Improve Your Putting Consistency With Counter Weighting

Posted by on Aug 2, 2012 in Clubfitting, Putter Fitting | 34 comments

putter counter weightingWhen most golfers think about custom Clubfitting, they think only of the full swing clubs – the driver, fairway woods, hybrids and irons. Few golfers are ever fit for their wedges and putter. Yet within these short game clubs lies the chance to achieve the greatest level of improvement on the golfer’s actual SCORE.

One of the most dramatic putting improvement tools within custom fitting has proven to be the use of a heavy weight inserted into the very grip end of the putter shaft. This is a putter fitting technique called ‘COUNTER WEIGHTING.”

How does putter counter weighting work and what golfers will benefit?

Golfers who putt well have a high level of fine motor control skill. That simply means they have the neuro-muscular ability to move and control objects with their hands at slower speeds in a consistent, repeating and very precise manner. For those of us who do not have fine motor control, by putting a substantial amount of weight in the end of the putter shaft, our hands now feel that heavier weight and are better able to move in a more consistent, repeating manner.

Golfers who have proven to improve their putting with a counter weight all have one or more of the following putting habits:

  • Tendency to both pull and push putts off line
  • A higher than average incidence of off center hit putts
  • Inconsistency with distance control – some putts short and some putts long
  • The path of the putter back and through the ball can be jerky, not very smooth and rhythmic

The most commonly used putter counterweights are the 60g, 80g and 100g weights, with the 80g and 100g counterweights being the most commonly used by most golfers for the putter. There is no question the chance of improved putting performance with a heavy counter weight in the putter is very high. From speaking with clubmakers who offer this fitting service to their golfers and from our own work with golfers, we estimate the putting improvement rate for counter weights to be over 80%.

If you’re interested in hitting putts more consistently and making more putts, go to the FIND A CLUBFITTER locator tool on the home page of wishongolf.com. Or better yet, click on this direct link to find a clubfitter near you who can install a counter weight in your putter – http://wishongolf.com/find-a-clubfitter/

34 Comments

  1. Tom,

    Interesting product and company you have.

    I remember years ago Dave Pelz study of contact on the putter face. He tested 4 groups of golfers ranging from tour pros to 30 caps.

    Seeing the impact of even a 5 cap to a 30 cap was eye opening. I firmly believe that the majority of putting problems come from off center hits.

    It seems like your product can cure that for the average golfer.

    • Jordan:

      A counterweight in the putter is not a CURE per se, but certainly has shown that it can reduce the number of off center hits for a pretty large percentage of golfers, and in general, help smooth out and calm down the putting stroke. But you are right about the effects of off center hits – while tour players are better in every aspect of putting, where they really REALLY are better than us is in their percentage of on center, solidly hit putts. It’s literally amazing how seldom they hit a putt off center to the point that it starts to cause a poor roll with poor distance and line control. So you’re right in the sense that if regular golfers cut their off center hit putts in half, that alone would make a big difference.

      TOM

  2. I’m actually shocked the no manufactures have increased the sweet spot on the putter.

    Perhaps it’s not sexy and doesn’t sell?

    • JORDAN

      Perhaps there was some miscommunication that led you to believe the mfgs have not “increased the sweet spot” on putters. I certainly apologize if something I wrote gave you that impression. Without question, most definitely any of the larger mallet size or heavier putter head designs do have a much larger moment of inertia (MOI) than do any of the conventional heel/toe, smaller size, more narrow/less body depth types of putter heads. Anytime you increase the MOI of the head, you increase the size of the sweet spot, so to speak.

      TOM

    • Jordan,

      Wow, I am amazed you do not know that we have been the outright leaders in doing just that. The sweet spot in all our putters are light years ahead of the industry. This video Brian Katrek (host from Sirius/XM PGA TOUR Radio) will clear up who has the ultimate in putter insert technology. http://www.bobbygraceputters.com

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fWS0sE3nqnE

      Bobby Grace

    • Bobby:

      No one here has ever said we were the first to recognize the possible benefits of counter weighting a putter. If you were posting to get that point across about your innovativeness, I am sorry if you got the wrong impression. Believe me, we know what it feels like to not get credit for club design and fitting innovations. We’ve simply identified to the custom clubmakers what the potential benefits are and for what golfer types to guide them to look into this as yet another option for fitting the golfers who come to them for help, regardless what putter model the golfer may be using.

      TOM

  3. Tom- do your counterweights allow the clubfitter to place the weight at the desired insertion depth? ie I see some benefit from placing the weight 6 inches down the shaft so the weight is under the right hand (for a right handed golfer).

