The level of adjustability found in the latest golf clubs continues to grow, with everything from driver to three wood – and even putter – having features to tinker with at the higher price range.
Even ‘telescopic’ irons exist, with variable shaft length – just don’t expect to see these on the PGA tour any time soon.
Now, we may be accused of bias here at Project Golf Australia given our affinity with the flat stick and its importance in scoring low, but if there’s any club you should fork out extra dollars for to harness adjustability, we think it should be your putter.
Many modern putters come equipped with removable weights to help you tweak your setup to suit varying green speeds, but the question you probably want to know is: how do they work?
Putter weights are adjustable pieces of steel that are fixed to the sole of the clubhead. They can be removed and replaced with lighter or heavier weights based on the preference of the player. This allows you to change the weight of your putter to suit greens of different speeds.
Given the difference putter weight can make to your stroke in certain playing conditions, it’s definitely worth considering if you’re looking to gain an extra edge on the greens (especially if you’ve already sorted your grip and have your plumb-bobbing technique perfected).
In this article, I’ll answer the top questions about putter weight and how you can make your putter heavier without having to buy a brand-new club with an adjustable head.
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Should I use a heavy or light putter?
Generally, you should consider using a heavy putter if you play on larger, slower greens and a light putter on fast greens, but ultimately it comes down to personal preference. Both heavy and light putters can be successful on any green so long as the golfer feels comfortable using them.
The beauty of many newer, higher range (and more expensive) putters is that they often come with adjustable-weight features, usually in the form of interchangeable screw in weights on the bottom of the club.
While paying in excess of $500 for a putter may be daunting and seem exorbitant, remember that one expensive putter with adjustable features is still cheaper than buying a mid-range model that you’ll probably end up hating and replacing later anyway.
It’s also incredibly good fun playing around with putter weights and experimenting with different arrangements to try and fine-tune your perfect setup (whether it’s practicing on the course, or at home on an indoor putting mat).
With so many new putters on the market and different brands entering the fold each year, there should be a style and setup that suits just about everyone.
Some putters even bridge the gap between bladed and mallet putters, with those like the Mizuno M Craft 4 not only offering adjustable weights on the base, but blending that blade style with that mallet feel. This is the putter I use, and I absolutely love it.
If you like the idea of a big, beefy mallet-style putter that you can load up with even more weight for an extra heavy head, the TaylorMade Spider range is another that is well-represented on the PGA tour and certainly worth a look at.
Can you add weight to your putter?
You can definitely add weight to your putter, especially if you have an adjustable putter with interchangeable head weights that can be screwed into the sole of the club. If you don’t have these features in your putter, you can add weight to it by applying lead tape.
Lead tape is, as the name suggests, thick sticky tape that contains lead, giving it considerable weight.
If you feel that any of your golf clubs, including irons or your putter, are too light, applying lead tape can add over 10 grams without impacting the performance of the club.
When applying the tape, it’s important to add it evenly and not favour the heel or toe of the putter.
The adjustable-weight putters on the market allow weights of differing mass to be added to the heel and toe to counteract bias in your stroke, so accidentally replicating this with lead tape could see you pulling or pushing putts without intending to.
Most people find the best way to apply lead tape to a putter is along the sole, given that the bottom of any putter will have smooth points to allow it to glide across the turf.
This heavy duty golf lead tape from Amazon will do the trick and is much, much cheaper than buying a newer, heavier putter.
What weights should I have in my putter?
You should try lighter weights in your putter on faster greens and heavier ones on slower greens, and if your putting stroke is true the weight should be evenly distributed. Add more weight to the heel if you have the tendency to push putts, or try adding extra weight to the toe if your miss is a pull.
The beauty of putters with weight adjustability is that they provide golfers with so many options – gone are the days where if a putter wasn’t working for you, you’d simply go out and buy a new one (although, the temptation to do this is still high after a poor day on the greens).
Putter too light? Add more weight. Putter too heavy? Switch for the lighter weights. And even if you can’t adjust weights in your putter, you can add lead tape to make it heavier.
