One of the most asked questions regarding putting is whether or not the blade or the mallet putter is a better choice. Although it’s hard to say that one is truly the best, there are some things that you should consider before you purchase your next putter.
Each year more putters are released to the market. Small companies and large companies do a ton of testing, research, and marketing to ensure that amateur players have the latest and greatest putter options at their fingertips. I know I’ve had a hard time not switching my putter out every few months with how these new putters look and feel.
Let’s take a look at some of the differences between blade and mallet putters and which are best for your golf game.
Differences Between Mallet and Blade Putters
The major difference between the blade and mallet putter is going to be the shape. When you look down at a blade-style putter, it has a thin rectangular style blade. The blade does not have a very deep back, and it is more of a classic look.
Mallet putters of the past would have a half-round semi-circle shape. The modern mallet is quite a bit larger and does not have to contain this shape. Many of the modern mallets have a large back to them.
The mallet and blade putters, although different sizes, can still have similar weights. The weighting is determined more by the materials and technology of the putter. Both the mallet and the blade putter can have a great feel and accuracy; however, depending on your stoke one or the other could be a better fit for you.
How To Choose The Right Putter
With the number of putters on the market, choosing the perfect one for your golf game can be challenging. The best way to go about this process is to first choose between a mallet and a blade putter.
Once you have things narrowed down to just a blade or a mallet, you can make some other decisions regarding the style and design of the perfect putter for you. Here are the ways to help choose the right putter for your game.
The length of the putter is the most critical fitting factor. So many golfers are playing with putters that are too long for them. This is because most golf putters are sold in a 33, 34, or 35-inch length. However, the 35 is what many golfers consider standard.
Unless you are 6 feet tall or taller, the chances are that a 35-inch putter will be a bit too long for you. When putting, you must make sure that your eyes can get over the ball. With your eyes over the ball, you will be able to see down the line and make more putts.
It’s best to order a putter in the proper size instead of trying to fit it to your size after the fact. If the club is counterbalanced, simply cutting length off will throw off the weighting and performance of the golf club. Instead, you will want to get a club that is the perfect length for you.
Some companies like Ping are releasing putters that have an adjustable length. This way, if you find that an even shorter putter gives you more control, you can use the adjustability to ensure that you get the perfect fit.
Whether you go with a blade or a mallet putter, ensure that you get the proper length.
Putting Stroke Type
Although there are many different putting strokes, just as there are many different golf swings, it is essential to determine whether or not you have an arc or a straight back/straight through putting stroke.
For those with the arc-style putting stroke, the blade is the smarter choice. With the blade putter, you can rotate the face open on the backswing, square it up and then finish towards your target. This type of putting stroke with the arc style is an excellent option for fast greens and for those that like a little more movement in their putting technique.
The mallet is a better choice for the straight back and straight through putting stroke. You have to consider the size of the mallet head. When you swing it back, it will be much easier to keep things as square as possible. You don’t want to have to work on closing up the putter face when you swing through.
The stroke type can easily be determined by setting up a video of your putting stroke. Take a few looks at the video, draw a line or two and see what the path looks like for the way that you putt. Use a putting mirror or other putting alignment tool to help dial in your stroke.
Although some players will swing with an arc and use a mallet, research tells us that you should choose carefully between the blade or the mallet, depending on the type of stroke you take.
Both blade and mallet putters can feature adjustability. The adjustability is typically used to change the weights around on the putter head. With adjustable weights, you can help to control the direction of your putts. If you are a player that tends to miss the ball to the left or the right, you can use the weights in the putter to straighten things out.
Typically, adjustability in a putter will be most important for the lower handicap players who are very precise about their putting. Golfers that genuinely understand the fitting parameters involved in putting the proper roll on a golf ball.
The mallet putter has been known as the more forgiving putter when comparing the blades and mallet. The forgiveness comes from the fact that the large putter head also has a large sweet spot. In addition, the weighting of the putter typically helps golfers to have some better distance control.
However, one of the things I always found interesting is that beginner golf sets are often sold with a blade putter. Why would this be put in there if the blade putter is not as forgiving?
The reason is that the difference in forgiveness between a blade and a mallet will be relatively minimal. Therefore, golfers will find that the most important part of choosing the right putter is finding something that feels great and can repeat a consistent golf stroke.
