Putters come in a variety of shapes and designs and making a choice can be quite overwhelming. To make this a bit easier we will go through the most important features that you need to consider before purchasing the best forgiving putter for you…
Let us start from the bottom up and look at the various head designs. The main styles being blades, mallets, and counter-weighted heads.
Blades are the oldest style and strong with the purists and traditionalists and as such were once the only option. It’s a great feeling using one of the famous brand blades and you see your putts dropping, but when things start going wrong you wish you had bagged that easier forgiving putter. With so many other options available today it is mostly very experienced golfers that still use a blade.
Mallets have a much larger head, similar to a croquet mallet. They are usually hollow inside with toe and head weighting. The big head is usually designed with alignment lines across the upper surface to assist with aiming and finding the sweet spot.
The overall effect is to reduce the tendency for the putter to twist and provides more accuracy and forgiveness for beginners. There are also the Mid-mallets which makes for more versatility.
Some of the more modern putters have very strange and unusual head shapes. One of the reasons for the variety is that we are all different and no one shape will work for everyone. The main aim of all this modern technology is to increase the size of the sweet spot by increasing the size of the face.
This makes it easier to find that sweet spot and much more forgiving if you are slightly off. You need to find what makes you comfortable and gives you the required confidence.
Counter-weighted and balancing in the head affect the stability of the putter. When the weight is evenly distributed in the face it keeps the putter head horizontal to the ground. Often as new players, we tend to leave the putt quite a bit short. Using a more weighted putter can help overcome this problem. Try the difference between a toe hang and a full hang weighted putter to see which best suits your style.
We are looking for the most forgiving putter, but what is meant by forgiveness? It is that ability to not punish you too badly for a stroke that is off-center or missing the sweet spot. What designers try to achieve here is to enlarge the sweet spot thus reducing the degree of deviation on a shot that is not quite true. The only way to achieve this is to enlarge the sweet spot on the putter’s face and by incorporating new materials on the face of the putter to enhance control.
It is critical to have the face of the putter correctly aligned with the path you want your ball to follow to the hole. Have you ever noticed a player placing his putter on the green and the caddy behind him checking his alignment? Often, we see short putts being missed, this is because the player is too quick or too casual and did not take care of the alignment.
To assist with this problem most modern putters incorporate tracks or lines on the putter head, much like sights on a rifle, to help your aim. Some of these new putters even have a solid line from front to back, behind the sweet spot, the width of a golf ball. What could be easier?
Comfort and Angle of Lie:
When standing over the putt it is essential that you feel comfortable or your confidence will be down, and your concentration will be all over the place. The putter head needs to be flat on the green, so what about the length of the putter shaft?
Size matters. Compare Nick Faldo and Ernie Els to Gary Player and you can see why the putter shaft length is very important. The personalized fitting has become popular for this very reason as that angle between the toe and the putting surface has to be right.
(MOI) Moment of Inertia:
In simple terms, the moment of inertia is the ability of a rotating body to overcome resistance. In golfing terms it would mean the accelerating force applied by the putter to overcome the resistance of the surface, the green.
If you miss the sweet spot the MOI is reduced, so the manufacturer’s design brief is to increase the sweet spot to reduce to loss of MOI on an off-center shot and also to reduce the effect of twisting. This all sounds very technical and complicated, but all we need to know is that these features are critical in allowing us to achieve a consistently good strike.
Best Forgiving Putters
Quick Overview: Our Top Picks for The Best Forgiving Putters
|TaylorMade Spider X||VIEW ON AMAZON →|
|Odyssey White Hot Pro 2.0||VIEW ON AMAZON →|
|Pinewood Golf Woman’s PGX||VIEW ON AMAZON →|
|Cleveland Huntington Beach Soft #12||VIEW ON AMAZON →|
|PowerBilt Golf RS-X M200||VIEW ON AMAZON →|
Here are some of the best putters known for their forgiveness:
The TaylorMade Spider has been around for some ten years, but with the X version the technical team has come up with some revolutionary modifications and design changes.
For starters, the color choice is fantastic with the Dakota Copper being the leader. This color is reminiscent of the bronze and brass putters of the “old days”. A Midnight Blue version was also designed for Dustin Johnson to compliment his preferred wardrobe.
The color is great, but the Spider X boasts a whole new range of design features. The distinctive ‘rocket pods’ have been replaced by two blue steel weights at the rear of the putter. These black industrial-looking weights are hardly noticeable and are actually better looking than the pods. The effect of these weights is to move the weight to the back corners of the putter.
The longer 34 and 35-inch length putter carries a standard 6g steel weight. The shorter 33-inch has 2g weights which help to keep the swing weight the same. If you like to have things a bit heavier there are 12g tungsten weights as an option.
The TaylorMade Spider X might look the same but within the steel outer frame, there is now a new central section made of a carbon composite. The previous Spider tour had a steel central section weighing 79g, this new carbon composite weighs only 15g. Overall the spider X head is 73g heavier as more mass has been distributed to the edges of the head thus increasing MOI.
Some players found the head of the Spider Tour a bit too large and the Spider X is now 5% smaller but has the same MOI. It is still 10% bigger than the Spider Mini so is a good compromise.
