A putter can be heel-toe weighted, meaning that the bulk of the head weight is placed toward the heel and toe (see accompanying photo). But such a putter can be balanced in a variety of ways, so there is no such thing as a putter that is “heel-toe balanced.”
A putter’s balance typically falls into two categories: face balanced and toe hang, with the latter occurring in varying degrees.
With a face-balanced putter, the face is parallel to the ceiling when you balance the putter’s shaft on an outstretched finger. If the toe dips slightly or points straight to the ground when the putter is balanced on your finger, then it has toe hang. For a more detailed look at putter balance, check out our related putter fitting tip on the subject.
So what determines a putter’s balance? When the axis of the shaft (ie: where the shaft points) intersects the head’s center of gravity, the putter is naturally face balanced. You see this orientation most often with mallets. When the axis of the shaft intersects the rear of the head’s center of gravity, as seen on most blades, the putter will have toe hang.
In other words, the exact same head shape can be either face balanced or have toe hang, depending on where and how the shaft is connected. A traditional Anser-style putter like the one pictured above typically has some toe hang. However, if you lengthen the hosel so that the shaft angle intersects that head’s center of gravity, then the putter will be face balanced.
The average golfer need not be terribly concerned about the nitty-gritty of shaft angle, etc. But in an effort to find the right putter fit, it’s a good idea first to be clear on terms such as “putter balancing.” Once you understand putter balance, you are in a better position to find the balance that best fits your game.