Junior golfers love to putt. They can spend long, happy hours on the practice green putting - by themselves, in groups having putting competitions .... it doesn't matter, because putting a golf ball into a hole gives a wonderful little 'rush' no matter if you're a beginner golfer or a pro. While juniors do not necessarily need a "kids putter" sometimes it is the best choice.
The difference between "kids putters" and regular adult putters comes down to materials and price. Interestingly, kids putters such as the U.S.Kids and Flynn Golf putters are approx. the same weight as regular adult putters but much less expensive.
Although there are a huge amount of makes and models of putters - and we highly recommend trying various models out - the following are some top rated putters that we frequently see juniors using:
Long, happy hours on a practice green does not, of course, necessarily translate to your junior golfer becoming a great putter. There are a lot of psychological and physiological aspects that make great putters. The correct equipment can be helpful too, as technological advances are made every day.
There is no similarity between golf and putting; they are two different games, one played in the air, and the other on the ground.
Technique and attitude aside, there are a few factors that should be considered when choosing a putter for your junior golfer. The primary factors are length, weight, style, and the look and feel of the putter.
In general, it is not necessary for kids (other than very young kids such as those younger than say 6 years old) to use a junior specific putter although many parents do prefer them as they are usually cheaper than a new adult putter (see below for more on these putters). Adult putters that have been resized and re-gripped usually work just fine as long as the putter does not have an abnormally heavy head weight.
For toddlers we high recommend the US Kids First Club - see more at this article: Best Toddler Golf Clubs.
In addition, many kids golf sets will come with a putter. For a complete list as well as review and ratings of all kids golf sets currently on the market refer to this article: Best Kids Golf Clubs.
As with other junior golf clubs, selecting a club that is too long for a junior golfer (in the false assumption that he or she will grow into it) is a mistake. A putter that is too long will result in the junior golfer having to compromise their stance and the "lie" of the club will be off - i.e. the toe of the putter will be off the ground, which makes center face and consistent contact difficult.
A good putting stance is to stand with feet facing forward at hip-width, the golf ball slightly ahead of center. Hands and arms should hang down in a relaxed natural position and the putter should be gripped where they fall. It is okay to choke down a bit on the grip, but not more than a couple of inches.
The chart below provides recommended guidelines for the length of kids putters based on age and height.
Some putters (like the reasonably priced Ping Sigma) have an adjustable length that is great for juniors as they grow and also can be experimented with to find your junior's ideal length putter. We do not recommend belly or long putters for kids as this does not help them learn a more natural putting stroke.
A standard putter head weight is ~350 grams. Juniors should try different putters with different head weights but use caution in going too heavy as this can result in less feel, something we believe juniors really should be developing from the start. In addition, a putter that is too heavy for a junior golfer may result in excessive body movement and wrist action - both detrimental to a consistent, smooth and rhythmic putting action.
A note about grip weight and counterbalancing - a heavier grip will make the putter head feel lighter, as will a counter balance weight at the top of the shaft. Most kids putter grips will be on the light side due to their smaller size. For this reason, heavy putter heads should be avoided as they will feel even heavier due to a light grip and shaft.
In general, lighter putters will provide better control on fast greens and heavier putters will help get the ball to the hole on slower greens. Some putters like the very popular Scotty Cameron, Taylormade Spider Tour and new Odyssey's have adjustable weights that can help dial in the right set up for a junior.
Putters can be designed to have weight distributed differently across the face of the putter. This is designed to accommodate different putting styles such as an arc strokes, a straight putting strokes and anywhere in between.
To test a putter's head balance, place the putter shaft on your finger and observe how the putter head hangs. If the putter head is parallel to the ground then it is a face balanced putter. If the toe hangs straight down towards the ground it is a toe balance putter. Many putters have a slight tow balance, meaning that it is somewhere in between the two.
A face balanced putter is designed for a golfer with a straight putting stroke whereas a toe balance putter is designed for a golfer with more of an arc stroke (i.e. the face opens and closes during the stroke).
Junior golfers may find it beneficial to match their stroke type to the appropriate putter balance. Coaches and golf fitting professionals can help identify your junior's putting type. Alternatively, you can simply observe your junior's putting stroke from directly overhead. You can also film the putting stroke on a smart phone (from above and behind) and then view a slow motion replay. You can also test the putting path using some tees stuck into the putting green (adjust to see where the path is) or having your junior putt lightly on the surface in a smooth flat bunker (i.e. trace a line on the sand).
