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Milled vs Insert Putters

Milled vs Insert Putters: Know the Difference

If you’re like most golfers you probably wonder if a milled vs. insert putters can help your game the most. Some golfers love a milled putter (like Scotty Cameron) while others prefer a soft feel of insert putters (like Odyssey White Hot).

But are putters similar to picking out golf clubs? Are insert putters more forgiving than a milled blade putter like a cavity back vs. a blade iron? Is one better for distance control and forgiveness?

We’ll address all those questions and more today so you can find the right putter for your game.

Milled vs. Insert Putters in Golf 

So, what is the difference between insert and milled putter face? 

A lot – including the design process, look of the putter, sound, and feel. We’ll discuss all of these factors today to help you make the best decision possible. 

Because don’t forget, putting is one of the most important parts of golfWithout a solid putter, it’s nearly impossible to play your best golf. 

Key Takeaways

  • Putters are typically milled or insert styles and have to do with the face of the club.
  • Milled putters are made with a complex process and tend to provide more feel and feedback. They’re also generally more expensive but can last longer.
  • Insert putters have an insert in the putter face and tend to provide more forgiveness but not as much feel.  They’re generally cheaper as well.

Keep reading to learn more about each type of putter now. 

Milled Putters

A fully milled putter is a thing of beauty – just look at the iconic putter of Tiger Woods.

If you want the most amount of feedback from every putt, you’ll likely prefer a milled putter. The easiest example of a milled putter is a Scotty Cameron, which has developed a cult-like following in the golf world. 

These putters look great and don’t have an insert like most putters. These putters are crafted from a billet of steel through a complex milling process.

As Golf.com said, “When you mill a putter from a billet of steel, the integrity of the material stays intact—you might compare the resulting feel to that of a forged iron (versus one that’s cast).

Milled putters require more individual attention and are mostly made by hand and in smaller batches instead of on an assembly line. Because of this, they also project a unique, more high-end look that some players really appreciate.”

Advantages of Milled Putters

  • Great looking design.
  • Provides more feedback with each putt.
  • Easy to hear if you hit it good/not based on the sound.
  • Can help players groove a more consistent stroke due to the extra golf ball feedback.

This milling process makes it easier to get consistent feedback on every putt. If you hit a good putt, you will know it based on the sound and the overall roll. 

When you hit a bad putt and miss the center of the face, you’ll quickly realize it based on the different sound. Not to mention your mishits aren’t nearly as good either. 

Milled putters are the ones you’re more likely to see used by some of the best golfers in the world. Some players that used milled putters include Jordan Speith, Tiger Woods, Justin Thomas, among many other professionals. 

While they’re popular among professional players there are tons of amateurs that love them as well. Overall, they’re much more expensive than insert putters due to the individual attention needed to create them.

Best Milled Putters

If you prefer milled face putters there are some great choices from Scotty Cameron, PXG, and other brands. Each has a different milling pattern but all perform great on the greens. 

Here are some of our favorites:

Scotty Cameron

They’re one of the most popular names in golf thanks to their amazing design due to the deep milling process. They’re arguably the best milled putters but aren’t cheap.

Cleveland HB Series

They make some of the best soft milled putters available at a fraction of the price. As Cleveland Golf said, “We pioneered a new low-waste process where we cast each Putter, then mill the tops and faces. Now your green game can benefit from milled precision at a remarkable value.”

They’re also available in blade, mallet, and new mallet designs to fit all types of strokes.


These putters have a 100% milled putter face and adjustable weights to find the right setup for your stroke. These milled putters have a pyramid face pattern – here’s how PXG described it,

“The groove depth has been adjusted to optimize feel and initial ball velocity across the face. The updated face design also helps ensure consistency and other significant factors that affect roll such as launch angle, spin rates, and skid distance.”

Milled vs Insert Putters

Insert Putters

An insert putter looks very different from milled putters and have a noticeable insert in the putter face. Arguably the best and most popular example of insert putters is the Odyssey White Hot series. These putters revolutionized the game more than 20 years ago and continue to be one of the most popular putters in golf.

Insert putters are softer than milled putters and don’t have the same type of sound as a milled putter. Some golfers love this about them, others hate it. Honestly, it’s all about personal preference more than anything else. 

Advantages of Insert Putters

  • Softer feel.
  • Can help with mishits.
  • More of a lightweight design.

However, insert putters do not provide as much feel/sound or feedback on every putt but they are usually slightly more forgiving. If you mishit a putt you’ll generally end up better than if you mishit a putt with a milled face. This is why these types of putters tend to be more common among amateurs and players who need maximum forgiveness on the greens

In the past, insert putters were much softer than milled putters. But as technology continues to evolve, golf manufacturers can make firmer faces on both milled and insert putters. Overall, insert putters are softer and ligther.

