Changing Putters for Green Speeds?


I know you are the designer of the Frankly Frog Putter  , you were involved with the Stimpmeter and have conducted a lot of research on putting. I need some information about putters and green speed.

A  friend told me that on slow greens you should use a heavy putter and on fast greens use a lighter putter. What is your opinion?

–Ron, FL

Yes, our research has helped numerous golfers with their putting and in combination with the Frankly Frog Putter this has resulted in many very happy customers who are now enjoying their time on the green, are confident and have been able to lower their handicap as a result.

There has been some speculation that one needs a heavier putter than normal for slower greens. In addition, some golfers have suggested that you make contact on the toe of the putter face or use a light putter for fast greens or down hill putts.

I disagree with both of these notions for the following reasons:

First, it is important to groove your putting stroke to be as consistent as you possibly can. Consistency is of utmost importance in putting.

To be consistent you must not add an additional variable by changing the instrument for different course conditions. For a slow green, the ball must be launched a little faster than for a fast green for the same length putt. This difference should be established on the practice putting green which should be similar in speed to the greens on the course. It does not make sense to get out a Stimpmeter — ( see The birth of the Stimpmeter at ) — on the practice green and then make a decision as to which of several putters you are going to select for that particular range of green speeds.

Second, making contact with ball on the toe of the putter-face, for fast greens, again introduces another variable leading to inconsistencies – how far toward the toe will you strike it and for what green speed or down slope?

The difference between a slow and a fast green, independent of the putter you intend to use, is that the faster green will have more break than the slower green for the same side-hill slope, and you must launch the ball faster for the slower green than a faster green for a specific length putt.

The speed of the putter head for a specific length putt is a judgment call based on your experience and pre-shot plan and routine. This will be different for every putt, so why try to complicate this further by introducing another variable by using a different putter for every green speed or missing the sweet spot intentionally for down hill putts or faster greens?

Ron, I hope this has helped. 


3 thoughts on “Changing Putters for Green Speeds?

  1. I, like a lot of golfers, have trouble adjusting to green speeds when they are dramatically different from what I’m used to. The brain just isn’t that flexible when translating input from your eyes to muscle movements. If you have ever studied optical illusions you already know easy it is to trick the mind. Thanks to lasers we no longer depend on vision to figure out distances. Even though a shot across a lake looks longer than it is (that’s just how our brains work), we commit to the laser readout just fine. But putting on greens running 7.5 when you are used to 10 is a real challenge. Your mind just does not visualize the ball rolling at the speed you need for the distance. So, it might be a good thing to offset that visualization problem with something like a differently weighted putter. But a LIGHTER putter on SLOWER greens make a lot more sense than the other way around. Or maybe you need to putt to an imaginary target. If the green is 2’ slower than you’re used to, maybe you should try to putt to a 12’ target for a 10’ Putt, 24’ for a 20’ putt, etc. I do own a stimpmeter and use it every time I go out because weather conditions and greens maintenance can vary a lot – mow and roll a dry green vs. mowing a wet green is a 2-3’ difference at my course. I have always been in favor of posting today’s green speed by the first tee but have only seen that a couple times. I think this is a very complex issue and worthy of real investigation with scientific testing. I wish I had the time.

  2. What has worked well for me is to spend about 5 minutes lagging very long putts from different directions on the practice green. Once I have the speed down for long putts, the speed on the shorter putts seems automatic.

  3. AMEN! Too many things to think about if you switch putters or change how/where you strike the ball. Just get the proper Frog Putter and have at it.

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