Putting is an absolutely crucial part of the game of golf. Your score is made on the greens and is dependent on whether you can hole putts or not.
The better you are at putting, the better golfer you will be. It looks great to be able to hit the ball 200 plus yards from the tee, but it means nothing to the score if you cannot get the ball into the hole. The green is where the game is won or lost. So your putting stroke and the putter that you use can be the difference between your best or worst score.
To be able to hit the ball directly along the target line that you have chosen, when putting, and at the speed that you require for the distance the ball needs to travel, will determine whether the ball goes into the hole or not. Using a putter with an insert in the face of the putter head can really help to improve your putting as this type of putter has several benefits to it.
The initial benefit to playing with a putter with a face insert is that the insert is made from a softer material than the steel that encases it. This means that you will get a lot more feel from the contact that the putter face makes with the ball, compared to playing with a putter that has a solid steel face. Putting is all about feel and even if you are using a hard ball rather than a soft ball when you play, your feel will be increased with a soft insert in the face and the ball being struck from this softer face.
The second benefit to playing with a putter with a face insert, is that it will be much more forgiving on off centre strikes and therefore more accurate than a putter without an insert. The insert in the face is made of a softer and lighter material than the metal that encases it. Because of this, the weight in the putter head is distributed much more around the outside of the putter head and this allows it to resist any twisting action that would occur from an off centre strike. If the ball is struck from towards the toe, the impact with the ball will slow the toe end of the putter face down, but there is no impact on the heel end so this continues to travel at the same speed.
With the toe slowing down but the heel continuing to travel at the speed the putter was swung at, the putter face will open and the ball will be struck to the right. The converse is true for a ball struck off the heel. The impact on the heel slows this end of the putter head which then closes the putter face, resulting in it aiming left of the target as it strikes the ball. A putter with a face insert resists this twisting effect from off centre putts due to the weight being distributed around the outside of the face. If you do make an off centre connection when you putt, a face with an insert aims more at the target than one without, so is therefore more forgiving and accurate.
To improve your feel and the centredness of your strike with your putter, try the following drill. Stand on the edge of the green and place two tee pegs in the ground, one outside the toe and the other outside the heel of the putter. This will allow the putter head to sit between the two tee pegs but without touching them. Place a ball in the middle of the tee pegs and play a putt to half way across the green, without hitting either tee peg. Hit another ball and work on getting it three quarters of the way across the green to the other side.
Finally, hit another to the edge of the other side. Keep working on this drill and improving getting the ball, half, three quarters and then to the far edge of the green in as few attempts as possible.