The so-called “standard” putter length of 35 inches for men and 34 inches for women is under increasing fire these days.
Indeed, it has become fashionable to suggest that such measurements are too long for most golfers. But before you chop an inch or two off of your putter, you may want to consider the advice of leading putting instructor Pat O’Brien.
In an earlier story, we detailed how Pat recommends a relaxed, athletic setup where you stand up to the ball rather than crouch over it. And such a setup necessarily requires a longer putter, because there is more distance between your fingertips and the ground.
So we asked Pat about the trend of recommending shorter putters, and here’s what he said:
“I don’t understand where that’s coming from. It’s hurting a lot of people. It comes down to leverage. If you’re forced to bend over more, gravity starts pulling you down toward the ground. And because there’s downward pressure being put on the club, it’s harder to move. For me, it’s all about freedom of motion.”
Pat says that, in general, he finds 34.5 inches to 35 inches working for most golfers. On that note:
“Fittings are tough, because you’ve got torso length, arm length, leg length, etc. But if I’m going to err, I’m going to err on the long side, because I want people to stand up and be comfortable, and not crouched or feeling like they’re straining.”
In other words, you may want to put down the hacksaw. Stay tuned for additional insights from Pat O’Brien as we continue this series next week.
Pat O’Brien is the putting instructor to Zach Johnson (pictured above with Pat), Vaughn Taylor and other PGA Tour professionals. He is also a consultant to the SeeMore Putter Company. Pat advocates a natural, fairly upright posture; a grip that places the putter in the fingers; and a stroke that moves on a natural arc. For more information on Pat’s approach, visit his excellent blog at www.patobriengolf.com.