Cognizant Classic in The Palm Beaches

PGA National (Champion Course)



Hot List

Best Putters: Innovation

The best clubs in each category of the Hot List reflect excellence in an array of criteria. That’s not limited to our player testing. For Innovation in putters, our editors and academic panel spend months in meetings with manufacturer R&D teams to understand how companies are innovating. For 2024 that meant learning about face creations designed to produce similar rolls on mis-hits as center strikes because, after all, avoiding a three-putt is as important as holing a six-footer. Intriguing alignment aids—some even interchangeable—were prevalent as well. Creating stability, either through geometry or weighting, has also been emphasized. These individual lists provide a way to identify the innovation within the category. Here you’ll see how our editors evaluated putters, based on their interpretation of the criterion of Innovation, with each achieving a minimum of 4.5 stars from our players in that area.

Bettinardi Inovai
$400 | Golf Galaxy
4.5
GD SCORE GD HOT LIST SCORE
Hot List Gold
$400

Designers of mallet putters can be guilty of over-engineering everything—from moment of inertia to center of gravity—and forget about how the face feels at impact. That’s why the Bettinardi team uses the tour-preferred 303 stainless steel from its blade putters in a single piece at the front of these four large mallets. A back piece of softer aluminum provides the stability and alignment features mallet users demand.

Cobra 3D Printed
$350 | Golf Galaxy
4.5
GD SCORE GD HOT LIST SCORE
Hot List Gold
$350

As any 6-year-old schooling us at Volcano Mini-Golf reminds us, putting is easy. Cobra knows better, and that’s why these putters are engineered to compensate for erratic strokes. Custom 3-D printed internal structures save mass that is used to monumentally increase stability on off-center hits for better distance control. The face has staggered lofts from top to bottom to ensure that wherever we make contact, our putts launch the same way. Take that, rug rat.

More on this club

Evnroll NeoClassics
$400/$450 | Golf Galaxy
4.5
GD SCORE GD HOT LIST SCORE
Hot List Gold
$400/$450

When Evnroll founder and longtime putter designer Guerin Rife first designed a putter with grooves, players consistently left putts short because the grooves softened the energy transfer at impact. Change the design of the grooves, he reasoned, and he could better control ball speed across the face. Rife continues to refine that idea on these classic blades with a soft aluminum face insert that produces consistent distance and direction.

More on this club

L.A.B. Golf DF3
$450 | Golf Galaxy
4.5
GD SCORE GD HOT LIST SCORE
Hot List Gold
$450

The musical “Shrek” reminds us that we need to raise our freak flag high because, to paraphrase, weird for a purpose works. L.A.B. Golf’s putters are a good example in golf. Their distinctive looks belie a foundational idea that is irrefutable: If a putter’s weighting keeps it square to its lie angle (like this one does with its sole-weighted aluminum body), it’s going to square up. The company’s original Directed Force putter reveled in that idea, and this third generation continues in the same freakish but sleeker shape.

Meridian Milled Stainless
$250 | Golf Galaxy
4.5
GD SCORE GD HOT LIST SCORE
Hot List Gold
$250

Golf seems smitten with milled putters as if they were some kind of farm-to-table quiche pan. Meridian takes your artisanal-cheese swooning and makes its finished tool more practical and technologically efficient. Rather than milling putters one at a time, a special process might cut a dozen or more blades out of that single block at once. Those blanks are then finished with another precise milling process that includes three face patterns for three different feels. All that mass customization takes these delightfully authentic blades to a place rarely seen in golf today: affordability.

Odyssey Ai-One
$300 | Golf Galaxy
5.0
GD SCORE GD HOT LIST SCORE
Hot List Gold
$300

Most of us think of the putter face as a study in feel, but the engineers at Odyssey thought, Why can’t we get the face to be active and flexing on putts, too? The key was using artificial intelligence to produce the strangely bumpy back of the face. This insert uses “micro-deflections” to help mis-hits roll nearly as well as center strikes. When it comes to feel, is there anything better than fewer three putts?

More on this club

Odyssey Ai-One
$300 | Golf Galaxy
5.0
GD SCORE GD HOT LIST SCORE
Hot List Gold
$300

Blade putters that stretch the boundaries of off-center-hit forgiveness to mallet-like levels seem more prevalent these days than pickleball injuries. Rather than dull the center, though, Odyssey’s team found a method to keep the center speed and raise it for mis-hits. Although that probably sounds like alchemy, for Odyssey it’s all about machine learning and artificial intelligence. The odd topology on the back of these faces creates “microdeflections” for consistent rollout. The urethane face coating makes all that technology feel like the company’s most favored White Hot insert.