Ultimately the type of head weighting should inspire confidence in the putting stroke and your junior should try different types of head balance to see what feels best.
Putting is about confidence and feel. It is important for the junior golfer to try a variety of styles to figure out what works for them. For advanced juniors, putter fitting can help in determining putting stroke tendencies and therefore the ideal style of putter and head balance.
Blade putters have a traditional and simplistic design. Until recently, most professional golfers used blade putters. Technological advances have made Blade putters more forgiving than in the past and thus a good choice for juniors. A Blade putter may also be a good choice for players with a quicker tempo putting stroke. In addition, Blade putters can suit juniors with an arc putting stroke (see more below on "Putter Head Balance").
The Anser style putter is type of blade putter which has cavity design that distributes head weight to the heel and toe ends, making the sweet spot larger and the putter head more stable. This is one of the most forgiving putter types and very popular on professional golf tours. The Anser style is characterized by an overall square shape with heel and toe weighting. It can suit both a straight line and an arc putting stroke.
The most famous blade style putter is likely the Scotty Cameron that Tiger Woods has had in his bag for many years and has used to win multiple majors. There are many very high end blade putters with a selling price of $400 or more.
Mallet putters have larger and deeper heads than a blade style putter. Mallets come in various shapes and sizes ranging from the semi-circular to square to futuristic looking designs.
Although they typically weigh approx. the same as a blade putter, mallet putters distribute weight differently by pushing weight outside and back. This weight distribution creates a high MOI (moment of inertia) that makes the putter head very stable. The larger sweet spot and high MOI result in a more forgiving putter.
In recent years mallet putters with a slight toe hang have become very popular on the PGA Tour and many of the Taylormade tour pros use the Spider Tour mallet putter. Approximately 50% of touring pro's now use various mallet designs and account for more than half of all Titleist Scotty Cameron sales.
Almost all putters have steel shafts that provide a solid, consistent feel. Putter shafts can connected to the head at the heel (heel-shafted), at the center of the head (center-shafted) or can have an offset hosel design that connects to the heel of the head. Some putters also have more offset than others.
Ultimately the shaft connection comes down to personal preference and what a golfer likes to see when they look down at the club. If possible, your junior should try various options to determine their preference. In general most putters have an offset heel shaft connection and have a very slight offset.
Similar to grips for other golf clubs, putter grips come in different sizes including undersized, standard, medium and oversize. However, that is where the similarity ends. Per the USGA Equipment Rules, the putter is the only grip that does not have to have a circular cross-section, meaning that it can have a flat section. In addition, putter grips are usually made from different materials as they do not have to provide the same amount of traction as for a wood or iron that is swung at much faster speeds.
Many players use a thicker putter grip than a standard grip. This reduces the impact of the hands and wrists in the putting stroke, something most good putters try to do. The Superstroke putting grips are very popular and come in sizes ranging from 1 through 5. Superstroke also provides a nice fitting tool on their website that will provide some guidance on the size and type of grip for you. Winn and Golf Pride also make popular putter grips.
On the other hand, a thinner grip will provide more feedback and feel which is more important to some players. This is also personal preference and juniors golfers should try both to see what they like. We see both oversize and regular grips in use by juniors.
The choice of putter face materials comes down the sound and feel a golfer prefers - and of course their preferred budget. How a putter performs is almost completely dependent on the green reading skills and putting skills of the junior as opposed to the type of face material. The two main types are putters with a face insert and putters with a milled face.
Face Insert Putters are the most popular mid-range priced putters used by amateur golfers. In the past, polymer face inserts putters were usually associated with a softer feel and sound than milled putters.. While this is still true for many insert putters, milled face putters can now also be made to feel and sound softer. Modern face inserts are made from a variety of materials including polymer, steel, aluminum or some combination of materials. Some of the top Taylormade tour players including Rory McIlroy, Jason Day and Dustin Johnson use putters that have the Pure Roll® face insert that combines 45° grooves with a softer polymer material.
Milled Face Putters are generally higher end and more expensive (e.g. . Proponents of milled face putters will tell you that the milling process produces a better, more consistent putter that has less skidding and starts the ball rolling sooner. Milled faced putters will generally provide better feedback than a polymer insert. The most famous milled putter is the Scotty Cameron, used by Tiger to win multiple majors!
Both face insert putters and milled face putters may also feature grooves that are designed to get the ball rolling sooner.
