The 2013’s Putters are Simply Marvelous!
These Hole-Seeking Weapons WILL Lower Your Score!
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. Yet, after all is said and done, all the articles written, usage endorsements paid to pros, putting is the most elusive skill for a golfer to acquire.
Not a single Tour event goes by, be it on the PGA, LPGA or Nationwide Tours, that the pros don’tcontinue to tinker with and change putters, sometimes each day of a tournament.
It’s all about confidence in your putting game and it 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”.
While there are many types of putters, golfers should not overlook many additional options to improve their putting by trying different types and grip configurations, such as the belly putter, the tall putter, putting left-handed, switch putting, or any of many types of grip options – cross-handed style, the claw, ten-fingered grip, reverse overlap, or split-handed. And new oversized grips such as the Super Stroke are also now commonplace even on Tour.
However, and this point cannot be over emphasized, getting custom fit by a competent club fitter will solve 90% of all your putting problems. As far as I am concerned, the best in the business is David Edel Golf, about whom you can read below.
My next suggestion would be to get hold of a certified PING Fitter or area representative, as they do know what they are talking about. PING generally has the most advanced fitting systems and options available to the golfer.
Of course, knowing whether your stroke arcs more than it is of the straight-back/straight type will also be of utmost importance, as blades are ideal for arc swings and mallets for the latter style.
Take advantage of all the new technical breakthroughs in materials and designs for putters. Find out what works for you, then enjoy the great game of golf to its fullest. The more you know about your putting game the better off you will be in purchasing a putter.
As mental coaches often explain to PGA Tour players, nowhere in the principles of putting and/or rules of golf does the word “right” appear. So why in the world is “right-handed- low” the only option that is offered by a majority of golf teachers? It is because golf is such a traditional game. Some of the definitions in Webster’s Dictionary for “traditionalism” are: “an inherited pattern of thought or action”, “the doctrines or practices of those who FOLLOW OR ACCEPT tradition”, and “the beliefs of those opposed to Modernism, liberalism, or even radicalism”. So if you are struggling with your putting, just remember that it takes courage to be different, but the rewards are worth the effort.
Golf is more fun when you are the best putter that you can be, whatever the technique employed and the putter used.
Recently we reviewed these putters that can improve both one’s putting and enjoyment in a remarkably short time:
PING’s Scottsdale TR Grayhawk Putter
Looking for a putter that provides great feel and distance control? Looking for a putter that offers consistent impact and response making for repeatable speeds? Look no further, as this is one of PING’s best putters ever produced! BTW, Scottsdale TR putters are named for the true roll they provide as the result of PING’s innovative new variable-depth-groove technology. Grooves are deepest in the centre and gradually get shallower toward the perimeter, so as to equalize ball speeds for exceptional distance control on putts struck on the centre, heel or toe.
The adjustable-length telescoping shaft helps optimize fit and performance according to your posture and putting style. A tool is provided for this purpose. I would buy this putter solely for this option.
What exemplifies the advantages of this 355 gram head- weighted putter, is its ability of the face to get the ball moving quickly and true. Dialing in distance, both on long and short putts, is very easy.
With its white sight line running the entire length of the non- glare black PVD finished head and forming a “T”, aiming is a cinch, it feels like “I can’t miss with this putter”.
The light weight aluminum 6061 face insert sounds and feels similar to a traditional steel.
Its understated elegance and simplicity of design push this high MOI (moment of inertia) mallet putter into a class of its own. The putter is available with labels to identify your stroke pattern – straight, slight arc and straight arc.
TaylorMade Daddy Long Legs Mallet Putter
TMAG (Taylormade adidas Golf) started the quest in 2008 with the smaller-headed Itsy Bitsy Spider, the white Ghost Spider and most recently the Ghost Spider S. The Tour accepted these putters overwhelmingly because they offered remarkable stability and forgiveness.
The scientist at TMAG went back to work and Voila! the Daddy Long Legs was born. To get to a stable putter, the MOI needs to be high. The Daddy Long Legs’ MOI has been measured at 8,500, which is more than 2,000 units higher than the original Ghost Spider.
To achieve and obtain a high MO,I the Daddy Long Legs head is made out of 16 pieces and 8 materials – stainless steel, carbon steel, aluminum, titanium, tungsten, polycarbonate, Surlyn and TPU. The result is an exceptionally twist-resistant putter head that helps you roll the ball your desired distance on your desired line, even on mis-hits.
