Tried & Tested: In search of the perfect ladies putter...
Carly Frost - Golf Today's Ladies Editor
I don't think I'm alone in saying that it is very rare for me to come across a putter that is perfect for me. Now I know I'm not the tallest lady in the country, but I'd say at 5'1" I'm not miles below the average. Yet there are still very few manufacturers who are embracing our needs and designing putters that are perfect for us. I, for one, am fed up of falling in love with the look of a putter, only to have to take it to my club pro to be shortened, which invariably results in some loss of that great balance and feel it offered originally.
So the purpose of this week's test is to reveal just what putters on the market are perfect for ladies. Realising that not every lady is built like me I decided to invite a group of friends of varying height from my home club Burhill GC to join me on the practice putting green outside the beautiful stately clubhouse on a sunny morning last week. The findings were really interesting...
Current Putter : Yes Marilyn
Background: I've been playing golf since I was 13 and my first putter was a second hand Ping Anser which I loved.
Since then I've always been a bit of a traditionalist when it comes to the look of a putter and prefer a simple, classical design.
That said I will always put performance over looks so if there is a putter that rolls the ball beautifully it will capture my interest.
Current Putter: Yes Callie
Background : I've been playing golf for 20 years and would say that putting is one of the big strengths of my game. I'm not a particularly long hitter so I often rely on getting up and down to make my par, so holing putts is crucial.
The look of the putter is very important to me. I have to feel confident as I address the ball. Easy alignment is what I'm after; followed closely by great feel as I roll the putt.
Current Putter: Odyssey White Ice
Background: I've been playing golf on and off since I was a junior, I had a few years out when I had my family but I'm now back into playing regularly and I love it.
I'm very tall so ladies clubs don't tend to suit me and I use a 35 inch putter at the moment, however I'm a pink person so I'll be particularly interested in the ladies putters that come in longer length options.
Current Putter: Odyssey 2-Ball
Background: I've took up golf seven years ago and I'm completely hooked. My goal is to get down to a single figure handicap and I work hard at my game.
My putting can be streaky, some days I'll hole everything, other days they all miss!
Easy alignment is the most important factor for me, hence why I love my 2-Ball putter, so it will be interesting to see how the other big-headed putters in the test compare.
Current Putter: Ping Pal 2
Background: I've been playing golf for over 30 years and my putter has been in the bag the entire time! The old assistant professional at Burhill Golf Club, Sean Brady, leant it to me one day when I had forgotten my own putter, I had the putting round of my life so I bought it from him and it has not let me down since.
I can honestly say I've never tested one of the modern putters so this is going to be an extremely interesting exercise for me!
TaylorMade Raylor Ghost Corza CO-72 & Raylor Ghost Daytona DA-12
Info: 0800 0728624, www.taylormadegolf.eu
Length options: 33", 34" and 35 inches.
They say: The white putter head contrasts sharply with the turf to facilitate accurate aiming. The white finish also eliminates glare and 'hot spots'. The prominent 'rail' makes it dramatically easier to start the ball on the intended line. PURE ROLL technology promotes forward spin for smooth roll. A new Suryln face insert delivers a unique soft yet solid feel. There are three models: DA-12, FO-72 and CO-72.
Carly Frost: "I fell in love with the white-headed R11 driver a few months ago and I love the complementing putter too. There's just something about the simplicity of a black alignment line on a white background that makes aiming really clear and easy. If this trend continues my golf bag will be awash with white clubs soon!"
Tracy Norris: "I really like the design of these putters - the white colour looks pretty and has great appeal to me. Both putters felt really balanced, but I prefer the simpler design of the Daytona to the bigger headed Corza."
Kika Cole: "I instantly took to the Daytona putter, holing putt after putt with ease. It has a fantastic shape, the weight was spot-on and the feel very solid off the putter face. The roll on the ball was noticeably truer than others I tested. This will definitely rank as my favourite putter on test."
Anna Suh: "It took a bit of getting used to the white finish of these putters and I'm not convinced that they will look as good when they've been used over time.That said the performance was excellent, a really solid all-round putter that rolls the ball beautifully."
Bally Cross: "I don't like the appearance of these putters at all! The bright white finish just doesn't suit my eye and is too far away from the traditional metal finish I am used to. They both rolled the ball nicely and if I had to pick between the two I'd go for the Daytona as it has a simpler design."
