Putters are elusive devils, with so many options that it can be really confusing to find the right one for your game. Center-shafted putters have been in use since the early 1900s, but a British ban eliminated them from professional play in 1910. Many golfers saw them as a tool of the weekend golfer after that, even though center-shafted putters can make a huge difference to the number of three-putts for players who struggle on the green.
Center-shafted putters are gaining popularity again, and everybody from Callaway to Titleist is manufacturing them. Used golf clubs, including the Nike Method Midnight 007 Putter, Odyssey Backstryke Marxman Putter, and Titleist Cameron Select Big Sur S Putter make buying center-shafted putters affordable, too. But are they right for your game?
Why Center Shafted Putters?
Center-shafted putters are exactly what you’d think they would be: putters with a shaft that connects in the center of the club head instead of on the side. This configuration has some advantages, especially if you’re right eye dominant. The best putters are the ones that increase your line of sight and help you putt better; for some people center-shafted is the ideal choice.
Most center-shafted putters are face-balanced, meaning that the weight is evenly distributed between the heel and the toe of the club. Face-balancing is best for a player who swings straight back and follows through with a straight stroke. The center-shafting allows a player to move their hands lower on the grip, moving the swing axis closer to the ball. This position gives a golfer better control and more feedback.
Center-shafted putters shine at allowing you to move into a position where you’re standing directly over the ball. With the shaft slightly behind the head and your eye right over the ball, missing your putts isn’t an option if you’re right eye dominant or lack an eye dominance. Left eye dominant players may still struggle for an ideal view of their ball, though.
Still, some players prefer the added challenge that heel-shafted putters provide. If you tend to swing in an arc, the center-shafted putter isn’t going to be the best option for you, since it typically demands a pendulum-style swing. Other players find that playing most of their game with heel-balanced clubs before switching to a center-shafted putter on the green is disorienting.
Next time you find yourself three-putting with a vengeance, consider adding a center-shafted putter to your bag. Not only will it give you more control by minimizing the need to involve your wrists when you putt, it’ll improve your visual on the ball, making those nifty alignment aids easier to use.