According to TMAG, because the 395-gram head of the Daddy Long Legs is counterbalanced by the club’s 15-inch grip that weighs 130 grams, (twice the weight of a typical grip) that acts as a counterbalance to the club head. Counterbalancing increases the MOI of the entire club, making Daddy Long Legs 60% more stable than a traditional putter. Brian Bazzel of TMAG says, “You pretty much have to force the putter off your intended stroke line, it’s actually very difficult to maneuver the head and manipulate your stroke.”
No matter what length putter you favor – standard, mid-length or long — counterbalancing helps you roll the ball more accurately. The putter almost feels like it’s on auto-pilot when you swing it, resisting manipulation by the hands and arms.
As with previous Spider putters, the Daddy Long Legs features a white steel frame that encases a black chassis. The white leading edge and single, simple black alignment line, make aiming a cinch.
Daddy Long Legs is available in two lengths, 38″ and 35”, but custom lengths are available. The idea is to grip the club as you would a normal-length putter, with two or three inches of the butt-end of the grip extended above your hands, which gives you the maximum benefit of counterbalancing. Thus, if you normally play a 35” putter you should opt for the 38”; if you play a 33” putter you should use the 35”; if you play a 34” putter you can experiment with both the 35″ and 38” to find which you prefer.
MSRP: $199.99 www.taylormadegolf.com
Boccieri Golf EL Series
Also a devotee, if not one of the pioneers of the counter- balance movement, Steve Boccieri of Heavy Putter fame, has introduced his newest creation, the EL Series.
The EL Series showcases 16 models with different heads. EL stands for extended length, and these new putters are available in finished lengths of 36, 38 and 40 inches.
Each of the EL Series has a 175-gram counterweight, along with a 17-inch grip, is designed to mimic the steadiness and repeatability of belly putters – without anchoring.
The EL Series includes a variety of putters – besides the 16 head styles, there are two head weights (Mid and Heavy) and three finishes (satin, black and bronze). Putters in the EL Series come with a 175-gram counterweight along with a 17-inch grip. Total weight is 865 grams for the Mid-Weight putters and 930 grams for the Heavy-Weight models.
The philosophy behind these clubs is to provide belly-like stability in the grip section of the putter. While the putters are not designed to be anchored against the belly or the body, the weighting is intended to mimic the steadiness and repeatability of belly putters.
Steve’s other current project, introduced in 2012 at the PGA Show in Orlando, is a putter grip that effectively creates a counterbalance .
Having used these grips since 2012, I can tell you that compared to a regular grip club, I feel more solid and accurate shots emanating from using these grips.
The grip is made of dense rubber and has a heavy tungsten weight imbedded in the grip cap. Called the Secret Grip Putter Grip – to accompany the Secret Grip for full-swing clubs – it weighs 155 grams. By comparison, most conventional putter grips weigh between 50 and 60 grams. The Secret Grip Putter Grip will sell for $25.
This master of his domain, Bobby Bettinardi, putter craftsman, has just introduced his latest creation — the SS15.
The Studio Stock 15, made of mild carbon steel, is a strikingly good looking putter, especially with its black, white and orange paint design.
The SS15 is a double bend face balanced mallet with a 358 gram head weight. The modern take on the design is a staple in any product line, with a traditional pear shaped compact sized mallet. Bettinardi elegantly moved the discretionary weight out to the heel and the toe to increase the area of the sweet spot of the putter, making it more forgiving.
Bettinardi is now introducing the new Hextagonal F.I.T. face. The new Hextagonal design allows for more material to be moved from the impact area of the putter. Bettinardi is able to remove about 55% of material from the face, which results in a softer feel at impact. The Hextagonal F.I.T. face introduces one of the softest feel in the golf industry and is a must try for any golfer. This putter is a dream and in my book, Bettinardi is the most gifted of all the “name” putter designers. The Bettinardi putters are collector items and works of art, but most importantly, the touch and feel of a Bettinardi is unmatched.
This model is a perennial favorite for the professional and amateur golfer alike. Our testing group was enamored with the SS 15 as they are with every Bettinardi we have ever tested.
