I am a self-admitted putter addict, and as with anyone I have my preferences in styles, but I am also always on the hunt to try new companies, designs, and technologies. Low and behold with THP getting the Bloodline RG-1 Mallet in for review I ended up getting all three.
The design itself is unique and stands out (as well as up) in the crowds of “traditional” putters that encompass the market. Bloodline is using a super light putter shaft along with a 395g head (in the case of the RG-1) which shifts the balance point WAY down the club to practically where the neck joins the head. This is what gives Bloodline putters their unique balance through the stroke and more than that, allows them to stand up on their own, quite literally.
There is a lot going on visually with the RG-1. Obviously the full-mallet shape stands out, and it is very balanced in its curves and visual confidence the shape creates behind the ball. I really enjoy that Bloodline was able to be unique with a mallet design without turning it into a space-ship. The red finish is quite literally the best I have ever seen on a putter. The color choice is not new, and some of the major OEM’s offer red putters that have gained a lot of popularity, but having owned those I can say without a doubt their finish pales in comparison to the Bloodline, even those who don’t like the idea of a red putter commented positively on the finish when they saw the RG-1 up close. More than just the red though, the use of satin metal on the sole and neck combined with the carbon fiber shaft makes for one of the more interesting aesthetics I have seen in some time, and it works.
The RG-1 is predominantly an aluminum design and because of the materials as well as the super aggressive face milling I assumed that the feel/sound would be on that dense/soft side with a little of the springiness you often get from aluminum in a putter. I was wrong. Overall the RG-1 is much firmer than I ever expected, not to the point of being ‘clicky’, but with a level of sharpness to the hands and ears that I’ve simply not experienced in an aluminum design before. Part of that is undoubtedly the stainless sole plate and the mass behind it changing the feel/sound, and another could very well be the carbon fiber shaft and tennis wrap style grip. It really isn’t a bad feeling putter, it’s simply different.
No matter the opinion on the impact sensation, the roll and consistency through the stroke I saw cannot be denied. The first piece of that is the round tennis-wrap style grip which is a first for me and being that it is literally applied to the wider than standard shaft with little padding and is an abstract feeling that works because of the rest of the package. The grooves and MOI of the mallet design let the RG-1 put a quick roll on the ball that maintained pace and direction on off-center putts as well, but I believe it works because of the extremely low balance point of the design. Others have done the superlight shaft and heavy head to shift balance before, but it hasn’t in my opinion been done in this cohesive of a package.
The Bloodline RG-1 also gets high marks on its alignment setup with the way the shape frames the ball and the thickness of the alignment lines allows it to be visually dynamic when aligning putts. But, I would be remiss to not discuss the alignment design Bloodline touts the most with their putters, that they stand up on their own. The previously discussed balance point is the reason this is possible, and it allows for the user to stand behind the putter and adjust it to their line should they choose. This premise has been done before, but here the putter will truly stand up on its own and isn’t as susceptible to falling over in the elements. Does it help alignment? I believe that argument can be made, but for me it is so outside of what I am ingrained to do when it comes to putting that I just could not get comfortable. However, isn’t getting people to look outside the box of what is routine to try and find a more effective way for some the point? Absolutely it is, and kudos to Bloodline for that.
The Bloodline RG-1 is a unique blend of design that goes against much of what we are trained to believe about how putters should be made, but it manages to maintain feelings of conventionalism as well. It is not going to be a design that everyone takes to easily, as with most things some will love it and others will pass it by, but when given the chance I think it would surprise many, especially fans of mallet putters. The RG-1 is priced at $499.00 and more information can be found at www.bloodline.golf.