By: Dr. Barry Lotz
With the advent of space age materials, computer aided design programs, large engineering departments, (the engineers themselves being avid golfers) and entrepreneurs entering the putter business, the past few years have produced “innovative” and decidedly avante – garde putter designs.
The following putters are those that definitely have an artistic flair and design, and perform magnificently. 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 as putters are concerned, do in actual fact work extremely well and have even won tournaments since their initial introduction.
The main theme or “buzz” for putters today is the MOI (Moment of Inertia) – the higher the better, and the movable weighting systems. Sufficed to say, instruction manuals and DVDs abound to ensure that you understand all the benefits and procedures to achieve maximum performance with that particular putter. The best part of all of this is that if you purchase a putter with a movable weighting system, you can experiment with a single putter rather than buying additional ones.
There are three maestro/artistes in the putter design business; Bobby Bettinardi now with Mizuno, Bobby Grace now with MacGregor and Scotty Cameron still with Titleist. Among the three designers, more putters are in play on the pro circuits than any other manufacturer.
The Mizuno-Bettinardi A 02
Legendary Bobby Bettinardi, whose putters have graced the winner’s circle of major championships and PGA victories worldwide, has teamed up with Mizuno to create a one-piece milled putter series. The new Mizuno Bettinardi putters will be 100% precision milled at Bettinardi’s headquarters in Tinley Park, Illinois, and assembled at Mizuno USA headquarters in Norcross, Georgia.
The A 02, available in left and right handed models, features a unique crown shaped head, 3 degrees of loft and a 71-degree lie angle.
The A 02 Series is a two-face balanced, Moment of Inertia, mallet-style putter that is milled from 6061T6 Aluminum. The A 02 putter features a low, deep Center of Gravity, an elegant, anodized Storm Gray finish, Bettinardi’s patented Honeycomb Face for consistent ball striking, optimum offset, a unique proprietary sight line, Custom Exotic True Temper double-bend shaft, and a yellow and blue Winn AVS17 grip.
By increasing the putter’s MOI to reduce backspin, done by back-end weighting, the resistance to torque or twisting on impact, especially on off-center hits, the putter obtains the desired result – straighter putts.
Pplayability, feel and overall performance of the A 02, is nothing short of phenomenal. This putter is a hole-seeking weapon of lower putts per round.
MSRP: $180.00 www.bettinardigolf.com
Bobby Grace’s Fat Lady Swings- an Encore Performance
Nick Price’s favorite putter for many years has resurfaced, chock full of advanced materials and technology.
The clubhead is one hundred percent milled from a solid block of 6061 T6 aircraft grade aluminum, the same material as Bettinardi’s A 02 putter, resulting in a lightweight, rigid and precise putter body.
Through strategic weighting throughout the clubhead, The Fat Lady Swings delivers an exceptionally high MOI. Using 195 grams of weights strategically placed in the heel, toe and trailing edge the sole, the Center of Gravity (CG) is moved deep away from the face.
With its low-profile, stepped and rounded mallet head design, its high polish chrome sole plating, high-density Copper sole inserts and unique Beryllium Copper (BeCu) face insert, the new Fat Lady Swings combines the classic elegance and sophistication of the original Fat Lady with modern technology and enhanced functionality.
MSRP: $180.00 www.macgregorgolf.com
Scotty Cameron Circa 62 No. 2
Master craftsman, Scotty Cameron, introduced the Circa ’62 line to rave reviews. The Circa 62 is named as such, as this is the year of Scotty’s birth.
By blending the heritage of classic putter design with innovative new theories, Scotty’s latest putter models have roots in the early Handmade, Classic and Scottsman families. The Circa ’62 No. 2 extends this tradition with flowing, round lines that accentuate the clean look at address.
The Circa 62 is milled from soft carbon steelfor a soft sound and feel, which allows precise distance control. The putter uses both a draft sole design that keeps the putter square in the playing position for proper alignment and a milled back pocket, perfectly balancing the putter’s weight from heel to toe. Its high-toe profileaids alignment and eliminates the tendency to raise the toe at address, causing a player to aim the putter to the left of the target.
The head weight of 330 grams and a D4-D6 swing weight, coupled with its hand-stitched fine leather “steering wheel” grip and the deep tints reflected by the rich, gun-blued finish, exemplifies the refined aesthetics and craftsmanship you’ve come to expect from Scotty Cameron putters.
There are 4 models in the Circa 62 line; No. 1, No. 2, No. 3 & No.5
MSRP: $300.00 www.scottycameron.com
“IF YOU ARE LIKE MOST PEOPLE, YOU WILL FIND THAT YOU LINE UP LEFT AND SWING OUT AT THE BALL CREATING TWO ERRORS THAT COUNTERACT EACH OTHER ON THE DAYS THAT YOU ARE MAKING PUTTS”.
Bob McCarthy – macscustomputtingsystems.com
MACS Custom Putter Fitting Systems
At the recent Toshiba Champions Tour event at Newport Beach Country Club, 5 of the top 7 finishers used the MACS Ball Position putter, while a total of 15 players in all were fitted.
At the Valencia Champions Tour tournament, 21 players were fitted and 12 more at Savannah. Not bad for a brand new company, especially as these old codgers have seen everything before, AND they are not getting paid to play the putter!
This putter’s USP (Unique Selling Proposition) is that this putter places your master eye in a consistent repeatable position in relation to the ball.