Finally, since the production is more “assembly line” it’s easier to make these putters for a lower price. Additionally, you can always replace a non metal insert if it begins to wear down over time. So if you’re on a budget above all else, insert putters are usually the way to go.   

Best Insert Putters

If you want a slightly softer feel and don’t care about a deep milling process there are tons of great insert putters. Each has different insert materials and tends to be more light weight than milled putters.

Here are some of our favorite soft insert putters:

Odyssey White Hot

The White Hot Versa and the Tri-Hot 5K are some of the best putters if you want a softer feel. Not to mention some of the best alignment in any putter head.

Best Putter for High Handicaps

TaylorMade Spider Series

These are some of the best insert putters thanks to their easy alignment and great looking design. As TaylorMade said, “Spider GTX features a PureRoll² insert crafted from black TPU urethane with silver aluminum beams positioned at a downward 45° angle. The design improves topspin across the face and helps produce a smooth, consistent end-over-end roll on the greens.”

Both pros and amateurs love the consistent roll from the “PureRoll” inserts. Not to mention they have tons of color options too.

FAQs About Putters

Do you have more questions about improving your putting performance and finding the right equipment for your game? Then keep reading our most commonly asked questions and answers now. 

Why is a milled putter better?

A milled putter may or may not be “better” it just depends on the golfer you’re talking too. Some golfers love milled putters and wouldn’t consider an insert putter in their lifetime. While other golfers prefer insert putters and don’t like the harsh sound of milled putters.

At the end of the day it’s more personal preference than anything else. One looks different from the other but milled putters are usually more expensive due to the production process. 

Does a putter need a milled face?

A putter can have an insert or a milled face but both have their own pros and cons as outlined above. There isn’t an “insert milled putter” as it’s one or the other due to the design process.

Who makes the best milled putters?

If you’re looking for a high performing milled putter it’s hard to beat Scotty Cameron. They have arguably the best name in golf when it comes to milled putters and are wildly popular. They’re also trusted by some of the best names in the game including Tiger Woods. 

Are insert putters more forgiving?

It’s thought by most in the golf world that insert putters are slightly more forgiving than milled putters.

But I have yet to see a hard and fast study that says one type of putter is more forgiving than the other. This is why it’s important to test out different types of putters, hosels, grips, lengths, and other features to find what works best for your game. 

What are the three different types of golf putters?

In the golf world there are three types of putters; blade, mallet, and modern mallet (aka high MOI putters). Blade putters are much smaller and less forgiving than mallet putters but also the oldest ones used in golf.

Mallet putters are larger and generally favored by golfers who prefer a more straight back, straight through putting motion. Modern mallets – putters like the TaylorMade Spider series – are even larger than a mallet and tend to have extra alignment. They’re also heavier and preferred by a variety of golfers. 

Is Tiger Woods putter milled?

Yes, Tiger Woods uses a milled putter.

His putter is somewhat legendary in that it’s helped him win so many major championships. Not to mention make the most important putts when it seemed like no one else in the world could (just think about the putt on the 72nd hole at the 2008 US Open at Torrey Pines). 

Should I use a center-shaft putter?

Center shaft putters are great for certain types of players but definitely not for everyone.

As Sports Rec said, “This type of club suits a player who keeps his eyes directly above the ball, takes the club straight back and swings straight through the ball. Players who employ this style try to keep the club head square from the beginning of the stroke to the end. It’s easier to keep a center-shafted, face-balanced club head from drifting right or left when hitting straight through the ball.”

But if you forward press or prefer your eyes underneath the ball, we suggest using a traditional putter. Heel shafted putters are much more common on the PGA Tour and with amateur golfers around the world. They 

My Experience

Playing the right putter can make or break your round. Putting is so psychological and sometimes switching putters is just what your game needs. 

Most golfers tend to think of milled putters as the best for skilled players. But I’ve also seen plenty of great putters also use an insert style as well. Ultimately, it’s all about feel and what works best for you.

Milled putters will generally look a bit sleeker and provide extra feedback which can help you groove a more consistent stroke. While an insert putter is more forgiving and not as easy to determine where you hit the putt on the face based on the lack of feedback. 

Regardless of which type of putter you use, confidence on the greens comes from:

Final Thoughts on Milled Face Putter vs. Insert Putter

If you’re looking for a new putter I highly suggest doing a demo day or custom putter fitting to test out different putters.

Not only can you test out milled vs. insert putters but you can also try out different brands and styles. It might be time to switch from a blade to a mallet, change your putter length, or even try out a counterbalanced putter. 

By attending a demo day or a custom fitting you can test out everything and not settle for what’s in your local golf shop. The more your putter is customized to your game, the more likely you will have tons of confidence on the greens. Don’t forget, different materials can have a big impact on your golf ball sound and feel.

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