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Putters - The Next Generation

Moveable weight cartridges, adjustable hosels and optically efficient alignment aids are among the latest technologies in the new crop of putters for 2009. Dominic Pedler brings you a selection of the leading models.

TITLEIST SCOTTY CAMERON
STUDIO SELECT KOMBI

Joining the growing range of stunning stainless steel models in the Studio Select series is this high-tech mallet precision-milled from 6061 aircraft grade aluminum. The putter has a thick face, which contributes to its solid, responsive feel, while Three-PointWeighting refers to the circular weights in the heel, toe and back of the body that set the centre of gravity deep for a true roll.

TITLEIST SCOTTY CAMERON

As with Cameron's other models, the Kombi is available in a variety of lengths: 33-, 34- and 35-inch, with the weights also compensating for the different shaft lengths as well as individual stroke and feel preferences. There are also Kombi Mid (43-inch) and Kombi Long (50-inch) putters in which the rear circular weight is replaced by a central bar weight.
All have the Cameron-preferred 4-degrees of loft, a double-bend stepless shaft and are finished with the T-shaped, red ink sight lines as well as the designer's trademark red 'three-dot' graphics and red cord grip.

Guide: £225.
www.titleist.co.uk

ITSY BITSY MONZA SPIDERROSSA
ITSY BITSY MONZA SPIDER
The original Rossa Monza Spider was one of the most popular putters on the PGATour in 2009 with over a dozen high-profile converts to this ultra-high MOI design. J.B. Holmes (FBR Open) and Sean O'Hair (PODS Championship) were among several who putted to victory with this radical construction.

The Itsy Bitsy reprises the distinctive “wings” (where the Movable Weight Technology cartridges are located) but now with a head some 20 per cent smaller in an attempt to appeal to fans of more moderate mid-size mallets (and possibly also some conventional blade players).

Once again the steel wire structure redistributes weight effectively around the perimeter of a central core made of lightweight aluminum, while the weighting system allows players to experiment with total weight, toe-flow and MOI. The face features Rossa's elaborate Anti Skid face insert of 14 polymerfilled grooves designed to momentarily grip the ball on impact, inducing the desired top-spin roll earlier in the life of the putt.

Guide: £139.
www.taylormadegolf.com

OZ PUTTERSNIKE
OZ PUTTERS
Building on the design and lavish finish of the iC series, the OZ putter line is Nike's latest range of high MOI mallets and forgiving blades.

The six traditional and contemporary shapes have a bright green High Visibility Polymer Insert designed for a great feel and also to keep the ball in contact with the face longer for a truer roll. Some 63 per cent lighter than aluminum, the polymer insert in the milled face allows for enhanced perimeter weighting which increases stability through impact. Building on the visuals of the iC series, we now have Dual Site Lines as an effective alignment aid, while
face-balancing helps to keep the larger mallets square to the line at impact.

Choose from a variety of classic heel-and-toe weighted blades (OZ1 and OZ2), a mid-sized hybrid mallet/blade (OZ3), two large open-bodied mallets (OZ4 and 5), and a radical three-pronged mallet (pictured) with weight concentrated behind the hitting area as well as the heel and toe. All come with large grips to improve stability through the stroke.

Guide £75.
www.nikegolfeurope.com

TWO BAR HYBRID TOUR MALLETRIFE
TWO BAR HYBRID TOUR MALLET

After Rife's phenomenal success in recent years (rising to number one putter on the Champions Tour last season) the story continues with several new models for 2009.

Following our own tests at the Orlando Demo Day our favourites include the Tour version of the best-selling Two-Bar Hybrid Mallet. Featuring a more compact head than the original, the Tour still showcases Rife's various technologies that include topspin-inducing grooved faces, adjustable weighting and also adjustable hosels that allow the lie-angle to be customized to any player's particular posture.

Simply slip the putter-head into the LieAline Fitting bracket and bend the soft aluminium hosel to the appropriate angle that matches up the relevant alignment lines for your stance.

Once properly fitted, the putter helps to promote a particularly square face through impact, along with more stability to your overall stroke and a truer roll from the 'no skid' face.

Guide: £130.
www.rifeputters.com

MADISON PUTTERYES! GOLF
MADISON

Among the 2009 selections from this specialist putter company is the Madison, which intriguingly claims to benefit from similar technology to that of a metalwood.

