Review Rife Legend 2 Bar Putter
I Got You Legend
Written by: Golfspy Dave
A few months back, Golfspy X did a bang up job of chronicling the rebirth of Rife Putters in 2013. You can read the whole story HERE if you missed it. Needless to say, some of the new Rife shapes and designs push the boundaries of the putter corral into uncharted waters. While innovation truly only occurs through exploration, we have seen many examples of commercial face plant when a company launches a product that is too “out there” from the company’s consumer-accepted norm.
We could list lots of oops moments: Crystal Pepsi, olestra containing potato chips (mmm, anal leakage), an of course New Coke. The New Coke debacle was especially painful as they shifted their whole production to the new recipe. A little public backlash later, OK maybe a lot of public backlash, and we get the release of Classic Coke, also known as yeah-we-really-screwed-that-up Coke.
While Rife sent some of the new designs into a Pepsi Blue-esq new frontier, one putter, the Rife Legend, looks like an old friend, and will likely be received as one. I think that Rife knew that to keep their faithful previous customers on board that they couldn’t completely go away from the look that those followers expected to see.
The new Legend reminds us of the iconic putter of the original Rife line: the Two Bar. At the time, no other putter in the shop really said “Look at me!” like the Two Bar. How could you overlook the large bars right on top of the putter? That putter definitely generated a loyal following too. For example, I tried to get my physical therapist to test mallets with me last spring and his response was along the lines of “No thanks. I’m happy with my Two Bar.”
Naming the new incarnation of the two bar Legend really speaks to the pedigree of the design, but also sets the Legend up for a pretty big fall if it doesn’t hold up to the original.
Rife Legend Specs:
- Material: 6061 Aluminum with Stainless Steel bars and weights
- Weight: 350g (378 with optional weight kit.)
- Toe Hang: Face Balanced
- Length Tested: 35?
- Finish: Available in Black or Silver
- Insert: None
- Grip: Rife Stock
BALL USED: Wilson FG Prototype
I was shocked when the Legend spec sheet said aluminum. I don’t know what I thought the metal was, but aluminum would not have been my first guess. Impact does not feel like aluminum, instead it’s softer, like carbon steel. Maybe that can be attributed to the Rife grooves. The weight through the stroke doesn’t cue up aluminum in my brain either. Obviously we can attribute that to the somewhat overt stainless steel bars on the top of the putter.
The grooves also cause the ball to come off the face with a good bit of pop, but without the hard-to-control over-spin of some forward roll promoting face alterations. It puts a nice roll on the ball and feels excellent doing it. Quoting one of the testers after he hit the first putt, “Ooh, that feels nice.”
It should be no shock that some people can’t get over the fact that the Rife Legend has two large silver bars on the top.
Did you happen to notice them?
They are worked into the overall flow of the putter head as much as they can be, but really how are these going to be unobtrusive?
I could talk about how nice the black finish is, but with this putter the aesthetics are all about the bars. I didn’t like the look of them at all at first, and I wasn’t a fan of the looks of the original Two Bar either specifically because of those bars. In all fairness though, having gamed the putter quite a bit, I have warmed to the bars, especially once I saw their power as alignment tools.
Re-thinking the bars as big, bold, and beneficial definitely lessened my aesthetic concerns.
SET-UP & ALIGNMENT
There is a lot going on with the Rife Legend at address. We have touched on the bars, but there is really more to the story. One of the things critical to correct set-up is the realization that the shaft bend promotes a neutral hand position at address. I wanted to press this putter. I’m not really sure why. However, my accuracy pressing made me look at the shaft angle again.
The Legend sets up so that your hands are likely most comfortable along the central axis of your body, with the ball set slightly forward of center. This is where the putter wants to place the grip when you sole it, and it’s the position that promotes the most balanced swing. It is also the position that actually causes the putt to go where you aim it…
The alignment story definitely includes the stainless steel bars, and I found them helpful in lining up the putt, but also surprisingly easy to ignore when I just focused on squaring the face to the target line. The white painted lines are still a bit of a mystery to me. I like the central line, as well as the small line perpendicular to that central line, toward the cavity of the putter.
The intention of the long curved lines is a little more obtuse to me though. I feel like they do draw the eye to the center of the putter, and thus the target line, but they also pull your eye away from the ball to the rear of the putter. It’s possible, if not likely, that I am missing the design intention of these curved lines. At this point though, all I can think of is that they are there to match the cosmetic lines of the head. Maybe I could do a lab where I have testers putt with and without those lines and the resulting data can illuminate their purpose.
As we all learned from Mygolfspy’s Most Wanted Mallet Test, a golfer’s reaction to a putter’s aesthetics does not influence performance. Remember how the STX xForm3 was the second most accurate putter while simultaneously scoring dead last in aesthetics? The looks and alignment features definitely do influence accuracy, and that’s why they are there. However, what doesn’t influence accuracy is your feelings about the aesthetics. Believe what you want about liking the looks of a putter generating confidence, and that confidence translating to more made putts. I used to believe that too. Our data just says otherwise.
Accuracy was measured using the same guidelines as the previous mallet test. Testers rolled five putts from distances of five, ten, and twenty feet. The five and ten foot putts scores were adjusted for distance, and then all of the scores from the testers were averaged. The average score was then scored against the ideal accuracy distance score of 127.5 inches, the ideal accuracy number determined experimentally by rolling numerous mallets.
EXAMPLE: Accuracy Score Calculation
:: Total Miss Distance (all testers, adjusted for distance)= 1686 inches
:: Average Miss Distance Per Tester (Total/12)= 140.5 inches
:: Percentage of Accuracy Ideal Value (127.5/Average Miss Per Tester x 100)= 91%
:: Great feel and aim.
:: Nicely balanced.
:: The ball moves without much hopping or skipping.
:: This thing is deadly from distance.
FIT FOR STROKE™
Don’t change your stroke. Change your putter.
The (FIT FOR STROKE™) concept was developed by PING, yet another genius fitting system they have developed for golfers. It works hand-in-hand with the iPING Putter App which is highly suggest everyone getting (IT’S FREE!). You might be surprised to find out that the stroke you think you have isn’t the stroke you actually have.
This addition to the MGS reviews will allow you to become a more consistent putter by matching you with models that better fit your stroke type. They will be broken down into three categories: (1) Straight – for face balance putters (2) Slight Arc – for mid toe hang putters (3) Strong Arc – for toe down putters
“Results from hundreds of player and robot tests at PING offer overwhelming scientific support for the effectiveness of fitting for stroke. In recent years more diagnostic tools and testing equipment have become available, and the results prove that a golfer’s consistency improves when their putter balance matches their stroke type. It was interesting to observe that golfers putt more consistently with stroke-appropriate models, but they also show a personal preference for these models, too. Prior to putting with them, golfers are drawn to models that fit their eye, even before they fit their stroke.” says PING.
The Rife Legend Putter is a: Straight
The Rife Legend is a great continuation of the original Two Bar design. I think that fans of that original will be especially fond of this new incarnation. The Legend is not as out there as the new Rife Hero or my favorite, the Rife El Capitan Z, but it still reflects a progressive evolution of the putter’s two bar design. If the look of the bars puts you off, I suggest you spend some time on the green with the Legend before you make a final decision. After a few sessions with it, maybe folk will start calling you Legend*.
*OK, I apologize for the sappy “calling you Legend” closing comment. Sometimes you have to hit the underhand pitch, even if it leaves you feeling a bit guilty afterword.