Originally Posted by Harmonious
face-balanced - better for straight back/straight through putting stroke (Dave Pelz method)
toe-hang - better for putting on an arc (Stan Utley method)
That's the old form of advice but it fails modern scrutiny for a few reasons. First, virtually nobody putts like Dave Pelz asks, and second: the heel-toe weighting is both much more of a factor and much less of a factor than we give it credit for. Consider the fact that we swing our irons at, oh, 85 MPH faster than we swing a putter, and they're PURE toe hang, and yet we expect to square those up to our intended clubface angle at impact, we can do it with any putter at all. Where it does matter a little is simply how a player feels the weight, and this varies by player. I'll assume (since it's virtually true) that everyone swings on an arc with some toe opening and closing. Tiger Woods likes a toe hang putter because he likes to feel the weight of the toe as he applies a little twisting (more than his address position - he's 3-4° open at setup). But in terms of pure physics, a toe hang putter will tend to want to stay open more, so someone who pulls putts might do well with a more severe toe hang putter.
Or, more likely, people simply need to learn to putt with the putter they've got. I could putt with everything. Give me the most severe face balanced putter and the most severe toe hang (an 8802 or something) and five minutes, and I'll beat you in a putting match with either if it's the proper weight.
In reality, I don't think this stuff matters at all until you get to Tiger's level, and even then it would take him very little time to adjust (Tiger also puts his grips on 1-2° closed so his body wants to face more - again, he's a freak in that way, or he's kidding himself if he thinks he can tell the difference. You decide.).
Order of importance for putter fitting:
1. Get a putter you can aim (this includes length, hosel type, and anything else visual or that dictates a setup position that moves your eyes or body.).
2. Get a putter that's the right weight (to control distances most effectively).
83. Get a putter that has the exact toe hang you like.
Somewhere between 2 and 83 is "realize that nothing below this point really matters." :) Because the putter isn't actually twisting in our hands, so either style of putter will produce the same exact alignments throughout the stroke unless the actual stroke is different.
Off Topic Physics (Click to show)
Typed a bunch but didn't have the cursor in the text box, so this is greatly abbreviated...
Consider a toe-hang (TH) and a face-balanced (FB) putter.
The FB putter will rotate MORE in the backstroke and MORE in the downstroke.
The TH putter will rotate LESS in the backstroke and LESS in the downstroke.
Why? Because a heavy "toe" will "drag". A FB putter requires very very little effort to twist - it's balanced after all. A toe-heavy putter will always want to drag the heavy part behind itself.
In reality, because the putter isn't actually twisting in our hands, either putter works and will produce the same exact alignments throughout the stroke unless the actual stroke is different.
That's the opposite of what a lot of people think, but it's basic physics.