Insert Putters - which is best?

Odyssey Metal X insertInsert putters are putters which have a different material (the "insert") inlayed into the face. You actually strike the ball with this insert material and not the material used to make the main part of the putter head itself.

Insert materials can be either hard or soft and you see manufacturers making all sorts of claims about the effect their inserts have on the way the putter feels, although the most common claim is that it softens the feeling of the ball against the putter head.

... on an insert putter

Click here for Amazon listings for an insert putter in your region

Do Insert Putters Work?

The answer to this, in's view, is "it depends on the quality of the insert". As you can see from the list above, Odyssey is the market leader in insert putters, although since the wildly popular Ghost series, Taylormade's putters have also included super soft inserts. In our opinion Odyssey putter inserts do contribute to the softness of the feel of the ball striking the face and they are good to use as a result.

Whether they make you a better putter is almost impossible to say.

It seems to be a given that we all putt better with putters we like the feel of, so you really have to try out a putter for a little while before you decide whether to buy that model or not. If your favorite putter happens to have an insert then they're obviously for you.

What we can tell you with absolute certainty is that there are hundreds of high-performing, tour-proven putters which do NOT have inserts, so having an insert in the face of your putter isn't the be-all and end-all, it's just another option.

The evolution of putter inserts

From the start of insert putters, with the Odyssey's black "stronomic" inserts in the 1990s, putter inserts have become the standard for the majority of putter manufacturers. Of the "big four" major manufacturers (Odyssey, Scotty Cameron, Ping and Taylormade) only Scotty Cameron have not entirely embraced inserts in their putters. 

Odyssey's "microhinge" insert

The inserts themselves have also been the subject of considerable innovation (or possibly merely marketing spin) with different arrangements of grooves or even hinges added to the face of the putter to apparently give the ball more overspin and therefore encourage a better, truer roll. 

Click on the links below to read's independent reviews of insert putters (inactive links are for putters pending review):
Click on the logos below to jump to's independent reviews of putters from each manufacturer:
Nike logo
Odyssey logo
Rife Putters logo

Nike logo


Nike Method 001 Nike Method 001 A minimalist anser head that looks just a little lightweight. The roll is pure and the feel is good.

Nike Method 002 Nike Method 002 Most similar to a Ping Zing shape, this putter has a simple no-frills look, a good roll, but a high price tag.

Nike Method 003 Nike Method 003 The Nike Method putter favored by Tiger Woods. A heavily toe-weighted putter with classic looks. Fantastic if you have an open-square-closed stroke.

Nike Method 004 Nike Method 004 Face balanced version of the Method 001. Favor this putter if you're trying to produce a straight-back-straight through stroke.

Nike Method 005 Nike Method 005 Face balanced mallet which looks like it's got a good bit of meat behind the head. For our money the best looking in the Method range.

on a Nike putter...

Odyssey logo


Odyssey 2 Ball Odyssey 2 Ball The iconic putter of the 2000s - easy to aim, great feel

Odyssey Backstryke Odyssey Backstryke One of the most revolutionary designs in putting. Love it or hate the look, the results are good

Odyssey White Ice 5 Odyssey White Ice 5 Larger than average blade with original White Hot insert... beautiful to look at and great feel.

Odyssey White Ice 5 Odyssey White Ice 5 Classic face balanced D shape with silky soft Ice White insert!

Odyssey 2 Ball Blade Odyssey 2 Ball Blade Padraig Harrington used this combination of blade and 2 ball design to win majors, but what's it like?

Odyssey Black iX 1 Odyssey Black iX 1 Perhaps Odyssey's best effort yet to eclipse the Scotty Cameron and Ping Ansers.

Odyssey PT 82 Odyssey PT 82 Brought out to cash in on Phil Mickelson's move to Callaway and Odyssey in 2009. A limited edition putter, which is lovely to look at and has the best-feeling insert on the market

Odyssey White Hot 7l Odyssey White Hot 7L Great looking long putter with slightly dead feel - excellent for fast greens

Odyssey White Hot 9 Odyssey White Hot 9 Classic blade shape with amazing weighting and feel. A superb putter - highly recommended.

Odyssey White Ice Progressive Terron Mid Odyssey White Ice Progressive Terron Mid Sharp edged star ship of a putter - you need to like futuristic shapes to use this one!

Odyssey Rossie II Belly Putter Odyssey Rossie II Classic D shaped head used by Annika Sorenstam amongst many others!

on an Odyssey putter...

Rife Putters logo


Rife Two BarRife Two Bar A putter that looks and feels good behind the ball. Just a bit firm on the feel side.

on a Rife putter...

Zen Logo


Zen Oracle Zen Oracle High tech putter from the Far East which is designed entirely with the outcome in mind. A great roll results

on a Zen putter...

Not sure if an insert putter is for you? Click here for our article on choosing a putter to fit your stroke.

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