Operation: No more three-putts!
Yes putting is hard work and it's not too much fun to get good at - practicing it is pretty dull.
But if you want to shave a load of strokes off your score within weeks, eliminating three-putts (and four-putts) is the simplest and easiest way.
Practicing only an hour a week can easily knock 4 or 5 strokes off your score within a month. I know it can, because I did it.
Dave Pelz (the short game guru) tells us that amateurs take 8 more strokes than a pro per round on the greens as well as about 4 three-putts per round. Four unnecessary shots you can eliminate right now with a bit of practice and of course, a decent putter.
It's easy to see how important putting is to lowering your score and handicap - just check out my bro-in-law's round of 98 here. He uses an Odyssey 2ball putter I bought him. By just two-putting every green, you can knock off a minimum 4 shots!
That video was made 3-4 years ago and he now plays with a Taylormade Spider after trying a blade putter from EVNRoll. The mallet putters are often the ones that are easiest to line up to the shot and hit the ball where you want it to go because of the visual aids on top of the club head.
Driving ranges are everywhere, but using practice greens requires less energy and you get practice that translates directly to results on the course. It's more feel based and les technique heavy.
Ranges also don't take into account trees, water hazards, rough and fairways whereas practice greens look and feel exactly like the golf course greens. So here's a tutorial for you to use with your new putter.
In this guide, I present you the best putters for beginners and I hope it helps you get results for less money.
What putter should you avoid totally?
Please avoid this club if you're looking for a decent putter to improve your game.
This is a great putter for mini-golf, offices and beating up home invaders. It's not however a suitable putter for beginners on the golf course.
There are numerous sites advocating for it but I don't care what the reviews say and I don't care if it's a top seller. This club won't help you improve your golf one iota. I won't allow any future beginner golfing buddies to be taken advantage of.
It's basically a lump of metal that's been stuck onto a stick and marketed as a "two-way putter". AVOID
How to be a better putter with almost no practice
Think about it. Let's say you hit the driver well and get around or on the green in 2 or 3 shots. Then if you three-putt 4 or 5 times on the green per round as well as once or twice from around the green BUT then you learn to two-putt from wherever, you're going to save between 5 and 6 shots a round!
Two hours per week is all it takes
Take your putter and 5 - 10 balls. Putt from one hole on the green to another hole on the green 20 to 30 feet away. Putt them until every single one is within 2 feet every time. When you can do that every putt, move onto step 2...
Take the 5 to 10 balls and scatter them in a circle around a hole, 3 feet from the hole. Putt from 3 feet until you can hole all of the balls. Then do it again at another hole until you can make all the 3 footers. Once you can do that, go home. Do not leave until you sink every ball without missing around five different holes.
The Best Putters for Beginners
- Odyssey Hot Pro 2.0 putters (best putter dollar for dollar)
- Cleveland Huntington Beach putters (best budget friendly modern putter for beginners)
- Odyssey Two Ball Triple Track putter (best top end putter for alignment)
- Cleveland Frontline ISO putter (Sleeper pick)
- Ping Sigma 2 Anser (best quality blade putter)
Choose the one that suits your eye
Without a doubt, the Odyssey White Hot putter insert is simply the best on the market. Odyssey is #1 on Tour and #1 in golf. There are pretenders to the crown but the true king of putter face inserts is Jon Snow...I mean Odyssey.
Whether you like the blade, the mallet or the oversized heads, each model in this range gives you the same White Hot insert and trusted Odyssey putting technology. And with that you get consistent lag distance control, soft feeling club face and superb alignment on the rear of the club.
The consistency of the strike with Odyssey putters is only matched by other large brands that cost you three or four times the price. I've used every Odyssey iteration since this line and can safely say for this price, I'd use this putter if I were a new golfer.
What about the latest models?
The models featured here are a couple years older than the brand new O-Works putters that have been released by Odyssey. The O-Works do cost a lot of money though. And the most ironic part? The professionals take their modern Odyssey sponsored putters into the Tour van, to INSERT THE WHITE HOT INSERTS that are in these putters I am featuring here! They prefer these to the modern ones!
But with the price and performance in mind, the White Hot Pro 2.0 range are simply the best putters for beginners all the way through to low handicappers.
Myriad styles with top quality milled steel faces
Cleveland have made a superb set of putters in this range. I personally own THREE, yes 3 putters from this range. They are all unique yet have common features. They're all very high quality, well weighted and have milled steel faces.
In contrast to the Odyssey putters above with the insert, the ball comes off the steel face of the Cleveland with. totally different feel. Inserts make for a very soft feel like you're hitting something with a marshmallow or pool noodle. Okay it's not that extreme but it gets the point across, because when you hit it with a steel putter, you notice a much firmer 'hit'.
