Most golfers in the senior age range have been playing golf for a long time. Throughout this time there are many updates to equipment with companies releasing new equipment for golfers to use each year.
Almost all senior golfers will update their equipment from time to time but will mainly change the clubs that they think will improve their game the most - drivers, fairway woods and irons. Very few will change their putter regularly and in fact many will have the same putter for 20 to 30 years. When you consider that nearly half the shots taken on a golf course are with that one club, not using the advantage of new equipment seems insane.
Older putters tended to be made from stainless steel which is a robust material and lasts for a long time, unfortunately however, this material provides poor feel for a shot where you need it the most.
A stainless steel, flat faced putter impacts the ball hard causing the ball to skid along the floor after being hit and means that distance control can be variable as the ball does not roll true. If we rated 'feel' for a putter such as this, on a scale of 1 to 10, with 10 being the highest, the rating would be approximately 2.
If we compare this type of putter to a putter that has been released recently we generally see that newer putters have been fitted with an insert in the middle of the putter face. This insert is easy to identify as it is a different colour than the putter head and is a piece of soft material that is designed to slightly cushion and grab the ball on impact making the ball roll immediately upon leaving the club face. This promotes consistent distance control and gives the golfer a soft feel when striking the ball. On a putter such as this our 'feel' rating would be an 8, 9 or 10 depending on the insert fitted.
To experience the difference in feel and distance control, try this exercise:
1. Get yourself two putters - your normal putter, and one with an insert. If one of your golfing buddies does not have one then your local professional should be more than happy to let you borrow one from the professional shop.
2. Take 10 balls and split them into two groups of five. Position yourself in the middle of the practice putting green and identify one edge of the green to putt towards. Do not putt to a hole.
3. Hit five balls with your normal putter and try and get them as close to the fringe grass as possible without touching the collar of the green.
4. Immediately afterwards hit five balls with your insert putter performing the same task.
5. Compare the feel and watch the roll of the balls after each putt. You should find that with the insert putter the balls roll across the grass much more smoothly and a more consistent distance than with the putter without the insert.
6. Repeat the exercise again to a different part of the green.
Look at the new technology available and make sure to not forget your putter when updating your equipment. If you do, you are punishing yourself and wasting valuable shots on the golf course.