Golf Putter Complete Guide: Types Of Putters & How To Choose The Right Putter

All golfers love the sound of the golf ball hitting the bottom of the cup. With the right types of putters in our arsenal, we would all enjoy making more putts.

Problem is, there are so many different types of putters on the market. How do you choose the right putter for your stroke?

Your putter is only one of the 14 clubs you carry, but it has the most impact on your scorecard.

Learning to be a great putter requires a combination of technique, confidence, and using the right flat stick.

Below we take a deep dive into the types of putters. We want you to understand all of your options and help you make an educated decision.

Make the right choice, start making more putts, and earn the nickname “the boss of the moss”.

Let’s get started!

Photo taken from waist height looking down a golfers arms and stick as he prepares to putt.

Types Of Putters: The 3 Components Of Your Flat Stick

Every putter has 3 components that determine how the golf ball rolls when struck.

Matching these three components with your putting stroke is the key to choosing the right putter.

#1: The Putter Head

The head of your putter is the part you use to hit the ball.

The shape and material used in the head determine how the ball rolls on the green.

When considering the different types of putters, the head should be the first choice you make. We break them down into three categories (blade, mallet, hybrid).

A: Blade

A blade putter has a more traditional look. Blade putters are toe-weighted with a sweet spot positioned slightly towards the heel (blade photographed below).

Close up, birds-eye view of a blade putter, golf ball and hole.

If you have ever used a putter at a miniature golf course, you have used a blade. It is the most common of all types of putters.

Not all blade putters are exactly the same. You will see minor differences in the shape of the head and different hosels (the place on a golf club where the shaft is connected to the clubhead).

Related article: The Parts Of A Golf Club: Complete Guide [+Annotated Diagrams]

Tiger Woods has used a blade putter head to win his 15 majors. Common examples include the PING Anser and the Scotty Cameron Newport Series.

B: Mallet

A mallet putter has a larger head (see image below). Typically round or square in shape, the larger size allows the weight to be distributed differently than a blade.

Photo of a mallet putter against a golf ball on some very green turf.

Due to the size of the head, mallets tend to have more in the way of designs and aiming aids.

Generally speaking, mallets are more forgiving putters due to the stability of the face.

High-quality examples of a mallet putter are the TaylorMade Spider and the Scotty Cameron Futura Series.

C: Hybrid

A “hybrid” head putter (imaged below) is the combination of a blade and a mallet. You may hear them referred to as a bulky blade or a small mallet.

You get the best of both worlds. You get the feel of a blade with the stability of a mallet.

A great example of a hybrid is the original Odyssey Two-Ball.

Close-up photo of a hybrid golf club next to a golf ball in some short green grass.

The head is the most important, but there are other features that determine the types of putters you will find.

#2: The Length

When it comes to length there are 3 different types of putters for you to consider – Standard, Mid-Size, and Long.

A: Standard

A standard length putter will be 33″, 34″, or 35″ long. If you use a standard length putter the one you select will be based on your height and your putting stance.

The vast majority of players from scratch golfers to beginners use a standard length putter. They are also the easiest to find when you are shopping.

Man in red shorts about to make a putt with a mallet putter.

B: Mid-Size

Mid-size putters will typically be between 38″ and 44″ long. There are 3 different types of putters that fall into this category.

Counterbalanced putters, belly putters, and armlock putters.

Counterbalanced putters are typically 38″ in length and have extra weight added to the butt end of the club. This weight moves the balance point higher up on the putter.

This gives the golfer more feel at impact and creates more MOI (moment of inertia). MOI is the speed at which the balls spring off the putter at impact.

Belly putters are between 40″ and 43″ long and are designed to be anchored in the golfer’s belly during their stroke.

The belly putter was the most popular mid-size putter until 2016 when the USGA made it illegal to use one in competition.

Related article: The 5 Best Illegal Golf Clubs: Non-Conforming Drivers We Recommend

You can still use the putter, but you cannot anchor it in your mid-section (belly).

Armlock putters are similar to belly putters but are designed to rest against your left arm while making a stroke.

A man in grey-brown shorts just after taking a putt with a blade putter.