What do all this extra weighting, repositioning, and distribution of the weight mean to the average golfer? The MOI qualities of the TaylorMade Spider X mean that you are less likely to lose speed on your putts and be able to hole the ball more often.
The inset on the face has also seen a huge improvement. Made from 80% Surlyn and 20% Aluminum flakes the face is now thicker at 5mm allowing the grooves to be cut deeper. Cut at a 45-degree angle this gets the ball rolling quicker. There is less backspin and the ball is more likely to start and stay on line.
To get the ball on line the Spider X has a great alignment system. You have two options, the usual single line down the length of the central section, or a black line on a white background. The flowing white band, which is half the width of the golf ball, stretches from the back of the putter and over the leading edge onto the face of the putter.
These models come standard with SuperStroke Pistol GTR 1.0 grips with customized TaylorMade Spider graphics.
The Odyssey White Hot Pro 2.0 is another winner from the Callaway stable a brand with a solid reputation.
Callaway’s marketing claim is that the Odyssey White Hot Pro 2.0 has been, ” designed to meet the performance demands of the world’s most serious golfers”. Judging from the popularity of most users, they seem to have hit the mark.
The white-hot face insert has been re-engineered increasing the levels of performance and greatly improving the feel and sound.
High tolerance levels are achieved through the laser milling insert cutting process which is further complemented by the heel/toe weight placement. This all comes together to enhance forgiveness and to increase the responsiveness of the club on impact.
The ‘sighters’ on top of the club head clearly contrast with the color of the club making alignment easier and providing that all-important confidence when set up for the putt.
The Odyssey White Hot Pro 2.0 is a classic blade design with a high-tech face insert a complete-shaft offset and a crank neck hosel. Add to this the heel weight replacement and you have a putter with unbelievable feel and balance.
The putter has a black finish which gives it a sleek look, but also helps to reduce glare and is both durable and wear-resistant.
Here’s one for the ladies, rated the most forgiving putter for women.
This Pinewood PGX comes with a very low price tag and a fantastic amount of forgiveness.
This putter is designed for the mid to high handicapper especially those who may have been using a blade-type putter and have been battling on the greens.
The mallet design is all white with contrasting black alignment lines making for easy aiming. These alignment lines run the full length of the club face and are a real confidence enhancer. It is recommended that a headcover is used to protect the finish against scratches and dings.
The face boasts a very large sweet spot which means forgiveness is at a premium.
The club head carries extra weight providing a superb feel, a little stronger than the blade, even on faster greens. The stability created by this additional weight reduces skidding and ensures a smooth forward spinning ball on impact. For a low-cost putter, the sound is above average.
The shaft length is standard and there are no options for customizing.
Cleveland is well known in the golfing world and the brand comes with a good reputation for quality and value for money.
Cleveland’s Huntington Beach putters have been on the market for some time now and have gone through a few revamps and upgrades. They offer a wide range of both blade and mallet-style putters and we are going to take a closer look at Huntington Beach Soft #12.
The Huntington Beach Soft #12 is a mallet design putter with a single bend. What makes these putters special is the face inset, with the diamond-shaped milling and the deep grooves.
The soft in the name comes from the high-tech inset, Speed Optimized Face Technology. This proprietary technology ensures better speed and distance control on your putts.
The diamond CNC milling pattern on the face is most interesting. In the center of the putter head, the diamond shape is smaller and tighter together, this would equate to the sweet spot. As you move out from the middle towards the toe and heel of the face the diamonds become larger and more spaced, as if they are being stretched.
The effect of this unique milling pattern is to normalize ball speed across the face of the club. The result for the player is a consistent speed and consistent distance even for off-center shots. This is true forgiveness. The deep cut grooves increase the friction to give you a truer more consistent roll.
One of the improvements made in the #12 is changing from 17-4 Stainless Steel to 304 Stainless Steel. The effect of this innovation is to improve the feel and the sound by more than 10%. The 304 Stainless Steel proved to be 51# softer on a tensile strength test.
Cleveland offers a unique ability to customize and personalize your grips and color scheme on their clubs.
PowerBilt may not be one of the biggest names in golf equipment, but with the RS-X M200 they have provided the market with a very good and trustworthy putter at a very good price for the beginner.
This mallet head design features an eye-catching black, red, and white color scheme where the alignment aids are outstanding.
Perimeter weighting on the mallet head ensures an increased MOI. This high MOI and the grooved face design launches the ball forward with a good top spin resulting in straight rolls.
The combination of the grooved face and the perimeter weighting in the wings of the mallet makes this a very stable putter. This also means that there is a very high level of forgiveness even on shots that are off-center.
To ensure the correct hand position at address the PowerBilt is fitted with a plumber’s neck hosel giving the beginner added confidence.
When looking for the most forgiving putter the decision would depend on various criteria. The cost would be a factor as would your level of expertise, depending on whether you are a low, mid, or high handicap player.
If cost is not a factor then the TaylorMade Spider X would be hard to beat, but that is the beauty of choice. We are all different and there is no one fit for all. The bottom line is to enjoy your golf and finding the right equipment to reduce failure, disappointment, and stress are most important.
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Nick Lomas is the founder of GolfSpan, an avid golfer, not quite a pro but has over 15-years of experience playing and coaching golfers from all over the world. His mission is to bring the golfing community a better experience then it comes to choosing the right golf gear, and finding the right set up for your game.