Toe Hang: What It Is and What It Tells You About a Putter

Putter being balanced along its shaft displays toe hang
Well, we normally balance the putter on a finger to determine whether it is 'toe balanced.' But this one definitely is - see the toe hang? The toe of the putter points to the ground. FangXiaNuo/E+/Getty Images

"Toe hang" is a quality of toe-balanced putters. The clubface of a toe-balanced putter will, when the shaft of the putter is balanced lengthwise across a golfer's finger, be angled toward the ground. In other words, the toe of such a putter will hang down, pointing toward the ground.

What Toe Hang Tells You About a Putter

The more toe hang a toe-balanced putter has, the more the clubface will open and close during an arcing putting stroke (also known as an inside-to-inside or swinging gate putting stroke).

What that means is this:

  • If you have a more pronounced arcing putting stroke, you'll want a putter with more toe hang;
  • If you have more of a subtle arc in your putting stroke, you'll want less toe hang;
  • If you use a straight-back-and-through putting stroke, you don't want any toe hang at all - you'll want a face-balanced putter.

(By the way, the amount that the clubface of a putter opens and closes during a putting stroke is called "toe flow." The more toe hang a putter has, the more toe flow it will have. So there's one more term to keep track of.)

Toe Hang is Also Known As ...

The interconnected terms "toe hang" and "toe-balanced putter" are known by several alternate words. Toe hang can also be called "toe droop." A toe-balanced putter can also be called a toe-weighted or toe-down putter.

Deciphering Toe Hang When Shopping for a Putter

So you know what toe hang means in a putter: more toe hang is needed for a golfer who has a strong arc putting stroke; less toe hang for a golfer with a slight arc and no toe hang for a golfer with a straight-back-and-through stroke.

But how do you know which putters have lots of toe hang, a little toe hang or no toe hang? One issue is that putter manufacturers don't typically advertise the toe-hang properties of a putter, although some do indicate when a putter is face-balanced. So that's the first thing: If you see a putter advertised or marketed as face-balanced, you know it has no toe hang.

Now, you could go through the pro shop picking up putters, balancing them on a finger, and seeing for yourself how much toe hang each has. A better idea is probably to inquire with the pro shop staff. If the personnel in the shop are well-trained and knowledgeable, they may be able to help you find the appropriate putter.

Many golf shops have an area you can use to strike some putts, and this will be helpful, especially if a knowledgeable member of the shop staff is watching and can advise.

But the fool-proof way to make sure that your putter's amount of toe hang matches up to your particular type of putting stroke is to get a putter fitting. Clubfittings are much better known - making sure your driver, irons and wedges are fitted to the specifics of your swing - but putter fittings are also available and can be very helpful. A putter whose properties are not well-suited to your style of putting is a putter that is costing you strokes.

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