    • KENDALL

      We are aware of weights designed to be locked inside the shaft at whatever position desired. We’ve only done some very rudimentary work with different positions within the shaft so we are not even close to being able to make any conclusions about them. We do realize that putting weight in different positions inside the shaft will change the MOI of the club, increase the totalweight, and change the weight distribution feel (balance point) to the golfer. All these things can most definitely have an effect on a golfer’s sense of swing tempo, timing, rhythm and from that, either have a positive, negative or no effect on their swing consistency, repeatability, on center hit percentage.

      With counterweights in putters, it was very easy to do the research to find out what golfers could benefit or not and what weights seemed to make the most difference.

      With counterweights or internal shaft weights in full swing clubs, it’s not as easy to find a common thread for what golfers and what swing characteristics benefit or not. We know enough now about this to know two things – 1) it will take a big, and I mean BIG research study, involving a hundred or more golfers of different swing characteristics, before anyone could have enough data to be able to see what the common thread would be that would dictate who and how counterweights or internal shaft weights would work or not in full swing clubs. 2) right now it falls into a trial and error situation to give it a shot and see what it does.

      But at least we know counter weighting can be significant for a high percentage of golfers in the putter!

      TOM

  4. Tom –

    Would you put heavier, over sized putter grips in the same category as a counter weight? My current putter grip is 115g, and while the feel is waaaay different than with a typical 65g or so grip, I’m curious as to whether or not the effect the heavier grip can have is similar to adding a counter weight.

    Thanks,
    Bob

    • BOB:

      OUTSTANDING question for sure and thanks for asking it so this can be explained.

      In a word, sort of but not quite. Yes, the oversize putter grips do weigh more than a conventional grip, but not enough more to take the place of the most successful counterweight weights, which are the 80 gram and 100 gram weights. Most of the big oversize grips weigh around 20-40 grams more than a conventional putter grip. For such a big grip to act like a successful counterweight weight, it would have to weigh 80 to 100 grams more than a conventional putter grip.

      But then it is true if you had one of these big putter grips and wanted to put in a counterweight, you would want to find out how much heavier the big grip is than a conventional one, and then subtract that amount from 80 or 100 to know what the counterweight would need to be when put into a putter that has a big, heavier grip.

      TOM

    • Thanks much for the reply Tom! The OEM grip weighed 61g, and the larger grip weighs 115g. So I have added 54g with the larger grip.

      I blow on most all of my grips, and was able to do so with my O/S putter grip as well. I also happen to have a bunch of large diameter hitch pins that fit in the butt end of a shaft snugly enough to use them as test weights.

      With that in mind, I think I will cut a couple pins to weigh 25-26g and 45-46g, that will put me in the 80g-100g territory for total butt end weight with the O/S grip. Then, I can blow the grip off, add a weight, blow it back on, and hit some test putts. Then rinse and repeat with the other weight.

      I do like how my putter feels weight-wise with the larger, heavier grip. So I’m rather excited to try this!

      Thanks again,
      Bob

    • Bob

      Then that sounds like you are on the right track!

      TOM

    • Tom –

      I wanted to come back to say THANK YOU! I have done some testing, and ended up with a 35g weight along with the 115g grip and WOW has it made a big difference. Having all that weight in my hands has definitely smoothed out the stroke, and all around I am putting better. I am lagging long putts closer to the hole (and to a tighter group all together), and I am not blowing short putts by nearly as often.

      I was doing it bass ackwords all this time…. adding weight to the head. Counter weighting is where its at!

      Thanks again,
      Bob

    • BOB

      VERY glad to hear of your success with counterweighting your putter!! Things like this do make the game more fun, don’t they??

      Best wishes to you in this great game!

      TOM

  5. I have been a below average putter for years. This year I concentrated on removing any hand action and am now using a rocking the shoulder type stroke. I am making many more of the three footers along with quite a few longer putts. I am still inconsistent on center contact but a surprising number of heel putts have been going in the hole. Is back weighting better for certain putting strokes? Will a short quick handsy stroke benefit more than a long slow shoulder swing?

    • Larry

      the TYPE of putting stroke really does not restrict the use of a counterweight, one way or the other. The telling factor for success with a counterweight in a putter is more determined by how calm, smooth, rhythmic, controlled the stroke is. If you have times your putting stroke feels unsmooth, somewhat jerky, less than calm and rhythmic, then a counterweight might help that become more smooth and consistent. The main thing is that having a lot more weight in the hands can make the hands move more smoothly. So it doesn’t really matter the type of stroke from the standpoint of wristy or shoulders, just the tempo, smoothness, etc, if you get what I mean.

