Blade vs Mallet Putters: Key Performance Differences & Recommendations for Your Game

mallet vs blade putter

Golfers obsess over putters more than any other club in the bag. And for good reason – putters account for nearly 40% of your strokes in a round. With blade and mallet styles dominating the putter market, many players agonize over which is best for their game.

Unfortunately, there are a lot of myths and misinformation out there regarding mallet vs blade putter. This in-depth comparison aims to provide data-driven guidance by reviewing key performance differences and recommendations to help you maximize your putting.

Putting Matters More Than You Think

Legendary instructor Harvey Penick famously said, “Putting determines your score.” And the stats back it up, with putts representing 43% of all strokes for pros on the PGA Tour. For amateur golfers, that number can climb even higher. Simply put, your putter is the biggest determinant of both your scorecard and enjoyment on the course.

Finding a putter that gives you the look, feel, and performance you need is critical. Between blade and mallet designs, you have dozens of options across brands like Scotty Cameron, Odyssey, PING, TaylorMade, Bettinardi, EVNRoll, and more. Both styles have stood the test of time with Tour wins and amateur success. But how do you know whether a blade or mallet putter is the best match for your stroke?

This comprehensive guide will arm you with key data and expertise to make an informed decision. We’ll debunk common myths, analyze head-to-head testing, and provide science-based recommendations on optimizing your putter performance.

Mallet vs Blade Putter

Before diving into the key differences, let’s review the core elements of mallet and blade putter designs.

What is a Mallet Putter?

  • Heavier head generates higher MOI for more forgiveness on off-center hits
  • Large head moves weight rearward from face, adding stability through impact
  • Wide alignment aids like lines and shapes make aiming simpler
  • Redistributes weight from hosel area to perimeter for increased stability

Popular mallet putter models include:

  • Scotty Cameron Phantom X
  • Odyssey 2-Ball Putter
  • PING Sigma 2 Fetch Putter
  • TaylorMade Spider Tour Putter

What is a Blade Putter?

  • Sleek, smaller head offers cleaner appearance preferred by some
  • Toe-weighted blade putters shift center of gravity forward
  • Provides crisper feel and feedback on quality of strike
  • Requires more precise swing path and face angle control

Legendary blade putter models include:

  • Scotty Cameron Newport
  • Ping Anser 2 Putter
  • Odyssey White Hot #1 Putter
  • Yes! Donna Putter

Now that you understand the core design differences, let’s analyze the performance data.

Debunking Myths About Blade vs Mallet Putters

Before we dive into the key performance differences, it’s important to address some common misconceptions golfers have about blade and mallet putters.

Myth: Blade putters improve aim and are only for strong players

Reality: Blade putters do not inherently aim better or require greater strength. Weight distribution varies across models. Proper fitting based on your stroke will determine aim and optimal weight for control.

Myth: Mallets are more forgiving across all distances

Reality: As we’ll see in testing data, mallet forgiveness advantage seems most significant inside 5 feet. Blade performance can equal or exceed mallet putters from longer distances.

Myth: Looks equals performance

Reality: Aesthetics mean nothing compared to getting fit for your stroke and finding optimal MOI for your pace. Data trumps perceptions and preconceived biases.

With these myths debunked, let’s analyze the key testing data.

Mallet vs Blade: Key Performance Differences

To provide data-driven recommendations, Golf Digest conducted extensive testing of blade and mallet putters using 18 golfers across 5, 10, and 20 foot distances. The results reveal tangible performance differences.

5 Foot Putts

  • Mallet Putters: Made 94.4% from 5 feet
  • Blade Putters: Made 89.4% from 5 feet

Inside 5 feet, the extra forgiveness from mallets generated nearly a 5% higher make percentage. This shows the value of mallets for short tap-ins where precision aim matters less than pure strike.

10 Foot Putts

  • Mallet Putters: Made 73.3% from 10 feet
  • Blade Putters: Made 77.2% from 10 feet

As putts moved outside 5 feet, blade putters took the lead in make percentage. The blade’s crisp feedback and toe-weighted design promote better distance control on pure strokes.

20 Foot Putts

  • Mallet Putters: Made 43.9% from 20 feet
  • Blade Putters: Made 47.8% from 20 feet

At 20 feet, blade putters again outperformed mallets by nearly 4% in overall make percentage. Blade designs excel when pure contact and distance control become paramount.

Overall Make Percentage

  • Mallet Putters: 73.0%
  • Blade Putters: 73.9%

The small sample testing shows blade putters hold a slight overall advantage in make percentage. However, the performance differences vary significantly based on distance.

To build on these findings, expanded testing across more putter models and golfers could make the data more statistically significant. Additional data like percentage of putts holed rather than raw makes would allow us to better compare performance across the distances.

Testing how blade and mallet putters perform on slower vs faster greens could provide useful context on where each style excels. Fast greens reduce the difference in makes from 5 feet but amplify it at longer lengths. Slower greens likely favor mallets at all distances.

Match Your Putter to Your Stroke

The key testing takeaway is that no putter style universally outperforms the other. The optimal putter for your game depends entirely on matching performance characteristics to your stroke type and tendencies.

Here are three ways a quality putter fitting helps golfers select the right blade or mallet putter:

Analyze your stroke type – Determine if you have more of an arcing pendulum stroke or a straight back-and-through stroke. Mallet putters with perimeter weighting suit sweeping strokes while blades favor those with straight strokes.

Dial in proper length and lie – A putter fitting analyzes the best length and lie angle that facilitates an optimal posture, ball position, and free motion through impact. Fine tuning these specs gives any putter model the best chance to perform.

Test balance and feel – Gripping and rolling putts with different putters reveals differences in swingweight and head feel. Your optimal balance and feel preferences likely apply across both blades and mallets during testing.

The goal is to contrast various blade and mallet options using data and your stroke tendencies as a guide. Testing seven to ten putters of varying specs, weights, grips, and technology paints a clear picture of your ideal design. Calibrate the putter to your game, not the other way around.

Conclusion: Focus on Performance, Not Perceptions

Although blade vs mallet putter perceptions run deep among golfers, the key takeaway is that performance differences depend entirely on your stroke, pace, and ability to control face angle. Rather than judge a putter’s merits on appearance, lean on data and a quality fitting to ensure your flatstick matches your game.

If blade putters truly aim and roll better for you, gaming one can certainly lower your scores. Don’t avoid blade putters simply because of assumptions around skill level and forgiveness. By the same token, don’t assume mallets are a magic bullet for cure your yips and improve consistency.

Take an objective, data-driven approach to finding your optimal putter, whether mallet, blade, or a hybrid of both styles. Keep an open mind, get fit by a qualified professional, and choose the putter that produces the results you expect on the course. Doing so will lead to more confident, carefree putting focused on holing the ball rather than mechanics and deliver lower scores.

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