Rife Putters was founded by Guerin Rife, who spent a long time in the putter trade before gaining serious attention with the original 2-Bar. In the span of just five years, Rife Putters has gone from a tiny company that nobody had heard of to one of the most talked about putter brands out there. Rife Putters are played on just about every major tour right now and unless you have been living under a rock the last few years, you certainly have seen the infomercial playing on The Golf Channel for a while for the Rife 2-Bar Hybrid.
I must admit, I am a skeptic. The patented RollGroove Technology which in theory sounds great, I just did not believe. the hype. Have I been converted? By the time you finish reading this, you will know the answer to that question. Here is what the company says about Rife Putters and their RollGroove Technology:
Putting a true and consistent roll on the ball is, without a doubt, the most important fundamental to being a great putter. The top putters on Tour just seem to get the ball rolling consistently time and time again. But even the best players in the world need a little help from technology to get the most consistent and truest no skid roll in golf. The precisely milled and spaced grooves on the Two Bar Hybrid grip, hold, and release the ball into an immediate forward roll without any skipping or skidding (all Rife Putters feature RollGroove Technology). Because of the gripping created by patented RollGroove Technology all Rife putters feature less loft than most other putters on the market (1.5-2 degrees). A ball sits in a slight depression on the green. This is caused by the weight of the ball and gravity. Conventional putters must have 4-6 degrees of loft on the face to basically chip the ball out of its depression. This creates a slight backspin until the ball hits the ground and the friction of the grass causes the ball to skip or skid before it begins its true forward roll. Rife Putters with RollGroove Technology, utilize less loft because of the friction or gripping created by the grooves on the face. The ball is gripped rather than chipped, held through impact, and then released into an immediate forward roll. Without the grooves holding the ball through the depression, the ball would slide up the face (like it does with a traditional flat face putter) losing energy and creating very inconsistent distance control. With RollGroove Technology the effects of grass grain on your ball are greatly reduced because the ball is not skipping or skidding (high friction) but rolling immediately (low friction) so your ball will hold the line better and your reads will be truer.
I was always under the impression that putters were personal and that technology in putters was not really needed. But that myth was put to rest when we held our Huge Putter Shoot Out last week. The top 3 putters in the performance category were all technology driven. During the testing we had 18 different people hit over 25 different putters. These people were not associated with The Hackers Paradise or any club manufacturer. Yet the top 3 in performance were all based on technology. Rife was near the top of all the putters we tested.
Despite all the rave reviews during the shoot out, I was determined to find out for myself about the feeling of gaming a Rife. I have tried “groove” putters in the past. I even really liked a few of them, but it was more to do with performance and feel than it was with technology or whether or not I felt as though it works. So when all the dust settled I went over to the putting green for an afternoon of trying this one out. I setup shop with 2 putters I have liked for quite some time and the Rife Tour 2-Bar Hybrid Blade to compare results. But one thing to note is when you purchase a Rife it comes with a few things that will make the putter work for you personally. The two bars can be loaded with one of two pairs of included weights to go from 345 grams to 360 grams. They even include a neat little zipper pocket to hold the extra weights. Rifeâ€™s “do it yourself” lie adjustment technology is just cool. With a few pulls, I was able to have the putter perfectly setup for the way I like it.
Before I get into my thoughts on the putter I want to discuss the grip. The Winn custom AVS grip that comes on the Rife putter is my favorite putter grip I have ever put my hands on. It is soft and spongy but yet firm enough to keep my hands in place. I would love to find grips this good for the rest of my set eventually. But a putter grip will only take you so far. The rest of the club has to work as well obviously.
On the putting green I used my normal two putters along with the Rife Tour 2-Bar Hybrid Blade and set up practice balls at 5, 10, 15, 20, and 35 feet. From 5 feet I could notice no difference whatsoever. In fact from 20 and 35 feet I could not notice a difference either. But from 10 and 15 feet, I found myself really noticing a difference. So much of a difference that my playing partners that were witnessing this were taking notice. I set up shop with a large bucket of balls and went to work on putting from 10-15 feet with all of the putters. With my regular two putters I made quite a few from those distances and when I missed it was not by much. My average was 52.7%. However with the Rife, I made quite a few more. My average over the day was 60.7% That may not sound like much but that is 1-2 more putts falling per round. I was ready to see how it performed in real course conditions.
I put the Rife in my bag for 5 full rounds and came away extremely impressed. Was it informercial impressive? Of course not but what I was finding was that it just seemed to help me keep my score down. When I needed that 8 foot putt to save par the Rife Tour 2-Bar Hybrid Blade was there. Each time I needed to make a putt, no matter what the circumstances this putter came through. In fact for 5 straight rounds I felt as though nothing had really changed. However when you add up my total putts per round they were always 2-4 lower than my average. The results once again were similar to that of the putting green. Those 10-15 footers that we all struggle with so much were routinely falling with the Rife and that was worth its weight in gold. I attribute some of this to confidence at setup that this putter was adjusted for me. But the rest I cannot put a finger on other than to say that maybe science is right and that the RollGroove Technology works. The skeptic in me has been trumped by science and results and when the rest of the members at the club were asking me about the putter I found myself sounding like an infomercial. “It’s been proven with science”.
Overall, I can sum it up with a “two thumbs up”. You can find a million putters on the market today and we like quite a few of them. If you are looking for something that just flat out works, then do not hesitate to pick up this Rife. A couple of notes to add. If you are looking for a putter with a soft insert that is almost squishy, this putter is not for you. If you are looking for that “Collector’s Piece” then this putter really is not for you either. However, if you are looking for that next putter that will make more putts than you are currently making and lower your score, there are only a few putters out there that we recommend, and the Rife 2-Bar Tour Hybrid Blade is at or near the top of the list. This putter has a price of $199.99 that we feel is in line with what it should be. It is available in 33, 34, and 35 inch variations but is only available RH at the current time. If you are in the market for a new putter or just want to make a few more putts each round, we urge you to check this one out. You can read much more about the science behind it and get tons more information at Rife Putters.
Till Next Time