This is preference you should work out for yourself by hitting a few with inserts and a few with steel or metal faces. I prefer the milled face on the Clevelands because it feels like I have more consistent roll on the ball. The insert can sometimes disguise poor strikes.
The Huntington putters come in a wide range of head shapes. You get mallets, fang-style, blade and there are also center shafted models. My top tip for picking a putter is to go with what you like the look of. That's 80% of the battle won and it's very easy to find one model in the Huntington Beach range to suit your eye, I am sure.
Easiest to align
With putting, we often find the most difficult part is starting the ball on the right line. Now, it's not that difficult to do, but what is difficult is to know when we adjust the putter face just before we hit the ball.
With an extended back, the two-ball, triple track alignment system is perfect to keep everything going where you want it. This is a great putter for those who struggle with aligning their eyes, the putter face and their mind to their target.
Cleveland make very forgiving putters and the Front Line range is a step above their Huntington Beach range. The black color makes a very nice contrast to the green color of the greens.
The contrast in the colors makes it especially easy to line the face up to the line you want to hit the golf ball down. The rear of the Iso model has squares cut out of it with a thin solid line extending to the back, maybe it incredibly easy to align your eyes, which is important for confidence, to the line you expect the ball to take.
The Tungsten in the putter moves the center of gravity to a place that allows consistent energy transfer from the club to the ball so your stroke and hit on the ball is always the same, producing a pure roll and more chance of getting the ball close to the hole or in the hole.
This type of alignment aid on the back of the putter is especially helpful for short putts where confidence in your alignment is key. You can stand behind it, knowing that the putter is aligned correctly. These are the strokes you can eliminate very quickly and shatter your scoring barriers.
PING is and has been the most famous name in putters. Their blade putters have always been sensational in feel and consistency. If you're a blade putter fan, literally anything in the PING range will suit you.
Keep in mind though that this style of putter is best suited to players who have a slight arc in their stroke. It's quite difficult to stroke these blades straight back and through, which is easier to do with mallet style putters, especially center shafted ones.
They have expanded into all sorts of shapes and sizes and they are all in fact exception. The balance, the craftsmanship and the feel of the PING blade is much like Mizuno in irons. Nothing feels like a Mizuno they say. That's similar to a PING blade putter.
A PING putter is not merely something to plug the hole. If you invest in one of these for your game, you won't replace. A putter is a very personal thing and once you find the one that suits you, hold onto it. Once people try PING putters, they very very rarely move onto another brand. Choose wisely.
Here's a long video I made so you can teach yourself to putt.
What length of putters are available?
Standard length putters
Most standard length putters are 33" to 36" in length and those lengths fit most golfers in good putting posture.
What length is right for me?
The PGA suggest "What you want to do is get into a correct address position. When you tilt from your hips, you want your eyes over the ball, hands under your shoulders, elbows bent but touching your rib cage, and hips over your heels. The putter needs to fit this set-up. If you grip a "standard" length putter and find you're gripping down the shaft, you will need a shorter putter. If you grip beyond the end of the putter, you will need a longer putter. Now with the correct length putter in your hands, the shaft would be in line with your forearms. I have found that most golfers play with too long of a putter."
Broom and belly putters
Up until recently you could use a putter that was much longer than standard length and anchor it on your body for more stability. The two designs were broom handle and belly putters and while they're still permitted, you're not allowed to let them touch anything other than your arms and hands. I don't recommend these putters for beginners.
The broom handle was normally anchored to your chest with one hand and swung with the other hand and the belly putter was stuck into your abdomen with both hands on the grip swinging the putter like normal.
Under rule 14-b enforced in 2016, all anchoring of putters to your body was banned. Pros who relied on this method of putting lost their advantage while celebrating the New Year as midnight struck on 1 January 2016.
What design of putters are available?
The traditional Anser design
This is the most traditional putter. A classic. Ping are the most famous for this putter with their Ping Anser model first introduced in 1966 by Karsten Solheim. All manufacturers now produce at least one model in this style.
The general concept is a very square club head with an offset similar to beginner irons that ensure your hands are ahead of the ball throughout the stroke.
Generally these have always been considered the best putters for beginners. But nowadays people have become aware of the advantages of mallets and are embracing them whole-heartedly with lots of success.
The mallet putter is a relatively modern creation that makes it easier to align your putts. The extended piece behind the club face helps to line your putt up with your eyes over the ball thanks to long lines and contrasting colors used by the manufacturers.
Mallets are also well-known for producing decent distances on mishit putts due to the additional weight behind more of the club face. A traditional Answer style putter lacks that property.
Mallets are fantastic for getting the ball rolling because of the additional weight. Combined with an offset shaft to keep your hands ahead of the ball, this is a lethal combination for beginners.