Importantly, if you are happy with your putting stroke and are hitting the ball on your intended line, it’s important to always keep the weight evenly distributed if you add more to the putter head.
You only want differing weights in the heel and toe if you are trying to correct a consistent miss.
Greater weight in the toe will work against a pesky tendency to pull putts left, while more weight in the heel will counteract a push.
Should I change the weights in my putter?
You should change the weights in your putter if you feel your stroke is too wristy, as adding extra weight will prevent excessive movement in your hands and help you putt straighter. If you miss left regularly, adding more weight in the toe will help. Similarly, moving more weight into the heel will do the opposite and counteract misses to the right.
There are all sorts of recommendations about heavier putters being better for slower, larger greens and lighter ones being best for greens that run like glass, but ultimately feel and personal preference is the most important factor.
Personally, I find my Mizuno M Craft IV putter works best for me when equipped with the heaviest 13g weights as it helps me minimise wrist rotation and hit my mark more often.
However, another person playing the same course, with the same handicap could absolutely hate the way my putter feels in their hands.
There’s definitely no one-size-fits-all approach or set rules when it comes to putter weights for specific conditions.
What does adding weight to a putter do?
Adding weight to a putter helps stabilise the clubhead and reduce wrist rotation that could start the ball rolling off-line. Heavier putters also reduce the backswing required to impart speed on the ball, which can help golfers stay in control of their stroke better.
The second point is especially useful on larger greens where it is likely you will be left with regular long putts, or be forced to smash putts up onto the surface from the fringe.
Many golfers who call a links course home will appreciate a heavy mallet-style putter to help them ‘Texas wedge’ their way to the hole from longer range, especially if they don’t own a chipper or aren’t confident trying a bump-and-run.
Many people argue that a heavier putter also affords them greater feel as the rhythm and tempo of their stroke is smoother, given the extra ‘oomph’ the additional mass in the putter head provides.
With a lighter putter, there is a risk that you will twist and turn the putter head and make a jerkier motion in an effort to get the ball to the hole, which meaningless if it isn’t on the correct line due to excessive wrist rotation.
Funnily enough, despite the above claims often echoed by many golfers, the data on heavier putters doesn’t really paint a picture of improved distance control or putting tempo.
The one thing that is plausible, however, is that heavier putters perform more consistently on shorter putts – likely due to the increased weight helping keep the club aligned when trying to ram it in the back of the hole.
Is a heavier putter better for fast greens?
A heavier putter isn’t necessarily better than a lighter putter on fast greens, with many pros and cons to each. While some people prefer a heavier, mallet-style putter to reduce the need for a longer backswing, others find a lighter blade-style putter provides better feel when greens are running quick.
You only need to look at the pro tour, which boasts incredibly fast greens, to see a mixture of lighter bladed putters and heavier mallets being used throughout the field.
While each and every golfer will have their own preference, whatever makes you feel as if you can get the ball started on-line with the right pace is the correct putter for you.
The main factor that needs to be taken into account with putters is feel, and quick greens can place added importance on this.
Many players find that when the greens are running quick, there’s no need for a large backswing, so the extra weight and stability of a large mallet is somewhat null and void.
A heavy putter with a thick grip – such as the increasingly-popular SuperStroke grip – may feel a little less nimble and agile on lightning-fast greens where finesse should be at a premium, hence why a heavier putter is possibly not the ideal option if the stimpmeter is rolling at 12 or more.
Adjustable-weight putters are just another example of how far golf manufacturing has come over the years.
But while technology claims to be the solution to so many problems, if you have a flawed stroke then it’s likely some 70-year-old veteran at your local club who still uses a putter from the 1980s will probably still hole more putts than you.
Having said that, confidence in golf is key, and if a putter of a certain weight feels best in your hands, it’s probably the best putter for you.
If you have the genuine yips and are prone to club changes, it’s worth considering a putter with weight adjustability to give you the full suite of options to remedy your dodgy stroke.
If you’ve tried going light, heavy, toe and heel weighted but still can’t make a putt, then you should instead be investing in an indoor putting mat to start practicing your stroke at home.