Putter fitting is done with high speed cameras and can help to ensure that your junior's putter is customized to their size and putting style. Putter fitting will focus on getting the optimal length, loft, club weight, swing weight, and head balance. While putter fitting can certainly help, we still encourage juniors to try out a variety of putters and see what feels and sounds good to them.
Given the sheer number of excellent putters currently available on the market, it is tough to narrow it down to just a few. Below we have included a selection of putters that we see a lot in junior tournaments and have excellent ratings from users. Some of these are also in use on the various professional golf tours including the PGA, LPGA and Champions Tour.
MSRP: $229 (Check Worldwide Golf Shops for Sale Prices)
The Odyssey O-Works putters are in use on the PGA Tour and have a Micro-hinge Insert Technology that provides more topspin and thus roll. These are Golf Digest Hot List gold award winners and have rave reviews from buyers.
At less than $200 these putters are reasonably priced for an excellent quality putter. The older Odyssey White Hot blades are also still great putter for kids and can be found for approx. $100 at Worldwide Golf Shops.
The Ping Sigma 2 putter is packed with excellent technology. We really like this putter for juniors as it adjusts from 32 to 36 inches. So even if you resize it once you can still adjust it longer by up to 4 inches. Since you can easily adjust it yourself, it can grow with your junior. The face has a nice feeling polymer insert with a varied groove pattern that helps provide a consistent roll even from off-center hits. This putter is also a Golf Digest Hot List gold winner.
At less than $200 this is an excellent option for juniors. For a slightly smaller budget, the Ping Sigma G Anser is also a very good putter and can found on sale at Worldwide Golf Shops for less than $140.
This putter has great looks and excellent technology including the Pure Roll insert that is used by Taylormade staffers including Rory McIlroy, Jason Day and Dustin Johnson, and John Rahm. The Pure Roll insert has 45° grooves and a soft polymer that increase topspin at impact.
Priced at $219 or less, this is a great putter at a reasonable price.
The Cleveland Huntington Beach putters have “speed-optimized face technology”, hence the SOFT in the name. The putter face features a variable-milled pattern that is more concentrated in the center and wider towards the outside of the face resulting in putts that are consistent across the face even on mishits.
These are great looking putters with good technology at an excellent price point of only $129.
While we definitely do not believe that kids need a $400 putter, we have included the Scotty Cameron Select as we do see quite a few of these in use by juniors. Given that the putter is the only club used in almost 50% of shots during a round and can be used for many seasons, some parents believe that this is a good investment. In addition, these putters, if kept in good condition, will maintain their value well.
The milled stainless-steel Scotty Cameron blades are high tech while also looking great. There are a few different models available with slightly different looks and materials - e.g. the Squareback 1.5 model has slightly more angular lines, a thinner topline, and a softer aluminum face. This is the putter made famous by Tiger and in use by many Tour Pros. If it's good enough for them it is probably good enough for our juniors!
Given the high price of these putters and the demand for them, we recommend only buying them from a reputable golf shop such as Worldwide Golf Shops.
In the past very few Tour players used mallets. However, that has changed significantly over the past 5 or so years. With the advent of mallet putters with a slight toe hang, these have become even more popular and were used by 6 of the top 10 official golf world rankings (OGWR) tour players in 2019. These putters are used by these 6 players: Taylormade Spider/Spider X (John Rahm, Rory McIlroy, Dustin Johnson), Odyssey O-Works Red (Xander Schauffele), Scotty Cameron Phantom (Justin Thomas, ), and Axis1 Rose (Justin Rose).
This is Taylormade's evolution of the Spider Tour putter that has been so popular for many years. Used by many tour pros including Rory, Dustin, Jason Day and John Rahm, the Spiders are the most well know and recognizable putters on the professional tours.
The Spider X has a smaller head shape that will appeal to juniors (the Spider Tour was on the large side). Taylormade has been able to keep all the stability of the larger Tour model through combining a 320g steel frame with a lightweight (15g) carbon composite sole. This ensures extreme perimeter weighting even with a more streamlined shape.
The putter face has the excellent Pure Roll insert that is designed to produce a better sound and feel. It also has 45° grooves to help induce topspin and get the ball rolling on the intended line.
At $349 these are not budget putters but will likely last many seasons. For an extra $70 you can even personalize your Spider X putter including a choice of shaft connection and up to 15 different colors for the face, insert, badges, weights, grip etc. Visit the Taylormade site to see the full personalized options.
