Based on the number of people who have reached out to me about arm lock putters, I am going to assume many of you reading this article are thinking of giving it a try. More so than many other equipment strategies, there are some specific things to consider before you try.
1. You can’t just grab any length armlock putter and contort yourself to it, the putter must be fit to you.
I know you are thinking, Yes Bruce, you say that all the time about any putter. Yes, but in this case more than any other design strategy, putter length and lie are critical. It isn’t about just making the putter longer. If you do that, the odds are you will feel twisted, and fight alignment issues over the ball.
Find a comfortable putting posture with the ball in the position you see it best. Then bend your arms at the elbow a little, so that both forearms point toward the ball. Now measure from a point 2 inches below the elbow to the ball. This is your putter length for arm lock.
3. Take a picture of your set up, face on, with your hands touching in front of you. Load the picture in Power Point and draw a vertical line up from the ball. Now copy that line. Align it with the ball and rotate the line so it starts at the ball and aligns with your lead forearm. This measurement is the minimum amount of loft required for your putter. So far it has been different for every putter we have fit. The following example is a 6° deloft. It would require around 8 degrees of loft on the putter.
1. Check your shoulder alignment from your new set up. You will have a tendency. Some of you will be more comfortable a little open. Some of you a little closed. A few of you might even be parallel, but I will warn you this has been the exception and not the rule. Again, the reason is the forced position of the arms, your visual preference, and to some extent the influence of your dominant arm.
2. If you are open, look to putter head designs with minimal if any offset, or the face forward designs, like BioMech.
3. If tend to be closed, you are looking for offset heads. Bettinardi is a leader in this strategy.
4. The farther you lean the shaft forward, the more you will want to avoid big mallets, unless they are designed with the face in front of the shaft. You want the sole of the putter to be parallel to the ground. If the mallet tilts forward, getting the ball to roll correctly is very difficult. This is true for every style but again exaggerated by an armlock.
As always you can contact me directly if you have any questions.