IS A TOE HANG MALLET FOR YOU?
This could solve your putting woes. By Mike Stachura
Mallets, known for being stable and forgiving, have long been the putter of choice for golfers in need of help, while sleek blade putters have de ned the best players. Then Jason Day won the 2015 PGA Championship and rose to No. 1 using a Taylor-Made Spider Tour prototype. Suddenly, mallets were cool. Players using mallets have won four of the past nine men’s majors. Besides forgiveness, many now have blade-like heel weighting (known as toe-hang, far right). The buzz got us wondering: Is the toe-hang mallet the putter we’ve all been waiting for? Turn the page for an analysis.
More than half of the top-50 players in the world use mallets, many of which feature heel-shafted, toe-hang weighting. Toe-hang mallets encourage an arcing stroke, the kind of motion that usually matches only with blade putters.
“One of my theories is that putters have been getting heavier and heavier, and people have lost the feel,” said Austie Rollinson, chief designer at Odyssey, the top-selling putter brand in the world. More than 70 percent of Odyssey’s sales are mallets.“A heel shaft gets you to feel where that face is a little more.”
What makes the current atmosphere di erent is that more of these mallets that swing like blades also o er the o centre-hit forgiveness usually reserved for oversize, face-balanced shapes designed for a pendulum stroke (far right).
Of course, with mallets and blades seemingly interchangeable these days – particularly some of the new wide-sole blade models – what’s the average golfer to do? Well, don’t just buy the rst putter in the golf shop after you make a few 10-footers, or worse, the one you just saw on TV.
“It’s a fact that certain putter shapes and toe-hang models marry with certain strokes to roll the ball the best,” says master tter Nick Sherburne. “Toe-hang mallets lled a gap that wasn’t available for that kind of stroke type before. But it’s not necessarily the best of both worlds.”
Getting t for a putter is no less important than being t for a driver, especially with putting launch monitors more widely available.And in terms of saving strokes, a putter- tting might just be twice as valuable. Toe-hang mallets can help “because most golfers rotate along their path, and mallets are more forgiving on mis-hits,” says club tter Ken Johns. “If you aren’t making any putts, you’re in the wrong putter.” —MIKE STACHURA