I think everyone that plays golf agrees that putting is really critical to posting a good score. Over the last 10 years or so, junior golfers have benefited from a change in attitude when it comes to junior golf clubs. In the past, juniors played with cut down adult clubs as their first set and this included the putter. Nowadays kids have many choices from manufactures that make clubs specifically for kids. Sometimes these choices can become confusing. Let’s consider a few things that will help you when you’re choosing a new putter.
This has to be the first factor taken into consideration when trying to find the right putter for a junior golfer. Obviously, most junior golfers are still growing, and a little extra length will not be harmful as long as the player does not have to choke down on the club more than 2 inches. Having a putter that is more than 2 inches too long will probably be too heavy and will also cause a stroke that is inconsistent. Excessive length can also lead to the junior having the putter too far away from their body and the heel of the putter making contact with the green first. To make sure that your putter is the right length, take your posture and let your arms hang naturally, then grip the putter with your arms hanging somewhat straight. If your hands are down to the shaft and off the grip then we have a problem. If your wrist of your top arm is within an inch and a half of the top of the club, you should be in good shape. One last thing to remember, many of the new expensive putters are balanced for a certain length. Cutting these putters down will make it lose the balance of the club. A better option would be to custom order one of these putters at a shorter length.
Note that starting January 1st, 2016, anchored putters will no longer be permitted.
The new thought with putters is “bigger is better”. Larger putters have helped many golfers with their putting, including many juniors. Keep in mind that you want to choose a putter that sets up flush on the green and also is pleasing to the eye. Many juniors have problems making solid contact and not catching the green before the ball. Larger putters tend to scuff more than a skinnier putter like a blade. The reason that companies started to make bigger putters was that the additional weight of the putter leads to a smooth rhythmic stroke. Most junior golf club manufactures have followed this trend with the bigger putters and kids have really benefited from the new technology. One last thought concerning style, make sure the grip size is appropriate for the junior. Grip size is very important to a square clubface.
The weight of the putter is tied together with the length and the style. Try to find a putter where the junior can comfortably make a stroke with their body staying still. If the putter is too heavy, this will lead to excess body movement and more wrist action that is needed. Additionally, a heavy putter can make it tough to keep the putter on a good putting arc and the junior also loses rhythm.
Overall, choosing a putter for a junior today is a lot more fun…and more complicated… than it was 10 years ago. The key is to choose a putter that not only looks good and feels good, but is the right size for the player.
Article Prepared by Frank Mantua
PGA Professional & Director of Golf
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