The latest marketing buzzword in putters is MOI, which is short for Moment of Inertia. References to MOI are popping up like weeds in putter advertisements, brochures, articles and web sites. MOI is sort of like media coverage of Paris Hilton—hard to avoid, even if you try.
Many of the hottest putters of 2007 wield the MOI magic, including Odyssey’s Marxman putter, Never Compromise’s Exchange Series putters, MacGregor’s Response DCT Face-Off putter and SeeMore’s mSeries putters, to name just a few.
As with most buzzwords found in marketing literature, the term MOI is rarely accompanied by sufficient explanation. You’re just supposed to know it or accept it—which is why PutterZone.com is inspired to explore MOI and its role in putting, with the intent of helping you make a more informed purchasing decision.
What Is MOI—and Why Does It Matter to You?
Moment of Inertia is essentially a measurement of a putter head’s weight properties. Why does it matter to you? Because it can help you sink putts. A putter with high MOI boasts more forgiveness for enhanced consistency and accuracy on the putting green.
More specifically, a putter with high MOI is resistant to twisting and turning upon impact. Consequently, if you errantly strike the ball away from the center of the putter face—say, toward the toe—a putter with high MOI will better resist twisting off target. The result is a straighter putt and, quite possibly, lower scores.
Think of MOI this way, borrowing from an analogy by Frank Thomas of Frankly Golf: If you place two 25-pound weights in the center of a barbell, you can still twist and rotate the barbell relatively easily. But when you move the weights to opposite ends of the barbell, it becomes considerably more difficult to twist and rotate. In other words, it’s not merely the total weight that creates resistance, but rather where that weight is distributed.
How Is MOI Achieved?
So how does one achieve high MOI in a putter? For the answer to that question, PutterZone.com turned to Bernt Stellander, founder of Profound Putters. Stellander’s European-made Dark ACE putter (pictured here), which will be released in the
“Increasing MOI is done by moving as much weight as you can as far away from the center of gravity as you possible can without compromising basic engineering properties of the ornamental club head,” Stellander says.
In other words, it’s a bit of a cat-and-mouse game from a design perspective. Merely moving weight away from the center of gravity is one thing. Doing it in a manner that results in a visually and physically sound putter is another. An effective putter isn’t just a chunk of metal. It’s a finely tuned instrument designed to accomplish a specific task.
For example, if you push the pursuit of high MOI too far on certain designs, you will end up with unwanted vibrations upon contact. “There are more aspects to weight positioning and perimeter weighting than one might think,” Stellander says.
High MOI or Bust?
Does all of this mean that you should simply purchase the putter with the highest demonstrable MOI? No. A great putter is the sum of many parts. In addition to forgiveness, these parts include alignment attributes, auditory feedback, aesthetic properties and overall feel. Putters with elevated MOI can look bulky or unconventional, which can be a turnoff to those who prefer a more traditional look. Also, if you’re really prone to miss-hits, you’d be better served working to improve your stroke rather than expecting your putter’s MOI to save the day.
Nevertheless, high MOI should be considered an asset and a selling point when purchasing a putter. You might not buy a car solely for its safety features, but those features certainly don’t hurt, and they very well might help—and the same goes for MOI in your putter.