The SS 15, as with the rest of the SS Series putter line, is produced to the tightest tolerances in the golf industry. Each model is 100% CNC milled in the USA, using Bettinardi’s One-Piece Technology milling process. Every putter is finished with Bettinardi’s patented Honeycomb face to ensure the highest level of performance.
Each putter is completed with a pistol style grip and a patented Standard Studio Stock Series Corona black Bettinardi head cover.
MSRP: $399.99 www.bettinardigolf.com
Rife, being one of the earlier proponents of rolled groove technology, where the ball starts rolling as quickly as possible, as opposed to skidding from off the putter face, has garnered many Tour players, especially on the Champions Tour.
One of their newest iterations and part of the Vault Series, is The Rife Iconic Z featuring a 350 gram head, is made from 304 stainless steel and comes in three finishes: sterling, phantom, and rose gold. While not super tricked up, the Iconic Z has a pleasing shape with just enough cache to set it apart from the oh so ordinary putters of the world.
Using a plumbers neck, the Iconic Z compliments hard 90-degree edges with a paralleled top line. The tail of this blade offers a pure sightline for golfers that need to see the perpendicular ‘T’.
The contrast between grooved face and shiny flat bottom is impressive and the bright blue grip is a comfortable and nice touch.
As expected with Rife putters, the ball came off the face nicely and rolled well. This putter is sure to find favor with the putting purists who appreciate classic putters.
Odyssey Versa Putters
The very popular and hugely successful Odyssey line of putters has made a habit of developing ‘big idea’ products that revolutionize the putting game… first there was insert technology… then came 2-Ball… then the Backstryke. Now it’s time to welcome the Versa line of putters.
Versa is all about visionary high contrast alignment, aim and feel. It’s black and white baby! The black and white contrast accentuates the face angle at address, through the stroke and at impact, improving concentration and allowing you to align your putter more accurately to the target.
As of this week, Odyssey has 38 worldwide wins this season. Ten of those have been with a putter with Versa Technology.
Similar to the company’s Backstryke putter, the Versa line of putters uses a Visionary High Contrast Alignment feature that allows golfers to clearly see if the face is square to the target line.
Odyssey, using this technology, has applied it to their blade style putters, providing a functional alignment aide to a traditional style putter. Coupled with a new and improved White Hot insert, the Versa line provides options for every player type. While the black-white-black versions of the Versa have a White Hot insert, the white-black-white putters have a black insert version.
The Versa putters are already the talk of both the PGA and Champions Tour, and are being used by Callaway Staff Professionals, including Phil Mickelson, Ernie Els and a slew of other top professionals such as Gary Woodland, Brenden Grace, Rickie Fowler, Bo Van Pelt, Boo Weekly, Ricky Barnes and Charles Howell III.
Players that typically use the face to aim the putter and/or are more “feel the line” oriented are gravitating to the white/black/white finish. Players who use alignment features on a putter and/or are more “target” oriented are gravitating towards the black/white/black finish.
The Versa line is offered in a variety of Tour-proven head shapes, from the Brand’s progressive style and mallet putters to conventional blade style putters. The #1, #2, #7 and #9 models are available in black/white/black and white/black/white combinations. The #7 90 models are also available in both color options, but feature a front-to-back alignment visual – the 2-Ball model, Odyssey’s best-selling putter of all time is available in one color option: white/black/white. All models are available with a 33″, 34″ or 35″ shaft, as well as a host of custom options.
Our testing group raved about the Versa putters, more so than any other putter within this article!
MSRP: $169.99 – $249.99 www.odysseygolf.com
Tour Edge’s Exotics Tour Proto Putter
David Glod, Tour Edge’s president and one of the preeminent designers of golf clubs, has introduced the Exotics Tour Proto putter and is seeking acceptance by the market of this high end putter.
He should easily join the Cameron’s, Bettinardi’s and PING of the putter domain because this putter performs and is quality personified.
Our putting testers raved about the feel, touch and aesthetic quality of the club.
The putters are entirely CNC milled from a solid block of carbon steel. The milled X-grip face pattern provides unprecedented feel and control on the green and reduces skidding.
The responsive, pure feel and feedback of the face design translates to incredible accuracy and touch. In addition, each putter has a hand-rolled leading edge, ensuring that each stroke glides smoothly through the ball, even in the longer grass on the fringe.