      TOM

  6. By holding the club between two finger and tapping the head on the floor, moving the location of the fingers up and down the grip you can easily find a location of max vibration. The shaft will vibate for several seconds. I’ve heard that the amount of counter weight added should move this resonance node to location between the hands. True?

    • Kim:

      No, I have never heard of this before. In thinking about it and comparing this to my knowledge of clubfitting and golf club performance, I would not think that this could have very much of an influence on the performance of any club in the bag. The variables that influence this form of vibration and location of it just are not elements that have much of anything to do with club performance for the majority of golfers.

      But you sometimes never know – and some other helpful things come as a result of an experiment that did not reveal what was anticipated. So do the experimentation and see what happens and always do have fun in this great game,

      TOM

  7. Putter fitting has improved my own putting greatly, to the extent that I have gone from being a lousy putter to quite a good one. The most recent change to my putter made an enormous difference and I’d like to share it.

    I play a 2-ball Odyssey head style, reshafted, super-oversize elliptical grip, length, loft, and lie adjusted to my setup. I chose the 2-ball style after experimenting with a lot of heads to find the one that gave me the best directional alignment.

    But there was a problem. It seemed like my distance control was inconsistent, and from time to time the ball would come off the face “funny”, like it would jump a little off-line right at impact, and it wouldn’t feel right. Off-center contact, right?

    Yes, but not in the axis you think. My stroke is very consistent in the side-to-side direction. The problem was the face height. The 2-ball head is an insert design with a face height of about 0.9 inches. My habit is to brush the top of the grass with the sole of the putter. That geometry often results in ball not on the insert, but rather on the metal rim surrounding the insert.

    I tried training myself to “hover” the putter, but was unable to do that consistently. The solution was to glue 1/8″ acrylic to the sole, raising the head just enough for consistent on-insert contact. I beveled the leading edge.

    The difference in feel is dramatic. Gone are those sporadic “just a little squirrely” rolls.

    • Mitch

      GREAT TO HEAR!! There is typically no more dramatic change in a golfer’s score and enjoyment than getting more putts in the hole!! Good for you and best wishes in this great game!!

      TOM

  8. Tom –

    Although not related to putters, I have a question for you regarding counter weighting a driver.

    I have spent all morning reading through post on the TWGT forum, and now my head is spinning! I read multiple posts where fitters were placing the back weight under the low hand, and the result was helping to reduce hand action, thus reducing a draw tendency.

    So my question is; would placing the weight under the top hand aid in closing the face quicker and assist in reducing a slice/fade?

    Many thanks, my putting continues to improve since back weighting it!

    Bob

    • Bob

      Let’s make sure we stop your head from spinning with the truth about counterweighting in full swing clubs. In NO WAY will moving the counterweight between the upper and lower hand have ANY separate effect on shot performance. Counterweighting in the full swing clubs is done to add weight to the grip end of the club so as to try to help the golfer smooth out a fast, forceful transition and tempo. You cannot put the weight more under one hand and see one type of performance or move it to be under the other hand and see a different type of performance.

      Counterweighting is only there to try to give the golfer more weight in his HANDS TOGETHER so that he does not get quite as fast or forceful with his transition and tempo, and from that hopefully gain more shot consistency. But in all of our testing, it is not a sure thing. Some golfers with a fast tempo/forceful transition do not gain anything while others definitely do. So at present it is a trial and error situation within clubfitting. We have also found that if it is successful for a golfer, it tends to be more successful with counterweight amounts of 40 to 50 grams, not lighter weighting like 12 to 20 grams. For more weight in the grip to be able to help a golfer control his tempo and transition a little better, that amount of weight has to be more significant.

      TOM

  9. Tom,

    Balance point is the key to better, consistent ball striking whether using or not using counter weights or internal shaft weights. I beg to differ with you regarding the fact that in some cases spin and launch angle conditions can be optimized by using internal shaft weight placement in the correct position. As far as counter weighting for swinging clubs if people use 40-50 gram counter weights that is way too much weight in the grip for 90 percent of players. swing speed at that point will reduce and the weight will not be as effective.

    • BRAD:

      When I have spoken about 40-50 gram counterweights bringing about some form of shot improvement for golfers, I do NOT mean this is something that would work for all golfers. In no way can every golfer gain improvement from that. I think I have been pretty clear to say that, but I also have been clear to say that counterweighting for the woods and irons is very much a trial and error, hit and miss situation. Hence a thing that if a golfer is interested in experimenting, he should try it. And yes, most will probably sense that the clubs are too heavy.

