Putter-making legend Guerin Rife is back with new technology and a new lineup of putters he says may be his best ever.
It’s been nearly 11 years since Guerin Rife’s Two-Bar putter began making all sorts of noise on the PGA TOUR Champions. With the help of angel investors who provided $1.5m in start-up costs, Rife and major shareholder Jim Barfield courted pros on the practice putting green at Tour events urging them to try the distinctive-looking club which helped the company quickly supplant Titleist, Scotty Cameron, Ping, and TaylorMade as the No. 2 putter brand among the over-50s, headed only by Odyssey.
At the end of 2011, however, dwindling sales and economic pressures forced Rife to sell the company that bore his last name. Seattle-based ball manufacturer Innovex snapped it up, retaining the name and launching nine models at the 2012 PGA Merchandise Show. Rife, meanwhile, got to work on a new line of putters stamped with his first name.
Two Guerin Design models – the GR1 and GR3 – were introduced in the summer of 2013 and featured VSE (or wavy) grooves, and the Rocker sole that Rife claimed aided with alignment.
Guerin Rife with his new Evnroll putters, which he said “deserved a name that communicated the benefits”
“After selling the original company, I found myself free to explore new putter ideas,” says Rife. “The wavy grooves on my Guerin Design models produced the same immediate roll as my original Rife straight grooves, but reduced dispersion from miss-hits by 50%. In the process of testing with my robot, I discovered that a putter with closely-spaced grooves didn’t hit the ball as far as an identical putter with no grooves.”
It was a significant find. The grooved putter with less contact surface didn’t transfer as much energy as the smooth-faced putter. But by increasing the contact surface away from the center, Rife could make off-center hits go the same distance as putts struck solidly.
Rife felt the discovery so important, he filed a patent on a range of putterface configurations – “a variety of geometric shapes and patterns that impart gradually more contact with the ball away from the center of a putterface and, in turn, increase energy transfer,” he says.
The Evnroll ER1 (left) and ER2 (right) Putters
This entirely new and exciting technology warranted a new name thought Rife. “The phenomenon of a ball rolling the same distance from an off-center hit as one hit solidly deserved a name that communicated that benefit,” Rife adds. Hence Evnroll whose web site proclaims the four models in its lineup don’t have a sweetspot, but a ‘sweet face’.
“Our unique progressive mill pattern not only broadens the sweetspot across the entire contact area, but also gently gears a ball struck away from the center back to the target line to ensure heel and toe putts roll online,” Rife said at January’s PGA Merchandise Show, where Evnroll was officially launched.
Evnroll putters are available in four head designs. The ER1 is a classic Anser-style blade, the ER2 (Mid-Blade) similar but shorter and wider giving a far more compact look. The ER5 (Hatchback) is a mallet with an Odyssey Fang look about it, and the ER6 iRoll a full mallet distinguished not only by its shape but also its red color. Each model, says Rife, is precision CNC-milled, then hand-ground, finished, and assembled to exact specifications.
The Evnroll ER5 (left) and ER6 (right) Putters
Each design also features two small, unpainted dots on the topline 1/8 inch either side of the center cavity sightline to promote proper alignment. “This provides the golfer a subtle alignment reference for consistent lie angle positioning, while also helping with alignment on breaking putts,” says Rife. “Aligning the ball in front of the toe-side dot on right-to-left putts and in front of the heel-side dot on left-to-right putts will help keep the ball travelling on the high side of the target line, as 90% of breaking putts are missed below the hole.”
Each putterhead’s weight compliments the club’s length (heavier than average head allowing for a 30-gram counter-weight) resulting in a swingweight (D-7) that’s common among PGA Tour players’ putters, and which, says Rife, enables a smoother, more stable stroke, and better distance control.
All models will be available at the end of the month, and can be cut to 33”, 34”, or 35”.
ER1 and ER2 – $299
ER5 and ER6 – $329
More info: evnroll.com