Just off the bat: the article title is stupid — “What’s the ideal putter length for you? This test tells you.” No TEST is described at all, and no one is TOLD anything. My god, fire someone already.
The golfer arrives with a 35” putter — very conventional. But too long? Could be.
“Sones has Porzac rotate his arms in, flex and tuck his elbows to his side and step forward into his proper putting setup.”
Tuck elbows up and in? Ugh. Only a shoulder stroke is possible from here on … And tension cannot be relaxed, as arm torque will collapse the posture mid-stroke.
WHAT “proper putting setup”? How far from the ball? Why? How much torso bend? Putter sole flat or do you care? Etc.
You cannot fit a putter until AFTER the player has a stroke and a setup to promote the stroke. Nothing about this here.
“From there he uses a fitting tool, which adjusts in height to help determine which putter length works best, while also determining where the eyeline is for each person.”
Eyeline is irrelevant to the body-action for stroke, as the stroke action occurs only below the base of the neck. And eyeball position is also irrelevant to aiming (seeing where the putter face actually points), as a straight-out gaze perpendicular to the head-spin axis has no relation to eyeball position in reference to the ball (or the putter head).
The HEIGHT is set by the hand-hang height. If the hands hang 29” from center of hands vertically to the green, the center of the flatly-sole putter should match this. Then the LIE ANGLE determines how long the shaft is to that point — 29” / sin(lie angle). If the lie angle is 71 degrees, the shaft from grounds to hands is 29“ / sin(71) = 30.7”. Then add 5” for the 10” grip — center of hands to top of shaft = 5”. So the length is 35.7”.
What’s the height of the player’s “tucked up” hands? Higher than a natural arm-hand hangs, that’s for sure.
“We’re measuring where 30 inches is from the grip to the ground,” says Sones. “Using this helpful chart, given Porzak’s natural setup, his putter shaft should be cut at 32.25 inches.”
You don’t measure from the GRIP to the ground, but from the HANDS to the ground. After all, the putter is being fit TO THE PLAYER, and not vice versa.
The LIE angle can be inferred from 32.25” shaft with center of grip at 32.25” – 5” = 27.25” up shaft, plus “grip to ground” vertical height of 30”.
sin(71) = 30/27.25
OOPS! that doesn’t compute!
0.9455 NOT = 30 / 27.25
So what does Sones mean by “grip”? The body or the putter? It can’t be the center of the putter handle. If he means the height of the hands above the green, NO lie angle works. The shaft length to the hands always is longer than the vertical height of the hands. For hands 30” high (HH), the LEAST lie angle is 80 degrees (by the Rules of Golf), so that shaft length (SL) to the center of the handle is
SL = HH / sin(80)
SL = 30” / sin(80) = 30.5”
Add 5” for the rest of the handle and the shaft is 35.5” long.
In order to say the shaft length (SL) should be 32.25”, you need to know the lie angle and the hand height. The hand height is actually torso bend plus arm shape and length. None of this info is stated.
Assume the lie is “golfy standard” 71 degrees. Assume the arms are 33” shoulder to palm but are tucked in and up and the torso bend is 20 degrees off vertical with hip-to-shoulder length 16”.
Sone’s geometry means the center-of-hand height (HH) is
HH = SL • sin(71)
HH = 32.25” • 0.9455
HH = 30.5”
That’s for a normal adult arm of 33” when the torso bend lowers the hands an additional 1” — cos(20) • 16” = 15”. So a natural hanging of the arms and hands has hands about 34” lower than the shoulders, which are 10-11” lower than player’s upright height (assume 6’ or 72”). So the hands are 72” – 11” – 34” = 27” above the green. Tucking the elbows up and in to the sides raises the hands 2-3”, so this player starts with HH about 29-30” above the green.
sin(71) = HH / SL
SL = HH / sin(71) + 5”
SL = 30” / 0.9455 + 5”
SL = 36.7”
So something in Sone’s procedure is WAY OFF. Maybe the player is a dwarf or has torso bend so his back is horizontal like Michelle Wie!
“After constructing the putter fit specifically for Porzak, he’s now able to confidently match his equipment with his setup.”
“The visual that the putter gave me of framing the golf ball, my tendencies were knocked out right away,” he says. “I was already in the right spot, and it felt like the putter was on a train track and I just need to let it go.”
FYI — no golfer with tucked-up elbows pinned to the sides using the inverted-pendulum action of a shoulder stroke can “just let the stroke go” from the top of the backstroke. In a shoulder stroke, the mass of the torso at the top of the backstroke leans down on the FRONT side. This torso mass won’t lift up by itself by anti-gravity magic.