      However, the reason that not all golfers would sense that 40-50g in the end of the grip is a heavy feel is because weight that you add right at the very end of the grip does not change the Moment of Inertia of the golf club very much at all, On an actual MOI measurement machine you would be amazed at how small the increase is in MOI for some significant additions of weight to the end of the grip. Now if you add weight to the head, that now greatly increases the MOI of the club.

      So my point is – the MOI of the club is one very good and reliable way to determine how much effort it takes for the golfer to swing the club. The higher the MOI of the fully assembled club, the more effort the golfer has to make to swing the club. By putting weight in the end of the grip, you do not increase the MOI very much at all. So it is very possible for some golfers, by no means a majority of golfers, to add 40-50g to the end of the grip and not sense that the club swings with that much more of a heavy FEEL.

      TOM

  10. Hi Tom

    I am very inclined to find out which offset to the putter would fit me the best. My ball-position is inside my left heel, I am right eye dominant, and I have a a very little-to no forward press. My arch is 6 degrees back and 6 degrees forth.
    From what I have read on different forums, I would guess that a ½ shaft offset (Slant neck) and somewhere in the region of 2 degrees loft would be the most beneficial, would that be your interpretation as well? How much do you rely on toe-hang in terms of fitting a putter?

    • Jesper:

      Technically speaking, the combination of your ball position with your hands position at impact with the offset and loft of the putter all have to be combined for the goal of achieving the very best roll of the ball as it leaves the putter, as well as for the importance of you being able to line the putter up accurately to the target. In your message you did not say where your hands are, either at impact or in the address position with the putter. You did say your ball position was off the left heel. With a putter, that is more forward in the stance than most golfers use. So if your hands are more centered in your body, that means you are adding loft to the putter in the address position. But where your hands are at impact determines what the loft of the putter is when it hits the ball. And that is the important element for what the roll of the ball is off the face.

      If you have more offset with the putter, either done with the design of the hosel or with a double bend shaft, that can put the putter head even a little more back of your hands. But without knowing anything about where your hands are AT IMPACT in relation to the putter head and the ball, it is difficult to say whether you might be better off with more, less or no offset on the putter head.

      For MOST GOLFERS, the amount of offset on the putter is more of a matter of what they are comfortable in looking at, and also a matter of how well can you align the face of the putter behind the ball to your target line.

      With respect to the question on toe hang, I do not really agree with the people in the industry who say that a heel shafted putter with definite toe hang is better for golfers with your type of arch in your putting stroke. The putter is moving at such a low speed in the stroke. It is also the heaviest clubhead. Those two elements in my opinion mean that there is no advantage or disadvantage to having the shaft all the way in the heel of the putter head for an arching type of stroke.

      Putter head selection has to be done on the basis of, 1) how much confidence does the putter bring to you; 2) with your eye dominance, can you be accurate in lining up the face of the putter to the target; 3) if you hit a lot of putts off center or if you are more inconsistent with your distance control and accuracy, use the putter that satisfies points #1 and 2 previously here, but which also has a very high MOI; 4) the putter head also has to have a suitable headweight for your sense of headweight feel of the putter during the stroke so that you can achieve a smooth, consistent stroke; 5) finally, the putter should have a loft that matches well with your hand to head position at impact so that the roll of the ball off the face is proper with no hopping or pinching of the ball into the green.

      TOM

  11. Hi Tom

    Wow, thanks for the answer. Was expecting some days waiting time. But no. Thanks a lot!
    I went through a SAM Putting Lab Section and here are some of my numbers regarding the hand position and face path with a Plumbers Neck putter. Shaft angle 1.5 addloft, Putter loft 3.0 = 4.5 positive. pred spin: back. Rise angle 1.9 up, pred launch: 3.8.
    Does that help in determing the offset? From those numbers I, myself would suggest less of an offset and maybe in the region of 2.0* of loft. Would a right eye dominant right handed putter most often prefer a long sight line in order to be able to align it down through the intended target line?

    Best,
    Jesper

  12. Tom-

    Great insights, as always. I’ve been experimenting with one the newer counterbalanced putters on the market with much success (the ‘tank’, at at 36′, has a 30g counterweight, is my understanding). I put on a heavier grip (a belly style at 135g vs. the original one that was 70g on the 36 model), and it feels great – and i’m putting alot better.

    My question – generally – lets say you’ve got heavier putter head, a counter weight, and a heavier grip.

    At what point would one become concerned about the flext of the putter shaft?

    I would think it’d be less of an issue when counterwighting, then when adding weight to the head, but i’d also think you’re adjusting the bend point in the shaft regardless of whether the weight is added to the butt or the head.

