Whether you are a scratch golfer or among the majority of high handicappers, it's no secret that working on your putting is one of the easiest ways to shave strokes off your round. But how do you go about doing that? There are a number of ways to improve your game, such as swing lessons with a teaching pro, training aids, experimenting with drills, consistent practice, and ensuring you have the right equipment.
Especially when it comes to the flat stick, choosing a putter that fits your eye, game, and stroke can be a daunting task for the newly established golfer or high handicapper. There’s so much information out there about different brands (much of it conflicting), not to mention putter technology, which is quickly evolving. Instructors may try to pull you in with the newest quick fix to make more putts and a gadget or training aid they've developed.
For the high-handicap golfers, it’s best to keep it simple so that when you play golf, you have fun while also getting better. It starts with a putter that works for you, not against you.
Top 5 Putters for High Handicappers
The right putter can make a huge difference in your short game. Here are our top five picks for high handicappers and what to expect with each one:
1. Scotty Cameron Phantom X 12
Scotty Cameron putters have perhaps the best reputation in the game. The Phantom X 12 is the pinnacle of the company’s work, featuring the highest moment of inertia (MOI) of all Titleist mallet putters. The large sweet spot makes it easier for high handicappers to putt on target consistently, and the stainless steel wings add stability and balance. This model comes equipped with stainless steel adjustable weights, which allow for better customization based on your preferences and feel for specific shots. While the model comes at a hefty price, it’s easily the best putter in the industry.
- High MOI mallet-style head with increased stability
- Lightweight and easy to use
- Alignment design helps with accurate aiming
- Not for golfers who want a traditional blade-style putter
- Higher price point compared to other putters
- No hosel options
The Scotty Cameron X 12 putter is an excellent choice for high handicappers who want better consistency. While it comes at a higher cost, the putter’s advanced technology, customizable features, and impressive craftsmanship make it one of the best putters available.
2. Callaway Odyssey White Hot OG 2-Ball
The Odyssey 2-ball putter has helped golfers with high handicaps for over two decades. As its name implies, the model hasn’t changed much since its original design, featuring an iconic 2-ball alignment system. This visualization aid makes it easier to execute accurate putts while retaining feel. While some parts have changed since the original design, the newest model has a milled silver surface. In addition, it has a stainless steel shaft fitted with the Odyssey pistol grip, but you can opt to change it to a different size.
- Iconic 2-ball alignment system for accurate aiming
- White Hot insert offers a responsive feel
- Suitable for various putting styles
- Traditional golfers may find the 2-ball system distracting
- Lighter feel may not suit some stroke tempos
The Callaway Odyssey White Hot OG 2-Ball putter is a classic for a reason. It’s a great choice for those looking to improve their consistency on the putting green, thanks to its unique alignment system and forgiving mallet design.
3. TaylorMade Spider GT Notchback
TaylorMade Spider putters are some of the best on the market, and the Spider GT Notchback is an excellent choice for high handicappers. This high-MOI mallet putter features a distinctive notchback design that shifts weight toward the perimeter of the putter, providing better stability and forgiveness. The GT Notchback feels heavier than the Rollback, which helps with distance control and consistent stroke tempo. The TaylorMade Spider GT Notchback is an ideal putter for all golfers, but it’s especially helpful with improving alignment and consistency.
- Helpful alignment lines
- High-MOI mallet-style design
- Pure Roll insert for consistent roll and distance control
- Thick top line
- Relatively expensive compared to other putters
The TaylorMade Spider GT Notchback is one of the best putters for high handicappers who want to improve consistency. With its advanced design features and True Roll insert, this putter can help golfers of any skill level achieve better results and feel.
4. Ping Fetch
The Ping Fetch 2021 model is a forgiving putter with a high MOI, making it an excellent choice for high handicappers. The mallet-style putter has a circular cutout in the middle, which allows golfers to retrieve the ball with the head without bending down. Ping moved this cutout to the perimeter to increase MOI without adding extra weight. With a stainless-steel body and an aluminum sole plate, this putter gives off a responsive and soft feel. It also has alignment aids and easy adjustability built-in, making it easy to find your ideal setup.
- Unique design with a ball retrieval feature
- High MOI capability
- Solid feel and grip
- Alignment lines could be a little better
- Some golfers may not like the unconventional appearance.
Overall, the Ping Fetch is a high-quality putter with advanced features to improve putting accuracy and performance. While its unique design may not suit every golfer’s preferences, the innovative features make it a highly capable putter for any golfer looking to lower their score.
5. Bettinardi Inovai 8.0 Putter
The Bettinardi Inovai 8.0 putter features a mallet-style head with optimal weight distribution and stability. It has unique design lines made of chrome and military-grade aluminum, offering exceptional feel and accuracy. The high MOI putter forgives off-center strikes, and the precision-milled face gives off a soft and consistent feel, as expected from Bettinardi. Despite being a mallet head, the Inovai 8.0 putter feels compact and refined, with a good weight that makes it easy to make consistent putts.
- Premium craftsmanship and attention to detail
- Distinctive visual cues and optics
- Forgiving head with a milled face
- Higher price point compared to other putters
- Some golfers may prefer an actual blade-style putter
The Bettinardi Inovai 8.0 putter offers quality and consistency, making it a great choice for high handicappers. While it’s a premium product, the putter’s design, durable materials, and weight distribution justify the high price tag.
Does the Brand of Putter Really Matter?
