Golf is part art and part science and having the right tools is essential to getting the most out of the game. Anyone who plays knows that a making a good short game is just as important as drives and chipping, so having the right putter is essential. Adding to the importance of choosing and purchasing the putter is that it is the most used club in any golf bag.
Putters are used for making short, slow strokes once the ball is close to the hole, on the putting green. While all the clubs in a set are important and have their specific functions in the game, putters are regarded as the least dispensable of all the clubs. As a highly specialised tool that no golfer can be without, putters are the only clubs that are allowed to have bent shafts, non-circular grips and positional guides. All these factors conspire to mean that choosing the right one requires knowing exactly what to look for and how different attributes will affect the way the putter works.
When looking for putters on eBay, consider what the player might prefer and what variety of putter will suit them and their game. Ask the following questions:
* How powerful is the player's stroke?
* How much follow-through does the player give?
* Does the player usually require a little wrist flexibility?
Answering these questions will help with selecting the correct make and grip of the putter.
While a small minority of golf equipment collectors are searching for vintage clubs, most people are looking for modern equipment that will improve their game. As such, be aware that there have been radical changes to the technology used in putting in the past 20 - 30 years that will have drastic effects on their usability. Look for clubs made more recently if looking to be an active golfer.
Anatomy of a Putter
Putting is the most precise aspect of the game of golf and putters are built to enable to subtlest of movements from the player to translate into the motion of the ball.
Balance in a putter is an important issue for golfers and should be considered when buying golfing equipment on eBay. There are two types of balance, known as 'face' and 'toe' balance.
Here is a simple exercise that will help to determine balance.
* Place the shaft of the putter along your fingers, parallel to the body, and balance it, letting it find its own orientation.
* The face-balanced putters will point upwards. These are better suited to straight and strong strokes.
* Toe-balanced putters will naturally orientate downwards to point at the ground. These putters are suited to players with a dynamic, short game and who are flexible in the strokes that they use.
The face of the putter is the next most important factor to consider when searching for the right putter on eBay. The two main types are the metal-faced putters and groove-faced putters. Again, knowing the standard of the player and how comfortable the golfer is with their skill level and swing is key to the decision.
* Metal-face putters are suitable for those new to the game since they allow the novice to clearly feel the feedback from a stroke. This allows the golfer to make adjustments to the stroke at every turn.
* Groove-face putters are suited to more experienced players who do not require tools that provide the same level of sensory feedback. These putters will provide a more challenging short game.
Putter length is a subject for much discussion when it comes to short games. There are a many pro golfers who talk about the advantages of belly putters which, for good or ill, are part of the game. For those new to golf, belly putters are receiving a lot of attention. Amateurs might not be privy to the change but many pros have said that a belly putter drastically improves a player's short game.
These are the main characteristics of belly putters:
* Longer handles - usually by about 6 inches - and are anchored against a player's abdominal area when in play.
* This allows the golfer more control and less wrist action.
Banned in professional tournaments from 2016, belly putters remain popular among casual and amateur players.
For those who graduate from using belly putters:
* Standard or conventional length putters are the next step.
* These putters require a bit more skill and wrist control with each stroke, but the success and skill of mastering one is more rewarding.
The next type of putter is ideal for the most experienced and confident players.
* Long putters require a little less wrist control.
* They allow a greater focus on power and aim.
Putter lengths vary and should be chosen according to personal preference. Most are 813 mm (32 in) to 889 mm (35 in) shafts. Comfort is key and its best to try a few out before you settle on any.
There are three types of weighted putter.
* The classic blade putter is the oldest and the most commonplace of the three types of putter. These are often flat in profile and considered by many to be the easiest to use for amateurs and professionals alike. The flexibility and versatility of blade putters suits them to most golfing greens. They are also usually the lightest of all the putters.
* The contemporary mallet putter. Bulkier in shape, these are the heaviest type of putter which means that they offer the best range and power. This suits them to longer puts and certain types of terrain. Mallet putters represent the middle ground of the three types of putter available on eBay, with many players starting out with a blade putter and graduating to a mallet when they are more experienced and confident at the game.
* The modern peripheral weighted putter. These putters are designed for those players who possess a particularly straight forward, in-and-out stroke. These are half-blade, half-mallet hybrids that offer the best of both worlds. They will enhance the game of any player who is already advanced and confident and whose flexibility and skill has allowed them to play on a variety of terrains using long and short puts.
There is an entire class of putters that is used in the training of novice golfers. Training putters have a variety of features that are actually intended to make the game more rather than less difficult. Those features include:
* A breakaway. This is a hinged joint in the shaft that allows the putter to stay rigid until a specific amount of force is applied. At this point the shaft will give way, teaching the golfer to apply only a certain amount of pressure and encouraging a more relaxed swing.
* A curved face. Sometimes extremely curved, this aspect makes the putter harder to use than a normal one with a straight face. This forces the learner to focus carefully on making sure that the putter makes contact with the centre of the ball, thus ensuring a straight shot.
* A lightweight head. A very light head encourages the novice to maintain a firm posture in the upper body and reduce wrist and arm movement.
When looking for a putter on eBay, where prices are undoubtedly more affordable than in bricks and mortar stores, it is essential to do a lot of research and know what exactly you want out of the tool. With putters and a sport like golf, the tools are only part of what makes the game so compelling. The players are a big factor in the activity and knowing how well you play or how developed your own skills are can be key in finding the right tools.
If you are a beginner looking to get started and assemble your own set, it is advisable to look first at common and standard fare. Face-balance, metal putters will be best to start with, though a blade weight and conventional length putters or even belly putters are equally accessible and good for starting out.