Most golfers are preoccupied with proper loft, lie on their irons and driver, and neglect their putters.
The standard putter loft purchased from a box store or pro store is four degrees. The problem is that everyone places the ball differently, which changes the loft and lie of the factory. Your putter can have four degrees of loft, but your stance and putt stroke can increase or decrease loft and lie. The putter should have approximately four degrees of loft at impact.
The loft and lie on a putter can be bent to suit your stance and your stroke. Buying a putter off the shelf is only the first step. Eighty percent of the time, golfers buy an expensive putter only to find out later that it doesn’t perform as advertised.
In most cases, the putter does not fit properly. If the putter has too much loft, the ball will jump; if it has a little too much loft, the ball will dribble and negative loft will cause the ball to bounce. If the loft of the putter matches the golfer’s stance, grip, and stroke, the jump will jump the first three inches and then roll smoothly, gripping the putting surface much like a tire grips the road. An incorrect lie will cause the ball to roll left or right of the intended target line.
A master club fitter can check your golf ball’s roll pattern on a device and adjust your putter accordingly. A putter roll chart will show how well your ball will skid, jump or roll. The putter is then adjusted until the ball rolls correctly.
The lie can be checked with a floor mirror installation guide. If the toe of the putter is up, the ball will roll left of the target, and if the toe is down, the ball will roll right of the target.
Rick Musselman, author and golf professional, owns Musselman’s Golf in Williamsport.