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Making the decision between a blade vs mallet putter can be trickier than people think. There are lots of factors to consider, including but not limited to the shape of your stroke, consistency, and your skill level.
Our goal is to help you sort through all of the pertinent information surrounding the 2 different types of putters and help you to find the club that it going to take your game to the next level.
The Importance Of A Putter
At every level of the game, putting is the common denominator separating the good players from the greats. Whether you need to make a clutch 5 footer or a par save to keep the momentum going, having a putter that you love can be the difference between making and missing.
There are lots of questions that surround the world of putters. Are expensive putters worth it? Does one brand actually make a superior putter, or is it just better branding? At the end of the day, the biggest question lies in the style of the putter head. Specifically - blade or mallet putter.
In order to choose a putter that is going to help you make those crucial putts, you need to know the key differences between a mallet putter and a blade. So let’s jump right in.
What Is A Blade Putter?
A blade putter is any putter with little to no flange extension on the back of the club. Typically, blade putters will be very simple in appearance and do not have extra features for alignment help or setup. They are a very popular option among traditionalists due to the simplicity of the design, and are commonly found in the bags of players with years of experience.
Advantages Of A Blade Putter
Blade putters are incredible for precision and consistency. They are designed for more natural, arcing strokes, making them perfect for people who rely on feel or don’t spend a lot of time working on their stroke.
Using a blade putter is not exclusive to high level players. Millions of higher handicap players find that they prefer blades. The key to success with a blade putter is simply hitting the center of the club face on a consistent basis.
RELATED: Best Putters For High Handicappers
Disadvantages Of A Blade Putter
Blade putters are significantly less forgiving than mallet putters. This is due to the same design features that give them such great feel. Essentially, with so little material on the back of the putter blades have a low moment of inertia. Any mishit is going to cause the club head to torque open or closed and make it more difficult for the user to hit the start line.
The size of a blade putter also makes it harder to align properly. There is no extension on the flange of the putter head to give you a more comprehensive alignment visual, meaning it takes more practice and a better understanding of the putter as a whole just to set up properly.
Who Should Use A Blade Putter
While anyone can use a blade putter, golfers with arcing strokes - known as “in to in” - will benefit the most. Most blade putters are toe weighted, creating the proper conditions for the club head to release along an arcing path.
Many people also prefer the aesthetics of a blade putter over a mallet. As much as it sounds superficial, liking the way your putter looks is just as important as liking the way it feels.
If this sounds like you, then a blade putter is likely the answer you are looking for!
RELATED: Kirkland Putter vs Scotty Cameron
What Is A Mallet Putter?
While the name probably triggers visions of other worldly looking putters that have been described as “space ships,” there are lots of mallet putters out there that are more elegant. In order to be considered a mallet, a putter must simply have an extended flange that alters its appearance enough that it no longer looks like a blade.
Some of the popular mallet styles through the years include the two ball, fanged or “sabertooth,” and the Spider.
The design of mallet putters essentially gives them the advantage in all the same places where blade putters have the disadvantage.
First, forgiveness. With so much weight added to the back and sides of a mallet putter, the moment of inertia is increased exponentially. There will still be some torquing of the club on heel and toe strikes, but the effects are much less severe.
Mallet putters are also significantly easier to align to the putt. Between the different styles of mallets and the general fact that the flange of each putter is elongated, your eyes have more reference to draw a line through the putter head and down the start line of the putt!
The disadvantages of a mallet putter are also the advantages of a blade putter. Namely, precision. Because of increased head weight and weight distribution, it is harder to dial in speed control with a mallet putter.
There are lots of players who are successful lag putters with a mallet, but it takes lots of practice and consistent use of the same putter!
Who Should Use A Mallet Putter
Mallet putters are best for golfers who struggle with lining up properly, hitting their start line, or both! Personally, I used a Ping PLD Prime Tyne 4, a fanged putter with a sleek flange that helps me to fight my tendency of pointing the club face left of my intended start line.
Remember, using a mallet putter doesn’t mean you’re a bad putter. It simply indicates that your eyes and your stroke style match better to the advantages of a mallet!
