It’s a question every golfer has asked themselves at some point: Mallet or blade? This can be a complicated topic!
In this article, we will try to break down the basics and cover the facts and myths.
First, we will cover the widespread conclusion that mallets are for players with no arc in their stroke, while blades are for players with slight arcs. This rule of thumb is not always correct. The amount of arc in your stroke should determine the balance of the putter.
Most brands recommend focusing on that balance aspect over any “rule of thumb” that has arisen over the years. It should be noted, mallets and blades both come in face-balanced and toe-balanced models. However, since a blade naturally promotes a swinging gate, it can be a good fit for a player with a slight arc.
Blades are the original putter. Once literally just a flat piece of metal or wood, the blade putter has evolved into the most common Anser style putters you see today.
The most common Anser style features perimeter weighting, which increases the moment of inertia (MOI) of the head. Since the clubhead is so narrow, that MOI value will be less than an equivalent mallet style.
The clean and simple aesthetic of blade putters makes them a staple for purist golfers. The thin head is unlikely to get hung up on any imperfections in the green. Nonetheless, like golfers have moved away from blade irons in recent years, so have many golfers from blade putters.
Mallets are much larger in shape than a traditional blade putter. These putters have become increasingly popular in recent years.
The larger heads allow for weight to be added far away from the face. This drastically increases the MOI of the clubhead. Hence, a mallet is much less likely to twist than a blade.
The larger size of the head is also beneficial to many players, as it allows for larger alignment designs, such as the odyssey 2-ball design. Mallets also tend to be heavier than a blade-style putter. This weight makes the impact with the ball less noticeable, as the clubhead is carrying more momentum through the stroke.
Most golfers find the mallet-style to be “more forgiving”, which can most likely be attributed to that larger alignment design, heavier weight, and greater MOI.
How Do I Know What I Need?
Hopefully, this article has shed some light on the differences between a blade and a mallet-style putter. In order to better determine, which style head works best for you, we always recommend trying some out.
Some questions like the recommended balance of the face can be estimated by recognizing where you typically miss your putts and how much arc is in your swing. Length can also be approximated by height, but will ultimately come down to what feels most comfortable.
Offset and shaft loft is more complicated factors, which will require either a fitting or the ability to try multiple putters out. Practice some putts with both a mallet and blade and see what feels right for you!