This became more popular following the “belly putter ban”, with Matt Kuchar being the first PGA tour player to use an armlock putter.

Compared to the other types of putters, it will take you longer to get used to putting with the armlock style.

C: Long

Long putters, our final category, are between 48″ and 52″. Before 2016 they were used by anchoring them against your chest or your chin.

This is another one of the types of putters that were impacted by the rule change. Unlike the belly putter, you will still see a decent number of golfers using them.

Instead of anchoring the long putter in their chest, they simply hold the end of the grip near their chest.

Long putters continue to be very popular on the Champions Tour.

Female golfer wearing black Nike leggings just after taking a putt.

#3: The Grip

The final component that separates different types of putters is the grip. Your putter will either have a standard grip or an oversize grip.

A standard putter grip is just slightly bigger than the shaft. The shapes can vary slightly.

Oversize putter grips are a relatively new phenomenon in the golf world. SuperStroke launched the first examples in 2009 that caught on with professional golfers.

They have become very popular and come standard with many of the putters you buy today.

The concept is simple. The larger grips help you remove your hands and wrists from your stroke. This reduces the chances of a yip.

The cool thing about oversize grips is that you can easily install one on your current putter. Create a different feel without having to buy a new club.

Now that we have talked about the components that define different types of putters, let’s move on to tips for selecting the right putter.

A blade putter with a large head, next to a large golf ball and a man's feet in sandals.

How To Choose The Right Putter For You

Which putter is best for me?

The options can be overwhelming. You could have a standard-length mallet putter with an oversized grip or a mid-size blade with a regular grip.

With so many different types of putters, how do you find the best one for your short game?

Some experts will tell you it depends on your type of stroke. If you open and close the clubface during your stroke, you should use a blade.

If you keep the face square throughout your stroke, you should use a mallet. There is some truth here, but we don’t think it is that simple.

Putting is more art than science. More feel than calculation.

You may need to try several different types of putters before you find the right one. The good news is that you can try it before you buy it.

Golf retailers often have a putting mat in the store and your local pro shop will let you test out different types of putters on the practice green.

More than any other club in your bag, you need to “like” your putter. You need to feel comfortable and confident when you are holding it.

Our recommendation is trial and error. Try several different types of putters until you find the perfect one for you. When you find it, you will know it!

Three golf balls and one blade putter close-up against some hessian.

How Do You Hold Your Putter?

There is one more piece to the “putter equation”. How do you grip (hold) your putter? Three different ways have been used to win golf tournaments around the world.

#1: Conventional

The conventional putter grip is very similar to how you hold your other clubs. It is an overlapping grip and you overlap 2 fingers to keep your hands connected.

For a right-handed player, your left hand should be placed on the putter first and your right should go below it.

#2: Cross-Handed

The cross-handed putting grip was made famous by golf Hall of Famer Jim Furyk and has become very popular.

It is the opposite of holding the putter with a conventional grip. Your right hand is placed on the putter first and your left-hand goes below it.

Types of putters featured image of a putter and ball very close to the hole.

The advantage of putting cross-handed is that it helps you keep your front wrist firm and flat. A wrist flinch can cause you to miss short putts.

Many golfers feel the cross-handed grip is more stable than conventional.

#3: The Claw

The claw is a grip that golfers created to eliminate the yips and improve their short putting. Older golfers tend to switch to the claw to deal with “putting scars”.

You grip the putter with your left hand the same you do with a conventional grip, but your right hand is less involved.

There are different versions, but the key is that part of your right-hand rests against the putter, but you don’t grip the club.

This removes the possibility of your right-hand flinching during your stroke.

Find the best putter for you. Determine the best way to hold it. Start making more putts!

Hybrid putter and ball on some green grass.

Up Next: How To Improve Your Stroke

Hopefully, you now know the answer to ‘which putter is best for me.’ Now time to try it out in these putting tips!

Ray Dingledine

Ray Dingledine

Ray has played golf for over 30 years and competed at the collegiate level. He enjoys growing the game of golf through coaching PGA Jr. and High School golf teams. Ray continues to play in local amateur golf events and currently has a +1 handicap.

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