Inside The Rife Putting Lab!

Down the line view
Down the line view of my stroke at address

RIFE Putters was started in late 2004 and has quickly become one of the fastest growing putter companies in the world. Company founder Guerin Rife has been in the golf business for over 15 years. Mr. Rife began by designing training products and clubs as a hobby for friends in the early 90’s. He designed training aids for some of the top teachers in the industry, including David Leadbetter, Rick Smith, and Jim McLean. By 2004, the initial designs for the original Two Bar putter had been developed by Mr. Rife, and he knew it was time to bring the technology and his unique design capabilities to the masses via a 30 minute infomercial. Rife now has over 100 tour players worldwide using their putters. RIFE Putters is also the #1 putter on the Champions Tour, with as much as 40% of the field using a RIFE putter. This is significant, because Rife does not pay anyone to play their putters. There is no better endorsement for a product than the best players in the world asking for your stuff because it simply helps them play their best.

Putting stroke - top view
Putting stroke - top view

About a month ago I had the opportunity to visit my friends at the Rife Putting Lab inside their headquarters in Sanford, Florida. The putting lab has an eight camera system with special high-frame rate cameras and software that allows the Tour and fitting department to fit the best players in the world. The cameras capture your putting stroke from all angles, and using the software, they can play back your stroke using visual aids to show path, face angle and alignment. The Lab was previously available only to Rife’s tour players, but now anybody can make an appointment to have a fitting done. There is a fee for the service, but that fee is well worth it to get a properly fit, top of the line putter.

Worm cam view

Using the multiple camera angles, my fitter Danny had me roll several putts and we looked at the video. We noticed that since I had added 3 inches to my putter to make it a belly putter that the lie had changed. The heel of my putter was slightly off the ground, requiring a quick adjustment. I like to use a 38″ belly putter with a normal stroke, like Angel Cabrera and Eduardo Romero. I feel it allows me to stand tall and get my eyes directly over the line, as shown in the first photo above. The putter is also heavier and requires a shorter stroke to hit the ball with the same force as a standard length putter. As you can see by the multiple camera shots, it’s easy to see everything that’s going on in your stroke and not only fit you for the right putter, but identify stroke flaws.

Adjusting the lie angle of my putter
Adjusting the lie angle of my putter

The staff at the Rife headquarters really know there stuff. Rife doesn’t sell anything but putters and that allows everyone to gain intimate knowledge of their products and how best to use them.  They stock a large assortment of models and styles to meet every taste. While we needed to make a small tweak to my trusty 2 Bar “Dana” Special Edition, I also fell in love with the new IBF Tour Aussie Mallet and couldn’t leave without one. Once you go through the fitting process for the putter of your choice, the staff at Rife can customize it to your needs for length, lie and grip. Some models can even be altered with different custom finishes and sight lines and dots can be added. To schedule your own fitting at the Putter Lab, click here,  fill out the form to have a Rife representative contact you, and tell ’em intothegrain sent you!

Standard putter on the left, Rife putter on the right
Standard putter on the left, Rife putter on the right

I’ve had my Rife for several years and it’s been a regular part of my “gamer” rotation for that entire time. I have always loved how the ball rolls immediately off the face with no skid like most other putters. Indeed, with 35 worldwide wins in 24 months, the best players in the world have taken notice and are putting Rife putters in their bags. A few players have even renegotiated their equipment contracts to be able to choose their own putters, since they putt better with the Rife models they love. The demonstration that was shown to me of the difference between a normal faced putter and the roll groove technology in all Rife putters was eye opening and shows you instantly what their putters are all about.

A golf ball will sit in a slight depression on the green. This is caused by the weight of the ball and gravity. Conventional putters must have 4-6 degrees of loft on the face to basically chip the ball out of its depression. This creates a slight backspin until the ball hits the ground and the friction of the grass causes the ball to skip or skid before it begins its true forward roll. The grooves on the face of Rife putters interact with the ball to produce immediate over spin, allowing the ball to roll on line towards your target much sooner than a traditional putter. In the image here to the left, we rolled a ball on a felt board to show the effect of the roll groove technology. With the rife putter (on the right), the ball started rolling right away, and with a standard putter (on the left) the ball skidded and hopped 3 or 4 times before starting it’s forward roll. Obviously, the faster the ball starts rolling the better your chances of making the putt. Imperfections in the greens can easily knock the ball offline, especially if it’s skidding during the first 4 or 5 feet of the putt.

I’ve been using my Rife putter for years with a great deal of satisfaction. Now that the opportunity has presented itself for players to get properly fitted for a Rife putter, I think it should help more and more people roll the ball better than ever. Don’t overlook the flat stick when you get a club fitting done. It’s the most important club in the bag! Weather you have a Rife putter or not, have it properly fit for length and lie at the very least. If you have any questions concerning putter fitting or Rife putters, feel free to leave a comment or email me at jfd@intothegrain.com. Don’t forget to stay in touch by subscribing to our email updates below!


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