In this article we’ll explain the difference between blade and mallet-style putters and help you decide which is best for you and your golf game. Historically, there was a clear difference between mallet and blade putters, but these days it’s more about the shades of grey.
We’ll do our best to walk you through the up-to-date landscape in putter design. However, if you are searching for which to buy, we can tell you now that beginner golfers and pros play with both types of putters.
Blade vs mallet putters
Blade putters are narrower putters and often have a classical rectangular look. Whereas, mallet putters have a much deeper putter head and can have a variety of shapes. The key visual difference is head shape and size, but there is no clear line separating blade and mallet-style putter, instead think of this as a continuum.
Despite the look of these putters varying from top down, you can see below that they all still maintain similar face characteristics.
There is no right or wrong in terms of the type you choose. There are great putters for beginners that are blade putters and similarly great putters that are mallets. You’ll see tour pros using mallet and blade putters too.
You need to find a mallet or blade-style putter that has the qualities we discuss below that best suit you.
What differences are there between blade and mallet putters?
Although these putter looks very different, we need to focus on underlying characteristics that are linked to how these putters swing and feel when you hit a putt.
- Toe balanced Vs. face balanced
- Putting stroke considerations
- Milled Vs. insert options
- Club head size and weighting
Feel relates to the sensations that flow into your hands when you hit a putt. Blade putters tend to be made from one solid piece of metal (they do sometimes have an insert). For this reason, blade putters tend to feel slightly firmer. Mallet putters are more likely to have polymer inserts that provide a softer feel when hitting putts.
Toe Balanced vs. Face Balanced
Most blade putters are toe weighted, and most mallet putters are face-balanced. A putter that is toe weighted will help you square the putter face as you bring the putter to the golf ball. More toe hang is great for a player with an arc-style stroke.
The face balanced putters keep the weight more centered, and help players ensure a square strike with the golf ball. The weighting of a face balanced putter helps the player with the straight back and straight through putting stroke.
Generally speaking, mallet putter have a higher MOI or moment of inertia, which makes them more forgiving on off-centre hits. With the larger head size, it’s easier for the mallet design to spread mass to the heel and toe and back from the club face. All of these changes make the head more resistant to twisting when you miss-hit putts.
For many years it was just sort of standard in golf that mallet putter technology allowed for more forgiveness because of the above.
However, blade putter manufacturers like Ping and Odyssey putters noted that forgiveness was an issue for some players. They started using different mixes of materials and cutout designs, making high MOI blade designs to help increase forgiveness in the blade.
So the blanket statement that blade putters are not as forgiving as mallets just doesn’t hold true anymore.
Instead, you have to compare the individual blade design and model to the mallet and determine forgiveness and playability.
This concept of forgiveness is one that most golfers swing to when discussing blade vs mallet putters. However, in lab-based testing golfers rarely miss putts because of miss striking putts, it is far more about club face angle at impact, so don’t let this concept of forgiveness sway you too much.
Alignment lines are generally longer on the mallet putter. A traditional blade head may have an alignment line that is less than half an inch long. Some mallet putters have alignment guides and lines that are more than two inches long.
The perfect putter for your game is the one that helps you line up to your target.
For some golfers, the alignment line is key, however, other golfers rely on squaring the clubface itself.
Some golf purists find all the alignment lines and design distracting. It’s not to say here that longer alignment lines on the mallet are better, simply that they are an option if that is what your game needs.
Putting Stroke Considerations
Do you know what type of putting stroke you have?
If you swing a putter on more of an arc, you’ll generally find a blade-style putter a better fit.
The straight back and straight through putting stroke still have a bit of arc to it (because of the way our bodies are designed) will likely find mallet style putters that suit the putting stroke they are trying to build.
Milled vs. Insert Options
Many of the blade putters on the market are milled from a single piece of steel. The milled designs create a pure feel at impact, sometimes a little harder or harsher than an insert, but they tend to be considered premium. Many Scotty Cameron blade putters are milled, but other companies like Odyssey Golf and Bettinardi have a mix of milled metal and inserts.
Inserts are placed in the face of a golf putter, and they can bring a little extra technology and performance to the putter head The insert is softer than the milled design most times and creates a softer feel.
Neither is better, our best advice is to go try a few insert and milled putters and build an idea of which you prefer.
Club head size and Weighting
The mallet putters are bigger than the blade putters regarding head design.
A few things to be aware of here. Bigger is not always better. The right putter for your game is not always the largest one. Some players, myself included, don’t enjoy having the larger putter head.
The other consideration here is that a larger putter head does not always mean a heavier putter. Depending on the materials used, you can have a lighter putter with a large clubhead and a heavy blade style putter with a much smaller head.
How heavy a putter feels is less to do with the total weight and more to do with where the centre of mass is in the club (this is called the swing weight). A higher swing weight means the putter head will feel heavier, a lower swing weight means the putter head will feel lighter.
Check the weight and the swing weight of the putters before you decide which is best for you.
Who Should Play a Blade Putter?
Blade putters are often considered the best style for players who:
- Have a more pronounced arc style stroke
- Are you looking for a cleaner and more streamlined traditional design
- Prefer more clean feedback on a putt (good or bad)
Who Should Play a Mallet Putter?
Mallet putters are often considered the best style for players who:
- Have a straight back and straight through style putting stroke
- Want longer alignment lines and more stability at impact
- Looking for more forgiveness on off-center strikes
- Prefer a softer feel and feedback from putts
We hope this has taught you more about the underlying features of blade and mallet-style putters. There is no simple choice here – go test out as making as you can and if you have the money, we’d really suggest a putter fitting (they are great fun and you’ll learn a lot!).
Whenever you have data, it makes it much easier to choose a putter design that is a fit for your game.
Frequently Asked Questions
Here are some commonly asked questions about blade vs. mallet putters.
Do pros use mallets or blades?
Professional golfers use both mallet and blade putters. Professional golfers tend to stick with a putter they like for a considerably longer period of time than a driver, iron, fairway wood, etc.
Are mallets more forgiving than blades?
There are more high MOI mallet putters on the market for golfers to choose from, but the mallet itself is not always more forgiving. High MOI blade putters have entered the market, making it harder to say that mallets are always more forgiving.
When do I know it’s time for a new putter?
Choose a putter that fits the type of putting stroke you are trying to build. Choosing a putter should be a long-term plan, not a short-term emotional response to a poor round on the greens.
Are blade putters better for fast greens?
Both blade and mallet putters can work on faster greens. Look for putters with a soft insert and a lighter swing weight if you want a putter for fast greens.
Sorry that this article was not useful for you.
Would you mind helping me improve this article?
Tell us how we can improve this post?