TomTuckerGolf.com
Professional Golf Lessons - Thomas Tucker
WGTF "Top 100 Golf Teacher"
  -   USGTF Certified Class "A" Professional
IGCPA Certified Golf Psychology Coach
www.tomtuckergolf.com  Email: ttucker@rochester.rr.com  Cell (716) 474-3005


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Putter Fitting

 Why You Should Get Fitted For A Putter     Putter Fitting Overview 
  Putter Length     Hosel Types and Shaft Placement     Putter Lie     Putter Loft 
 Putter SwingWeight     Putter Playability   Putter Fitting Rates     How To Schedule a Putter Fitting 




How To Schedule a Putter Fitting

By appointment only, please contact Tom Tucker through his cell phone (716) 474-3005, or by email at ttucker@rochester.rr.com


Why You Should Get Fitted For a Putter


As a golf teaching professional, I never allow a student to even think about blaming equipment for any swing problems - at least not until they have learned proper technique. However, in putting, sometimes it's not you, it really is the equipment!

The one club in your bag that contributes to your score more than any other club is the putter. Most amateur golfers do not take putting practice (and chipping) as seriously as their driving and iron play. And they do not have putters that fit them and match their abilities.

Percentage Of Shots During A Round

Putting............35-40% Of Your Total Score

Driving............15-20% Of Your Total Score

Irons, Fairways, Metals, Sand, Pitching & Chipping 40-50% Of Your Total Score

Putting and wedge shots together can be as much of 70% of all strokes in a round. Getting fitted for a putter will definitely help improve your scores.

Touring Pros can strike the ball so consistently on the sweetspot of their putter that their impact never varies more than 5/16th of an inch! Unfortunately most of us are more like the 18 and over handicapper. We impact the ball over a larger area of the putter face.

When ball impacts away from the center (sweetspot) of the putter face it causes the face to twist. Hit nearer the toe, the face will twist to the right of the target. Hit the ball near the heel, the face will twist to the left of the target. This twisting is so subtle most times you will not even notice it.

Yet robot testing has shown that an impact even a fraction of an inch off center can result in the ball missing the hole by an inch or so on a 22 foot putt.

Another cause of off center impacts is when the lie of the putter is too upright or the lie is too flat. In this case, most golfers will strike the ball where the bottom of the club is closest to the ground, instead of on the sweetspot. This is very common with off the shelf putters.

A properly fitted putter will help you become a better putter - period!




Putter Fitting Overview


Here's an overview of a typical putter fitting, for more detailed information please read the sections below.

1) First, the player is positioned into their own stroke posture to execute a stroke with our  
GolfSmith Putter Fitting Tool  that measures for correct length, loft, and lie angle. If the player is not settled on what type of stroke he or she needs, a   Fundamental Putting Lesson  is recommended. The length of your putter would vary greatly between certain stroke methods, and a fitting would be wasted unless the student already has a comfortable stroke method. Comfort is important, and putting is personal.

2) Then you are checked for your optimal hosel type, shaft type, and shaft placement.These factors influence a players ability to start their putts on line, obviously one of the most critical factors in putting. We'll test your ability to stroke a putt down an intended aimline and compare results with different hosel types and shaft placement as necessary.

3) Then your stroke is observed in front of reference boards to check the effective playing loft and lie angle of your putter.

4) Finally, recommendations are made to the student regarding the specifications determined through the fitting process. If possible, the players' existing putter may be adjusted to match their specifications.

Some students may prefer to get a new putter, and we make recommendations based on their fitting data.

Please read the detailed explanations of Length, Lie, Loft, Swingweight, and Putter Head Playability below.




Proper Putter Length


Once the player is set-up in the proper posture for their own particular stroke method, the length of the putter can be measured. The length will vary for any player depending on stroke method, so the player should be settled on their own stroke method before getting fitted. To do otherwise would be like trying to run before you learned how to walk.




Hosel Types and Shaft Placement


The next putter fitting parameter is hosel type and shaft placement.

THE HOSEL STYLE INFLUENCES THE FACE AT IMPACT

Here are the three basic hosel styles:
  1. Plumber's Neck Hosel (sometimes called a Gooseneck Hosel)
  2. Straight Hosel
  3. Slanted Hosel

There are a few more esoteric hosel styles, but the three above are the most common.

  • If you tend to push your putts to the right, you are most likely leaving the face open at impact. Offset hosels (plumber's neck) tend to close the clubface. The more the offset, the greater the effect.You would be a candidate for a plumber's neck hosel or a putter with a double bend shaft, which provides the same offset effect.
  • If you tend to pull your putts, a straight hosel will work best for you.
  • If you are square at impact, a slanted hosel would be best.


THE SHAFT POSITIONING IN THE HEAD INFLUENCES STROKE PATH

  • Players who prefer a straight back and through putting stroke perform optimally with a center shafted putter and a face balanced head.
  • Players who prefer a pronounced arc putting stroke perform optimally with heel shafted putter and a full toe hang balanced putter head.
  • Players who prefer a slightly arcing putting stroke perform optimally with mid shafted (between heel and center shafted) putter and mid hang balanced putter head.


Can players putt well with less than optimal equipment?