Pros and Cons of a Blade Putter
Here are a few pros and cons of the blade putter; remember, the specific style of the putter you choose will also impact the pros and cons.
- Clean looking simple design
- A great choice for faster greens
- Better feel
- Most consistent feedback for golfers
- Excellent choice for the arc style putting stroke
- Classic look preferred by golf traditionalists
- Very short alignment lines
- It can be harder to learn distance control
- Not always as stable at impact
Pros and Cons of a Mallet Putter
When it comes to the mallet putter, we already know that this is an excellent choice for the straight back and straight through putting style; however, there are a few more simple facts that you should know about mallets.
- Very easy to line up
- Helps golfers to learn distance control
- Large sweet spot
- Hundreds of different designs to choose from
- More and more players on the PGA Tour starting to use mallet putters
- Typically very stable at impact
- Large size can take a bit of time to get used to
- The mallet putters are sometimes much more expensive
- Can be a bit heavy for a fast golf green
Are Professionals Using Blade or Mallet Putters?
More and more players on the PGA Tour are switching to mallet putters or a wide blade putter. A wide blade putter is very similar to a mallet in that the back end of the putter extends quite far out.
When you look at the top 50 golfers on the PGA Tour for strokes gained, more than 60 percent of them are using mallet putters. Going back a few years, you would likely not have seen this sort of presence of mallet putters.
There are a few reasons behind the switch. To start, some of this is simply because the mallet putters are readily available. With the success of such options like the Stroke Lab designs and the Spider putters, more companies are releasing mallet putters.
In addition, golf manufacturers are working on varying the technology, so there are options for face-balanced, counterbalanced, more toe hang, etc., across their entire putter line. This means that even if you can’t get away from the arc-style putting stroke, you may still be able to use a mallet putter.
If you enjoy watching golf on a Sunday afternoon as much as I do, do yourself a favor and start paying attention to the equipment that these players use. Although the extra stiff shafts in their irons are probably not the fit for your game, there are probably putter options that could work for you.
Learning about different strokes and the choices out there could really help you expand your golf skills. The bottom line here is that you should not be surprised if you start seeing more and more mallet-style putters in the hands of the great players.
Frequently Asked Questions
As I mentioned, the mallet vs. blade debate brings a lot of questions to the table. Here are some of the most frequently asked questions about these putters and whether or not they could be the right choice for your game.
Is A Blade or Mallet Putter Better?
As we have said, the mallet putter is best for a straight back straight through stroke, and the blade is best for an arc-style putting stroke. Outside of these factors, you will have to find a putter that works for your eye, stroke speed, alignment method, and strength.
It is hard to ignore some of the advanced technology in the new mallet putters. These putters are continually changing, and they are becoming more and more appealing to the average player. Although we can’t say the mallet putter is better, it is interesting to see how many people, even low handicappers, are making the switch over.
Are Mallet Putters More Forgiving?
Mallet putters tend to be a bit more forgiving because of the size of their sweet spot. Since the putter is larger, there is just more room to make the putter more forgiving. Another factor that people often forget to consider is the help that a mallet putter will give when it comes to alignment.
Looking down at a mallet head putter, you will see that the alignment lines are longer, making it easier for a golfer to visualize. If you are a player who struggles with the alignment of the putter, it makes sense to go with a mallet as it will help you line up the ball easier.
What Type of Putter Should a Beginner Use?
Most of the time, it is recommended for a beginner golfer to use a very simple and straightforward mallet design. The mallet putter makes it a bit easier to learn distance control, and it can help players that need to work on getting the golf ball to the hole in fewer strokes.
If your beginner golf set came with a blade putter, use it for a few months and see how you do. If you think you need a change, there is a huge marketplace for used putters. You can find a mallet putter and put it into play for a while. Many golfers have a mallet and a blade, switching them out from time to time.
Hopefully, you now have a better idea of which putter will be a better fit for your game. Most of the time, the blade putters are for the lower handicap players that want to focus on feel in their putting stroke. The mallet putters, however, are known for being incredibly stable and stable at impact. In the end, you must ensure that you choose a putter that allows you to be consistent. Keeping your golf game consistent will help you make fewer putts on the course.