Not long ago, Rife putters were fairly unknown. But the Rife Two-Bar Hybrid Blade putter is one reason Guerin Rife’s little company has grown from a small operation to one of golf’s most talked-about putter manufacturers. Rife putters are getting rave reviews.
Guerin Rife has been designing putters for a long time, and this particular putter may be one of his best. Read this review to see if you might want to consider putting one of these putters in your bag.
All Rife putters feature the company’s patented RollGroove Technology™, and the Rife Two-Bar Hybrid Blade putter is no exception. Rife is quite proud of this technology, which consists of a face insert with precisely-spaced, milled horizontal grooves designed to “grab” the ball momentarily and then quickly release it to impart a forward roll. The whole point of the RollGroove Technology™ is to reduce the possibility of hopping or skidding and promote smooth, true, consistent putts. And that’s the kind of roll you need to be a consistently good putter. Rife puts technology to work to help you get it.
The company firmly believes the precision grooves on this putter promote a better roll by putting topspin on the ball and helping it hug the ground instead of hopping or skipping in the early stages of the putt. Distance control, feel and feedback are also supposed to be improved by the club’s RollGroove Technology™ face insert.
Apparently it works, because this specific putter (and other Rife putters, too) consistently ranks at or near the top in independent putter tests. But naturally, the RollGroove Technology™ isn’t the only helpful feature. Its other features include adjustable weighting, the Two-Bar alignment system (two bars extending straight back from the face to help you line up) and the company’s LieAline fitting system. Even the distinctive blue-and-white Rife grip is designed to enhance performance.
A new Rife Two-Bar Hybrid Blade putter comes with interchangeable weights you can load into the rear of the bars on the putter head. These weights let you change the club’s total weight from 345 grams (with the lighter set installed) to 360 grams (with the heavier set installed). The head cover even includes a handy little zippered pocket to store the extra weights and wrench. Using the heavier weights would help you achieve more accurate putts on slower greens because you won’t need to strike the ball as hard. The lighter weights would work best on fast greens because you need less “oomph” behind the ball. You can even mix and match the weights if you consistently miss your putts to the left or right. Just use the lighter weight in the toe-side bar if you miss to the right; you can do the opposite if you tend to miss to the left.
The customizability is further enhanced by the LieAline fitting system – with a few tugs on the included “Lie Bender” device you can adjust the putter’s lie angle to best suit your height, putting grip and stance at address. When the lie angle is right, the notch behind the head is aligned with the aiming line on the head. This ensures that the putter’s sole sits flat on the ground instead of “toe up” or “heel up.”
The custom Winn AVS grip that’s fitted to the Rife Two-Bar Hybrid Blade putter is possibly the most “delicious” putter grip I’ve ever used. Somehow it manages to be firm yet spongy so your hands aren’t tempted to move around as you’re grasping the club.
I tested a 34-inch Rife Two-Bar Hybrid Blade putter, but 33- and 35-inch versions are also available. Knee-knockers inside 5 feet felt almost automatic, and my long-range lags came fairly close. But what really impressed me about the Rife Two-Bar Hybrid Blade putter was its accuracy when my putts were in the 10- to 20-foot range. That’s a distance where I often two-putt, but over the course of my round several putts of that length dropped in. I figure I saved 2 or 3 strokes that day because of the Rife Two-Bar Hybrid Blade putter, and that’s the difference between shooting a nice 75 and a lovely even-par round.
The Bottom Line: Whether you like a particular putter often comes down to the type of feel the putter gives you and how much confidence it inspires. As a result, buying a putter is the most “individual” choice you can make when you’re buying golf equipment. But the high Moment of Inertia, RollGroove face, strong alignment aids and adjustable rear weights combine to make the Rife Two-Bar Hybrid Blade putter a force to reckon with on the greens. I’d say the technology works.