Heavy or Light


Dear Frank,

I know you are the designer of the Frankly Frog putter and a putting coach. I need some information about putters and green speed. A friend told me that on slow greens, you should use a heavy putter, and on fast greens a lighter putter. What is your opinion?

– Ron

Yes, I have helped numerous golfers with their putting strokes, and together with the Frog Putter have been able to lower many handicaps.

There are those who believe that a heavier putter will benefit you on slower greens. In addition, some golf instructors have suggested that you make contact on the toe of the putterface or use a lighter putter when putting downhill or on very fast greens. I disagree with both of these notions for the following reasons:

First, it is important to groove your putting stroke to be as consistent as you possible can. Consistency is of the utmost importance in putting. To be consistent you must not add an additional variable by changing the instrument for different course conditions. For a slow green, the ball must be launched a little faster than for a fast green for the same-length putt. This difference should be established on the practice green, which should be similar in speed to the greens on the course. It does not make sense to get out a Stimpmeter on the practice green and then make a decision as to which putter you're going to select for that particular range of green speeds. (See The Birth of the Stimpmeter.)

Second, making contact with ball on the toe of the putterface, for fast greens, again introduces another variable leading to inconsistency – how far toward the toe will you strike it, and for what green speed or downslope?

The difference between a slow and a fast green, independent of the putter you intend to use, is that the faster green will have more break than the slower green for the same sidehill slope, and you must launch the ball faster for the slower green than a faster green for a specific-length putt.

The speed of the putterhead for a specific-length putt is a judgment call based on your experience and pre-shot routine. This will be different for every putt, so why try to complicate this further by introducing another variable by using a different putter for every green speed, or missing the sweet spot intentionally for downhill putts?

Ron, I hope this has helped. If you really want to improve your putting, I would strongly suggest that you try a Frankly Frog putter and/or visit my Studio the next time you're in Orlando. If you want some advice as to which Frog would suit you best, please call us directly at (407) 396-4004 and a Frog Specialist will be pleased to guide you through the process.

Frank Thomas logo Frank Thomas, inventor of the graphite shaft, is founder of Frankly Golf. Thomas is chief technical advisor to GolfChannel.com. He served as technical director of the USGA for 26 years and directed the development of the GHIN system and introduced the Stimpmeter. To email a question for possible use in an upcoming Let's Be Frank column, please email letsbefrank@franklygolf.com
Frank Thomas