AskDefine | Define putter

Dictionary Definition



1 a golfer who is putting
2 the iron normally used on the putting green [syn: putting iron]


1 work lightly; "The old lady is pottering around in the garden" [syn: potter]
2 do random, unplanned work or activities or spend time idly; "The old lady is usually mucking about in her little house" [syn: mess around, potter, tinker, monkey, monkey around, muck about, muck around]
3 move around aimlessly [syn: potter, potter around, putter around]

User Contributed Dictionary


Etymology 1

Alteration of potter


  • pŭt'ə(r), /ˈpʌtə(r)/, /"pVt@(r)/


  1. To be active, but not excessively busy, at a task or a series of tasks.

Etymology 2


  • po͝ot'ə(r), /ˈpʊtə(r)/, /"pUt@(r)/


  1. One who puts.

Etymology 3


  • pŭt'ə(r), /ˈpʌtə(r)/, /"pVt@(r)/


  1. A golf club specifically intended for a putt.
  2. A person who is taking a putt or putting.

See also



  1. European goldfinch Carduelis carduelis



  1. To putt

Extensive Definition

In the sport of golf, a putter is a specialized club designed to push or roll the ball along the ground towards the cup. They are generally used from very close distance to the cup, generally on the putting green, though certain courses have fringes and roughs which are suitable for putting. While no club in a player's bag is absolutely indispensable or required by strict rules, the putter comes closest even though it is so highly specialized; it is the best tool for the job and virtually no golfer is without one.


Putters are designed for use on the golf green where they are suppose to roll the ball on the surface of the green to land in the hole, thus completing a "hole" in a game of golf which is said to consists of several such holes, usually eighteen but sometimes more or less. Putting is the most precise aspect of the game of golf and so the putter must be designed to give the golfer every technology advantage including smooth stroke, good glide, sweet impact, and bounceless topspin ball launch and every technique advantage including perfect fit as to shaft angle and length. The optimum design would embody all the features that help the golfer in sinking putts and none of the features that hinder the sinking of putts. Power adjustability and practice/play convertability are features embodied in the latest putter design technology.


Long-Shaft Putters

Though most putters have a 32-35" shaft (slightly smaller for ladies and juniors, longer for most men), putters are also made with longer shaft lengths and grips, and are designed to reduce the "degrees of freedom" allowed a player when he putts. Simply, the more joints that can easily bend or twist during the putting motion, the more degrees of freedom a player has when putting, which gives more flexibility and feel but can result in more inconsistent putts. With a normal putter, the player has six degrees of freedom: hands, wrists, elbows, shoulders, waist and knees, all of which can be moved just slightly to affect the path of the ball and likely prevent a putt from falling in the cup. Such motions, especially nervous uncontrollable motions, are called "yips", and having a chronic case of the "yips" can ruin a golfer's short game. German professional golfer Bernhard Langer is famous for having such a severe case that he once needed four putts to hole out from within three feet of the cup.
A belly putter is typically about 6-8 inches longer than a normal putter and is designed to be "anchored" against the stomach of the player. This design reduces or removes the importance of the hands, wrists, elbows, and shoulders. A long putter is even longer and is designed to be anchored from the chest or even the chin and similarly reduces the impact of the hands, wrists, elbows and shoulders. The disadvantages are decreased feel and control over putting power, especially with the long putter. Their use in professional tournaments is hotly contested; Pro player John O'Hara and others on the pro tours including Langer and Vijay Singh have used belly putters at some point with a marked improvement of their short game, while players like Tiger Woods and officials like former USGA technical director Frank Thomas have condemned it as conferring an unfair advantage on users.


Another variation of the putter, called the chipper, has a similar look, feel and general construction as a "normal" putter, but with a much higher loft, often 30-45 degrees. It is used to lift the ball over or out of the rough or fringe and onto the green with a motion similar to a putt. It can also be used for "lagging" (a putt made on the green from long distance for the sole purpose of setting up the ball for an easier second putt). A putter used for this purpose would require a harder stroke and the rough or fringe could affect accuracy. A high-angle wedge could have similar accuracy issues and could also damage the turf on such a shot if made carelessly. However, its use is generally limited; it is best-suited for short-distance play from close-cut grass on a terrain level similar to that of the green, and as such most skilled golfers choose to use a low-bounce, wide-soled wedge with a putting motion to accomplish a similar effect and save the space the club would take for a more versatile club.


As putting is one of the most important aspects of a player's golf game, a variety of teaching tools and trainers exist to assist the player in learning correct technique. Though many tools are simply simulations of a putting green such as indoor putting mats and cups, or attachments such as laser guides, some tools are integral features of a "training club". One such tool is the breakaway; a hinged joint in the shaft of an otherwise normal putter that stays rigid until a certain amount of force is applied, then gives way. This is used to teach golfers to use a steady, even putting motion without any sudden pressure applied by the hands or arms to swing the club, creating a more relaxed, controllable putt. Another feature is a curved face, sometimes severely so. Though most putter faces are flat and, depending on other aspects of the head design, very forgiving, the curved putter face forces the player to contact the ball with the very center of the clubface in order to hit a straight shot. All other shots will carom off in odd directions or will curve off the intended putting line. Other training clubs incorporate very lightweight heads which encourage a firmer upper body posture that reduces wrist and arm movement, or to the opposite extreme a very heavyweight head that encourages the user to adopt the "pendulum swing" technique and use the weight of the club instead of muscle power. Almost all of these can be used as a "real" putter, but the idea of these devices is to make putting harder than with a real putter as the desired result only occurs when the player utilizes perfect technique, and therefore they are normally used only in practice environments.


Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

beguile the time, burn daylight, consume time, coquet, dabble, dally, diddle, doodle, fiddle, fiddle with, fiddle-faddle, fidget with, finger with, flirt, fool, fool around, fool with, footle, fribble, fritter away time, frivol, horse around, idle, jerk off, kid around, kill time, loiter, lose time, mess, mess around, monkey, monkey around, pass the time, piddle, play, play around, play with, potter, puddle, smatter, tinker, toy, toy with, trifle, twiddle, waste time
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