A 2-ball putter is a type of putter design characterized by two golf ball-shaped circles or alignments towards the rear of the putter head.
This unique style of putter originated in the 1960s and rose to popularity on professional golf tours in the decades since.
The 2-ball shape is more than just cosmetic – it serves functional alignment purposes. Here is an overview of the history, use, benefits, and designs of 2-ball putters.
History of the 2-Ball Putter
The first 2-ball putter was designed in the early 1960s by Karsten Solheim, founder of the PING golf equipment company.
Solheim’s initial 2-ball putter called the Ping Anser 2, utilized the dual ball shapes on the rear cavity to make alignment easier. The unique putter head caught on with both amateur and professional golfers.
Through the 1960s and 1970s, PING’s 2-ball putters rose tremendously in popularity on the PGA and Champions Tour events. Notable players using the 2-ball putters included Arnold Palmer and Gary Player.
The easily aligned PING 2-ball shapes helped usher in an era of improved putting.
Purpose of the 2-Ball Design
The dual circular shapes on 2-ball putters serve multiple functions that benefit alignment and aim:
- Provide clear parallel lines from multiple angles to help square the face.
- Frame the golf ball between the circles for easy setup positioning.
- Give a visual cue to help stroke straight back and through along the target line.
- The contrast between the shapes and the putter face makes aiming intuitive.
Benefits of Using a 2-Ball Putter
There are several advantages that the 2-ball design on putters can provide for golfers:
- Improves alignment from various angles and postures.
- Removes guesswork on squaring the putter face.
- Provides instant feedback if the face is aimed left or right.
- Helps achieve consistent setup positioning and ball placement.
- Guides the ideal back and forward stroke path.
- Faster aiming can improve putting pace and rhythm.
Different 2-Ball Putter Styles
While originally developed by PING, many putter manufacturers now offer 2-ball designed putters in a variety of styles:
- Blade: Boxy, compact head with minimal offset. Provides responsiveness.
- Mid-Mallet: Rounded mid-size shape with some rear weighting. Forgiving.
- Mallet: Large rounded rear shape with perimeter weighting. Highly forgiving.
- Counterbalanced: With extra weighting in the grip to stabilize the stroke.
Plumber Neck vs Center Shafted
The shaft attaches either near the heel in plumber neck style, or the center in center shafted 2-ball putters. Each location changes feel and stroke geometry. Testing can determine the optimal neck position.
How Lie Angle Impacts 2-Ball Putters
2-ball putters often have slant necks with increased lie angles around 20 degrees. But adjustable lie angle options via bendable hosels allow the lie to match your ideal posture and stroke. Being properly fit for lie angle enhances consistency.
Popular 2-Ball Putter Models
Some best-selling 2-ball putter models through the years include:
- Ping Anser 2: Original toe hangs blade model with plumber’s neck. A classic.
- Ping Anser ZB: Heel shafted mid-mallet improves forgiveness. Triangle alignment.
- Odyssey 2-Ball: Very popular mallet model with perimeter weighting for stability.
- Cleveland Huntington Beach Soft #6: Center shafted face balanced 2-ball mallet.
- TaylorMade Spider 2-Ball: High-MOI stability from deep perimeter weighting. Great alignment.
Putter Fitting For 2-Ball Models
Since optimal putter characteristics differ by player, 2-ball putters should be fit for proper length, lie angle, grip type, and size.
Stroke type determines the right balance of head shape, weighting, and shaft position. Fitting by a professional guides the process.
How 2-Ball Putters Perform
While personal putting stroke matters most, 2-ball putter designs have proven effective at:
- Aiming and alignment due to parallel lines and ball framing.
- Face squaring and hitting putts on intended start lines.
- Providing confidence and consistency in setup positioning.
- Guiding straight back and straight through pendulum stroke path.
- Speed control and distance consistency through better aim.
- Forgiveness on mishits due to perimeter weighting designs.
Do 2-Ball Putters Work for All Players?
The benefits of 2-ball putters apply across many player types and putting strokes. However, some players may prefer clean top lines without alignment aids. Testing different styles is recommended. A 2-ball shape may or may not resonate with your eye depending on preference.
Using a 2-Ball Putter Properly
To gain the most advantage from a 2-ball putter, utilize proper technique:
- Align the putter behind the ball first, then step into setup position over the ball.
- Position eyes directly over the ball, not the rear circles.
- Setup square using parallel lines, framing the ball between circles.
- Take the club straight back low to the ground, and straight through along the target line.
- Accelerate gently through impact, do not decelerate.
- Avoid manipulation, let the putter swing freely.
The Impact of MOI on 2-Ball Putters
Two-ball mallet putters with perimeter weighting typically have higher MOI for more putts struck towards the heel or toe to still travel on the intended line. Higher MOI reduces twisting and dispersion.
Popular Golfers Who Use 2-Ball Putters
Many top professional golfers trust 2-ball designed putters, including:
- Rickie Fowler: Cobra King 3D Printed 2-Ball Mallet
- Justin Thomas: Scotty Cameron X5.5 Flowback 2-Ball
- Louis Oosthuizen: Ping Anser 2
- Henrik Stenson: Callaway Toulon Madison
- Adam Scott: Titleist Scotty Cameron Futura X5
- Michelle Wie: Ping Anser ZB Platinum
The easy alignment of 2-ball putters makes them a popular choice for tour players and amateurs seeking better aim and a straighter putting stroke.
Models from leading brands are readily available to match preferences. While no putter guarantees lower scores, 2-ball putter technology remains compelling decades later.
Give this iconic style consideration to potentially hole more putts by starting them on line.