This question depends on who you ask. To the die-hard Titleist loyalist, no other brand exists besides Scotty Cameron and the coveted Circle T putter. This is a tour-issue-only putter made just for the pros by Scotty Cameron and his team. While they make other putters, mere mortals aren't using a Circle T Scotty Cameron Putter.
You're more likely using a putter you bought at Play It Again Sports, Dicks Sporting Goods, eBay, a garage sale, a second-hand shop, or online, direct from the product manufacturers. There is absolutely nothing wrong with purchasing a putter from any one of those places as long as it's best for you.
How Do You Know Which Brand to Choose?
With so many brands to choose from, how do you know what’s the right putter for you? What factors should you consider? These are all great questions to ask yourself when you are on the hunt for a new putter.
Scotty Cameron may be the gold standard, but there are so many other well-known brands and a few you may be sleeping on:
- Callaway Odyssey
- Scotty Cameron
- Kirk Currie
- Golden Bear
- Heavy Putter
Determining which brand to use can be overwhelming. The secret is to find one you like the look and feel of, regardless of brand. For a high-handicap golfer, this will be the most important thing to pay attention to. Most golfers don't realize that if you don't like the look or feel of the putter in your hand, you aren't going to do well with it. After all, golf is just as much a mental game as a physical one.
If you can, go somewhere with an indoor putting green where you can try out a variety of putters. Get an understanding of whether you like the feel of a heavy or light putter. Do you like to stand more upright or bent over? There is no one size fits all. Truly, the best putter for you is the one you like the look and feel of the most, giving you confidence as you stand over the golf ball.
Mallet Putter or Blade Putter?
There are only two styles of putters on the market, but don't let that fool you into thinking that choosing a putter is easy. Though mallet putters and blade putters are the only two general styles, they come in an exorbitant number of variations. Putter grip, putter head, and putter length vary drastically across clubs, even within the same overarching style category.
Without getting too deep in the weeds on the technique of the putting stroke, see if you can determine your stroke style. Address the golf ball with your putter head flush to the ground when you start your stroke. Does your putter move on a straight line back and through, like a ruler, or does it move on an arc, swinging like a door? Depending on which shape your putting stroke emulates will determine if you require a mallet putter or a blade putter.
Face-Balanced or Toe-Hang?
Each style of putter has a different face balance. Understanding the difference between a face-balanced putter and a toe-hang putter will be your next task. Blade putters tend to have more toe hang, and mallet putters tend to have more face balance.
The reason for this is if you have a putting stroke that moves on a relatively straight line, you want to avoid a face that moves throughout the putting stroke. If your stroke moves on an arc, toe-hang putters allow the club head to swing open and closed naturally, complimenting an arced putting stroke. If you don't have the correct putter that matches the style of stroke, it's nearly impossible to craft a consistent putting stroke.
A very common face-balanced putter is the Odyssey White Hot Two Ball Putter. It is both forgiving and affordable. If you are looking to spend a little more money, the Scotty Cameron Phantom is also one of the best putters for high handicappers. Both of these mallet putters are face-balanced, but there are versions of each that come with a milder amount of toe hang.
When looking for a blade putter with toe hang, you may venture towards the classic PING putters. What is great about the PING website is they list the type of putting stroke each of their putters would pair best with. So, for ease of selection and less guesswork, PING takes the cake. As long as you know your stroke, they've got the rest covered.
I've Got My Putter. What's Next?
Once you've selected the best quality putter for you, it's time to put it to work. If you really want to shave some strokes off of that high handicap, think about investing in an indoor putting mat for at home or in the office. Consistent practice on tour-grade turf is the next best thing to having a putter that fits your putting stroke.
Being able to practice at home on a putting mat consistently will help give you the confidence you need the next time you step on the putting green. If being a good putter is your goal, having the right equipment is a surefire way to get you there. Get a putter fit for you, then put in the practice so you can revoke your membership to the high handicappers club!
Here are some commonly asked questions about the best putters for high-handicap golfers.
What is the best putter for a high-handicapped golfer?
One that best matches your putting stroke. Any one of the big-name brands will work as long as it is fit to your needs. Be sure to consider putter length, face balance, club head style, and grip size.
What style of putter is most forgiving?
Mallet putters tend to be the most forgiving, with a much more stable head and larger sweet spot in the center of the club face. This means less club face manipulation throughout the putter stroke and a straighter roll, both of which are beneficial to high handicappers.
How many putts should a 10-handicap have on average per round?
Ten-handicap golfers and below should aim for 30 putts or less. Anyone with a handicap of 11 and above should aim for less than 33.
Is a face-balanced or toe-hang putter better?
This depends on your putting stroke style. If you have more of an arc putting stroke, you will want a putter with more toe hang. If you have a more straight-back and straight-through putting stroke, you will want a putter that is more face balanced.
Are heavier or lighter putters better?
Heavier putters tend to be more forgiving when it comes to off-center contact on the putter’s face, like hitting the ball off the toe or heel. However, lighter putters can be a bit easier to swing and give you more control on longer putts.
How often should you replace a putter?
It’s not so much the putter as it is the putter grip. You could use a putter for a lifetime if you wanted, but you should get the grip changed about every two years.
How do I know if I need a new putter?
If you are experiencing inconsistency in speed control, off-center face contact, or consistent miss tendencies, it may be time to get fitted for a putter that better suits your putting stroke.