More on this club

Odyssey Ai-One Milled
$450 | Golf Galaxy
5.0
GD SCORE GD HOT LIST SCORE
Hot List Gold
$450

To design its putter face Odyssey’s engineers looked to titanium for its light weight, strength and flexibility. They needed the face’s intricately varied indentations—designed through a range of artificial-intelligence simulations—to respond to every impact like a high-performance race car moving across an undulating road. These titanium faces have “micro-deflections” to direct energy to the ball for consistent distances.

More on this club

Odyssey Ai-One Milled
$450 | Golf Galaxy
5.0
GD SCORE GD HOT LIST SCORE
Hot List Gold
$450

A titanium face on a putter would seem to make as much sense as a 6.2 liter V8 Hemi in a Dodge Caravan. Titanium is what makes driver faces hot, and a hot putter face seems like a recipe for binge drinking, but think again. Titanium is thin, light and strong—the kind of alloy that has great flexure properties. Flexing matters when you’re trying to create a putter face that intricately responds to the slightest variations in thickness, all created through artificial-intelligence simulations. Those thicknesses yield similar roll across the face.

More on this club

PXG Battle Ready II
$390 | Golf Galaxy
4.5
GD SCORE GD HOT LIST SCORE
Hot List Gold
$390

This line looks as subtle as a row of M9 armored earthmovers: big and bold and unwavering at impact. The key to the stability of these heads, however, is their soft and light insides. These mallets use the same polymer filling found inside PXG’s hollow-body irons to save weight in the middle and push it to the perimeter to increase the moment of inertia (stability on off-center hits) by 10 percent over the previous versions.

More on this club

PXG Battle Ready II
$390 | Golf Galaxy
4.5
GD SCORE GD HOT LIST SCORE
Hot List Gold
$390

For all the bodacious TV ads, you might forget that PXG is dead serious about one of the less sexy aspects of the business. Fitting is central to PXG’s philosophy, and that’s especially true for putters. These blades, which feature super-thin faces supported by a feel- and forgiveness-enhancing polymer fill, come with an array of hosel options ranging from heel-shafted to armlock. The heel and toe weight ports on the sole can further customize the look you want fit to the stroke you have.

More on this club

SeeMore Mini Giant Curve Back
$400 | Golf Galaxy
4.5
GD SCORE GD HOT LIST SCORE
Hot List Gold
$400

Like an EV or solar power or a flexitarian diet, SeeMore’s putters keep reminding us they really are a better idea. Around for a quarter-century, SeeMore did not invent alignment technology in putters, but it remains its most ardent adherent. If putting is a search for consistent results, it starts with a certain consistency in method. SeeMore’s hide-the-dot system breeds such consistency, leading to more reliable aim and a repeatable stroke. Copper weights in the sole, heel and toe add stability to the milled-aluminum body.

TaylorMade Spider Tour
$350 | Golf Galaxy
5.0
GD SCORE GD HOT LIST SCORE
Hot List Gold
$350

TaylorMade returns to the core shape of its Spider from five years ago, one of the most successful versions of the mallet brand that has become an icon. What’s intriguing is from that base model, the company is launching a collection of five versions that share the same concepts of high stability with clear alignment and a face with grooves to enhance initial roll. Helped by research in recent years that shows how different players respond to center-of-gravity depth, each model pushes weight selectively back or forward.

More on this club

Titleist Scotty Cameron Phantom
$450 | Golf Galaxy
5.0
GD SCORE GD HOT LIST SCORE
Hot List Gold
$450

Scotty Cameron putters make for an artistic and immensely practical tool. With his milled mallet line, Cameron wants us to see where we’re going through subtle aim and alignment clues. Notice how the angles and edges often point down the target line or how the shaft bends aim down the line, too. An array of dots, lines or arrows focus your eye line.

Titleist Scotty Cameron Super Select
$450 | Golf Galaxy
5.0
GD SCORE GD HOT LIST SCORE
Hot List Gold
$450

Someday we want someone to talk about us the way Scotty Cameron talks about his putters. His tone about these blades seems to emanate from a cathedral, and why not? Their dominance in the milled-blade marketplace isn’t an accident. Cameron and his team comb over every detail and resource to improve these designs without changing them. Subtle tweaks like milling out sections of the plumber’s neck and the iconic “cherry dots” redistribute mass to heel and toe sole weights. Cameron says that makes his blades “as forgiving as a large mallet.” Sweet talker.

Cleveland Frontline Elite
$250 | Golf Galaxy
4.0
GD SCORE GD HOT LIST SCORE
Hot List Silver
$250

Like Tom Hanks in “Big” questioning what was fun about a toy building turning into a robot, these putters question the conventional wisdom. Instead of pushing weight far back from the face for a higher moment of inertia, Cleveland’s take is that such a deep center of gravity leads to mis-directed putts. Instead, the weighting is more forward with heel and toe weights up front. That combination yields less face rotation on mis-hits for plenty of stability with even better directional control. What’s not fun about that?

