NEWS FROM THE TOUR VANS
BROUGHT TO YOU BY GOLF PRIDE, THE #1 GRIP ON TOUR
All PGA Tour players know that finding the right putter is a mixture of the right technology and the right comfort level. Increasingly, a heavier weight has been satisfying both of those desires.
When the Ping Anser debuted in the mid-1960s, putter heads were typically just heavier than 300 grams. However, changes in putter construction and increasing green speeds have led to a seismic shift – the average weight for a blade putter head is now around 345 grams. It may not sound like much on paper, but there it’s a massive difference in how a putter feels.
Why the move to heavier putters? Lighter putters allow the face to become more open on the backstroke and more closed on the way through. As greens have become faster, the prevailing theory from pros is that they want the face to be fairly neutral throughout the stroke to reduce twisting. Heavier putters allow for that to happen, especially with the use of heavier grips. And if a player wants a heavier grip to take their hands more out of the stroke, that necessitates more weight on the putter head to match it.
With that being the case, mallets – with their larger heads that increase the moment of inertia and provide more forgiveness for off-center hits – have slowly increased in popularity to share the putter space with once-dominant blades. Of the top 50 players in strokes gained putting on the PGA Tour, 30 use mallets. They are led by No. 1 Louis Oosthiuzen (Ping Vault 2.0 Craz-E H), No. 2 Denny McCarthy (Scotty Cameron Tour-Only Fastback) and No. 4 Jon Rahm (TaylorMade Spider Tour) in the rankings.
Even those who use what would be considered a blade have found a way to add weight and forgiveness. Matt Kuchar, Adam Hadwin and John Huh are among top putters who use a “wide blade” that has the shape of a normal blade but is larger and heavier. By adding weight to a wide blade or a traditional blade, it allows for more of the advantages that a mallet putter has.
However, as you can expect, adding weight is not for everyone. That includes Tiger Woods.
Woods’ famous Scotty Newport 2 GSS head is only 326 grams and his Ping PP58 grip is only 58 grams. For perspective, a typical putter grip on the PGA Tour is around 80 grams.
While many players like to go for slightly less weight when greens are slow, Woods often has gone the other direction. At last year’s Open Championship when green speeds were subdued, Woods added lead tape to the back of his putter, going in the opposite direction of others.
It’s all personal preference, but the trend to heavier putters is undeniable.