How To Measure Putter Length & Why It's Important
Putting is one of the most important parts of golf – change your putting, change your score. Golfers should spend a lot of time picking out the right putter since it plays such a big role in every round.
Ironically, most golfers settle for a putter vs. buying their driver. When it comes to picking a driver, most players test out different heads, shafts, and maybe even do a custom fitting session. Yet, when it comes to picking a putter, most golfers just grab something off the rack and hope for the best.
But think about it, you only use a driver 14 times per round at most (assuming you don’t use it on par 3s). You use a putter every single hole, usually several times on most holes. Putting accounts for 30-50% of your strokes if you think about all the times you putt from off the green too.
Needless to say, your putter is the biggest weapon in your bag. To have it work for you and not against you, it’s vital to have the right putter length, not just the right head to match your stroke.
Keep reading to learn how to measure putter length and how it impacts so much of your performance on the course.
How to Measure Putter Length
Most golfers are using the wrong length putter, according to a study done by Golf Digest and Club Champion. According to Golf Digest, “The Club Champion study of recent putter fittings revealed that only 33 percent of golfers ended up being custom-fit to a 35-inch putter, meaning nearly seven out of 10 golfers didn’t end up as standard.”
The study also found that despite getting taller as a species, only 11 percent of golfers use one that is longer than 36 inches. Additionally, they found that 44% of players need a putter that is 34 inches or less.
That’s right, nearly half of all players are using putters that are too long for their stroke. Chances are, you didn’t even think about it as most putters off the rack are 34 or 35 inches (most seem to be 35). Not to mention, they rarely if ever offer half inch shaft increments too.
Ping Golf found similar results and said that 8 out of 10 golfers are playing the wrong length putters and losing strokes as a result!
Why Putter Length Matters
Before getting into the art of measuring your putter, let’s discuss why this is so important. If most golfers are using the wrong length putter, that means they’re set up for failure before they even take the putter back. Pair that with a bad stroke and incorrect green reading, you’re in for a long day on the golf course.
Playing a putter that is too long will negatively impact your eye position. The general rule is that your eyes should be directly over the golf ball. If you dropped a ball from your nose, it should land directly on top of the ball on the ground.
While other coaches prefer to teach their students to have their eyes slightly inside the ball. Sean Foley said in a Golf Digest article that, “Instead of positioning your eyes directly over the ball, do what most pros do and set them several inches to the inside (above, left). This is especially important over those short putts where you can’t afford to be off line by more than an inch or so.”
But a putter that is too long will make you move back too far which will distort your start line and overall read of the putt. Not to mention can lead to a stroke that is too far inside on the way back.
Additionally, a putter that is too short will make you stand too close to the ball and maybe get your eyes over the ball. While having your eyes slightly inside the ball is fine, too far outside is a big mistake and not taught by any instructors.
Finally, a putter that is too long or too short can also impact your posture. Not only can this hurt your putting performance it can lead to back issues that might affect other areas of your game too.
As you can tell, finding the right putter length is just as important as buying the right putter for your stroke!
Also Read: How To Measure Golf Club Length
Measuring a Putter
So, how do you measure yourself for a putter?
First, measure your current putter if you can’t remember the length when you bought it off the rack. Or, if you have had some custom work done since you originally bought the putter.
Using a tape measure or measuring stick, measure the length of the putter from the hosel to the end of the grip. Most putters for men will be 34 or 35 inches if they’re standard, with some being 33 inches. While women will find that most putter length measurements are usually 32 or 33 inches.
Next, measure the length of your body type with the help of a friend. Get into your standard putting posture and let your arms hang freely. The important thing here is to not change your posture but instead, do what feels comfortable and natural.
Then, have someone measure the length of your hands to the ground. It’s likely that the distance will range from 31 to 36 inches depending on age, gender, height, and arm length.
Check this video below on how to measure putter length
Putter Length Based on Height
Measuring your current putter and ideal putter length using the test above is the first step to improving on the greens. But if you still need a little help, here are some general guidelines for putter length based on height:
- Less than 5’8” = 33 inches
- Between 5’9” and 5’11” = 34 inches
- Six feet and above = 35 inches
Related: Best Putters for Beginners
Before buying a new putter or altering your current one, start by asking if you like your putter. If so, don’t worry about buying a new one and instead find ways to adjust your length. I suggest taking some videos of your stroke to see how your eyes and stroke change based on the putter length.