Overviewing The Mallet vs Blade Putter Debate
With all of the marketing campaigns, design gimmicks, and professional endorsements currently flooding the putter landscape, it can be a minefield trying to choose the best one for your game. The important things to remember are:
- Blade putters are harder to align but provide superior speed control
- Mallet putters mitigate misses, but ultimately provide less feel
With these things in mind, lets dive in to some common questions and conversations that tend to crop up during the putter shopping process.
Which Is Better For High Handicappers?
High handicappers tend to struggle with a variety of things on the putter green, including both alignment and speed control. Having said that, we are firm believers that most high handicappers get more benefit from a mallet putter. This is derived from the forgiveness and a player’s ability to still hit a good putt, even when they don’t hit it solid.
If you are a high handicapper and you simply can’t look at a mallet putter, we recommend trying a wide flanged blade like the EvnRoll ER2 to gain some of the advantages of a mallet.
Which Is The Most Forgiving?
As we discussed above, mallet putters are the most forgiving. Without getting too deep into the physics, adding more material and weight to the flange of a putter changes the way the club reacts to impact with the ball. There is less torque - or twisting - caused by mishits, and you can typically rely on a mallet to produce more consistent results over the long term.
How To Choose A Putter
There is no formula to choosing a putter. You have to find something that looks good, feels good, and - of course - performs. That said, here is a great step by step to get you going in the right direction:
- Identify your weaknesses. If you don’t have consistency in the strike of your putts, or you struggle hitting your start lines, you may want to look into a mallet. If you hit your lines but your speed control is never reliable, a blade may be for you.
- Decide what kind of stroke you have. Does your stroke have lots of arc or are you more straight back, straight through? For the former, a putter with a lot of weight in the toe is beneficial. For the latter, a face balanced putter is better.
- Is your stroke more flowing, or does it have some pop? Strokes with more acceleration tend to require a softer face than those with a more consistent speed all the way through.
Once you have gone through these steps and identified the basic characteristics of your next putter, all you can do is test different options. Don’t be afraid to play around with length, putting grip style, and other things that could change the way the putter moves. You will know you’ve found the right one when you discover a putter that feels natural and rolls the ball consistently well!
Frequently Asked Questions
Is it easier to putt with a blade or mallet?
Overall, it is easier to putt with a mallet. The added forgiveness tends to have a greater impact than the loss of speed control, and many players find that increased alignment help makes them significantly more consistent on the shorter putts.
With that said, some people simply prefer the look and feel of a blade putter. The level of confidence that comes from liking what you putt with far outweighs any technical aspect of a putter.
What kind of putter does Tiger Woods use?
Tiger Woods uses a blade putter, specifically a Scotty Cameron Newport 2. While he has experimented with other putters over the years, he always gravitates back to the one that won him 14 out of his 15 majors!
Do pros use mallets or blades?
Pros use both mallet and blade putters. Some prefer one or the other, but most of them can be seen switching between the styles over the course of their careers as they try to gain an advantage over their competition.
Professional golfers also like to experiment with other aspects of their putter. Some use counterbalanced putters to help them release the club head, while others will change up the neck style. The only constant among the pros is how well they use their putter!
There are almost infinite sides to the blade vs mallet putter debate, and all of them are valid.
While statistics, history, and science can all play a role in forming different opinions and biases, it is important to remember that no two golfers are alike, and what works for me may not work for you.
Our goal is always to provide you with the best information to make the best decision for yourself. For that reason, we will leave you with this: understand the strengths and weaknesses of your putting, decide what kind of stroke you have, and apply those things to the design of different putters. Do your best to block out the noise from all the people around you trying to influence your decision, and trust your own feel.
A quick note: while a mallet putter could help you become more consistent hitting your start lines, becoming a better putter still takes work. One of my favorite tools to work on putting is the Pelz Putting Tutor. It allows you to make whatever stroke feels natural, and only teaches you the art of hitting your start line!
RELATED: Perfect Practice Putting Mat Review
If you do these things, and understand the differences between a mallet putter and a blade putter, we are confident that you will find something suited to your game. All of this will lead you to make more putts and shoot lower scores!