Blade Putters – Their sleek exteriors hide more technology than you think:
HOT Matt Kuchar has won more than $11 million the past two years using his arm-lock style with this milled, wide-body blade. It’s more accessible now that it comes in standard lengths and two different head styles.
NOT Traditional blade lovers might not like the zaftig-only options.
comments (M) Great feedback across the face. I like the wide chamber. (H) The feedback is muted and buttery.
SIGNATURE E SERIES
HOT That hogged-out section of the sole is designed to ease the transition from backswing to forward swing. Edel believes the more effortless that move is, the easier it will be to square the face to the target at impact.
NOT The $US60 charge for a weight kit seems high.
comments (M) The weighting is almost perfect. A lot of technology without being overblown. (H) The insert felt like it was cradling the ball.
HOT We can’t always hit the centre of the face. So Nike has injected the resin polymer used for its golf balls between the face and back to help widen the sweet spot.
NOT The counterbalanced model with an adjustable-weight grip is nice, but why only one blade version?
comments (L) This one offers consistent distance control. (M) I really liked how the counterbalanced version stabilised my stroke.
HOT The tiny ovals etched into the face provide a quiet feel and enough friction to produce a good, consistent roll. Even better, three sets of adjustable sole weights allow you to match your head weight to your stroke, feel and shaft-length preferences.
NOT An even heavier option would be worth exploring.
comments (L) Great sound across the face. (M) It has a pleasing muted knock at impact.
HOT If you’re unsure a counterbalanced putter is right for you, this model is worth trying. That’s because there are adjustable weights in the head and grip to help you lock in on the right feel.
NOT We wish there were other grip options beside the oversize version.
comments (L) It looks like a more forgiving Anser-style putter. (M) The line on the back made it easy to align. I love the insert: no pop. It just hangs on to the ball a long time.
HOT Two of Odyssey’s trademark innovations are the responsive but soft insert and the high-friction face pattern. They’re combined here to produce putts that launch with less spin for a better roll.
NOT The market leader could really use a few more blade options.
comments (L) The black-and-silver-colour combo is a clean, attractive look. (M) This putter makes a pure sound, and it has all the roll you need.
HOT Ping’s research on putting revealed two types of stroke tempo. So the company made two versions of its variable-grooved face insert. Smoother-tempo players can benefit from the heavier insert, and the standard weight is best for quicker tempos.
NOT There’s only one counterbalanced option.
comments (L) Subtle but powerful sound. (M) The ball comes off lively on long putts.
HOT Classic blade lovers will like the five choices, but the face story is just the right amount of modern. The grooves are milled across the face, deeper in the middle and shallower on the end so the ball rebounds more uniformly.
NOT We’d prefer a slightly more muted finish.
comments (L) Nice little pop. The feedback is consistent across the face. (H) It’s soft no matter where you hit it, like you can’t mis-hit it.
HOT For years, SeeMore’s red-dot alignment marks have worked to perfect aiming for imperfect golfers. This cast version provides milled precision in every angle – from the face to the sole.
NOT Nothing for a left-hander.
comments (L) The alignment aid really helps me hit it square, and the ball seemed to roll just where I wanted it to go. (H) That dot is amazingly effective.
NEW SPIDER BLADE
HOT A counterbalancing clinic: The heavy grip (more than twice the weight of a standard grip) places the balance point closer to your hands, stabilising the club and making your stroke more consistent.
NOT A 37-inch option would be a better fit for those normally using 34-inch putters.
comments (L) I like how the white nicely frames the face angle. (M) This one has an ideal combination of lightness and stability. The look calmed my eye and helped me focus.
SCOTTY CAMERON SELECT
HOT It’s easy to get lost in the artistry of Scotty Cameron’s milled putters, but don’t overlook the subtle tweaks of loft or lie angle based on research of tour players’ strokes. The counterbalanced version is a welcome addition, too.
NOT The crisscross on the Squareback seems garish.
comments (L) I don’t know what he does to them, but they always have perfect sound. (M) The entire face is the sweet spot.
