On paper, switching to a mallet putter makes sense. But every time you pick one up, you feel like you’re wielding a sledgehammer on the green.
You fear the sheer weight and size of the putter head will launch your ball by the hole off the green over the sand trap and into the nearest woodland area, never to be seen again.
The current mallet buzz term, moment of inertia (MOI), appeals to your senses. It promises mishits traveling at the same speed as center hits with the center of gravity pushed away from the face.
You love the blade putter in your bag now, but the margin of error is too small. The slightest mishit cuts valuable feet off of your putts.
From the Odyssey White Hot concepts to Scotty Cameron, putter manufacturers continue to innovate. Blade putter faces now provide a more expansive, ultra-forgiving footprint that promotes natural topspin. The new heads work in conjunction with modified shafts and grips to fit any arc stroke.
Most of us don’t need to sink triple-breaking 60 footers to win a major. All we need is a putter that can consistently get us close to the hole from 20 feet out. If we can mitigate three putts, our golf disposition will improve exponentially.
Another Golf Digest article recommends picking the putter that gives you the most consistent 20-foot line and speed. If your current putter can’t promise that, one of the following putters is for you.
Bettinardi BB1 Flow
Jesper Parnevik established Bettinardi as a PGA Tour winner in the 1999 Greater Greensboro Open with 99 putts from the BB10. Bettinardi helped boost the rise of milled putters in the 1990s and continues to innovate.
At around $300, the Golf Digest Gold Hot List BB1 Flow provides a classic, American-made shape with a flat, soft topline. Bettinardi mills the 350-gram head from a solid block of carbon steel, imprinting the “super fly” milling pattern. The result gives this blade putter a face for a crisp, muted impact feel. The “glacier” matte finish tops off the design to reduce glare.
BB Series putters also use a tour-weighted shaft to stabilize the putting stroke for more consistency.
Bettinardi adds a flow neck at three-fourth shaft offset to provide “perfect visual cues at setup.”
Cleveland Frontline 4.0
While mallet putter trends increase MOI by moving the center of gravity away from the putter’s face, Cleveland developed a different theory. Cleveland’s testing found that high-MOI putters force mishits to travel farther offline. As a result, Cleveland moved the center of gravity closer to the face.
Redistributed weight and speed optimized face technology (SOFT) reduce mishit directional angles by half a degree to nearly two degrees on off-center hits of three-quarter to an inch.
Cleveland’s alignment mark sits at 21.35 millimeters above the putter’s sole, matching the ball’s center point making for easier alignment no matter the player’s eye position.
The $180 price tag puts the Cleveland Frontline 4.0 well within most budgets.
Golf Digest included the Frontline 4.0 on the Gold Hot List.
Odyssey Stroke Lab One
Since the dawn of the Odyssey White Hot line roughly two decades ago, Odyssey’s putters have teetered on the edge of innovation. Although, only around $200, the Stroke Lab One delivers on the reputation and innovation.
Weight distribution is the latest innovation in the Odyssey White Hot line. Odyssey moved the balance point closer to the hands. The Stroke Lab theory rests on the concept that heavier heads take control away and cause inconsistent strokes.
Odyssey studies proved its new philosophy improved consistency of :
- Angle of the face at impact
- Ball speed
- Ball direction
Odyssey lightened its shaft by 40 grams, combined a graphite body with a steel tip and moved weight to the tip. The addition of 10 grams to the head and 30 grams to the grip end gives golfers a more acute feel allowing them to repeat the same stroke. Lower torque and a slightly stiffer shaft also allow for increased control.
The Golf Digest Gold Hot List Stroke Lab gets the legendary Odyssey White Hot feel with dozens of microhinges embedded across the entire face of the putter. Microhinges promote topspin, which equals a smooth roll and distance control.VIEW ON AMAZON
Odyssey Toulon Series
You’ll find a way to justify the $450 price tag of the Toulon series once you’ve given it a test run. The three-blade models (Chicago, San Diego, and Austin) fine-tune Stroke Lab weighting with adjustable options in the grip and sole.
Further custom options give you varying weights between the three models and lengths.
This Golf Digest Gold Hot List putter has a classic, milled, 303 stainless-steel head with a cross-hatched, diamond-shaped pattern across the entire face. The face pattern controls sound and feel, channeling vibration with the small groove inside the diamond, improving the quality of the roll.
Odyssey tops off this blade putter with a charcoal smoke finish to reduce glare.
PXG Milled Series
PXG’s Milled Series offered one of the more unique face patterns. The face consists of small pyramid structures that increase in density around the center of the face. Variable-sized pyramids improve feel and sound, providing consistent launch and roll while offsetting speed loss from mishits.
With 100% solid, milled construction, PXG allows golfers to mix and match putter heads with various hosels. The double bend, plumber’s neck, and heel-shafted options, coupled with the adjustable sole weight, allow golfers to customize the putter to their stroke precisely.
PXG’s Closer, Mustang, and Brandon fit the gamut of blade-putter needs. Each one is milled from 303 stainless steel for a wide variety of stroke styles and contains different weighting elements for individual preference.
At more than $400, PXG’s blade putters met the Golf Digest Gold Hot List standard keeping PXG among the elite putters in the world.
Ping’s Golf Digest Gold Hot List member continues Ping’s blade-putter legacy.
The steel Heppler Series consists of a machined, solid face for a firmer feel and sound. Straight, slight, and strong arcs can find their match with the Heppler’s stiffer, adjustable lengths. Golfers can choose a wide variety of loft and lie options as well.
The Anser 2 fits slight-arc strokes weighing 350 grams. The ZB3 weighs 355 grams and melds with strong-arc strokes. The ZB3’s alignment makes aiming easier for strong-arc players.
At around $230, golfers can enjoy the Ping Heppler Series’s traditional feel while enjoying modern technology it adds to their game.
Scotty Cameron Special Select
Scotty Cameron’s legendary line earned its way onto the Golf Digest Gold Hot List, combining traditional concepts with new technology.
The 2020 Scotty Cameron Special Select returned to pure-milled shapes and faces from 303 stainless steel. The 2020 line aims to improve consistency and feel across the face by going insert free and returning to milling.
Flatter, narrower toplines give golfers a better look at address. Redesigned plumbing necks, tungsten sole weights, and a Pistolini Plus grip offers more consistent feel. Not to mention the sight lines for more accurate putt line.
As always, Scotty Cameron delivers on its $400 plus price tag.
At around $300, the TaylorMade Truss experienced some engineering nuances for the 2020 lineup.
The familiar look at address gives players the traditional blade putter feel they desire.
TaylorMade engineered the hosel to increase stability and provides multiple contact points along with the topline. Truss reduces the amount of unsupported mass and deflection at impact as well.
The Pure Roll insert offers better sound and feel with 45-degree grooves to increase topspin for a smooth track. Adjustable sole weights, combined with heel- and center-shaft options, gives various stroke arcs the needed features.
Much of the Truss technological advances come from the KBS Stepless Stability Shaft, which offers less twisting and deflection with more stability through the stroke.
Choosing Your Blade Putter
No matter how much you love your current putter, you think it may be time for a change.
It’s time to take that old putter out of your bag, hang it on the wall and get that new putter that’s going to help you in your quest to eliminate three putts.