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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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
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.
Carbon Series £200; C-Series £170.
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
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.
(weight kit £39.99).
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
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.
Hurrion 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).
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
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.
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
Reproduced with kind permission of Golf International.