One thing I’ve always wanted to do is to get a professional putter fitting. It’s one thing to get fitted for a set of irons or even a driver or fairway wood. A putter fitting is in a category of its own. Putting is a different animal, which is why there are teachers out there who specialize in nothing but that. It’s as much of an art as it is a science.
Until just the other day, I’d say I’ve had two putter fittings in my golfing life. The first happened when I started getting more serious about the game and could see the importance of being properly fitted. I was putting with a belly putter at the time and stumbled upon an article on the subject in the January 2012 issue of Golf Magazine. Todd Sones and his then putter company, Coutour Golf, both made a lot of sense to me, and I sought out a fitting.
In January of 2014, my buddy Ken Bank and I made the drive up to Raven Golf Club in Phoenix where Certified Fitter Megan Padua fit us both for belly putters using the Coutour fitting method. It’s based on the Pythagorean theorem. Turns out the Odyssey belly putter that I had been using was too long for me, and when I got my new putter from Coutour, I never putted better in my entire life! Of course, shortly thereafter, the USGA issued a ban on anchor putting, and it was time to head back to the drawing board.
So I decided to seek out the guru himself, and in October of 2015, I scheduled a lesson with Sones at White Deer Run Golf Club in Vernon Hills, Illinois. I wanted to verify that my putter had been properly fitted for my stroke as well as get a lesson on how to improve my stroke with the more conventional putter model I would have to change to permanently when the new Rule went into effect January 1st. It was that meeting with Sones that eventually led me to enroll at the Golf Academy of America in Phoenix in January of 2016.
The second putter fitting occurred while I was attending the Golf Academy. Because Sones is on the Academy’s National Advisory Board, during that fitting, my instructor not only used his Coutour fitting system, he also laser-checked my alignment and ball position based on putter loft and lie angle. That was good, but after a while, I was ready for great!
And that takes us to the professional fitting at Cool Clubs. If you’re serious about golf, then at some point, you have to get a putter fitting at a place like Cool Clubs. Cool Clubs touts itself as the “industry’s leading custom club fitting company” and opened in Scottsdale in July of 2007, no more than a two-minute drive north of Grayhawk Golf Club. As you’d expect, it’s a state of the art facility complete with flat screen TVs, couches, Trackman-monitored hitting bays, practice putting greens, and a club workshop for on-the-spot adjustments and repairs.
Master Club Fitter Sue O’Connor has been fitting people at the location for nine years (and five years before that at what was then Performance Fit Golf and eventually Club Champion in Chicago). A geophysical engineer by education, O’Connor took up the game herself when she was 40! A fitting will cost you $125, but it’s well worth it when you consider that putts account for 40% of a player’s strokes during a round on average. Why wouldn’t you make sure your stick matches your stroke?
The first thing Sue did was to measure my putter specs beforehand. I have a Scotty Cameron Select Newport 2 that’s 33.25″ in length, has four degrees of loft, and a 70-degree lie angle. From there, we headed over to Cool Clubs’ custom, pool-hall-style putting table. At the end of the perfectly flat, ten-foot-long turf was a hole and then an opening to collect both makes and misses. It reminded me of a pool-hall-style pool table because you could hear the balls rolling back toward you underneath.
Attached to the sides of the table were six cameras and three lasers voice-controlled by Amazon’s Alexa. One laser accentuated the angle of the putter face, one indicated club path, and one marked ball position. Sue watched me roll a few putts on the V1 Sports Digital Coaching System. Then it was time to analyze. Sue started by looking at my posture and suggested that I adjust my spine angle by bending over further, bringing my chest closer to the ground. My spine angle was 59 degrees, but most Tour pros have a spine angle between 49 and 56 degrees.
Then I changed my grip so that the shaft ran more through my forearms and softened my elbows at address. Sue also suggested that I move the ball more toward the middle of my stance, put more weight on my lead leg, and to feel like I was taking the putter back and through a lot lower. What do you know? Instead of catching the ball on the upswing and with the very bottom of the face, I starting striking it right at the bottom of my swing arc: inside on the way back, square, and then straight down the target line at the finish. Just like the pros!
Sue adjusted my putter upright one degree from 70 to 71 degrees and swapped out my red Pistolini grip in favor of a Super Stroke Mid Slim 2.0, which was a lot more comfortable and not quite as slippery. She made the change right then and there while I waited. I can’t say enough about the Cool Clubs fitting experience! The whole thing took about an hour and 15 minutes and was as much a putting lesson as it was a putter fitting, although the two certainly go hand in hand. Fitting is something I highly recommend for all your clubs, but if you have to choose just one, I would choose a putter fitting. The whole experience is first class from start to finish. In fact, I would say it’s a can’t miss!
About Cool Clubs
Cool Clubs offers both indoor and outdoor fittings (at Grayhawk if it’s not too hot), and the outdoor service will cost you slightly more. It’s a small price to pay if you want to see the ball fly through the air, but it’s certainly not necessary. These guys and gals are real pros. They know what they’re looking for! At the end of your session, you’ll get a folder with notes and pictures from your fitting as well as a digital copy and PDF via email.