Check out these Artistically Designed Putters that Perform
By: Dr. Barry Lotz
With the advent of space age materials, computer aided design programs, engineers abounding (themselves being avid golfers) and entrepreneurs entering the putter business, the past 5 years have produced “innovative” and decidedly avante – garde putter designs. However, rest assured, these putters are finely tuned instruments that really deliver performance, feel and aesthetics.
Do not for one instant assume that these putters are totally useless or lack functionality. Many, while appearing to have no lineage whatsoever as far a putters are concerned, do in actual fact work and even win tournaments.
So without further delay, let us take a gander at the 4 putters, which really stand out amongst my 100 plus putters previously tested and reviewed:
TaylorMade’s Monza Putter
Mike Weir’s Masters victory in 2003 further solidified what is turning out to be another banner year for the top ranked driver and fairway woods company. Following on the heels of their remarkably well-accepted line of Rossa putters, TaylorMade has introduced their Monza putter.
Truly a work of art, the visual charisma, sleek and eloquent lines of this putter are second to none! The deep trapezoidal-shaped mallet style of this putter, together with its superlative alignment guide, exudes confidence. The Monza’s linear alignment system is made possible by the putter’s trapezoidal shape, into which is installed a pair of Tungsten-Titallium CGB (center of gravity back) pipes that are positioned perpendicular to the clubface and bisected by a white sight-line.
Due to these pipe’s length and weighting, a massive shift of more than 100 grams is moved from the front of the putter head to the rear. This shift of weight transfers the CG (center of gravity) well towards the back of the head, which in turn positively alters launch conditions by increasing the launch angle slightly while reducing backspin. The result is a smooth, nearly bounceless roll right off the putter face.
Additionally, these elements work together to provide a vivid and powerful optical tool that helps the player build a clear image of the target-line, and helping him or her to consistently 1) aim the putter face correctly, and 2) swing the putter head down the target-line, consequently rolling the ball with precision and accuracy.
The Monza is precision-forged of high-strength, 6061 aluminum and finished in a rich black color via a precision anodizing process that enhances durability and cosmetic appeal. Included is a distinctive-looking red-and-black Medallist grip with Diamond traction, made by Winn, and a new Rossa red-and-black head cover.
The Monza will be a godsend to those golfers who simply cannot use the Odyssey 2 Ball putter due to that putters reverse effect of alignment. The Monza will especially be exciting to those golfers who truly benefit from linear alignment. Moreover, both the set up and the feel, derived from the Rossa’s proven soft-yet-solid Titallium insert, are superb.
Street Price: $159.00 www.taylormadegolf.com
Tilteist’s Futura Putter by Scotty Cameron
The new Futura has been a concept that Scotty has been working on for over the last five years. The Futura is a unique design that features 75% of the weight in the back “horseshoe” and 25% in the face and body. This weight distribution gets the ball rolling immediately and performs like no other putter tested in the Studio. The sole was designed to never close when setting up and the top-line is shaped for a contoured look. Two plugs have been milled into the back of the face and stainless weights have been applied to create even more stability and give the putter solid sound and feel.
The Futura is very well balanced and offers superior ball alignment, unlike the Odyssey 2 Ball putter that can cause “eye confusion alignment”. Its head cover is itself a work of art, though it is rather bulky and cumbersome.
Street price: $285 www.scottycameron.com
Nike’s Oz Mallet Putter
The unique dual-density weighting places 66% of the club head weight in the rearward stainless steel ring. This positions the center of gravity deeper in the club head to reduce skidding allowing the ball to roll more quickly on a truer line. The lightweight aluminum front portion of the club head is 65% lighter than steel and contains Nike’s proprietary feel enhancing 6061 aluminum insert that is 73% softer than steel. The putter is face balanced and produces a great feel for those golfers appreciating a delicate touch. The Oz has a paddle style shaft and a double bend stepless steel shaft.
Street Price: $129.00 www.nikegolf.com
Ben Hogan by Bettinardi
The 2003 US Open Winner, Jim Furyk, won using Bettinardi’s Big Ben putter. Additionally, many of golf’s greatest players have used putters milled by Bettinardi to win tournaments all over the world.
With combinations of exotic materials, one-piece technology, and the patented honeycomb finish, Robert J. Bettinardi’s lines of precision milled putters are changing the face of golf.
In our testing, the touch, the feel and the looks of this new “Big Ben” putter drew accolades from all of our 25 testers. Due to popular demand and outstanding quality, the Ben Hogan Company has teamed up with the Bettinardi Company to produce the Ben Hogan by Bettinardi line of putters. Bettinardi will continue to design and manufacture their premier line of one-piece putters, albeit under the Hogan brand in the US. Bettinardi, however, does retain his name for the Japanese market. Tour introduction started in early 1999. Bettinardi putters have already produced 6 victories on the regular tour and 12 on the Japanese Tour, with hundreds of top tens and millions won in prize money.
Street Price: $199.00 www.bettinardi.com
In conclusion and without any doubt whatsoever, putting is the most critical golf skill that needs to be acquired to become not only proficient in putting, but to be a good/low handicapper. Putting is about aiming the putter correctly and rolling the ball on the intended line.
Yet, after all is said and done, all the articles written, usage endorsement paid to pros, putting is the most elusive skill for a golfer to acquire.
Confidence in your golf game is built from understanding the correct techniques and how these lead to improved putting. Of course, as Gary Player is fond of saying, “the harder one practices, the luckier one gets”.
Try the belly putter, the tall putter, left-handed, switch putting, or any of many types of grip options, cross-handed, the claw, ten-fingered, reverse overlap, or split-handed. Find out what works for you, then enjoy the great game of golf to its fullest.
Golf is more fun when you are the best putter that you can be, whatever the technique and putter used to achieve your goal.
Barry Lotz, J.D., Ph.D. is the director of the Professional Golf Teachers Association of America. He is a member of the Golf Writers Association of America, the California Golf Writers Association, and serves both as a Consultant and Mediator to the golf industry. He is also the author of numerous books, including “333 Best Web Sites for Golfers” and his current book, “How to Build Business Relationships Through Golf” is in the Top Ten Golf Business Book’s best seller list.