Putter manufacturers put a lot of marketing emphasis on their “roll” characteristics. Very interesting marketing idea. Confuse the market with claims that are not science-fact based. Unfortunately, they do not tell you what is the simplest way to get a ball to roll consistently.

We will. Right now.

Let’s clear up all this nonsense about face effects on a putt… grooves, polymers, dimples, ovals, inserts, etc.

First of all, putters do not compress the ball enough to have any significant deformation take place. The time that a ball’s cover is in contact with the face of the putter is typically somewhat less than .001 seconds… under a “millisecond”. A putter traveling at 4 feet per second at impact is in contact with the ball for about 1 millimeter of stroke distance. One millimeter is about the thickness of the cover of the typical ball.

In that short distance, the cover of the ball slightly compresses, accelerates the ball mass forward, and springs off the face of the putter. That entire process is the “impulse” of momentum transfer… when some of the kinetic energy of the putterhead is transferred to the ball.

What is the rotational displacement of the ball in that tiny window? Essentially zero forward roll… more often than not, actually a slow rate of backspin. Why? Loft. Now… in that tiny time frame, can you put “roll” on the ball with some friction element or grooves, or insert softness similar to a ball’s cover? Not a chance.

Do you want that impulse time to vary? Not if you want to putt the ball the right speed (distance), and make putts.

The Ball & Face Lock ??? Take the crew that brought you the 1-2-3 ball. Can you have some magic occur that allows the depressions in an insert line up with dimples and somehow spin the ball? Really an “Odd” concept from the #1 putter seller. Get Real. Computer generated TV images aren’t. The only thing that will happen is the vector of the putt will change based on the particular strike point interface to the cover… not a good thing.

Trust A Better Roll ??? How about that from the team that confuses cholesterol with MOI? If you fill grooves with polymer, what hits the ball? The polymer filled groove? Or the metal face? It’s a crapshoot… hard to believe their #1 player actually stands for such marketing nonsense in a putter he uses, after attending Stanford. Must not have studied science much, probably accounting and marketing instead.

What you are really looking for in that brief “impluse time”… is consistency. Otherwise known as “minimum variance”.

If there are grooves, punch marks, dimples, friction coatings, inserts, etc., how does that contribute to reducing variance in the strike parameters? They don’t. They only make you putt worse, after spending more.

What you are really looking for is a very hard, very consistent, very smooth, very low friction face, that doesn’t change over time, or due to location of strike.

That’s exactly what we designed into the Black Hawk & Black Swan putters. A low friction sapphire surface (Rockwell “C” 70), polished smooth. No grooves. No inserts. No marketing nonsense. Pure Putting Performance.

Now, would you like some objective truth? An incident happened that I did not even know about until after the fact, yet shows the truth of what our putters do perfectly…

Two of the greatest putters of all time (I’d put them against any two others ever in a putting match), took the Black Hawk & Black Swan to the TPC Swagrass Tour Academy Putting Lab. I wasn’t there until after they completed their tests. They rolled balls, and checked the performance of our two putters, against every putter in the rack. The results? Our two putters far and away outperformed all others, it wasn’t even close. The professionals there were stunned. How could our putters roll the ball so much better? No grooves, no inserts… but simple applied physics. Those two great putters? One of them said to me… “…it’s not a Black Hawk… it’s Black Magic!”

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