In particular the enlarged mallet structure adopts a completely hollow head in order to achieve the extreme perimeter weighting required for high-MOI performance.

Unusually for a large mallet, the cavity allows the large head to be crafted from 304 stainless steel (rather than aluminum) coming in a head weight of 360 grams but with the distinctive sound and feel that steel delivers.

The Madison has a double bend shaft and is face-balanced to promote a straight-back-and-through stroke. Meanwhile, the alignment lines on the deep top section are spaced a ball-width apart and in a T-square for effortless alignment.

Like all Yes!Golf putters, the face of the Madison features semi-circular C-Grooves claimed to reduce skid and impart forward roll on the ball.

The putter has a loft of 2.5 degrees and lie angle of 72 degrees (2 degrees flat or upright available) with length options of 33-35 inches as well as custom lengths.

Guide: £127.
www.yesgolf.com

WHITE HOT XG 2BALL F7ODYSSEY
WHITE HOT XG 2BALL F7

The most distinctive putter of the decade, the Odyssey 2-Ball has seen several variations on the theme since its 2001 launch, including a Tri-Ball model and a 2-Ball SRT with a horse-shoe shaped 'Saturn Ring' around the lightweight, milled aluminium body.

The latest 2-ball F7 attempts to improve on the high-MOI construction of the SRT with bold 'wings' which transforms the putter's perimeter-weighting (surely inspired by the success of the space-age Sabertooth).

The F7 retains the defining circular alignment system encouraging golfers to line up the 'virtual circles' with the real ball to create a powerful sense of both stroke and target line. The face insert is the same as others in the XG series: a two-layer elastomer construction featuring a soft, highly resilient core (to get the ball rolling) married to a thin outer striking surface with its textured impact zone that enhances feel and clearly defines the sweetspot.

Comes in a 3-degree loft with full shaft offset, in 33-, 34- and 35-inch lengths.

Guide: £149.
www.odysseygolf.com

BETTINARDI BLACK CARBONMIZUNO
BETTINARDI BLACK CARBON

The tie-up with legendary putter guru, Bob Bettinardi, has helped Mizuno establish itself as a rising force in the putter market. The Chicago based legend has long been a personal putter maker to the stars, having pioneered one-piece milling of heads from a single block of metal with the resulting 'no-weld' construction offering superb feel.

For 2009, the highlights of the European range include the three models of distinctive Black Carbon putters with their patented Feel Impact Technology face offering slightly softer impact acoustics. (The BC3 model enjoyed great publicity when leading amateur, Simon Wakefield, played it to the Silver Medal at last year's Open.) These are joined by the C-Series: six models of classic carbon steel, heel-and-toe designs each with a plated satin pearl finish and featuring Bettinardi's trademark 'honeycomb' face. This involves some 75 precision cuts with a jeweller's tool to deliver a surface flat to the last .001 of an inch.

Black Carbon Series £200; C-Series £170.
www.mizunoeurope.com/golf

MID-WEIGHT SERIES CX2HEAVY PUTTER
MID-WEIGHT SERIES CX2

The Heavy Putter first weighed in a few years ago with an ultra-heavy head to justify its unusual technical philosophy. The first models weighed a mighty 885 grammes, roughly 2lbs and almost double the norm. More mass meaning that, for a given length putt, the golfer doesn't need to swing as fast, or take the club back as far, thereby reducing the margin of error in the stroke.

Moreover, with some of the extra weight redistributed at the grip end, this drastically reduces unwanted wrist action, forcing the golfer to develop the proper pendulum action from the shoulders.

This perfect panacea for yippers has steadily caught on at all levels – from the pages of Popular Science to the Challenge Tour where Frenchman Adrien Mork scored a 'heavy' 59 in the Moroccan Classic in May 2006.

But in acknowledging the dramatic change in feel involved when switching from a conventional head, the company now launches the Mid-Weight Series featuring five heads that tip the scales at a more moderate 750 grammes. The new models have already received the thumbs-up among many pros on the US Nationwide Tour, and we were impressed with our own tests at Orlando.