I would say that over time, a player could learn to compensate and putt reasonably well, but probably not to the level that they could with the equipment that fits their natural stroke preferences.

Really great putters play with a putter hosel and shaft combination that's optimal for them.




Proper Putter Lie Angle


Once the proper length of the putter has been established, the sole of the putter should be flush on the ground. If the toe or heel is off the ground, the ball may tend to travel off line. The key to lie angle is to only make adjustments if necessary after the player's posture and putter length have been determined.

Lie angle is a factor in controlling the initial direction the ball will travel after impact. If the toe of the putter is sticking way up in the air, the ball will be pulled slightly to the left. Conversely, if the heel of the putter is way up in the air, the ball will most likely be pushed slightly to the right. Also, an incorrect lie angle will cause a slightly less solid hit because the ball is being impacted at more of a glancing blow, which also adds some degree of sidespin.

On a typical 22-foot putt, if the putter's lie angle is four degrees up, the ball will be pulled 1 3/16 inches to the left. That is enough to miss the hole completely.

Please note that an exception to lie angle influencing putt direction would be for a putter with zero loft; most putter manufacturers make putter heads with 3 or 4 degrees of face loft.



Proper Putter Loft


Most players are not aware that the ball, when resting on the surface of the green, actually settles down in a depression caused by its own weight. Another relatively unknown fact is that the ball will skid approximately 14-20% of the total putt distance, regardless of how hard it is hit. The ball is in a "pure roll" state for the final 80-86% of the total putting distance.

The purpose of putter loft is to provide a consistent amount of skid and roll every time on any length of putt . This helps dramatically in controlling the distance a putt is hit. Here's how it works: When you strike a putt, the ball first needs to be lifted up and out of its depression so that it can skid on top of the grass and not through it. When the putt is not lifted slightly or if it is lifted too high, it will bounce. You will usually not see this bounce but it will make your skid and roll through different length putts inconsistent. This in turn makes it very difficult for you to consistently achieve the proper putt distance. Most players will start the ball rolling consistently with a putter launch angle of 4 degrees. Simply because your putter has 4 degrees loft does not mean you impact the ball with 4 degrees of loft. Special equipment can determine your putter's actual loft and whether or not your hands are ahead of the putter head at impact (de-lofting the putter), square to the putter head at impact (utilizing the actual loft on your putter), or if your hands are behind the putter head at impact (increasing the putters loft).

In putting, there are three ways to contact the ball at impact. One is to de-loft the putter with a forward press. The second is to increase the loft by having the hands behind the ball at impact. The third is perfectly vertical or straight up/down.

It has been determined through testing that a putter should have four degrees of loft at impact to obtain the most consistent roll. If a player de-lofts or increases their loft, the putter needs to be adjusted (bent) to obtain that 4-degree optimum loft.




Proper Swingweight


The next putter fitting parameter is swingweight.

Swingweight is the most overlooked aspect of putter fitting, mainly because it is not visible. Swingweight is the feel of the putter head as it swings. Swingweight influences the distance the putter travels on the back and forth stroke. It also influences tempo as well as the path the putter head swings.

In my opinion, this is where science takes a back seat to intuition. The player should feel very comfortable for the feel of the putter when he or she strokes a putt, and any swingweight adjustments should be made on that criteria alone.

Whenever you alter the length of a golf club by cutting it down, gripping down it or even adding length to it, you change the swingweight - and it doesn't take much to change the feel of your putter, your tempo and your stroke.

Another factor that most people aren't aware of is that when you buy a 33 or 34 inch putter off the shelf, the majority of manufacturers use the same putter head weight no matter what length. This serves their purposes for reducing inventory of putter heads and increasing their profit margin. Using the same putter heads benefits the manufacturer, however it is a detriment to the player.

The proper swingweight range for any conventional style putter in any length is very important. It is another key putter fitting variable that most golfers are not aware of, but one that can benefit them immensely.




Putterhead Playability


The last fitting parameter is head design. Head design accounts for 50% of the putts directional control and 50% of the putts distance control. A typical 18 handicapper misses the center of the putter face by a whopping 1 1/2 inches on a typical 22-foot putt. Research shows that if you miss the sweet spot by 3/10 of an inch, you will miss a 22-foot putt.

Pros seldom miss the center of the putter but amateurs do. This is why most of us would benefit from a more forgiving putter head style or a putter with a very high moment of inertia (MOI). MOI is the measurement of the objects resistance to twisting. The higher the MOI, the less likely the head is to twist on a putt struck on the toe or heel. With a low MOI putter, not only do we lose the power on and off center hit but with the head twisting, the direction of the putt also suffers.

There is no doubt that a high MOI putter will result in better distance control and directly contribute to a golfer's ability to putt more consistently. Every one of us can benefit from playing a putter with a high MOI.

Come in and get fitted.


Putter Fitting Rates


Putter Fitting - $60




How To Get Fitted For Your Putter


By appointment only, please contact Tom Tucker through his cell phone (716) 474-3005, or by email at ttucker@rochester.rr.com




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TomTuckerGolf.com
Professional Golf Lessons - Thomas Tucker
WGTF "Top 100 Golf Teacher"
USGTF Certified Class "A" Professional
Email: ttucker@rochester.rr.com Cell (716) 474-3005
www.tomtuckergolf.com


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