Blade vs. Mallet Putters: Which is Best for You?
Putters come in all shapes and sizes, and it can be hard to figure out which one is right for you. Golf expert James L. is here to help.
On the PGA Tour, the majority of golfers have a similar-looking swing. But the one area where viewers will see a lot of variety is on the putting green.
The types of putters on the PGA Tour come in all shapes and sizes. The question then becomes, which is the right putter for me?
There are many different factors that go into a proper putter fitting. There is loft, length, lie, weight, grip, toe hang, and shape. The focus of this article is on the two head styles: blade and mallet.
What is a Mallet Putter?
A mallet is a putter that has a larger clubhead around the club face. They are generally round, square, or what is referred to in the industry as “half moon.” The size allows the weight distribution to be done over a larger area. The size also allows for a more elaborate design for aiming aids.
What is a Blade Putter?
A blade putter is the traditional putter that dates back to the beginning of the game of golf. It gets its name because of the straight blade like appearance. It is a simpler design when compared to the larger mallet.
There are a few myths about the mallet-style putter. A study done by Plugged in Golf focused on three claims: that malletts help golfers sink more putts, that they help with aim, and that they are more consistent than blade putters. All of those could not be proven as fact based on the study. The mallet putter making more putts was viewed as plausible, but not conclusive.
Plugged in Golf did a second study on heavier putters. Mallets are traditionally viewed as being heavier than blades. The study found that a heavier putter can plausibly help a golfer sink more short putts. If you struggle with short putts a heavier putter may be beneficial. However, it’s important to understand that industry standards have brought the traditional putter weight to push beyond 350 grams in recent years. This would have been considered heavy five to 10 years ago. A golfer can find a putter in a blade and mallet exceeding 350 grams in today’s market.
Another myth is that there is no technology in blade-style putters. Throughout the years, companies have been able to fit more technology into their blade putters. This gives golfers the ability to game a blade putter with advanced technology in them. For example, Evnroll and MLA have blade-shaped putters that have technology in them and have performed well in MyGolfSpy tests.
A final myth is that blade putters are for putting if a golfer has an arc putting stroke and mallets are for golfers with a straight back and straight through stroke. Ping and Odyssey Golf have two schools of thought to the matter. Ping suggests that if a golfer has an arc in their stroke, they would benefit from a toe hang putter. If a golfer putts more straight backed and straight through, a face-balanced putter would be beneficial. Odyssey believes if a golfer misses more putts to the right, a toe-hang putter would help the golfer and if they miss more putts to the left, a face balanced putter would be better. Both face-balanced and toe-hang putters come in blades and mallets.
Finding the Perfect Putter
Which putter is right for you? With all the myths dispelled, there is no best choice or one-size-fits-all answer.
There are very few absolutes in a putter fitting. Understanding the speed of the greens played on at the golf course and the golfer’s tempo are crucial to figuring out which putter is right for them. Generally, a lighter putter will be better for faster greens and a fast putting stroke. Conversely, a heavier putter will be better for smoother tempos and slower greens.
Much like drivers, looking for a putter with a high moment of inertia (MOI) is beneficial to saving strokes. MOI is essentially the forgiveness of a club on off centered hits. The ball will lose speed on off center hits. A higher MOI putter will help a golfer keep a more consistent speed and keep the ball on line.
When going to find a putter, much like any other club, it is beneficial to have a fitting expert to guide the golfer along the process. Many fitters have the SAM puttlab to find a putter to suit any golfer. If you are unable to find an expert, PING has an app that pairs with a sleeve to your current putter to determine stroke, lie, and loft to give the golfer a better idea where to start.
Finding a putter that suits your eye is nice, but ultimately a golfer needs to find the putter that gives them the best results. Personal preference can play a factor, but with the technology and development of putters, it is possible for a golfer to have their cake and eat it too. For amatuer golfers, with all the various putter head shapes, the best putter for you is out there.
Good luck in the search for your next new putter!