The Hackers Paradise gets requests each and every day to review putters. Readers want to know which flatstick will help them make more putts than any other, and who can blame them. In our testings we find that more people struggle with their putting than any other club in their bag, yet it is also the one club that gets the least amount of practice in our research of practice habits. One brand stands alone when it comes to requests for reviews from our readers. Scotty Cameron? Nope. Odyssey? Not even close. It is the brand Rife. Last month we got a chance to review the Rife 2-Bar Hybrid Tour Blade and came away extremely impressed. Our testers did as well giving it a top 3 in our annual Huge Putter Shoot Out.
The manufactuers of the putters today preach the immense benefits of high MOI. What is it? How is it achieved? Will it help me? Moment of inertia (MOI) is the buzzword of buzzwords used by manufacturers in marketing, but rarely explained to the average golfer. MOI, when speaking of putters, is a measurement of the putter headâ€™s weight properties. A putter with high MOI is resistant to twisting and turning upon impact.
High MOI is achieved by distributing weight away from the headâ€™s center of gravity and toward the rear perimeters. A high MOI putter in theory will result in more forgiveness and enhanced accuracy on errant strikes. What if a manufacturer decided to move past the “high MOI” marketing buzzwords and engineer a putter that reduced miss-hits and make high MOI not necessary at all?
Enter the Rife IMO (which stands for Inline Momentum). The IMO is a great play on words but how will it move past the MOI term that every company is talking about right now?
The Rife IMO has the bulk of the mass distributed straight down the spine of the putter, not along the perimeters. They felt as though most golfers were not getting the benefits of high MOI so making some changes were needed. Having a putter with 85 percent of the mass directed behind the sweet spot will give most players exactly what they need in contact with the ball and will also help keep the stroke more on plane. The IMO design tries to combat deceleration, a large problem that affects so many golfers. It is something that causes more miss-hits than any other problem in the putter stroke. The spine weighting design of the IMO is built to maintain acceleration through the entire stroke and the ball. The sides of the putter are hollowed out underneath and only represent the remaining 15% of the heads mass. The USGA requires that a putter must be longer from a heel toe direction than from front to back. The IMO is right under this limitation, measuring 4.75″ wide and 4.60″ deep.
The Rife IMO has a different look to it than most of the putters we have tried out. The model we tried had simple lines that seemed to beg for perfect setup. The body is a silver/gray color with the “alignment aid” being black with a single white stripe down it. The face has a black insert that features RollGroove Technology. You can read all about their inserts in our previous review last month. The insert seems smaller than what we have seen in the other Rife putters but with the alignment aid and the technology we spoke about previously, it should not change the way it works for the golfer. Aesthetically speaking, the Rife IMO is extremely sharp looking and fit our eye rather nicely.
Putting Green Testing & Feel
With these specs we covered earlier and the buzz about this putter around the internet we could not wait to get it out to the putting green. We gathered up 8 testers including myself and went to work on the practice green. Each of us took turns hitting putts from 5, 10, 20, and 30 feet with both the IMO and our current putters. After practicing, we sat down and talked about the results and here is what we were hearing.
1. Longer putts were MUCH closer to the hole with the Rife IMO than our current putters. This was the same for all 8 of our testers.
2. Deceleration was almost absent and that could be attributed to the putter or the fact that we were thinking about it.
3. The ball rolls off the face as good as anything out there and we again realized once again how much we love Rife’s insert.
4. All but one tester thought 5 foot putts were almost automatic. Unfortunately that one player struggling with the short putts was me.
Most of the testers came away extremely impressed with the overall performance of this putter and were making more putts with it, however none thought of it as a “feel” putter. Although making more putts and lowering your score is the name of the game after all.
I put the Rife IMO in my bag for 3 rounds and came away with less putts than my average. From outside of 20 feet the putter shined like none we have tested to date. Making some, but the true key was leaving just about everything inside 3 feet. I still felt extremely uncomfortable from 5 feet and in and found myself missing more of those than usual. I cannot figure out if it is the look, feel, or weighting but from inside of 5 feet, I was struggling and never got the feel of it.
Three other golfers tested this putter out on the course and had no problems whatsoever. All of them came back and said that they made more putts with this than their current putter. It should be noted that all three testers that tried this out played “Tour” putters that were of the milled variety. It seems that when more putts go in the hole, everybody is extremely happy. One of the testers that struggles with that dreaded 10 foot putt noted that he has never had a ball roll as true as he did during this testing. Noting “the putter just stays on line through the entire stroke”.
Overall just about everybody that tested this putter enjoyed the results. The only tester that struggled at all with this one was me and I still found myself with less putts than my average putts per round. The look and weighting are spectacular and if you are a fan of Rife Putters, this new technology is something you definitely need to try out. The retail price on the new Rife IMO is only $149 and we must say that with this much technology in the club, we expected a price tag closer to $200. You can read all about the IMO and all the other putters from Rife at their website at www.rifeputters.com.
Till Next Time