Weight: 346g - 355g
This is the mallet version of the Taylormade TP Black blade putter (see above). The TP Ardmore collection of putters include Black and Red versions as well as three different mallet head shapes. These putters have adjustable weights which are nice for juniors if you want to play with the weight of the head.
These mallets also have the Pure Roll insert that is in the Spider X and the TP Black blade putter. These are also Golf Digest Hot List gold award winners.
Weight: 365g - 370g
It might seem counter intuitive that a putter both feels softer but also has the lively response of a firm face. Ping has used two layers on the face insert to give a soft feel on shorter "must make" putts and a firmer back layer to give more solid feedback and distance control on long putts. Ping's patented TR face pattern has different depths across the face that provide for consistent ball speeds, even on mishits.
The Sigma putters also have the adjustable-length shaft mentioned in the review of the Sigma blade putter above. The Sigma 2 putters are available in a variety of head shapes. Kids may like the cool looking Wolverine head shape (pictured above) and we also see the popular Tyne head shape frequently.
Buying tip - check prices at Worldwide before buying on Amazon as we have seen these putter priced above MSRP on Amazon.
Weight: 350g - 360g
MSRP: $219 (but can be found for significantly less at both Worldwide Golf Shops and on Amazon - see links below)
Callaway have come out with some excellent mallet putters including the Stroke Lab putters, EXO putters and the O-Works line of putters.
Featured here is the Odyssey O-Works mallet that comes in a variety of cool heads shapes that juniors will love. The O-Works have Callaway's Microhinge technology in the face insert that provides a soft feel and good topspin and roll.
The Strokes Lab putters use the White Hot Microhinge face insert and are unique in the design of the shaft and weight distribution. The Stroke Lab shaft is 40 grams lighter than standard (graphite shaft with a steel tip that weighs only 75g). Most of the shaft weight is in the tip. The saved weight is used to add 10g to the putter head (new sole weights), and 30g to the grip-end (10g-lighter grip and 40g end-weight counterbalance). At $249 this is a relatively reasonably priced high tech putter. If you are interested in this concept we recommend looking at the Odyssey Strokes Lab 7.
The Odyssey EXO putters retail for $349 so are on the higher end of the range. The EXO line also has the White Hot Microhinge Insert and Stroke Lab Weighting found on the Strokes Lab putters. It also has a very forgiving MOI thanks to a lightweight aluminum exo-cage with steel weighting around the edge of the putter head. There are a variety of cool looking Odyssey EXO mallet head shapes.
Evnroll has six different mallet models available. Evnroll has a very strong following with ardent fans. These putters are also on the more expensive side so definitely long term investments if juniors really like them. We see a fair number of Evnroll putters in junior tournaments, usually with older kids or teens.
The ER8 Tour is a stainless steel CNC milled head made is Carlsbad CA. The milled face pattern helps to correct mishits for both distance and direction. Check out the video below of how this works. The first is a robot putting test with a standard milled face. The second is the Evnroll Sweet Face Technology.
Weight: 350g (blade), 370g (mallet)
MSRP: $70 (AIM series), $30 (Ultralight series)
The US Kids putters range from $30 for the entry level beginner putters (Ultralight Jekyll series) to $70 for their premium (AIM series) kids putters. The UL Jekyll are all blade putters with a face insert and are lighter than the AIM series. The premium AIM putters are available in both a blade and mallet style and both have a milled stainless steel face.
US Kids putters are frequently on sale at Worldwide Golf Shops.
Weight: V5 - 350g, V4 - 360g
The Flynn Golf putters are mallet style putters and can be customized for length, grip type and shaft color. The base price is $45 with an up-charge for premium custom grips like the Superstroke. The V5 has a little larger than a traditional blade and has a smaller head than the V4 which is typical mallet shape.
Both putters have a soft feel face insert. The V5 has a slight toe hang for junior golfers with more of an arc putting stroke.
The right size and weight putter will help kids to be good putters. If kids like the look and feel of the putter that is also a big benefit .
Putters can be expensive but will last much longer than a regular iron or even most drivers. Many pro golfers keep all their putters and some occasionally go back to ones they have played with in the past.
To keep the expense down you can consider buying a good condition used putter. Most quality used putters can be found for much less than the cost of a new putter. There are many sites to find used putters and we recommend starting with eBay, Callaway Golf Pre-Owned or 3-Balls.
At the end of the day they say that you drive for show and putt for dough. We say do it with the best possible equipment available that feels good and instills the greatest degree of confidence in your junior golfer.