2008 Putter Buyer’s Guide

Known as the most interesting and often the most colorful club in the bag, putters are more unique than ever. Want to try a new shape? A new material? There?s something new for everyone.

2008 Putter Buyer's GuideIf you're in the mood for a new flatstick, this is a good year to find one—'08 brings forth a slew of new shapes, sizes and materials that are visually appealing, feel great and are often adjustable for your specific needs. Speaking of which, whether it's mallet, blade, movable weights or specific inserts that you're looking for, there's a putter for you. The question really shouldn't be what type of putter do you want, but rather what kind of putter are you? The best way to learn what putter is going to work best for you is to start by simply analyzing what kind of stroke you have. If you arc a lot, a heel-toe blade is the best choice. If you putt with less opening and closing of the putterface, try a mallet. If you tend to come up short on a lot of putts, try a heavier-weighted model. Finally, if you want to concentrate on putting a better roll on the ball, try a putter with an insert or a textured putterface. Both are designed to impart a truer, faster roll. Then again, if you're a player who wants all the above, there's a collection of adjustable putters in '08 that are right up your alley.

Understanding Our Charts Key Features: What distinguishes this putter from the rest. What We Like: We have our preferences, too. Basically, what impressed us in our review. Who It's For: The type of player putter was made for. Putterhead: The material used for head construction. Putterface: Indicates the material used for the strike area. Weight: There are three general categories: heavy, standard or adjustable. Designs: Indicates the putter's general shape, as well as the other models available. Adams DiXX Blue

Key Feature: The detachable computer terminal provides immediate feedback on swing path, impact position, tempo, face angle and a swing's "speed balance." What We Like: The DiXX told us where we needed to improve immediately after we made a stroke. That's invaluable. The "Blue" is a much cheaper version of last year's version. Who It's For: Although it's a little pricey, it's great for people who don't have access to high-tech putting studios. Putterhead: Aluminum " Putterface: Same Weight: Std. " Designs: Heel-shafted, face-balanced mallet with a detachable computer adamsgolf.com | $399 Cleveland VP Series

Key Feature: Using Dual Axis Alignment, the VP series ensures the golfer that he's set up directly over the ball and the face is aligned properly. What We Like:When aligned perfectly, the alignment lines fall into place, making it easy to get in the right place and make a confident stroke. Also, the three lie options is a huge plus in our book. Who It's For: Everyone, especially those who want to make sure they have a good, sound setup position. Putterhead: Steel " Putterface: Elastomer Weight: Standard " Designs: VP1, VP2 blade; VP5 mallet clevelandgolf.com | $109-$129 Cleveland VP Milled Series

Key Feature: Much like the VP Series that uses Dual Axis Alignment, the VP Milled has the same technology but in a precision-milled form. What We Like: The milled design is generally preferred by better players who want the utmost in feel, consistency and weight. The low price tag (for a milled putter) is awesome; so too is the choice between three different head designs and three different lie configurations. Who It's For: Although better players will love them, these putters perform well for everyone. Putterhead: Carbon steel " Putterface: Same Weight: Standard " Designs: VP1, VP2 blade; VP5 mallet clevelandgolf.com | $149 Dead On Series III

Key Feature: The dual material (stainless steel and aluminum) construction. Not only does it provide an optical alignment aid, but it helps increase the Dead On's MOI. What We Like: Expertly balanced mallet that's hard to swing off line. Also, the club's Rear Wing features easy-to-align arrows. Who It's For: Players who dig space age putterheads and are looking for a high MOI offering that's perfectly weighted. Putterhead: 17-4 Stainless steel and aircraft grade aluminum " Putterface: Stainless steel Weight: Std. " Designs: Series III—Center Shafted Mallet, Offset Shaft elitesp.com | $369 F2 Hamilton

Key Feature: Its MicroDome face insert ensures players will make better contact and hit straighter putts. Its perimeter back weighting increases the putter's sweet spot and keeps mis-hits online and rolling the right distance. What We Like: The adjustable heel and toe weights make it easy to adapt to different green speeds. Comes in two different models. Who It's For: Players who like the latest face and weighting technology. Putterhead: 17-4 Stainless Steel " Putterface: Proprietary Polymer " Weight: Adj. " Designs: HM1—Offset-style hosel blade; HM4—Offset-style hosel mallet, heel-shafted. f2golf.com | $129 Fisher Talon Tour Series

