Blades Versus Mallets—A Performance Analysis
With technology constantly changing, two simple constructions are staying constant: blade and mallet putters. Over the years, we’ve seen some astonishing designs in both categories. There are classic, well-known ones such as Odyssey 2-Ball, PING Anser, Scotty Cameron Newport … the list goes on and on. But there are some head scratchers too: PING’s Doc 17, Odyssey’s 2-Ball Blade, Axis1 and Taylormade’s Truss.
But let’s face it: looks and feel don’t always equal performance. Is there a significant statistical performance difference between blades and mallets? Is the differential minimal? Let’s take a look.
Most Wanted Putter Testing
During our Most Wanted testing season, we test both blade and mallet putters. Through these tests, we gain insightful performance data. The data collected and utilized in this article is from 18 testers who participated in both our Most Wanted Blade and Most Wanted Mallet tests.
Through the years, technology has been the focal point of putter innovation.
For blade putters, a timeless design blends with a focus on feel and precision. Over time, peripheral, heel-toe weighting became relevant, which brought forth enhancements in consistency and forgiveness. Nowadays, face technology is at the forefront. In 2021, there was a plethora of face innovations. Odyssey’s White Hot Face was reborn. Sik implements Descending Loft Technology. Tommy Armour features a CNC milled 6061 aluminum face insert. Face technology has many different forms.
Mallet putters offer a smidge more than blades. For example, more head size. This allows for increased forgiveness or, in golfing nerd lingo, “MOI”, short for moment of inertia Generally, face technology stays consistent between mallet and blade offerings from the same OEM.
Blades Versus Mallets Results
Our current world thrives on statistical performance. Let’s address this question: Are there significant performance differences between blades and mallets? Check out which group performed best from five, 10 and 20 feet below.
From five feet, mallets putters had a two-putt better average than the blade putters. At 10 feet, blades got the edge with a four-putt better average. With a three-putt better average, blades took the advantage at 20 feet. Overall, blades had a four-putt better average versus mallets.
Although the average total putts from each distance and overall are minimal, there is a statistical differential worthy of attention. Let’s take a look at some key takeaways.
1. Blades Excel From 10 Feet
With a 223 total putt average, blade putters had four fewer putts than mallet putters. In addition, there was a five-putt differential between the best blades and the best mallets from 10 feet. Tommy Armour Impact No. 2 Wide and Odyssey White OG #1 both had a total of 211 putts. From 10 feet, Odyssey White Hot OG 2-Ball totaled 216 putts. Cleveland’s HB Soft Premier 10.5 was the second best mallet with 219 total putts. Not only did the blade putters collectively perform better but two blades outperformed the best mallet from 10 feet.
2. Tester Benefits Blades Versus Mallets
During these tests, data was collected from 18 different testers. Each tester participated in both tests. Over the course of testing, testers saw benefits by using blades or mallets. On average, 10 testers saw a 1.02 total putt decrease when using mallets while eight testers had a 1.24 total putt decrease when using blades. But the testers who benefited from using blades saw the better decrease in average total putts. Quite the result.
3. Best Putters Across the Board
For both blades and mallets, there are three putters within each category that performed best for testers across the board.
Within the blade category: Odyssey White Hot OG #1 Stroke Lab, Tommy Armour Impact No. 2 Wide and Scotty Cameron Special Select Squareback 2. These putters finished first, second and third, respectively, in average total putts.
Based on our data set, blades have a slight advantage over mallets, specifically from 10 and 20 feet. There is no absolute reason as to why this outcome came to fruition. In testing, there were testers who saw performance benefits while using blades. On the other hand, testers saw performance gains when using mallets. When considering a new putter, compare a blade putter versus a mallet to see which one performs better for you. Once you’ve established that, go get fitted. Proper length and lie with a putter can truly benefit you.