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Insert Putters v. Non-Insert Putters: It’s A Draw!

Occasionally here at PutterZone.com, we get an email that blows our mind, and such was the case when reader Ben Janusch sent us one titled, simply, “Tour Wins.”

Inside the email was the culmination of some remarkable research into the putters used to win tournaments to date in 2010 on the PGA, Champions, European and LPGA professional circuits. When the information wasn’t readily available to Ben, he scoured web sites and forums to fill in the blanks.

Specifically, Ben’s data breaks down the number of victories between putters with inserts and putters without inserts. And the most amazing thing is that it’s a draw so far this year. Out of 100 total tournaments, it’s split evenly at 50 victories for insert putters and 50 victories for non-insert putters.

The breakdown also shows total victories by putter manufacturer, and carefully accounts for insert and non-insert putters made by the same manufacturer.

Ben wrote, “I went back and found as much data as I could on tour wins on the four major tours. I wanted to include the Nationwide tour, but it’s nearly impossible to find reliable listings of what is in the bags on that tour. Any WGC tournaments and the British Open are lumped under the PGA for simplicity sake.”
Here’s the data:
Odyssey – 13
Scotty Cameron – 11
Ping – 8
TaylorMade – 3
Rife – 1
SeeMore – 1
Non-inserts lead 19-18

Scotty Cameron – 8
Odyssey – 5
TaylorMade – 3
Cobra – 1
Rife – 1

Non-inserts lead 10-8

Odyssey – 7
Scotty Cameron – 6
Ping – 5
TaylorMade – 3
Yes! – 3
Bobby Grace – 2
Nike – 2

Non-inserts lead 15-13

Odyssey – 8
Rife – 4
TaylorMade – 3
Ping – 1
Scotty Cameron – 1

Inserts lead 11-6

Odyssey – 33
Scotty Cameron – 26
Ping – 14
TaylorMade – 12
Rife – 6
Yes! – 3
Bobby Grace – 2
Nike – 2
Cobra – 1
SeeMore – 1

Non-inserts v. inserts tied 50 – 50.

Considering the highly unpredictable nature of the professional circuits (who would have thought that three major winners this year would be named Kaymer, Oosthuizen and McDowell?), along with the massive amount of available putter selections both old and new, what are the odds that insert putters and non-insert putters would be tied in victories after 100 tournaments? Probably astronomical.

At the very least, it puts to rest the popular question: “What’s better, insert putters or non-insert putters?” As usual when it comes to putters and putting, the answer depends on whom you ask.

About Sean Weir

Sean Weir is the founder and editor of PutterZone.com, and the author of Putter Perfection, the definitive guide to putter fitting. Profile: Google+

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  1. Probably worth noting that I tried where I could to make inserts mean non-metal inserts, but on some of those TaylorMade wins, the data just isn't there to tell me which face they had in the putter. For instance, I knew for a fact that Paula Creamer had a modified metal insert in her Ghost, so I counted that as non-insert.

    Some other interesting statistical items in that list:

    TaylorMade has exactly 3 wins in all 4 tours. Fred Couples accounting for all 3 on the Champions tour.

    The parity on the European tour surprised me a little. It seems the Europeans are much more likely to change gear. If Yes! is gaining a foothold here, SeeMore should try to do the same.

    There is also a lot of parity on the LPGA, but Ai Miyazato's 5 wins have really tipped the scales to Odyssey on that tour. Personal note, she's using one of the ugliest Odyssey putters ever made to do it too, the Teron.

    Cobra doesn't even make putters anymore. Loren Roberts won with a "Greg Norman" blade (looks like a Zing clone to me) putter he's had in his bag for who knows how long.

    I didn't do the match in my data at the time, but blades (based on my best guess/information) outweighted mallets by 20. PGA – 26 blades-11 mallets, Euro – 19-9, Champions – 9-9, PGA – 6-11.

    Glad you enjoyed the data. What putter someone is playing has always more interested me than what brand of driver or iron someone was playing. Putting is so individual, it's interesting to see what the best putters choose based on their putting style.

  2. I have a Taylormade Daytona 1 putter with an insert that has grooves and it has helped me so much!


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