Historically, using a mallet putter was waving the white flag to fellow players that your game was not to be taken seriously, needing an oversized stick to find the sweet spot. As the 2016 Hot List mallets prove, that shame is a thing of the past.
Historically, there was a stigma associated with golfers who used mallet putters. The enlarged, box-ish, "Does this look like the Millennium Falcon to you?" clubheads looked like a inferior product, one that was purchased via a late-night infomercial. To use one was waving the white flag to fellow players that your game was not to be taken seriously, needing an oversized stick to find the sweet spot.
That ignominy is a thing of the past.
Mallets are ever-present in golf bags; one of the best selling putters of this century is the oddly-shaped Odyssey 2-Ball. This trend includes the pro tours: Jason Day couldn't miss a putt inside 50 feet in the second half of 2015 with his TaylorMade Ghost Itsy Bitsy Spider.
What's spurring this transition? Golfers are putting their pride aside and understanding the benefits the heavier-based mallet putters bring. The added size and redistributed mass weight, along with counterbalance options and oversized grips, are aimed to heighten the club's moment of inertia, reducing the twist at impact. In essence, the MOI lessens the detrimental effect of a mis-hit. Keeping the putter on the proper swing plane is an additional benefit to these features.
The newfound stability is a major selling point, and the mallets try to augment that sentiment with alignment help. Many of the putters you are about to see have sight lines and target aids to keep your stroke square at impact. Though certain blades offer similar assistance, the mallet's extra real estate provides a better illustration for the golfer.
Yet, perhaps the greatest mallet advancement is in feel. Added weight used to be a knock in the feel department, but thanks to advanced face inserts, impact-dampening layers, even the way the club is constructed have improved on this category's perception.
In short, there is a connotation associated with the mallet putters on the 2016 Hot List. And it's anything but bad.