Ask an Equipment Expert: What do face inserts and grooves on putters actually do?

September 5, 2018

Each month, we tap experts from the equipment industry to answer your most commonly asked questions. In this installment, Guerin Rife, co-founder of Evnroll Putters, discusses how face inserts and grooves on putters affect performance.

Q. Do insert materials, grooves and various putterface designs actually do anything, or are they mostly for sound and feel? — K. Lee, via Facebook

The design elements you mention indeed do it all. A softer insert, for example, can make a firmer ball feel softer at impact, but its lighter weight also allows for more perimeter weighting, forgiveness and stability. Odyssey’s White Hot and Scotty Cameron’s aluminum inserts do this admirably.

Grooves, on the other hand, are pure performance enhancers. In reality, the grooves themselves don’t do anything — it’s the areas between them that do the work.

Face inserts and grooves on putter shown here in the Evnroll ER1 putter.
A look at the face inserts on the Evnroll ER1 putter.
Courtesy of Evnroll

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At Evnroll, we engineer larger spaces between the grooves in the middle of the putterface and smaller ones in the heel and toe sections to equalize speed on all strikes. Without this variance in groove design, the ball would travel different distances depending on where you made contact across the face. Trust me — you don’t want that.

— Guerin Rife, Co-Founder/Evnroll Putters

MORE: Full reviews of 19 new putters from ClubTest 2018