At MACS Custom Putting Systems, their putter heads are made to meet the needs of a specific individual. They manufacture all the club heads to precise tolerances and finishes, but do not drill the hole for the shaft until after each individual has been custom measured on a Laser Alignment Grid.
What is really cool about the MACS Ball Position putter is the ability to change the weight and feel of the putter to your personal taste. Want a heavier putter? Just add up to 28 grams of cartridges into the putter’s four ports to adjust the weight of the putter head.
The key to MACS putters is the custom fitting that they provide. Though limited to a few locations, the effort to get a MACS putter in your hands will result in fewer putts per round – need more be said?
MSRP: $400.00+ www.macscustomputtingsystems.com
Odyssey White Hot XG Putters – The putter series that won the Masters and the Bell South.
The White Hot XG is the next generation of White Hot Technology. Inspired by proven, high-performance, multi-layer golf ball technology, the White Hot XG is Odyssey’s latest advancement that utilizes a multi-layer insert for outstanding performance on the green and a high MOI for resistance to torque or twisting on impact.
It combines an Elastomer Core Material – soft for great feel and highly resilient to get the ball rolling quickly, plus a thin, outer striking surface – firm for fine-tuned responsiveness. Lastly, the Textured Impact Zone enhances feel and clearly defines the sweet spot.
The White Hot XG #7 is a modified mallet with weighted alignment wings, a double-bend shaft and a full-shaft offset.
The White Hot XG putter line has eight right-handed models and four left-handed models.
MSRP: $120.00 www.odysseygolf.com
Odyssey’s White Steel SRT 2-Ball Putter
First, the SRT (“Saturn Ring Technology”) Tri-Ball was introduced very successfully and now its sibling, the SRT 2-Ball is available.
Without a doubt, the original 2-Ball was and still remains one of the best-selling putters that has come to market.
The new SRT 2-Ball has two alignment disks, or “balls,” on the top of the putter head, and employs the “Saturn Ring Technology” which is a large alloy ring around the back of the putter head allowing for more weight being pushed to the perimeter, resulting in a higher MOI. Odyssey claims that the MOI in this version compared to the original version is increased by 33%.
This putter is very stable, with exceptional feel. Current users of the original White Steel 2-Ball are going to be extremely pleased with the performance of this putter.
The Odyssey White Steel 2-Ball SRT Putter is face balanced, has a half-shaft offset and is available in both right-and left-handed models. The White Steel Face is a milled steel insert that is placed over a urethane putter face. Best attributes are consistency, flatness and a wonderful feel.
MSRP: $190.00 www.odysseygolf.com
Nike Oz Black T130 Oversized Mallet
Michelle Wie’s current putter, the Oz Black T130, has the highest MOI of any putter in the Oz line, due in part to the two 65-gram tungsten weights that are positioned rearward in the extreme heel and toe of the clubhead.
The face-balanced T130 features Dual Density Weighting in that it combines a lightweight aluminum body (65% lighter than steel) with a high-density tungsten weight plugs which move weight away from the clubface to reduce skidding on putts of all lengths. The face of the putter is CNC ((Computer Numerically Controlled) milled and has a soft polymer insert. Its dual site lines facilitate squaring the clubface at address to keep putts on target.
The putter feels very stable and performs admirably, especially on fast greens.
MSRP: $140.00 www.nikegolf.com
Well, it had to happen sooner or later that moveable weight technology would find its way into the putter domain. Besides the Fisher Talon putter which we have written extensively about, two new putters with moveable weighting systems are now available
Tour Edge V25
This large alignment-style milled aluminum putter is reminiscent of the Ping Doc 17 putter, as it is very big and very forgiving. The V25 features a high MOI, giving the putter a very solid and responsive feel on impact.
The V25 allows you to adjust the club head’s total mass and face-balance, by adding or removing weights in all or one of four tuning ports. By adding either a heel or a toe weight, the golfer can fine tune both his roll pattern and stroke
Within its smartly packaged weight kit are a tuning wrench and 12 weights of 5 grams (4), 10 grams (4) and 20 grams (4). Many hours can be spent tinkering to find your correct combination. The loft of the putter is 3 degrees.
MSRP: $150.00 www.touredge.com
YES! Golf C-Groove Putters – The Dianna
YES! Golf has made major inroads onto the Tours, but especially with the LPGA Tour in recent years, garnishing numerous wins since 2001.
The company’s state USP (Unique Selling Proposition) is that where most putters skid 18 inches before they roll, YES! Golf’s C-Groove technology, causes the ball to skid just 3 inches before rolling, thereby, allowing for more consistent length and more consistent direction to enable the player to make more putts.
The C-Groove Dianna model is a toe-down blade that offers heel-toe weighting and features a straight shaft with a plumber connection hosel. The loft of the putter is 2.5 degrees, with a 72 degree lie angle.
The head can be adjusted from 300 grams to 350 grams using the six-piece weighting system in its two port tuning system.
MSRP: $230.00 www.yesgolf.com
Testing putters is perhaps the easiest to accomplish, as most retailers have in-store greens or putting greens at their facility. Spend an hour or two testing these putters to see what works best for you on the playing surfaces that you use the most frequently. Or better yet, get fitted by a fitter who will find your proper length, lie, loft, head style and grip to match your stance, stroke, physique and preference
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.