Wilson Staff Vizor
Length options: 34 inch standard, but custom options available.
They say: A mallet-style putter with I-Lock technology, designed to give golfers a far more consistent stroke. Our research shows that poor eye alignement is a major reason for a poor putting stroke, often resulting in pushed or pulled putts. The Vizor's I-Lock technology is designed to avoid poor eye alignment by helping the golfer to position the eyes directly over the line of the putt. The golfer knows their eyes are in the correct address position when the red bars, which feature on the toe and heel side of the Vizor's alignment, can no longer be seen when standing over the ball. The Vizor has an aluminium body for added feel and a soft urethane face insert tailored to match the hardness of the golf ball. A stainless steel periphery gives players high MOI and extra stability, while the double bend shaft allows a face-balanced design.
Carly Frost: "I think the concept behind the Vizor is really clever. I've written many golf instruction pieces about poor eye alignment and the impact it has on your putting stroke and this is one of the best putters I have ever come across for taking that doubt away. Just knowing my eyes were in the correct place gave me more confidence."
Tracy Norris: "This putter rolled the ball well but I really don't like the design of it, it's just too funky for my eye. Black and red are masculine colours in my book."
Kika Cole: "I'm afraid I thought this putter looked really ugly. I think the jet black finish will appeal to guys, but it's not got much shelf appeal for ladies."
Anna Suh: "I found this putter really easy to aim, the concept is very clear and simple to use and very innovative. The finish is a bit masculine, so I think if they used the same principle in a putter with a lighter colour it would appeal to more ladies."
Bally Cross: "I didn't realise that a putter could look like this! The style is so-far removed from the traditional blade I'm used to using that no matter how easy it is to aim I simply couldn't make the switch."
Never Compromise Connoisseur Series Culebra
Length options: 33"-36 inches.
They say: Crafted using only the finest materials, every Connoisseur putter is forged from 303 stainless steel and CNC milled to ensure incredible precision during production. The combination of the soft metal and forged grain structure provides unprecedented feel at impact for supreme confidence over every putt. There are four putters in the Connoisseur Series.
Carly Frost: "I love the fact that each Connoisseur putter is really unique and the fact that there are only a limited number of each being made makes you feel like you are buying something really special. You can see the quality and the detail of the finish is top-notch, however the feel off the face was a little firm for me, I think it would work in the winter on slow greens, but come spring time I'll be hitting all my putts past the hole!"
Tracy Norris: "Considering it's called the Connoisseur, I actually think this putter looks a little plain and boring! But then I guess sometimes the best things in life are the simplest. The feel was good and it rolled the ball nicely."
Kika Cole: "This putter oozes quality - from the luxurious headcover to the pretty pattern (milling) on the face. It wasn't the best-feeling on test, but it is well worth testing."
Bally Cross: "This putter is right up my street - simple, classical and beautiful. Can I put it on my Christmas list?"
Anna Suh: "I didn't find this putter very easy to aim. The colour of the line and the finish are such a close match that the aiming line just doesn't stand out enough for me. The feel was also a little firm - I prefer putters that offer softer feedback."
Odyssey Divine Blade, Mini-T & Rossie
Info: 0800 096 459, www.odysseygolf.com
Length options: 32", 33" and 34 inches.
They say: A line of putters designed specifically for women to help you sink more putts from anywhere on the green. The Divine Blade is a classic heel-toe weighted putter with a crank-neck hosel and full-shaft offset. The Mini-T is a radical mallet featuring perimeter weighting with Hi-Def alignment for total accuracy and control. The Rossie is a face-balanced mallet with a double-bend shaft and full-shaft offset. All three putters have softer aesthetics, ideal weighting and a new insert - included following women's testing.
Carly Frost: "The 2-Ball has been a huge success story for Odyssey, the number-one selling putter in the market for a long time, but it's nice to see that Odyssey have expanded their range with plenty of options for ladies. The putters look great and feel great."
Tracy Norris: "The Rossie is very similar to my own putter so I instantly felt very comfortable using it. I love the feel of the Odyssey putters - the insert does make a noticeable difference to the softness and responsiveness."
