If you have a look around today’s golf equipment market, you will see a whole spectrum of equipment that is available to help you improve your golf game.
Looking at the equipment that is available to improve your putting, there are a variety of different length putters, different head shapes and different positions where the shaft is attached to head, all designed to provide you with a solution for your game. Here we are going to look at the difference between head shapes and the two basic styles that are available, a mallet putter head and a blade.
A mallet style putter head is the biggest in putter head style. It typically is much wider from face to back and has a large alignment aid on the top of the head to help you with your face aim and alignment. Traditionally mallet heads tend to have rounded back edges as you look down on them, however, this can vary into some very bizarre modern versions nowadays!
Bladed putter head styles are typically much smaller that mallet putter heads. They are much thinner when you look down on top of them and they do not have such an obvious alignment aid, if they have one at all. Traditionally they are designed so that you are looking down on a long thin rectangular shape.
The different designs of the putter heads offer different characteristics to you as a golfer. Mallet putter heads are designed to get the weight in the head further away from the club face. The benefit of this is that a mallet putter offers you more forgiveness on off centre strikes because of the weight being further away from the face which strikes the ball. When a club face strikes a golf ball, the impact slows the face down. If the impact is made in the centre of the face, on the club face’s sweet spot, then all of the face slows down through the impact. If the face strikes the ball off centre, for example, towards the toe end of the club head, then only this part of the face is slowed through the impact and the heel end of the head continues to travel at the speed of pre-impact. As a result, the putter face will twist as the toe slows down but the heel does not and this turns the face to the right, or opens it.
The converse is true on heel strikes. A mallet putter head, which has the weight in it distributed further away from the face, is able to resist this twisting effect on off-centre strikes and as a result the putter face will remain straighter, providing you with more forgiveness and accuracy.
The fact that the head is bigger means that the alignment and aim line on the head is also visually bigger. If you struggle to aim the putter face accurately along the target line, using a larger alignment aid can really benefit you as the longer line will make it easier to align it straight along the target line.
However, the size of a mallet putter head can look very big and cumbersome, so not everyone likes the look of them and the most important thing with a putter is that you are confident with it and feel that you can hole putts when using it.
Which style to use really depends upon which style of putting stroke you use. If you have an arcing putting stroke, that is one where the putter head travels inside the target line on the back swing and then travels inside the target line on your follow through, then a bladed putter head would suit you more. The reason for this is because a bladed putter head, being narrower, rotates much more easily than a mallet putter head which has perimeter weighting to make it more forgiving. The fact that the centre of gravity is further away from a mallet putter face, means that it rotates less as you swing it.
If you have a straight-back and straight-through putting style, where the putter head swings directly along the target line and the face needs to remain square to the target line, then a mallet putter head is the choice for you. But if you use an arcing putting stroke, the putter face needs to rotate with the arcing action of the head, to keep aiming along the swing path of the stroke. With this putting style, a bladed putter head would be most suitable and give you the best results.