Key Feature: The TS-1 face insert features different contact materials on each of its four sides, from extra-soft to extra-firm, allowing the user to adapt to different green conditions. What We Like: The TS-2 and TS-3 models feature reversible inserts, but are no less prone to twisting on off-center hits. Who It's For: Golfers who like the stability provided by the high-MOI design, and adjustable weighting using three different metals. Putterhead: Stainless Steel (milled) Putterface: Kevflex polymer " Weight: Adj. Designs: TS-1, TS-2, TS-3—Heel-shafted, face-balanced mallet (available LH) fishergolf.com | $179

Gel Golf Hurrion Signature Series

Key Feature:Gel Golf's Groove Technology insert eliminates backspin and skid, so the golf ball gets on line quickly. What We Like: Dr. Paul Hurrion, a noted biomechanic and putting coach developed his Signature Series over the past 10 years and he's delivered four unique models. Who It's For: There are a number of options; anyone who wants to putt better can find one. Putterhead: Stainless Steel " Putterface: Same " Weight: Standard " Designs: Rego (Center Shafted Mallet), Sedo (Heel-Shafted Mallet); Scindo (Center-Shafted Blade), Sedo II (Heel-Shafted Blade) clevelandgolf.com | $165 Heavy Putter DF Series

Key Feature: Standing for "Deep Face," the new DF Series weighs in at a total of 900 grams, which makes it a lot easier to put a smooth stroke on the golf ball. What We Like: The deep-faced design is a good one, but so too is the unique face texture that imparts a quick roll. Who It's For: Those of you who have the yips, use your hands too much and/or want to groove a smooth, silky stroke. Putterhead: Stainless steel " Putterface: Same Weight: Heavy! " Designs: C2-DF Blade; D1-DF, D3-DF Camelback; E1-DF, E3-DF mallet; F3-DF Stealth, G3-DF Rake heavyputter.com | $169 MacGregor DCT

Key Feature: Bobby Grace designed the DCT ("Distance Control Technology") series with mis-hits in mind. By incorporating a DCT face insert, distance lost on off-center ball contact is significantly minimized. What We Like: The Series features classically shaped flatsticks with modern technology. Who It's For: Players who struggle to make solid contact and want a traditionally shaped blade to help hole more putts. Putterhead: Stainless Steel " Putterface: Same (with DCT insert) " Weight: Std. Designs: Sunset, Palma Ceia, Captiva, Bellaire, Sanabel, Saratoga, Lakewood macgregorgolf.com | $129 Macro Golf Sq Stroke Mallet

Key Feature: A 14-inch BlackVelvet forward onset MACRO_â_¨ Grip that's long, wide and flat. Despite asking you to alter your normal putting grip (and putt with your dominant hand), we think players will gravitate to the unique design. What We Like: The MACRO grip, of course. It was engineered to balance the putterhead. Who It's For: Golfers who have a hard time keeping the face square through the stroke. (And like to putt with their dominant hand.) Putterhead: Stainless steel " Putterface: Same, plus a CNC milled aluminum insert Weight: Standard " Designs: Blade; Square Stroke Mallet macrogolf.com | $159 Mizuno Bettinardi C Series

Key Feature: Bob Bettinardi's patented Honeycomb face encourages consistent ball-striking, not to mention each model comes with four degrees of loft and a 71-degree lie angle. What We Like: It's hard to beat Bettinardi's handiwork. It's so well made, we can't decide if we want to play with it or frame it. Who It's For: Players who dig traditional head shapes over unorthodox looks—a distinct advantage for purists. Putterhead: 11L17 Carbon Steel (milled) Putterface: Same " Weight: Std. " Designs: C-01, C-02, C-03, C-04—Heel-shafted, heel-toe-weighted blade (C-03 available LH) mizunousa.com | $229 Mizuno Black Carbon Series