If you don’t love your putter and it doesn’t beam confidence when you pull it out of the bag, consider buying a new one. It’s always best to stay with the same type of putter (blade vs. mallet) as changing length and style might be too much for most golfers.
Or, you can always do a putter fitting to take out as many variables as possible and trust the experts. This is a good way to make sure you find the right putter for stroke and posture.
Getting your putter length dialed in to your height is key so make sure to read our top question and answers to find the right one for you.
What length putter should I use for my height?
Use the measuring technique above to find the right length putter for you. But it’s also a good idea to test out different putters at your local golf store to see how it impacts your stroke, eye position, and overall confidence.
If you’re using a 35-inch putter now but it’s too long, you can always choke up an inch or two to see how that feels. This is a good way to test out the same putter with a different length without having to pay to get it altered. If you find that your performance improves, have a club fitter shorten the putter so you don’t have to choke up for every single putt.
Can I alter my putter length?
Yes, it’s quite easy to lengthen or shorten your putter, just like a normal golf club. But just like adjusting the length of an iron or wood, it will impact the performance.
For example, when you shorten a normal golf club by chopping off a half inch or inch, it will make the shaft stiffer. When you shorten the length of a putter, the flex won’t matter as much but it can adjust your swing weight.
As Golf.com noted, “It’s important to note that shortening or lengthening the putter will alter swingweight, which could affect how it feels in your hands. Adjustable heel-toe sole weights can help in this situation.”
While you can add or shorten the length of your putter, just know it can mess with your weight and feel. If you’re 100% sure you want to shorten your putter, make sure to test out different weights if it’s an adjustable putter. Finely tune it on the practice green before taking it out to the golf course.
Are there adjustable putters?
This is a great question to ask as you can adjust some golf clubs with the twist of a wrench. While most putters aren’t able to adjust without the help of a club fitter, there is an exception – the Ping Sigma 2 putter.
According to the same Ping article above, “The USGA-conforming, adjustable-length shaft is lightweight, easy to use and sleekly concealed beneath the grip, allowing you to customize length between 32″ and 36″ to fit your stroke and posture. The process is quick and intuitive through the use of an adjustment tool that inserts into the top of the grip.”
Unfortunately, this trend hasn’t caught on with other putter manufacturers. But if you’re a Ping putter fan and want to find the right one for your game, this is a great option and it has tons of other helpful technology.
Related: Best Putters for High Handicappers
Is a 32-inch putter too short?
A 32-inch putter is probably too short for most golfers but depends on the criteria mentioned above. If you have long arms or prefer to bend over your putter more than normal, a 32-inch might be the perfect length.
How tall should you be for a 35-inch putter?
You should be six feet or taller to benefit from a 35-inch putter. Please remember this is a general rule and posture plus arm length are also factors.
How long is Tiger Woods putter?
Tiger Woods is one of the most clutch putters of all time. When he needed to make a putt to win or extend a tournament, he was the guy to make it happen.
His Scotty Cameron is a priceless golf club that he’s used to win 14 of his 15 major championships. He’s also used Ping, Nike, and other versions of the iconic Scotty Cameron putter.
The shaft length itself has changed over the years though due to health issues. According to Golf Circuit, “Because of Woods’ back problems, he shifted from a shaft of 35 ¼ inches to 35 ½ inches. This stops him from bending too much and helps his back. The same is the case for the putting drills in his sand wedge.”
Finally, the grip is the Ping PP58. Despite not playing a Ping putter, he’s used the simple black grip for decades.
Remember, multiple studies have found that most golfers (between 50-80%) are using putters that are too long.
A putter that is too long impacts your setup and stroke, which ultimately results in worse performance on the greens. Don’t make golf any harder by making a simple mistake like using the wrong length putter.
If you’re struggling with putting, start by measuring your current putter. Then, use the measuring test above to see how your putter matches with your ideal length. If it’s too long, choke up an inch or more to see how it impacts your address position, stroke, and confidence.
If you find it to be effective and don’t need a new putter, have a club fitter shorten it. This easy fix can have a big impact on your short game and overall confidence on the greens.
What size putter length do you use? Have you experimented with other lengths to see how it impacts your performance on the greens?
Let us know in the comments below.