£139.99
www.heavyputter.co.uk

PING IWI PUTTERPING
IWI PUTTER

The six-strong iWi series reprises several of Ping's most popular head shapes such as the Anser, Zing, B60 and Craz-E mallet, giving them a high-tech makeover – including adjustable weighting.

The putters come fitted with a pair of 12g tungsten weight plugs but an optional weight kit contains a pair of 20g and 28g weights to give golfers a wide range of alternative ways to customize both feel and performance.

You can, for instance, switch to the heavier weights on slower, greens in winter; or mix the weights – for example having a relatively lighter (faster closing) toe if you tend to push your putts.

The great feel of the iWi is further enhanced by a special face insert combining a soft two-piece urethane section within a stainless steel plate.

While the head shapes are tried-and-tested at the highest level, the system is easy to use, with the sufficiently differing swingweights able to match a variety of players and putting surfaces.

Guide: £120-140 (weight kit £39.99).
www.pingeurope.com

CLEVELAND CLASSIC PUTTERSCLEVELAND
CLASSIC PUTTERS

Inspired by some of golf's most classic putter shapes – but updated and manufactured for modern performance – the new Cleveland Classic putters are designed with a precision-milled face that provides a soft yet solid feel throughout the stroke.

All three models, which include the Anserinspired No. 1, have heel-and-toe weighting which increases the Moment Of Inertia thereby limiting twisting on off-center hits.

The putters are crafted from 17-4 Stainless Steel and hand-polished for a satin finish that reduces glare.

Guide: £59.
www.clevelandgolf.com

GEL GOLF
PAUL HURRION SIGNATURE RANGE

Dr. Paul Hurrion, the sports bio-mechanic and putting guru to the stars, has extended his Signature Range for flatstick-specialist, Gel Golf.

PAUL HURRION SIGNATURE RANGEHurrion initially conducted research with experts, Quintic Consultancy, which confirmed the topspin-inducing roll properties of Gel's distinctive precision-cut, aluminium face-grooves. This led to him to debut four of his own models last year, each with a large, eliptical-shaped variation on the trapezoidal-shaped insert of the regular range.

These are joined in 2009 by four new models sporting a range of headweights (from 350-385g) and features such as a inline weighting with concealed tungsten that enhances the heel-and-toe weighting and MOI properties.

The Ora is a face-balanced blade with inline weighting, a 'crank-neck' hosel and full shaft offset; the Pondera is a heel-and-toe weighted mallet with a very effective alignment system; while the Vicis and Quasso are heel-and-toe weighted modified blades.

Stay tuned for details of Gel's forthcoming putter fitting programme featuring Hurrion's exclusive software developed with Quintic.

Guide: £185 (£120 for the regular Gel Golf range).
www.gelgolf.co.uk

PROTO ANSERWHITLAM
PROTO ANSER

After his early success on the Japanese Tour with both his wedges and putters, design specialist David Whitlam continues to make headway in the US and Europe with his hand-made designs featuring some highly innovative patents.

The Whitlam Proto Anser showcases the designer's eleborate heel-and-toe insert weighting system that raises the centre of gravity to improve the roll of the golf ball. The peripheral tungsten weights further aid the stability of this solid, precision-milled 303 stainless body that weighs 350 grammes.

While the head shape is based on the classic Ping Anser, it is offered here with a stabilizing centre shaft rather than a heel-shafted hosel, and comes complete with the distinctive yellow Whitlam headcover.

The putter is available with a choice of US, St George's and Irish flag graphics stamped discretely on the sole.

Guide: £219.
www.whitlamgolf.co.uk

BENROSS PURE RED PUTTER SERIESBENROSS
PURE RED PUTTER SERIES

Benross' legendary Innovator Stand Up putter (that literally stands up on the green, unaided) remains part of the stable but it is joined in 2009 by a more classic range offering the benefits of modern groove technology.

The exclusive V-shaped face pattern conforms to R&A rules and helps momentarily 'grab' the ball at impact and impart topspin to help promote smooth, true-running putts.

Available in a range of eight blades and mallets with various heel-and-toe weighting configurations and centre- or heel-shafted options.

Fitted with a stepless shaft and custom-designed Golf Pride Pure Red VRAD
grip.

From: £49.
www.benrossgolf.com

 


Reproduced with kind permission of Golf International.

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