Imagine Golf Blogs

Rife Is Sweet

The hottest putting company on the planet.

Posted Jan 15, 2010 by Equipment News


Despite evidence to the contrary, we’re not as stupid as we look. These days, the top tour players who work hand-in-hand with manufacturers on product design are few and far between. We all know that the vast majority get handsomely rewarded to play and endorse the clubs they play. Are these endorsements believable? That depends on whether you trust the player’s opinion. Mostly, you don’t, but it doesn’t matter, because you may buy the club anyway because you’re attracted by the brand image, the design and the price.

Rife Putters is the Number One putter on The Champions Tour, with as many as 40 per cent of the field choosing to use Rife at some events. It’s been of the putter of choice for one winner on the PGA Tour and three European Tour victors. And does Rife pay these players to play their clubs? No, it doesn’t.

That’s the kind of ringing endorsement that would make any golfer sit up and take notice. Guerin Rife was an Art Director of a Chicago advertising agency when he started designing putters in the  early 1990s, as well as making a variety of training aids used by the likes of Jim McLean and David Leadbetter. The hobbyist is now responsible for the fastest-growing putter manufacturer in the world.

The secret of Rife’s success is its patented RollGroove Technology, which helps to get a forward-roll on the ball along the putting surface, rather than the backspin, which causes the ball to skid and skip. The fact that Rife putters have less loft than many others in the market (1.5 to 2 degrees), helps you to strike through the ball with forward momentum, rather than chip it with backspin.

Of course, there are also other design elements – the two-bar alignment system and adjustable weighting – which helps us golfing mortals to emulate the consistency of the pros. And while Rife doesn’t pretend to have the weight of heritage behind it that many other manufacturers can boast of, the Collectors Series is Rife’s nod to the design classics of yesteryear. He was challenged by his business partner to a create a putter in the style of  the Wilson 8802, designed by Arnold Palmer in 1955. Rife started doodling on napkins at Starbucks, ending up with The Bimini Classic Blade – a putter created with a combination of traditional hand-crafted techniques and precision engineering.

In Rife’s own words: “I started to think, ‘what could I do to make it better?’ The sweet spot on a 8802 is too close to the heel, so I biased weight to the toe by adding meat to the top edge and rear flange to move the sweet spot more to the center (but not quite). RollGrooves naturally create a softer feel because less metal touches the ball at impact, so I added the idea of combining a noisier 303 head with a quieter 304 hosel. And if you have ever putted with a Rife, you know that RollGrooves produce the purest and fastest roll of any other putter brand. Virtually every blade putter falls closed or open at address, so I added two degrees of sole draft to counter balance the forward pull of the hosel. These putters sit like a stone.”

It might also be worth mentioning that The Bimini Classic is a thing of rare beauty, produced in a limited edition of 500, milled exclusively in the USA. It’s a seductive addition to one of the great success stories in manufacturing of recent times. Next time you’re trying out putters down the pro shop, see whether the ringing endorsement of the pros works for you.

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