STUDIO STOCK 2
HOT Bob Bettinardi has improved these classic but distinctive milled putters for nearly a quarter-century. His latest? Devising new face-milling patterns to improve the feel.
NOT We’d like to see more head shapes, like on his BB series.
comments (L) The hosel seems to angle in towards the centre, which gives the putter the more face-balanced feel that I like. (M) Sharp, clean lines with wonderful balance.
HOT Nike continues to improve roll with its grooved face insert made of polymer resin, but technology is useful only if you have a putter that’s right for you. Nike solves this riddle with a simple colour-coded mat that matches your setup to the right head style.
NOT The weight adjustability isn’t user-controlled.
comments (M) Sits cleanly behind the ball. Rolled quiet off the insert. (H) Understated looks.
HOT Rife believes different strokes and green conditions require different head weights. So this head comes with four sets of heel and toe weights to let you find the best fit. Even better, it’s available in toe-hang, face-balanced and counterbalanced options.
NOT The colour of the weights can be jarring.
comments (L) The one that’s deeper front to back seems easier to align. (M) Changing weights makes sense to me. Works, too.
HOT One key to putting consistency is matching the loft of your putterface to your stroke, but what if your stroke is inconsistent? These putters segment the face into four lofts from top to bottom to help get all putts to take off the same.
NOT Lacks a blade counterbalanced model.
comments (L) I love the simplicity. Just clean, classic luxury. (H) The shape of the cavity and the way the backside slopes give me the feeling I’m improving my stroke.
Mallet Putters – Your mis-hits have never rolled so well:
HOT It might not feel like it, but every golfer mis-hits putts. Nike’s solution? A resin material between the face and back of its three Converge putters to maximise off-centre-hit performance across a wider section of the face. The resin is also used in the groove insert to improve how the ball rolls off the face. The coolest models might be the adjustable counterbalanced ones. A 15-inch rod can be taken out of the grip. Then, the weight can be adjusted anywhere along it.
NOT The red lines don’t pop enough to be a highly useful alignment aid.
comments (M) Whatever those grooves are made from, they seem to work. (M) The ball comes off the face incredibly soft.
HOT The carbon-steel head gives the putter a pleasant feel. The adjustable weights are significant because they can alter the headweight by as much as 20 grams to give you the feel you desire. The ovals on the face create friction for a consistent roll. But the highlight might be the addition of the 2-Ball model. The sound and feel of the metal face could be just the thing to invigorate this venerable putter.
NOT The lineup would be complete if it included a counterbalanced Metal-X Milled Tank model.
comments (L) The 2-Ball alignment is legendary, and this model enhances it. You get an insert feel without an insert, and that results in a crisp, true roll. (M) The weight adjustability is a useful bonus.
HOT A worthy follow up to the Versa line. The new insert is really two-in-one: A thin layer of metal with open ovals is laid across the company’s famous White Hot material. The result is the feel of the White Hot with a quicker, more-consistent forward roll. There’s also the 2-Ball Fang, with 24 per cent of the head’s weight in the rear of the club to make it more stable. The Versa’s silver-and-black alignment aid is modern-day cool.
NOT Additional engineering for sound would be appreciated.
comments (L) The feel and balance together make it easy to have good distance control.
HOT Finding the right counterbalanced putter isn’t easy, which is why the adjustability on this club is meaningful. Three weights (10, 15 or 20 grams) let you adjust the head weight from 365 to 385 grams. The counterbalance weights of five, 15 or 30 grams in the 15-inch SuperStroke grip let you dial in feel. Odyssey estimates that 45 per cent of people who own this putter will change the weights more than once.
NOT Like some other counterbalanced models, it’s only available in 35- and 38-inch lengths.
comments (H) If you struggle with a handsy stroke, this guides you on the right line back and through the ball.
HOT Ping’s tradition of function over form is evident with this two-model line. Using information gleaned from its iPing app, the company offers two inserts: standard weight for quick tempos and heavier for those with a smoother stroke. Both have the company’s revamped variable-width and variable-depth grooves. On the
Rustler, the curved alignment line that goes all the way to the face is helpful, and there’s enough stability to offset your mis-hits.
