can get in the proper setup position.
While there is no “one way” to putt, these are pretty tried and true fundamentals that will set you up for success. Paired with the right grip,
Do you have more questions about lengthening or shortening your flat stick? If so, we have answers.
What is the proper putter length for my height?
To find the right size, make sure to check out the sizing chart from above. But remember, your height is only part of the equation for the correct length.
Is a 35-inch putter too long?
In general, I would say yes, a 35 inch putter is too long for most golfers. Based on the sizing chart from above, unless you’re over six feet tall or have shorter arms, 35 inches might be ruining your chances of sinking putts.
If you worry that 35 inches is too long, I would suggest choking up on your putter before chopping it down. By choking up an inch, you will naturally bend more over the club and could see a huge improvement. Hopefully, your putting stroke will feel more natural, correct the lie angle, and improve distance control.
If you do this, you can keep it up and double check your grip before each stroke or get it trimmed down one inch at a golf store.
What is the standard putter length?
If you go on most websites for brands like Odyssey, Titleist and TaylorMade, the average putter length measures between 33 and 35 inches. Based on the average height of most men (around 5’9” according to Healthline), most golfers should have a 34 to 34.5 inch putter.
Can you extend a putter length?
Yes, you can extend the length of any club in the bag but it’s not as simple as re-gripping a club. Instead, a club fitter will need to either add an extension or a brand-new shaft entirely. Usually, all you need is a putter extension (aka a shaft plug), some epoxy, and a new grip to lengthen. Luckily, putter shafts are cheap too compared to driver shafts!
Can you cut down a belly putter to standard length?
Yes, you can trim down a belly style to a normal (33-35”) but keep in mind that things will change on your club when you do so. First off, trimming your putter will adjust the swing weight and make it a lot heavier than it feels now. If you prefer a heavy style, this could work.
Second, if you have an adjustable weight putter, you might want to adjust these as well. Since the putter is likely heavier, I would suggest tweaking your head weights on the practice green to see how it affects your putting stroke.
Finally, check the lie angle to ensure it still sets up properly at address.
Final Thoughts on Putters
As you can tell, there are a few things to consider when picking the right putter (or putters) for your game. While most golfers go solely off height, you should use the process from above for optimal results. This will factor in your natural posture and arm length so you invest in the correct size for your game.
Remember, if you are using a putter that is too long for your style, you will likely stand too far away from the golf ball. Several things could happen from here including an inside to outside path and the toe coming off the ground. Not to mention, if you’re using a club meant for a straight back, straight through putting style it’ll make matters worse.
On the other hand, if you have a shorter putter, you probably stand too close to the ball. This can screw up your aim, distance control, and possibly raise the heel at address.
Either one of these mistakes can wreak havoc on your golf game. Don’t forget, it’s the small adjustments that can make a huge difference.
Now that you know what to do, I suggest finding someone to measure and see how it compares to your current putters. If it’s not a good fit, try out some new model of putters or choke down and see how it affects your performance.