Long putters tend to be center-shafted.
After a poor putting streak, pro golfer Jack Nicklaus shelved his center-shafted putter -- known as White-Fang -- in his trophy case, according to his autobiography. A year later and still putting poorly, Nicklaus pulled White-Fang out of hibernation and practiced a few putts. While watching, Nicklaus' son noted that his father wasn't following through on his putts. The problem stemmed from his form, not the putter. The benefits of using a center-shafted putter depend on your putting style and personal preference.
Center and Heel
A clubhead can connect to the shaft in the middle of the blade -- center-shafted -- or toward the heel of the blade -- heel-shafted. How this connection is made impacts the distribution of weight. Center-shafted blades are face-balanced. If you balance the putter on your finger, the face will turn upward. In contrast, the toes of a heel-shafted blade will turn down when you balance the putter on your finger.
The two popular strokes among golfers are the pure pendulum stroke and the arc stroke, according to вЂњHow to Learn GolfвЂќ by Harry Hurt. In the pendulum stroke, you keep your hand and wrist movement to a minimum and rock your shoulders like a pendulum. The trajectory of the stroke follows a straight line. Because the face of your putter remains square during the stroke to the target line, center-shafted putters work well for this putting style. The arc stroke involves a semicircular trajectory in which the putter opens and closes with respect to the target line. Golfers find that heel-shafted putters are better suited for this type of stroke.
Posture and Comfort
Golfers using the pendulum stoke typically putt with forward bend or angle of the spine, according to вЂњThe Little Book of PuttingвЂќ by T.J. Tomasi. While your shoulders move up and down, the putter moves straight behind you, remaining low to the ground, and then straight forward and through. For this posture and movement, the center-shafted putter is more comfortable. Players who use heel-shafted blades tend to putt with an upright posture in which their shoulders rotate back and forth.
If your style of putting is one in which you hit straight back and straight through, a center-shafted putter allows you to keep your eyes directly over the ball and may improve your game. Many golfers claim that center-shafted putters provide superior alignment, according to Golf Digest. In addition, the face-balanced feature of center-shafted putters gives you a more stable stroke, demanding less effort to move the clubhead to the target line.