These New Putters are Designed to Lower Your Scores
By: Dr. Barry Lotz
With our current economy, it is now more important than ever to spend your dollars wisely. Before you go out and buy the “latest and greatest”, consult a golf professional who is a skilled teacher and knowledgeable fitter. You will get the best advice in matching up the proper technique with the correct equipment specifications so that you get real results from the dollars you spend.
More than 9 out of 10 players do NOT aim where they think they’re aiming and most are off by enough to miss even short putts.
Why are most players off with their aim? There is a built in skew or parallax in human vision caused by standing “side on” to the target as required by the rules of golf. Even with abundant practice with emphasis on perfect mechanics most players will never reach the next level of performance. That type of practice will not make up for the built in human visual inadequacies associated with a side on view of the target. In other words honing a great stroke is just a waste of time if you’re not aiming at the target.
There is somewhat of a push-pull effect taking place in putter design today. It appears that size does matter and MOI (moment of inertia), weight (head or shaft or both) and alignment are the buzz words. What is and continues to be prevalent in putters are unconventional designs such as the Balero, the use of weighting and inserts.
The latest designs contain all three –MOI, weighting and alignment.
More putters include adjustable weights which can be changed, depending on factors such as green speed. The weights are also designed to match swing weight precisely with different shaft lengths and to affect the toe-hang of the putter (how the putter rotates open and closed during the stroke).
TaylorMade Balero Putter
Following TMAG’s great success with their Spider and Itsy Bitsy Spider putter line, now comes the latest iteration of the series – the Balero. Featuring both a new visual direction and an improved alignment system—wings that echo the diameter of the cup, and a flange with a ball-sized cutout.
The Balero also uses a slightly modified AGSI+ grooved face insert as well as a high MOI design similar to the original Rossa Spider. It appears that TaylorMade potentially has another hit on its hands, as the new alignment system clearly is an improvement over the original Spider.
Though release date and pricing are not set, you can assume that the Balero will be sold for a similar price to that of the Spider.
Also new from Titleist –the Scotty Cameron Studio Select Kombi putter, a high performance line of mallet putters.
The Studio Select Kombi line is available in standard, mid and long length models – Kombi (33”, 34”, 35”), Kombi Mid (43”) and Kombi Long (50”). Each Kombi is precision milled from lightweight 6061 Aircraft Aluminum and features Studio Select weighting technology. Kombi putters incorporate a thick face and three-point weighting, that is, weights in the heel, toe and back. The result is unmatched solid feel and sound in a mallet putter. The combination of the three-point weighting technology and a deep CG produce a balanced putter that is stable throughout the stroke for forgiveness and great roll.
The putter is aesthetically pleasing, has a great set-up, and the ball comes off the face with an exceptionally good feel.
The Standard Kombi putter comes with circular weights in the heel and toe that allow for a variety of length and weight combinations to fit any putting stroke or style. This flexibility makes it easy for golfers to choose a Kombi putter with the length and weight they require. On the Kombi Mid and Long putters, the rear circular weight is replaced with a central bar weight to create the optimum head weight and balance for the longer lengths.
All Kombi putters feature a clean, double-bend stepless shaft with a full shaft of offset that provides an unobstructed look at address, while T-shaped, red ink sight lines provide precise alignment references on the topline and body. A misted topline with a sight line along the rear edge reduces visual thickness and makes face alignment easy. The Kombi offers a player-preferred shape and body size that flows into the ground from topline to rear.
Merlin PutterThe inventor of this truly useful putter, Pat Simmons, is also the inventor of the famous Alien Wedge and Tiger Shark utility wood. His designs are unique and more importantly, they work!
I am sure, that like many golfers, you cannot figure out why, when you aim right of the cup, it goes left or even further right. This putter works wonders for your alignment and aim.
The Merlin is probably the best putter available today to handle a golfer’s parallax issue. The Merlin allows you to correct for this visual inadequacy and aim the putter consistently without having to change your perception of where the target is located.
The Merlin has a heavy black center line that is perpendicular to the face, as do most putters. (When using a perpendicular line 9 out of 10 players did not line up where they thought they were aiming).
Available in 34”, 35” & 36” in both left and right hand models.
In honor of PING’s 50th anniversary and in acknowledgement of three classic PING putter modelsfrom the current Karsten Series, the Anser, B60 and Zing that were introduced last year, these three are now available in manganese bronze. It’s been 10 years since the last manganese bronze putters were produced at PING.
The Anser, B60 and Zing have continued to be part of PING’s line throughout the years in various technologies.
The putters will feature the 50th anniversary logo with a black/gold color scheme including the grip and shaft band. Among the new features is a cavity insert which improves feel.
Suffice to say, volumes have been written as to the popularity and playability of these classic putters.
Available April 15, 2009
MSRP: $125.00 www.pinggolf.com
SeeMore SB1 Mallet The strikingly beautiful new SB1 mallet has been designed to offer an improved game option to the player looking at the new generation of large, face balanced, and high MOI mallets with general alignment features from front to back, such as the 2-Ball category of putters. It is the perfect combination of form and function and has created quite a buzz on tour.
The SB1 offers all the benefits of these large oversize mallets with the added precision alignment benefits of SeeMore RifleScope Technology (RST). Tour devotees of the SeeMore brand include Zach Johnson, Briny Baird, Vaughan Taylor and of course, the late Payne Stewart.
The body of the SB1 putter is 100% CNC milled from aircraft grade 6061 aluminum. It is anodized with a black satin finish to provide a perfect contrast with the RST and with the white alignment line from front to back.
