Loft On Golf Club Putters
In the USA the term “Flatstick” is a golf slang term for the putter, because putter clubfaces appear as though they are flat, relative to all the other golf clubs. In other words, putters look like they have no loft.
All the other golf clubs have very noticeable amounts of loft, sometimes a high loft and sometimes a low loft. Other than the putter, the driver is the least-lofted golf club and, for most golfers, will have between 9 and 13 degrees of loft. On the other end of the scale, the lob wedge is the most-lofted club, typically from 60 to 64 degrees.
However, it turns out that the term “flatstick” is really a misnomer. Putters aren’t flat. They do have loft — just not much of it — and the amount of loft on golf putters does really matter and will have an impact on your golf game. For example, if you putt and the ball tends to bounce or skip, that’s a sign that the loft of your putter might not be well-suited to your putting style.
Loft In the ‘Flatstick”
You’ll rarely see a putter coming on the market with as little as zero degrees of loft – which really is a “flatstick”! Equally, it’s rare to find a putter with as much as 8 degrees of loft. The standard loft of putters sold in pro shops is 3 degrees to 4 degrees.
On the pro tours, the world’s best golfers use putters with as little as one degree of loft to as high as six or seven degrees of loft. But the goal of the pros is to have an “effective loft” — the loft of their putter as it sits at the moment of impact — of three to four degrees. An effective loft of 3-4 degrees is considered the ideal loft.
Why Loft In Putters Matters
The gist of it is this:
If your putter has too much loft, the ball will come up off the putter face at impact – it will get airborne for a fraction of a second – which can play havoc with your distance control. None of us want the ball to hop up at impact.
If your putter has too little loft – if it really is too much of a “flatstick” – then, at impact, your putter face might actually be pressing the ball into the turf a bit, which can cause various effects including a putt that skids or skips.
The object with putting strokes and loft is to send the ball on as smooth a roll as possible, from the earliest possible moments after impact. “Pure roll” is what every golfer wants out of his or her putter.
Ideal Putter Loft Is Impacted By Your Stroke, Stance and Even the Greens
What loft do you need in your putter?
Well, that’s affected by several factors, most prominently the type of stroke you have and your stance, but also by the conditions of the greens you typically putt on.
There’s the actual, measured loft of a putter and there is also, as mentioned earlier, the “effective loft.” A golfer who uses a forward press when putting is de-lofting the putter – that is, the putter arrives at impact with less effective loft than its stated, measured loft.
So a golfer with a forward press might need a putter with a higher stated, measured loft.
Likewise, a golfer whose stroke with the putter reaches impact on a slightly upward arc, might need a putter with a lower stated, measured loft.
So, it follows, that a golfer whose stroke is level at impact probably has roughly the same effective loft as the putter’s stated loft.
If you play the ball off your front foot when putting, less loft may be better – because you may be impacting the ball on a slight upswing.
If you use a long putter, less loft might be in order – because long putters tend to strike the ball on the way up.
Perfect greens — smooth, great rolling — require less loft in putters. Higher loft may help on bumpy greens and otherwise poor greens.
Launch Angle and Putter Fitting
Launch angle is something most golfers associate with drivers or other woods and hybrids. But it matters in putting, too.
The consensus is that a launch angle of three to four degrees is the ideal for putting – which explains why standard putter loft in off-the-shelf putters is 3-4 degrees.
Something you read in this article might prompt you towards a beneficial change in your putter loft. But the fool proof way to know whether your putter loft is well matched to your putting style, is to visit a golf club fitter for an expert putting fitting.
Most of us associate golf club fitting with the other golf clubs in our bag, but putter fitting can also be highly beneficial, and that’s why more and more golfers who want to improve their putting are getting fitted by an expert.
Hope you found this article helpful or informative.
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