The putter is arguably the most important club in a golfer’s bag. Choosing the right putter length for your height, posture and technique are essential to a golfer’s performance. Roughly 40% of golf strokes happen on the putting surface, so you must choose not only the right type of putter but the proper length as well.
In general, golfers with a height of 5’9″ – 5’11” should use a 34″ length putter, 5’8″ and below should use a 33″, and those above 6′ should use a 35″ putter. A golfer’s posture also contributes to putter length. Upright posture suggests a longer putter, while hunched over suggests a shorter one.
Why Does Putter Length Matter?
Before you go about deciding on the putter length that’s right for you, it’s important to understand why putter length actually matters.
The length of a putter has a corresponding effect on a golfer’s putting stroke. Playing a putter with the incorrect length can lead to an improper swing arc and impact trajectory, which will deliver the ball offline from your intended target.
More specifically, it directly affects the lie angle when you address the ball. Just like any other club in your bag, having the proper lie angle of your putter is important because it will cause the ball’s trajectory to be offline. When the putter is not properly square (or flat) on the ground, the putter’s loft actually causes the ball to travel offline… not because you are aimed offline, but because the loft and lie angle encourages the aim to be off.
Let’s take two examples:
- If your putter is too long, it causes the lie angle to be too upright (with the heel touching the ground and the toe in the air). As you take a putting stroke, this actually causes the putter to aim left of your target.
- The opposite is true if your putter is too short, in which case the toe is down and heel up. This causes the putter to be aimed right of your target.
Scotty Cameron does a great job explaining in this video.
You want a putter length that allows the putter head to be flat on the ground as you naturally address the ball.
I encourage you to check out this article I wrote on why lie angle is important.
What Putter Length Do You Need?
In order to choose the right putter length, you must consider both your height and your setup posture.
Many people believe that a golfer’s height should dictate how long your putter should be. While this is true, it’s only one part of the equation.
A golfer’s posture is equally important to height. Some golfers stand up taller when addressing the ball. Some bend over a bit more. You see how this plays a role in choosing the proper putter length.
In many cases, choosing the right putter length comes down to preference. At address, you may prefer your eyes to be directly over the ball. Some golfers may prefer their eyes to be slightly inside the ball. Remember, we want a flat lie angle, and the difference in setup directly dictates the length of putter you need.
- If you prefer your eyes to be more over the ball, you may want a shorter putter.
- If you prefer your eyes to be more inside the ball, you may want a longer putter.
Putter Length Chart by Height
The simplest way to determine putter length is to base it on your height. Taller golfers will naturally need a longer putter, and conversely, shorter golfers will need a shorter putter.
Here’s some general guidance for height and putter length:
|6’ and above
|5’9” – 5’11”
|5’8” and below
Adjusting Putter Length for Setup Posture
As I mentioned, height is only one factor when determining putter length. You need to adjust for your posture over the ball.
If you stand up taller over the ball, you’ll want a longer putter. If you’re hunched over the ball, a shorter putter may suit you better.
Truth is, putting is all about feel and you want to be comfortable over a putt. The best way to measure is by hanging your arms by your side and measuring the distance from your wrists to the ground.
How to Measure for the Correct Putter Length
The best way to measure for the correct putter length is by measuring the distance from your wrists to the ground as you are addressing the ball. Follow these steps:
Step 1: Grab a ruler or tape measure and someone to help you with the measurement. A firm ruler is easier to use than a tape measure, but either will work fine.
Step 2: Get yourself into a natural putting stance. For the best results, I suggest doing this without holding a putter. Bring your hands together and let them hang naturally as you would when addressing the ball.
Step 3: Measure the distance from your top wrist to the floor. Everyone has a different grip, so it’s the top hand that you’re focusing on.
Step 3: That measurement (which should be somewhere between 32-35”) is the putter length that you need.
What is the Standard Putter Length?
In general, the standard putter length is 34” for most golfers with a height between 5’9”-5’11”. Most manufacturers have putter lengths ranging from 32” – 36”. And by “standard,” this really refers to “most common.” There really is no standard as everybody is different.
Are Putter Fittings Worth it?
Putter fittings can be very beneficial for golfers looking to take their game to the next level. Getting properly fit by an expert to dial-in putter length, club head type, weight, and grip can be very important to improving your game. If you’re a beginner or just an average golfer, it’s probably not worth it. Take the recommendations from this article and other sources to help determine what putter is best suited for you.
Should you get a 34 or 35 inch putter?
Most golfers should play with a 34” putter who are between 5’9” – 5’11” with a fairly neutral setup posture. Golfers above 6’ in height and/or with a more upright posture should play 35” or even 36” if you’re really tall.
Is a 35 inch putter too long?
A 35” putter is too long for the majority of golfers. In fact, I believe the majority of golfers are playing with a putter that is too long. Refer to the guidelines above regarding height and posture to determine what length is right for you.