Cleveland HB Soft 2
$150 | Golf Galaxy
4.0
GD SCORE GD HOT LIST SCORE
Hot List Silver
$150

Given the technological efforts in its design and manufacture, this putter sports a price that seems like a misprint. These bargain blades stoutly cater to two stroke types, use different grips to accommodate those strokes and produce the same manufacturing tolerances as a $300 putter. Most importantly, the complex milling pattern on the face with its varying density specific to each model normalizes ball speed on mis-hits.

More on this club

Cleveland HB Soft Milled
$200/$250 | Golf Galaxy
4.0
GD SCORE GD HOT LIST SCORE
Hot List Silver
$200/$250

Milling a putter serves a purpose. Although generally expensive, perfectly cutting the metal from a solid block of steel (as opposed to poring a liquefied metal into a mold) results in a consistent-feeling putter. Cleveland’s R&D team sought a more affordable approach, only milling the critical parts of a cast putter blank. The milling creates the face’s varying surface-texture densities for consistent ball speed and eliminates porosity in the raw cast head for better feel.

More on this club

Cobra 3D Printed
$350 | Golf Galaxy
4.0
GD SCORE GD HOT LIST SCORE
Hot List Silver
$350

Computer-driven 3-D printing has been part of golf-club prototype design for two decades, but it had no practical value in making finished clubs. Cobra’s engineers found a way to 3-D print certain parts that could not be cast, forged or machined by traditional means. The intricate nylon lattice structure in the heel and toe sections is one-seventh the density of steel yet provides a stable core that supports the heavier materials around it. The support provided by the 3-D printed section damps vibration for better sound and feel.

More on this club

Edel Array
$400 | Golf Galaxy
4.0
GD SCORE GD HOT LIST SCORE
Hot List Silver
$400

One of the great mysteries of modern times is why driver fittings (the most random of strokes) are so much more popular than putter fittings (the most repeatable of strokes). Edel takes a modular approach to finding your perfect putting match. With these designs you can choose one of three shapes, and each shape accommodates four hosel choices, six alignment options and four grips. Those combine to include 300 intuitive combinations that make finding the ideal putter for your stroke not so mysterious at all.

More on this club

Evnroll NeoClassics
$400/$450 | Golf Galaxy
4.0
GD SCORE GD HOT LIST SCORE
Hot List Silver
$400/$450

We like mallet putters the way we like grandmothers: They’re so forgiving. Sometimes, though, attempts at forgiveness in a mallet go too far. These traditional shapes get it right. Unlike extreme heads that require substantial mass deep in the perimeter, these classic looks find forgiveness in a grooved face insert. The spacing and individual widths create consistent energy transfer across the face, so like grandma’s change purse full of rare silver dollars, the forgiveness is bigger than it looks.

More on this club

LA Golf Bel-Air
$600 | Golf Galaxy
4.0
GD SCORE GD HOT LIST SCORE
Hot List Silver
$600

LA Golf, known for its high-performance driver shafts, must look at other putters that use heel-and-toe weighting and laugh. The heads are made of superlight carbon composite, and the tungsten weights in the heel and toe account for nearly 200 grams, or about four times as much as a typical blade putter. The result is stability on off-center hits that’s a third higher than the highest blade putters on the market. More stability means more putts roll the same distance and direction.

LA Golf Malibu
$600 | Golf Galaxy
4.0
GD SCORE GD HOT LIST SCORE
Hot List Silver
$600

Moment of inertia sounds wonky, but it’s simple: “Replace heavy with light wherever you can. Then redistribute heavy to make the head deliver consistent speed for every impact.” LA Golf’s mallets get rid of “heavy” in the body, replacing it entirely with “light” (carbon composite, which is five times less dense than steel). This frees up room to redistribute “heavy” (super dense tungsten) at the tips of this pronged mallet. The result is ultra-high MOI, or stability on off-center hits so that your worst hits still roll close to your best hits.

Never Compromise Reserve
$450 | Golf Galaxy
4.0
GD SCORE GD HOT LIST SCORE
Hot List Silver
$450

Golf’s equipment landscape is awash in things that make no sense, and the biggest one might be how few golfers get fit for a putter. A Golf Datatech study showed that driver fittings outnumber putter fittings by more than three to one. Given you’re putting more than twice as often as you’re driving, perhaps it’s time for a reset. Enter Never Compromise, which makes a proper shaft length as automatic as eighth-grade geometry. The system includes getting that cut-to-order shaft length on your new putter almost instantly.