There are three tour inspired designs which feature a high-toe profile which eliminates the tendency to raise the toe at address, causing putts to go left of the hole.
Further enhancing the setup, the David Glod Tour Proto putters feature a True Temper step-less steel shaft that provides a clean appearance at address and a firm, responsive feel. Choose from a silver-bead finish or black PVD finish on three models: Blade, Anser, and Half Mallet.
A lifetime warranty is offered as well as a 30-day play guarantee.
STX is acknowledged as being the golf industry’s foremost authority on insert face technology. Part of their USP (Unique Selling Proposition) is “Better Putting Through Chemistry”. Tests conducted by STX show even blindfolded golfers can truly feel the difference between a STX putter and any other putter.
The new, black and bold Pitch Black 4 Putter is the last putter model introduction from the distinguishing Pitch Black Series. What differentiates the Pitch Black 4 Putter from the other putters in the series is its putter head. It resembles a blade, but is the size of a small mallet. Most blades are harder to control due to their size, but the Pitch Black 4 is both forgiving and easy to align.
Each putter in the Pitch Black Series is exclusively designed for a particular putting stroke; the Pitch Black 4 is ideal for those golfers who have substantial arching throughout their stroke. Additional weight on the toe combined with a flared neck hosel provides more toe hang to optimize the rotation.
To elevate the center of gravity which promotes a forward roll, the Pitch Black 4 Putter features the signature STX Roll Pocket. This hallowed out portion of the head also produces a larger sweet spot for better forgiveness and less twisting at impact.
Every Pitch Black Putter features a brightly colored electric yellow, soft insert that optically jumps off the black head. This Soft Insert Technology is called “F.E.E.L.” – Friction Enhancing Elastomer Layer. This patented STX technology dramatically increases the coefficient of friction to put a greater amount of forward roll on the ball which starts your putts on line. The Soft Face Insert keeps the ball in contact with the putter longer to also provide superior directional control, decreased ball skid and reduced ball deformation.
The Pitch Black 1 is a blade putter. The Pitch Black 2 Putter was designed specifically to provide a face balanced solution to the golfer who prefers the putting characteristics of a traditionally styled perimeter weighted putter. The Pitch Black 3 is a mid-sized mallet style putter. The black, contemporarily shaped head on the Pitch Black 3 is spherical in design and features a precisely developed flange that drives the center of gravity backwards to maximize the MOI as well as upwards to promote a quicker roll. The distinguishing dark black finish on the putter head features a contrasting slight line for an outstanding visual set up.
MSRP: Pitch Black Series $149.99
David Edel’s Golf Fitting Technology – It’s all about AIM!
Based on imperfect visual aim by 99% of individuals, including Tour players, Edel Golf offers a process of carefully fitting each golfer one at a time. Edel has certified fitters throughout the United States. It took Edel just 30 minutes to fit me to a putter that found the hole consistently, after he diagnosed that I was aiming to the left. Most impressive to me was that I finally was able to convey what weight and feel worked well for me and see the results fast.
After the fitting process is complete, with over 30 million permutations available to get your putter fitted perfectly, you will own a truly custom putter ideal for your game. Most importantly, your confidence increases and putting statistics improve rapidly.
Edel Golf offers three unique designs that can be built to a golfer’s specific need: Basic, Variable Weight and Variable Loft. All Edel Golf putters are precisely milled from a block of 303 Stainless Steel – available in six head shapes (Columbia, Willamette, McKenzie, Rogue, Umpqua, Deschutes), and handcrafted using a CNC (Computer Numerically Controlled) vertical milling press.
Edel premium putters are precision milled instruments in all models and styles, whether a mallet or a blade, a center shaft or plumber’s neck. The putters are made from only the best quality materials in the world. Edel custom putters are currently in the hands of top professionals and serious golfers all over the world.
Cost per putter varies from $375 to $800 www.edelgolf.com
Now that you have the latest information on the best putters available today, there are no excuses to blame the equipment.
Practice keeping your head perfectly still and wait to hear the ball drop. Focus on distance and speed. Get the ball to the hole. Have fun, stay positive and enjoy putting!
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”, “How to Build Business Relationships through Golf” which is in the Top Ten Golf Business Book’s bestseller list. His latest book,” The Right Mind for Golf”, released last year, is now in its 4th printing.