Key Feature: Its Feel Impact Technology Face_â_ã_ (F.I.T. Face). The milled face reduces the impact area to deliver an incredibly soft feel. What We Like: Bob Bettinardi just keeps pumping out really beautiful putters that look and feel great. We're techies, so we love how Bettinardi made a soft "insert-less" putter. Who It's For: Golfers looking for a soft insert feel without the insert. Bettinardi used a milled face with a punch pattern on the carbon-steel head. It's also super easy to align. Putterhead: Carbon steel " Putterface: Same Weight: Std. " Designs: BC1, BC2—Blade; BC3—Mallet mizunousa.com | $250

Never Compromise GM2 Exchange

Key Feature: The option to alter the headweight by up to 50 grams, a big advantage, especially when playing on different green speeds. What We Like: The clean lines, butter-soft aluminum-infused weave face insert and, of course, the adjustable weights. Who It's For: Adjustable weight addicts. Putterhead: Aluminum (milled) " Putterface: Same " Weight: Adj. " Designs: Exchange 1—Heel-shafted mallet; Ex. 2—Center-shafted mallet (available LH); Ex. 3—Center-shafted mallet/blade fusion; Ex. 4—Heel-shafted blade; Ex. 5—Heel-shafted blade (available LH) exchangeputters.com | $229 Never Compromise Milled Series

Key Feature: A tungsten sole weight that not only increases its MOI, but centers the sweet spot directly in front of the sight line. What We Like: A lot of options and a lot of feel make for a classic flatstick. Who It's For: Golfers who crave high-MOI performance, plus the feel of a pure carbon-steel putter. Tinkerers who like to move weights Putterhead: Carbon steel (milled) " Putterface: Same " Weight: Adjustable " Designs: Milled Series 1, 2, 3, 5, 6, 7—Heel-shafted heel-toe blade; Milled Series 4—Heel-shafted half-mallet (available LH) nevercompromise.com | $255 Nike IC 20-20

Key Feature: Its color scheme and alignment aid. The grip, shaft and clubhead are painted green to "suppress visual noise," while the alignment aid and putter edge are white, making it easier to find and retain your line. What We Like:The amount of care that went into developing an optically engineered putter. It eliminates unnecessary "optical noise." Who It's For: Golfers who struggle retaining an image of their target line while over the ball. Putterhead: Aluminum " Putterface: Same Weight: Std. " Designs: 20-10, 20-10A—Blade; 20-15, 20-15A—Mid Mallet; 20-20—Large Mallet nikegolf.com | $140 Odyssey BS-i

Key Feature: A urethane-dampening layer sandwiched between tungsten and stainless steel layers that cuts down on vibration, as well as a multi-layer Tour insert that improves feel. What We Like: The nickel-plated finish gives it an extra touch of class. The addition of the insert provides softer feel than previous models. Who It's For: Anyone who wants a traditional-looking putter with technological advantages that provide improved feel. Putterhead: Steel " Putterface: Urethane Weight: Std. " Designs: 1—Heel-shafted, heel-toe-balanced blade (available LH); 7—Face-balanced mallet; 9—Heel-shafted blade. odysseygolf.com | $299 Odyssey Sabertooth

Key Feature: A radical dual fang headshape that moves weight to the putterhead's perimeter, thus ramping up its MOI. It may look crazy, but it works like a dream. What We Like: How Odyssey constructed a "2 in 1" putter. The Sabertooth's fangs increase the MOI and make for a nifty alignment aid. Not to mention, it'll help you scoop your ball up. Who It's For: Players who prefer an unorthodox shape in their flatstick, like the soft feel of an insert and crave a balanced, high MOI mallet. Putterhead: Stainless steel " Putterface: Multi-layer White Hot XG insert " Weight: Std. Designs: Heel-shafted mallet odysseygolf.com | $170 Ping i-Series