NOT If you’re a leader in putters (and Ping is), then a counterbalanced option in mallets is a must.
comments (M) The insert is a perfect blend of softness and crispness, with the benefit of a nice rollout on mis-hits.
New spider Mallet/Daddy Long Legs
HOT Talk about stability. You might be able to putt through an earthquake with these. Embracing the counterbalance idea, the Spider Mallet and the larger Daddy Long Legs have a total weight of about 600 grams. That kind of mass promotes a steadiness on the greens that golfers of all levels can appreciate. The black chrome shaft is a nice improvement, too: It seems to make the club a single unit instead of separate components.
NOT OK, so about the size of the Daddy Long Legs: Just how desperate on the greens are you?
comments (L) It’s deadly on four-footers and in. The balance is near perfect from head to toe.
Scotty Cameron Futura X
HOT Scotty Cameron
putters have a large presence on tour and in the hands of everyday players. Reasons include their craftsmanship, use of materials and more than a little snob appeal. With the Futura X, add technological know-how with a smart use of mass. The steel heel and toe weights on the sole and the extra weight in the heel and toe areas on the back bar maximise stability. Cameron putters have long been viewed as the gold standard of golf, and nothing has changed.
NOT Well, except the price. Ten years ago, a Cameron putter cost $US250. Now it’s at least $US350 or more.
comments (L) It looks a little odd, but I love the way the ball comes off the face.
SCOTTY CAMERON FUTURA X5/X5R
HOT The Futura X5 is a mallet with “wings.” Cameron hollowed out the sole and used a lightweight aluminium sole plate, moving the saved weight to the wings to increase performance on mis-hits. This also allows for a thicker face. What does that do? It produces the sweet sound and feel Cameron putters are known for. The X5R is similar, but with a rounder shape. Both are available in Dual Balance (counterbalanced) options.
NOT Seems this model would work well in a centre-shafted version.
comments (M) A lot of Scotty Cameron mallets look strange. But this one produces a ground-hugging roll and is pleasing to the eye.
HOT If you have an engineering degree – or even if you don’t – you might be drawn to this industrial achievement that has more adjustability than any putter . . . well, ever. Alterations can be made in five areas: Loft (1, 3.5 or 6 degrees), lie angle (flat, standard and upright), offset (none, half shaft and full shaft) and three sets of heel and toe weights (three, nine and 15 grams). It also can be made into a left-handed model. This is innovative thinking that makes you want to give it a look.
NOT There’s so much going on you might not know where to start.
comments (H) With all that adjustability near the face, you’d think the feel would suffer, but it doesn’t. Plus the colours are fun.
HOT Do you really need 17 pieces to make a putter? Cleveland thinks so – that’s the number of components in its TFi Tour. Much of the magic is happening in the front, where a metal face plate is attached to a polymer backing and then fastened to an aluminium alloy body. All this technical gymnastics promotes a more consistent performance across a wider area of the face.
NOT A copper-colour face with a mostly black clubhead? That’s a little like wearing brown shoes with black socks.
comments (L) The alignment tool provides the kind of comfort you want on short putts. (H) There’s a heft to this putter that produces a pleasant feel in the hands at impact.
HOT As with its Converge line, the Method Matter uses a resin-polymer groove insert to reduce skid and get the ball rolling sooner. That’s easily visible. Somewhat tougher to see, but perhaps more valuable, are the custom options, including the ability to bend the club and order specific weights and lengths. Nike also deserves credit for producing a pair of mallets that don’t look like a potato masher or branding iron.
NOT It sounds so quiet you feel like telling it to speak up.
comments (M) A consistent putter. I could feel it staying square throughout the stroke. (H) The black-matte finish is a desirable look that minimises all the distractions you can get in some other putters.
(L) Low-Handicapper | (M) Middle-Handicapper | (H) High-Handicapper