The shaft is bored-in to the head very near center, which results in the SB1 being face balanced. It is SeeMore’s only face balanced mallet.
Each SB1 putter also incorporates a milled internal hosel, providing an extra internal connection between the shaft and head, which enhances feel and allows the putter to be lie-adjusted later on should the player wish to modify this important specification.
MSRP: $225.00 – Standard www.seemore.com
Rife’s Barbados Tour MalletRife continues their ever increasing putter market share in large part thanks to its tour success in the bags of players like Justin Rose, Andres Romero and JB Holmes. The Barbados has been one of the company’s most popular models.
This year the Barbados has undergone a facelift and then some. This CNC milled 304 stainless steel putter will have the Rife Tour Black finish.Then polishing the grooves and sole will be done to give it a two toned look on the face.
Alignment, set up and feel make the Barbados an excellent putter that performs admirably. Its patented feature and USP (Unique Selling Proposition) is its RollGroove Technology
(only available on RIFE putters), launches the ball into the air with a slight forward rotation instead of backspin. This eliminates the skipping and skidding created by traditional putters, creating a more consistent and accurate roll on every stroke.
The Barbados, whose head weight is 345 grams, comes with a Winn custom AVS grip, an extruded tube stepless steel shaft, and a head cover with magnetic clasps.
MSRP: $160.00 www.rifeputters.com
Coutour Golf’s “Arrow”The Arrow Putter, created by Todd Sones, one of the better putting coaches and leading proponents of custom putter fitting, is precision CNC milled from one piece of high grade 6016 aluminum. The weights in the toe, heel and tail are carbide, while the face insert is aerospace titanium.
The positioning of the carbide weights in the toe, heel and tail give the Arrow an incredibly high MOI rating, while the titanium face gives the impact a firm, yet soft feel.
The use of an “arrow” as a top line makes it very simple for both a player to align precisely and also allows a teacher to see that alignment. Plumber neck, gooseneck and mallet style putters are available.
The putter has a great feel to it and the alignment feature works well, especially for set-up to the ball.
MSRP: $299 www.coutourgolf.comFisher Talon TS-3H 4 speed putter
The Talon Tour Series (TS) are the World’s first 4 speed putters offering 4-patented Kevflex polymer inserts for custom feel and speed control. Now the user is able to dial in their feel and speed control based on playing conditions or personal preference. The 4 inserts are color coded indicating the hardness and speed of the insert.
The Talon TS-RFP putter is designed with increased head weights and a mid-sized putter grip to help stabilize the putting stroke. The TS-3H is face balanced with 3.5 degrees of loft, 71-degree lie angle.
The heavier head weight and larger grip both contribute to a better putting stroke by quieting the smaller muscles in the hands and wrist and engaging the larger muscles of the arms and shoulders, creating a more repeatable, smooth pendulum stroke.
The putter is finished with a rich black PVD coating and includes a zippered Insert Plate Kit, tool, and deluxe head cover.
MSRP: $249.95 and is available in either heel or center shaft.
Fisher Golf offers 3 Talon models, as well as more traditional blades and mallets utilizing the 4-speed RFP concept.
Boccieri Golf Mid-Weight Putter Series
The sleek and sophisticated Zing-style K4 (shown) is one of five models in the Mid-Weight Series, which is composed of two mallets and three blades. The K4 has a rich matte black finish and slimming ornamental grooves along the sloping rear flange. The Heavy Putter Mid-Weight models are offered in a black “PVD” or silver satin finish. The standard loft is three degrees.
The new Mid-Weight putters weigh a total of 750 grams, inclusive of head, grip and shaft—an average of 150 grams lighter than previous models, but still considerably heavier than conventional putters.
The Mid-Weight putters follow the original Heavy Putter models (both satin and matte) and last year’s Heavy Putter Deep Face series, all of which averaged around 900 grams of total weight. The 750-gram Mid-Weight putters, therefore, represent a nearly 20 percent weight reduction compared to the earlier models (yet still 250+ grams heavier than conventional putters).
YES! Golf Interchangeable Hosel Putters
YES! Golf is the first company to introduce two putters with an interchangeable screw-in hosel system. Golfers will be able to custom fit their putter based on personal preference of the look and style of the hosel.
The interchangeable hosel putters, Tracy III Plus and Lizzy Plus, are precision CNC milled and can accommodate one of four hosel options designed to improve the look and dynamic balance of the putter.
The plumber neck hosel is standard in the Tracy III Plus and the Lizzy Plus. Three other hosel options are sold separately — slant neck, z-bend and pronounced heel-toe hang. The suggested retail for each hosel option is $100.
Tracy III Plus:
This blade putter is designed after the Tracy putter, one of YES! Golf’s most popular putters introduced since the company’s inception. The Tracy III Plus head and accompanying hosels are made with CNC milled 303 forged stainless steel precision parts for incredible feel with a head weight of 350 grams that includes the hosel.
The putter has a single sight alignment line in the cavity of the putter head. It also has a loft of 2.5 degrees (2 degrees flat or upright available) and lie of 72 degrees with length options of 32-37 inches.
This mallet-style putter head and hosels are made of CNC milled 303 forged stainless steel with a head weight of 350 grams including the hosel. The back cavity has the look of a blade with an extended cavity to create a mallet design and feel. It features a single sight alignment in the back cavity. The putter has a loft of 2.5 degrees with length options of 32-37 inches.
Once again and worth repeating, there is one guiding rule regarding a putter – get yourself custom fitted! This fact cannot be over emphasized if you really are serious about lowering your putts per round.
In the meantime, visit your local golf retailer and see if these putters are what you have been looking for.
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”, is to be released in April 2009.