    Thoughts?

  13. Hi Tom,

    I’ve had a putter fitting last season to fine tune my Scotty Cameron putter, and ended up shortening the putter by 1/4inch, and adding a counterweight (although I think only a 40gram…but can’t remember for certain).

    I had a question regarding the counterweight vs head weight, as the Cameron putters have the ability to swap out head weight. Is there a time (other than to adjust for speed of greens) that one would benefit from making the head of the putter heavier vs lighter? Also, how does the head weight affect the amount of weight you would add as a counterweight?

    One last question off topic: putter length. Is there a tried and true way to verify that you are using the right putter length? I struggle with feeling like a shorter putter is more comfortable, but not sure if it’s truly better for my putting stroke, or actually hurting my stroke. Not talking about abnormally short putter…just the difference between an inch or 1/2 inch shorter than standard.

    Thanks!

    • JOSH

      The scope of what you ask about here is somewhat detailed for sure, and could rank as being at least a 2 beer discussion in the 19th hole!! But I’ll try to be succinct and to the point, which of course for me is tough to do with my propensity to explain things and my ability to type fast!

      The weight feel of a putter shall forever be a matter of individual taste, i.e. what feels the best to each different golfer. The goal of the right weight feel in any club, putter included, is to find that balance of total weight, headweight, and balance point that falls right into each golfer’s “wheelhouse” of preference so they end up with the most consistent stroke repeatability, a stroke that is more natural without having to think about it or make conscious manipulations in the stroke. What that combination of total weight, headweight, and balance point happens to be will often be different for different golfers for several reasons.

      What that means is that this area of fitting will likely forever be an area that requires trial and experimentation by the golfer, trying different combinations of weight in the head, weight in the grip end of the putter, sometimes both, before that lightbulb of perfect feel illuminates and from it comes that consistent stroke repeatability, a stroke that is more natural without having to think about it or make conscious manipulations.

      From a fitting standpoint, we’re not totally in the dark on this. Experience shows tendencies form which we can at least make recommendations for what to experiment with first, second and so on in this quest for the perfect weight feel. First is to try a 60g, 80g and 100g counterweight in the grip end of the putter shaft. Do this over 4 to 5 different days so your feel perceptions have a chance to balance out over time, and so you can see then if having substantially more weight IN THE HANDS during the stroke offers you more stroke consistency. Heavy counterweighting has shown an approximate success/improvement rate of well more than 50% of all golfers. Hence the reason we suggest to start there.

      If that doesn’t do it, then shift to experimenting with headweight increases. Here you are a bit more limited in how to do that. Lead tape is about the only practical means to add weight to the head. This too you have to do a little at a time, and allow enough time between substantial weight additions to the head to see how your stroke reacts.

      In Putter length fitting for conventional non belly style putters, we teach that the golfer first has to find his most comfortable stance and posture – at what amount of bending over at the waist with the arms only hanging straight down relaxed on their own is the golfer most comfortable. In this stance and posture, with the arms hanging perfectly relaxed, not extended down, not scrunched up, you then touch your wrists together. The distance from your wrists to the floor at an angle of 72* is your starting point for conventional putter length. From that point you may experiment with +/-1/2″ for comfort sake, but you’ll be pretty darn close.

      IN the end, with a conventional putter, it is all about the length that offers the most comfort over the ball with the arms never stretched in extension too much nor scrunched up against the body – with the lie of the putter head set so that the putter head touches the ground dead center in the middle of the sole from heel to toe.

      TOM

  14. I would like to extend my putter from 34″ to 38″ and add a counterweight. Will these counter weights work in an extension?

    • The counterweights are exactly 1/2″ in diameter for the portion that has to live inside the grip end of the shaft. So whatever extenders you may use need to have an inside diameter of a smidge over 1/2″.

      TOM

  15. I bought new irons which are game improvement types. I really like them on full shots. BUT my chipping has suffered because the short irons feel rather head heavy. Would counterweighting them help to make the heads feel lighter? If so, roughly how much weight would it take to make a difference? Thanks for any help you can give me.

    • GARY

      Typically for most golfers, counterweighting to reduce the swingweight has somewhat of an opposite effect because it raises the WHOLE WEIGHT of the club. However, it is true that counterweighting will move the balance point of the club away from the head, so depending on how much weight might be added to the grip end, it is possible that this could reduce the amount of headweight feel to bring about some change. In such cases though it is always best to just experiment with ONE club to add weight to the grip end to see if that helps. To get the balance point moved a measurable amount away from the head would require at minimum that 20 grams be put in the grip end of the club.

      TOM

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