Kika Cole: "The Mini-T putter makes a really unusual strike sound that is completely different from any of the other putters on test and a little distracting at first. The feel however is soft and solid and the look of the blade and Rossie designs is very classical."
Anna Suh: "The Odyssey putters really appeal to me. They look great. My favourite was the Rossie mallet - the Mini-T was a bit too radical in design. The feel off the face is fantastic."
Bally Cross: "I love the performance of the Mini-T but I can't bear the appearance. It sounds bizarre! The other putters in the line are OK but they are not stand-out favourites."
Ping Faith Craz-E
Length options: All length options (Ping has a fantastic 'Web-Fit' service to help you choose the right putter)
They say: Women will be more confident on the greens with proven PING technology in the Faith putters. An advanced urethane insert delivers a consistent response on every putt for better distance control. A face appliqué offers incredible feel. Weight savings from the insert were added to the perimeter to increase the MOI for improved accuracy. There are three classic, proven designs: the traditional Anser model, along with a popular face-balanced and highly forgiving Craz-E and Wack-E designs.
Carly Frost: "Ping has always made great putters and the Faith Craz-E is no exception. The shape of the head doesn't personally suit my eye, but the feel is excellent and the putter gives you confidence as it sits so nicely behind the ball."
Tracy Norris: "I love the way that this putter sits really square on the green; that makes it really easy to align. The feel is nice and solid and responsive too."
Kika Cole: "A very nice putter with lovely balance and feel. The design of the alignment guide lines are just a little bit too fussy for me, something simpler would have suited my eye."
Anna Suh: "The shape of this putter is a little unusual so I wasn't instantly drawn to it. The performance however was very good, it was easy to aim and I like the way the balanced weighting helped it track low to the putting surface as I rocked it back and through."
Bally Cross: "Having used the Ping Pal putter for years I am a very loyal follower of the brand. I like the feel of this putter very much, but once again the looks are just a little too out-there for me. I think I'm going to stick with the traditional look."
Benross Ladies Jewel Platinum Augusta & Kiawah Putters
Price: £59.99 (Jewel), £69.99 (Kiawah)
Contact: 01932 821200, www.benrossgolf.com
Length options: 33" and 34 inches.
They say: The Augusta is designed for the lady golfer wanting a classic looking putter with the benefits of modern groove technology. The soft 304 SS PURE RED traditional head shape is combined with a precision milled face and "V" shaped grooves to help grab and impart top-spin at impact. More top-spin translates into smooth, true running putts which hit the bottom of the hole more often. A simple, easy-on-the-eye alignment aid makes aligning the putter easy, accurate and ultimately more consistent.
The Kiawah has a wide body high performance High MOI head shape designed to help you hole more putts. A bold modern alignment aid allow golfers to align themselves squarely at the target, potentially maximizing every golfers chance to hole more putts.
Carly Frost: "If the brand name wasn't stamped on the underside of these putters I could have easily mistaken them for a putter that is far more expensive. At the budget-end of our test Benross offers fantastic value-for-money and great all-round performance. The Jewel looks so good it might even be a contender for my bag."
Tracy Norris : "I like the Jewel putter as it has a nice traditional shape. The Kiawah has a quirky shape, like two fangs, a bit of an optical illusion! The grips feel amazing, so much softer and more comfortable than others we are testing."
Anna Suh: "The Kiawah putter has a strange design but it works. I rolled the ball beautifully with it. I could definitely overlook the odd shape of the head because it performed so well."
Kika Cole: "These are pretty putters; the looks have great shelf appeal. The design of the Jewel reminds me of classic putters from 20 years ago. The Kiawah is a much more complex design. The centre shaft really worked for me, it made square alignment easy."
Bally Cross: "Just like the TaylorMade putters the white finish just doesn't suit my eye and is too far from the traditional finish I'm used to. The shape of the Kiawah putter head was also a bit ugly in my opinion."
Length options : 33.5" standard
They say: Individually engineering masterpieces, the MP Series putters are designed to generate a solid, soft feel and the purest of rolls. The MP-Series benefit from starting with a single 1025E Pure Select mild carbon steel billet - before being Grain Flow Forged into the final putter shape. The near finished head is then CNC Milled to ensure exact alignment and a flawless profile at address. A precise CNC Milling process allows the face thickness to be reduced to just 3.5mm for a pure, yet responsive feel. A consistent roll is enabled through application of a further milling to layer meticulously tour researched score-lines. In three compact, classic shapes, the MP Series Putters are finished in glare-reducing soft satin chrome.
