If you're looking for some insight into putting then Marc Warren is a good place to start. The Scot finished the 2015 European Tour season in 11th place in both putts per round and putts per green in regulation.
I met him to talk about what to look for when choosing a putter, what type of insert you should use and the importance of life lines to your putting stroke.
Hi Marc. What putter are you using at the moment?
I’ve got an Odyssey ProType iX #1. It’s a fairly simple looking putter. It’s got the White Hot insert, which is actually quite firm these days as there are a lot of softer inserts available. It has just one line on the back and as I’ve said it’s really a fairly simple looking putter.
How did you go about choosing this style of putter?
I did a lot of testing of putters. Odyssey sent me a load down and I took them across to my putting coach and we worked through all different putters with different grips and lengths and we settled on the #1 head style eight years ago and it’s been in the bag ever since.
Your putter has heel and toe weights. Are they just standard?
Yes, they are just standard. They are 15 grams and that is what came with the putter.
Did you try the putters out on a SAM machine to get the right roll and the right spin?
Yes we used the SAM machine like the one at the Callaway putter fitting centre to ensure that we were getting the right roll and the right launch. Actually the last thing we looked at was the launch off the putter face.
What was the first thing you looked at?
The first thing we looked at was the location of strike on the face and the putter path. And for me this putter stood out as the most consistent for both. We actually sat all the putters down, there were 10 different putters from different brands and this one stood out as the best.
There was just under 4° of loft on the face and I have actually taken that off to just under 1° just now. That is fairly low for a putter, but it is optimised for my set up where my hands are fairly straight up above the golf ball at address.
It seems a lot of the pro's have low lofts on their putters. Is that because of the speed of the greens you are putting on or is it because you are stroking up through the ball?
I think we are fortunate enough that we are putting on fairly fast smooth surfaces week to week so we don’t need the ball to be lifted up out of the grass on the green. On day to day golf courses you need an extra degree or two of loft to get the ball out of the grass and then rolling quicker, whereas we don’t have that need to get the ball launched.
It’s the difference between putting on kitchen tiles or linoleum where you really don’t need any loft and putting through the semi rough where you need the ball to come up out of that before it can get rolling.
You don’t want to be hitting it down into the grass as that then creates bounce and drag and other things you don’t want when you are putting.
How did you decide on the grip? It seems fairly standard compared to some of the grips we see now.
Yes it is. It has an extra layer of tape under my left hand compared to the right which for me is more of a comfort thing. I place both thumbs down the shaft, which is a method I would say is more suited to the fatter putter grips that you see a lot of the guys using these days.
The benefit of that is to get the putter sitting more on the life lines of both hands which allows you to control the putter face a lot better. That’s what I believe is one of the keys to good putting. Anyone has been a consistently good putter over a long period of time all have that aspect to their putting.
With the way that I grip the club, the lifeline is actually on the fingers of my left hand, which then effectively makes the grip fatter than it actually is. I played with a guy a couple of weeks ago who was playing with a split grip and that was purely to get the putter in the lifelines of the hands.
I don’t know if they make this grip anymore, so I am trying to keep a stockpile in the house!
How many have you got?
I’ve got about ten I think in the house and that is one thing I do actually is if I am going through a period where I don’t think I’m putting that well I don’t change the putter I just change the grip.
How long has this particular putter been in the bag?
This one is three years old now, so I’ve been lucky and I’ve been up there since I started using this. I’ve been pretty consistently high in the putting stats and I actually keep my own stats as I go and they seem to be pretty good.
Obviously you want to improve all of the time so I am keen to try any new Odyssey products that do come out, always looking for that little bit of advantage that you can gain.
Do you prefer a firmer feeling insert or some of the softer ones that Odyssey also make?
For me I would say I prefer the firmer feel because I use a softer golf ball, but I can see why a softer feel would appeal to players playing harder balls. I’m playing the Callaway Chrome Soft ball so pairing that up with the insert on your putter is very important. When you use a soft golf ball you don’t necessarily need a soft insert. I would say most club golfers are going to use a harder ball than we do, so they are going to get massive benefit from a softer insert.
For more advice read our Putter Buying Guide