Where should someone start when looking to select the right Scotty Cameron putter?
First, I encourage players to find something they like to look at. Something that appeals to the eye. Looks inspire confidence. And, they do matter. But, there’s more to it than what a putter looks like.
Pick a putter you love to look at and then understand what it’s designed to do versus what you’re trying to do. By that, I mean, figure out what kind of stroke you are trying to create. Is your stroke square-to-square? Does it have a slight arc? Or a larger swinging gate arc with lots of toe flow?
These are the three basic stroke types. And, we just happen to design putters for each type of stroke. Our Select line is full of options from heel and toe-weighted blades with lots of toe flow to smaller mallets for smaller arcs. Our GOLO putters are designed with about a quarter toe-hang for a slightly arced stroke path. And, the Futura X putters are nearly face balanced to appeal to the player looking to create a more square-to-square stroke.
If you can get something you like to look at, and it matches your stroke, then I think you’re headed down the right path to pick the right putter for your game.
Looks do matter. But they're not everything. At the end of the day can performance outweigh looks? Yes. If you’re draining putts with something you didn’t know worked for you, performance can outweigh lots of things: sound, feel, putter head size and shape.
What’s the most important factor in choosing the right putter?
After you determine what you like aesthetically, and you've matched a design to your desired stroke style, getting the correct length is key. Because length affects your setup, which sets eye position, as well as another important specification: weight. These decisions all translate back to your stroke path, which will be directly related to your success rate in getting the ball in the cup. Get that length right for your game, and you’re going to increase your odds for success.
Tell us more about how the length and weight should affect putter choice?
Length is very important because it affects your entire setup, from eye position to posture to the putter's weight to the stroke path. If the putter shaft is too long, you stand back and the toe of the putter goes up in the air a bit. When that happens, your effective loft is aimed left and you’re almost always going to pull putts. Too short, and you’re crouched over. The eyes are outside of the target line and who knows where your putt is going? It’s difficult to correct poor setup. Getting the length right for you so that the eyes remain about an inch inside the target line is what we’ve found to be the optimal setup.
Regarding weight, we match the putter's length with a headweight that achieves a balanced swing weight. With our interchangeable sole weights, we can dial in the headweight to ensure that the putter doesn’t feel either whippy or lethargic, but just right.
How are any of the above factors different when working with a Tour player?
They’re not. Touring professionals also gravitate toward what they like to look at. It's usually where they start. Out on Tour, they may see a putter in our staff bag that appeals to them. Then, they take it out for a practice round and see how it goes. Many will also come to the Putter Studio for a fitting — or just a "tune-up" — to understand more about what they're trying to achieve with their putter and stroke.
All sorts of questions can be answered with the high-speed video data we gather when players come for a fitting. Is the setup working with the putter or against it? Where are the eyes positioned? What's the stroke path? We've been helping the best players in the world get a handle on the data associated with their strokes for a couple decades. It used to be a process reserved for the world's best players at my Putter Studio R&D facility. But, now with our Gallery open in Encinitas, anyone who's interested in a Tour-like fitting can schedule an appointment and come in to get fit like a pro.
Are there any factors that most people don't think about that you'd suggest they explore when making a choice in putter?
One of the new ones I would suggest would be to examine your grip choice. What we have found on Tour and in the Putter Studio, is that these bigger grips on certain putters do work better for certain players. For example, the larger grips help to take a lot of the hands and feel out of the stroke. The larger grips help the player to make a stroke that's more of a shoulder turn, robotic and square-to-square. But, these larger grips on more flowing putters (heel and toe-weighted blades) don't seem to be the best match. They're fighting one another. So, we do put larger diameter Matador grips on Futura X and GOLO putters, but keep our smaller Pistolini and Pistolero options on the Select line. Grip choice has always been a factor in your putter setup. But, I think these days it's becoming a larger topic in the overall conversation about choosing the right putter.
What are you currently gaming, Scotty?
I have two putters in the bag. I have an M3 GSS with a black crocodile grip and a milled stainless steel shaft ring. It's 34-inches, D-5 swing weight, at 3.5° loft and 70° lie. And, when I feel like my setup is getting hunched, and I'm grinding to make putts, I go to my Futura X5 Dual Balance at 38-inches with our Dual Balance grip. I go to this when I'm trying to get my posture better. When I get into a real handsy stroke, I go to a Dual Balance to get more robotic and mechanical. Carrying two putters is ok, too!