Carly Frost: "This was one of my favourite putters on test. I love the shape and simplicity of the design. The finish looks very high quality. The face offers a solid, responsive feel and put a good roll on the ball. The only negative is that I found aiming this putter trickier as the alignment lines are quite faint."
Tracy Norris: "I like the shape of this putter as it is very similar to the mallet I am already using. The alignment line doesn't stand out so it's not that clear when you have it lined up to the hole. It rolled the ball OK but wasn't the most impressive on test."
Anna Suh: "This is a great-looking putter and it gave me a lot of confidence on the greens. I like the soft satin finish. The weight and balance of the putter felt perfect for my small build too, not too heavy as putters often are."
Kika Cole: "I like the soft finish to the putter and the fact that it doesn't glare even though it's a sunny day. The design is simple and not fussy, which I like. The feel wasn't the softest on test, a little on the firm side but quite solid."
Bally Cross: "This putter is nice to look out but I didn't enjoy the firmer feel. I was already a fan of the putters that were softer and more responsive off the face. I think it will be popular with golfers in the winter months or who play slower greens all year round."
Nike Method Core 1I & 5I
They say: Adopted on Tour and proven by two Major victories in 2009 - now more than 30 Tour victories worldwide, the revolutionary METHOD putter was born of innovation and fuelled by the demands of our tour athletes. The Polymetal Groove Technology dampens impact vibrations for a soft touch, while the interspersed milled steel face maintains audible feedback for proper distance control. It provides a faster, positive forward roll at impact for the kind of accuracy and consistency Tour professionals demand. There are six different models in the Method Core line, offering a range of different head shapes to suit every golfer.
Carly Frost: "There's no disputing the performance of the Nike Method Core putters - the Tour successes speak for themselves. European Solheim Cup star Suzann Pettersen has putted like God since she switched to this putter and I can see why she says it's her baby! I'm not a fan of the dark finish, but it does keep glare at bay, handy on a sunny day."
Tracy Norris: "I like the darker metal finish to this putter, it's really different. I'm not so keen on the bright red insert but there's no denying the great feel it offers on your putts."
Anna Suh: "Both putters feel very well balanced and weighted. I prefer the shape of the mallet-style 5i putter but both are solid all-round performers."
Kika Cole: "I struggled to align these putters as the dark black aim line on the centre of the putter didn't stand out enough against the dark metallic finish for me. The performance was pretty good, but not outstanding."
Bally Cross: "The Nike Method Core 1i reminded me of my own putter - just in a more modern version. It feels great and rolls the ball smoothly.
Length options: 32" to 36 inches.
They say: There are a wide range of Yes putters but the Laura model is the only one designed specifically for ladies. It is a classic mallet shaped putter that's face balanced and perimeter-weighted for more stability through the putting stroke. This model features three pink sight lines that help you square the face for a more accurate putting stroke. It is made from 304 Stainless Steel, is fitted with a pink Winn grip and comes with a complementing pink headcover.
Carly Frost: "I'm already a fan of the performance of Yes putters as I have been using the Yes Marilyn model putter very successfully for the past couple of years. This putter is very similar but just styled for ladies with the inclusion of pink sight lines. To be honest I don't think they stand out as well as the brighter white lines other putters have but if you love pink I've no doubt you'll really want one of these in your bag!"
Tracy Norris: "This putter would be perfect for an average height lady but it's simply too short for me! As a result it felt very light and didn't offer the same feel and responsiveness as others I tested. I do like the pink sightlines as I'm a pink person, but I'm not sure they're as clear as others."
Anna Suh: "I'm also a Yes putter user and this ladies model is every bit as good (if not better) than the one I'm using. It simply ticks all the boxes for me - great look, great feel, great roll on the ball. Maybe it's time for an upgrade?!"
Kika Cole: "A very average performance for me, nothing stood out. The mallet shape sits nicely behind the ball, but the subtle styling and pink lines just don't give me enough confidence at address."
Bally Cross: "This putter feels very comfortable in my hands and I certainly holed my fair share of putts with it, but there was nothing that made me instantly love it, so it's missing a bit of the 'wow' factor for me."