Monday, June 29, 2009

My Putter Fitting Experience

With my struggles with the flatstick I decided to get a putter fitting through The Golf Doctor ( in Woodstock, GA (suburb of Atlanta). I had never had a putter fitting as this didn't become popular until I was in my 8-year layoff from the game, but I was curious as to how it worked and willing to do anything to get back my old putting performances.

One of the first things I discussed with owners Ed and Matt Grabowy (a father & son team) was about the 'C Grooves' on the Yes! Putters and if they worked. Matt told me that they did indeed work to his surprise and even more surprising was that he felt that the Taylor Made Rossa line of putters that have the grooves on them prevent even less skid.

Skid-roll factor is present in all putters due to them having loft. Here's a video showing some skid on a putter's initial launch.

The Grabowy's use the Mitchell Studio Putter Fitting system which also utilizes the same type of video as shown above. Here's a pic of what the Mitchell Studio looks like.

The key is to get as minimal skid as possible so the ball can get rolling right away.

As Geoff Mangum posted months ago, the Yes! putter line claims that they have zero skid on their putters, but as Matt explained like Geoff explained, their way of measuring skid is different from how just about everybody else measures skid. In the video above, Yes! measures skid as to how long it takes the ball to start to rotate whatsoever. However, the standard measurement of skid is when the ball officially rotates 90 degrees. So it's not to say that Yes! putters do not help prevent skid, but their claims of zero skid are a bit flawed.

The Mitchell putter fitting studio is a great tool, however it comes with some problem. According to Matt, one of the issues is that you can only use one type of camera with the studio, a JVC camera that the company has stopped manufacturing. Also, he cannot save the data or the video and has to print out the data results because of that. Lastly, you only get about a foot over video coverage on the putt. Mitchell makes excellent, top of the line, clubmaking tools. However, I believe another manufacturer could quite easily create something even better than their current putter fitting studio.

I am currently using a Mizuno Bettinardi C-06

If there's one reason to look at getting fitted for your putter it's to check the specifications. The Mizuno Web site says the C-06 should have a lie angle of 71* and a loft of 3*. Instead, my C-06 had a lie angle of 70.5* and a loft of 4.5*. With that, my skid with my putter that I brought in was 13.2 inches. We eventually tried a Taylor Made Rossa Fontana putter and my skid went down to 10.0 inches. That's a 24.2% improvement!. When we bent the Bettinardi to 3* loft, the skid was at 11.0 inches, a 16.7% improvement!

Obviously, the bent loft in the Bettinardi did not improve as much as the Taylor Made Rossa Fontana, so we then figured that the weight may be part of the problem. We tried to 'back weight' the putter which is sticking a weight up on the butt end of the grip which makes the putter head feel lighter. But when we did that, my skid actually increased.

So we then determined that I needed a putter that had a heavier putterhead. We tried out a Never Compromise putter which has a heavy putter head and the skid decreased.

In the end we found that my lie angle should be about 74*, my loft should be no higher than 3* and I should stick with a face balanced putter (My mis-hits were dispersed so a putter with a high MOI would be helpful) and a heavy putterhead. I looked around and the putter that seemed to fit that mold was the Yes! Victoria II putter

It has a 72* lie angle (which I will bend just 2 degrees) a 2.5* loft and a fairly heavy putter head (370 grams).

I highly recommend the putter fitting process and trying to find somebody with a Mitchell Putter fitting studio or the equivalent. I also highly recommend going to the Golf Doctor if you're in the Atlanta area. They also do clubfitting using the Trackman Launch Monitor device.



Anonymous said...

Hi Richie,

First of all, thanks so much for chronicling your golfing progress and ambitions in this GREAT blog. It’s clearly one of the best golfing tutorial blogs on the web.

Out of curiosity, what is the length of your new putter and how much over, if any, are the length of your irons? With a 74-degree lie angle, I’m guessing your arms are short in relation to your height (6’4”), or you’re playing your putter very short like Phil. I believe Phil is around 6’3”.

I’m also 6’4”, but with a 6’8” wing span. I like to stand fairly upright and seem to be comfortable with 35 ¾” and a 70 or 71 degree lie angle. Soled properly, I think a 74-degree lie angle would have my eyeline well out over the target line, which in my case. Leads to pulled putts.

Happy Trails,

Rich H. said...

I actually have long arms and a long torso and very short legs for somebody my height. I only have a 29" inseam on my pants. I've never measured my wingspan, but given the inseam, I have to figure that I'm getting that height somewhere. Maybe I just have a huge noggin :)

I use a 35" putter, but I choke up probably to around 33.5" or so. We looked at that in my putter fitting, but felt that making it shorter probably wouldn't help due to the weight, so we are guessing here, but we think going with the 35" and choking up like I usually do will work as long as the lie angle is 74*.

The weight and where it was distributed in the putter seemed to be just as big of an issue as the lie and loft angles. We originally thought I needed more weight up in the grip and when we did that, my skid got even worse. But when we got the weight more in the putterhead, the skid improved by quite a bit.

We also measured my eyes over the ball and it was fine. Everybody is different, even if they have the same physical dimensions. But I would highly suggest getting a putter fitting like this. Not only will it get you making more putts, but save you a lot on frustration, confusion and agony. It's ridiculous how much easier short putts are and how much closer I am coming to sinking everything else in just one day of work. And that's with my current putter, I'm giddy to think what the Yes! putter will do.

shortgrass said...

Hello 3Jack,

So generally is the fitting just centered on skid prevention? I would have guessed that length and lie would have been covered first to allow a compensation free stroke, then move on to loft, weight, skid, etc.

Rich H. said...

Length and lie are covered, but my problem wasn't the stroke or at least all 3 of us thought that way. The lie angle part was pretty easy to get down as they have a tool that allows you to set up with any putter and then tell you what your lie angle should be based on how you set up to the ball. The only problem is that they really cannot fit somebody to get them square to the target at address. The only thing I know that can do that is the Edel Putter line.

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