Short Putter vs Long Putter: Which one should I use?

Making a quality putting stroke in golf is a major key.

All golfers should work to find the right putter for them.  The strange thing about putters is one putter that might work for one golfer might not be the right putter for the next golfer.

There are really three keys to putting well.  They include:

  1. Reading the putt properly
  2. Hitting your intended putting line
  3. HItting your putt the intended speed

When a golfer steps up to a putt, they have already “read” the putt and are now trying to hit their target line at the optimum speed.  The putter you select has nothing to do with your “read” of the green, but it does impact numbers 2 and 3 above.

The key is to start the ball on line at the right pace. Whatever putter, grip, stance that it takes to get the job done is fine!

Short Putter vs Long Putter

There really isn’t a putter that will work best for everyone.  Putting is a balance between art and science.  The artistic side will include picking a putter that feels right, provides you with confidence and helps you hit your intended line at the right speed.  The short putter or long putter could be the right putter depending specifically on each golfer.

Short Putter Advantages

  • More natural
  • Speed control

Long Putter Advantages

  • Quality alternative
  • Can provide relief for a bad back
  • Can provide relief from the putting yips

Short Putter Advantage #1: More Natural

Most golfers start the game with a putter between 33 and 35 inches.  It is typically a hand me down putter or an old putter someone picks up somewhere for cheap.  As the golfer advances in the game, getting the perfect putter for you becomes more important.  

Due to golfers starting the game with a short putter, this putting option is more natural for many golfers.  Over time, golfers get used to seeing the putting line from a certain angle as they stand over the putt.

Is a new putter worth it?

Short Putter Advantage #2: Speed Control

Due to the putting stroke being more natural with the short putter, golfers often have better speed control with the shorter putter, especially once they are outside of 30 feet.  These lag putts are vital for 3 putt avoidance.  

Some golfers will find they are better from inside 10 feet with the long putter and better outside of 30 feet with the short putter.  They ultimately have to measure what is best overall for their game.

When to use a putter?

There greatest putters of all time have all putted somewhat different from each other. A putting style is pretty personal to the golfer!

Long Putter Advantage #1: Quality Alternative

Most golfers at one point struggle with the short putter that they start the game with.  The long putter provides a quality alternative.  It is a completely different putting stroke and can help the golfer regain confidence in something new.  

Unlike the full swing in golf, the putting stroke can have many different looks.  Golfers often adjust their grip, stance, putter length and other variables to give themselves a different look and feel to help control the two keys: start line and pace.  Golfers will go to many extremes to find something that can give them confidence.  The long putter is one of those viable options.

What golf putter should I buy?

Long Putter Advantage #2: Can provide relief for a bad back

Being a great putter takes a lot of practice.  Standing at a putting green practicing for 1-2 hours at a time can be difficult on the back.  As golfers age, the long putter becomes a great option for those with an achy back.  

The long putter allows the golfer to stand taller, which provides relief.  Golfers should consider the amount of time they are able to practice as part of their decision when selecting a putter.

How to make more short putts!

Long Putter Advantage #3: Can provide relief from the putting yips

Let’s face it, as we get older or have certain bad experiences on the putting greens, the putting yips can start to form.  Many great golfers have struggled from putting yips and have transitioned to a belly putter or the long putter as a solution to try to solve their issues. 

The bottom line comes down to can I start the ball on the intended line and at the right pace.  If a long putter or belly putters helps you with this, you might have a solution to one of the most difficult issues to solve in golf.

Whatever putter you select, make sure you take advantage of the rule that allows you to draw a line on your ball. See our bonus tip below!

Assess Your Putting

Over the next so many rounds, keep track of the following data:

  • Total number of putts
  • Total number of 3 putts
  • Percent of putts made within 5 feet
  • Percent of putts made within 10 feet

Are you content with your results or do you feel like you could do better?  There are many variables to experiment with when it comes to putting.  The length of the putter is one of the many options.

How many putters should I own?

Next Steps

Test out the different variables with a focus on the putter that you are using.  I would recommend having a short and a long putter as two options to turn to at different points throughout a golf season.  Using the PGA Tour pros as a model, they are experimenting to try to find a putter that gives them not only the right results, but the confidence and feels needed to get those results.  Sometimes a new feel or a new look over a putt can instill confidence that produces certain results!

What length putter should I use?

Other Options

The following variables can be adjusted with the putting stroke:

  • Blade vs Mallet Putter
  • Grip style when putting, the cross handed or claw are options
  • Stance when putting, the open or closed stance is another option
  • Slow or quick stroke when putting
  • Locking something out in the putting stroke for example the lock arm putting grip

Bonus Tip

Make sure you draw a line on your golf ball.  When you mark the ball, clean it off, read the putt and set the line on your intended start line.  Get over your ball and start it right where the line is aiming.

This is the single most important putting tip and process every golfer can use and benefit from!

Final Thoughts

Golfers have a lot of options.  Keep in mind when testing things out, you want to determine your success to do the following:

  • Start the ball on your intended line
  • Putt the ball with the optimum pace

Experiment and test out the best option for your game, keeping all the variables and possible solutions to taking your putting ability to the next level!

A great opportunity to take your game to the next level with a golf simulator! Play golf 365 days a year!

My Secret To Golf Improvement

Let’s face it, in order to get really good at golf, we must practice frequently.  About four years ago, I made the leap and invested in a golf simulator build for my garage.  I went with a SkyTrak Launch Monitor and the TGC software and can now play over 100,000 courses including Augusta, Pebble Beach, Bethpage Black, Whistling Straits. St. Andrews and many other of the top 100 courses in the world.

This golf simulator setup, which is more affordable that you might imagine, has been a game changer.  I can now play golf everyday of the year regardless of rain, snow, cold weather or time of day.  I can practice or play rounds of golf.  I can stand in the 11th fairway at Augusta and with the auto-rewind feature I am able to practice my approach shots from various differences.

It is worth checking out through Rain or Shine Golf as they offer some incredible packages along with financing offers that are difficult to beat.

Some direct links to Rain or Shine Golf for pricing and financing:

Take Action – What You Can Do Today to Get Better

What does this mean for you?  I believe in the following recipe to get better:

1 – Improve your motion in the golf swing by identifying a golf instructor.  Here are some options:

Here is a list of golf instructors that we have reviewed:

2 – Train to swing faster and improve your swing speed.  Here are some options:

Looking to gain more Speed and Distance in your swing. Two Options:

3 – Understand course strategy and work to break through your next barrier.  Here is a series on breaking through:

We have provided guides on how to break 100, 90, 80 and 70. Check out more below, if interested.

4 – Practice Frequently

Did you know that I build a golf simulator in my garage and have played over 500 rounds of golf on my SkyTrak system?  It has been a game changer and one worth checking out. Here are some of my other posts on golf simulators frequently asked questions:

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