Key Feature:A thick urethane insert and black, white and orange alignment aids make the i-Series one of the most visually appealing and soft-feeling offerings from PING. What We Like: The lineup includes almost every putter style PING has ever offered: Anser, Zing, B60, Craz-E—they're all here. Who It's For:Players who love the PING lineup and the soft feel of an insert. Some models feature raised alignment aids for better optics. Putterhead: Stainless steel " Putterface: Urethane insert " Weight: Std. " Designs: 1__ã2 Craz-E, 1__ã2 Craz-E B, 1__ã2 Craz-E L, 1__ã2 Moon, Anser, Anser 4, B60, Craz-E, Piper H, Zing pinggolf.com | $160

Ping Karsten Series

Key Feature: An elastomer insert in the cavity that helped the PING engineers move weight to the perimeter of the clubhead for a higher moment of inertia. What We Like: They've retained a stainless steel clubface and an insert (located in the club's cavity). Who It's For: Players who like a high MOI putter, but the responsiveness of stainless steel. Fans of classic putter design. Putterhead: Stainless steel " Putterface: Same Weight: Std. " Designs: Anser, Anser 2, Zing—Blade; C67—Mid-Mallet; B60, Craz-E, Piper—Mallet pinggolf.com | $120 Rife Two-Bar Hybrid

Key Feature: Two bars for enhanced aim, adjustable speed weighting for a custom feel and Rife's RollGroove Technology that's designed to provide a consistent, no-skid roll. What We Like:Rife blended their two highly popular putters (Two-Bar and Barbados) into a unique hybrid putter. Who It's For: Golfers who like a putter to fit them to a "T." Not only can you adjust the Two-Bar Hybrid's weight, you can tweak its lie angle via Rife's LieAline Fitting System. Putterhead: 431 Stainless Steel " Putterface: 6061 CNC milled anodized aluminum " Weight: Adj. " Designs: Heel-shafted mallet rifeputters.com | $199 Sizemore XM

Key Feature: Interchangeable alignment aids (both parallel and perpendicular optical alignments) so golfers can choose the one that best fits his or her eye. What We Like: Bruce Sizemore not only blended materials (aluminum and copper) but gave us alignment aids we can tinker with. We're also suckers for the IND-X cross-milled face finish. Who It's For: Golfers who dig adjustability; mallet lovers who want the perfect alignment aid. Putterhead: 6061 Aluminum " Putterface: Aluminum and copper " Weight: Adj. Designs: XM-1—Heel-shafted mallet; XM-2—Center-shafted mallet. sizemoregolf.com | $349 Taylormade Rossa Spider

Key Feature: Its so-called "wings," in which weight cartridges can be added and subtracted, giving it a super-high MOI. What We Like: This might have the best balance of any putter we've ever tried. It's almost impossible to make a bad stroke. It sounds and feels great at impact, too. Who It's For: Players searching for a high-MOI putter with fantastic balance and who don't mind an "out of the box" design. When we tested it, it felt like it was on a track. Putterhead: Steel wire-frame; aluminum core " Putterface: Polymer " Weight: Adj. Designs: Heel-shafted mallet taylormadegolf.com | $180 Taylormade Rossa Classic

Key Feature: Its Anti-skid Groove System Insert (AGSI+). With 14 tightly packed grooves, less backspin is produced at impact. What We Like: The Rossa's lineup doesn't just improve the way you roll the ball, but their classy looks make them a joy to play with. Who It's For: Golfers who prefer traditionally shaped putters with modern insert technology; players looking for a smooth roll. Putterhead: 304 Stainless Steel " Putterface: Titanium (milled) " Weight: Std. " Designs: Daytona 1, Siena 4, Modena 8, Imola 8—Heel-Shafted, heel-toe blade; Monte Carlo 7—Center-shafted, face-balanced mallet taylormadegolf.com | $119 Tour Edge GeoMax

Key Feature: The GeoMax putters feature a hollow-head design that moves weight to the outer edges of the club for a high MOI and deep CG. What We Like: The "T-shaped" crown that makes lining up long and short putts a breeze. We're also partial to the CNC milled T6 aluminum face; they help the ball roll off the face. Who It's For: Those who like the benefits of a high MOI putter and a clean (mostly) non-wacky head shape. Putterhead: 403 Stainless Steel " Putterface: CNC Milled Aluminum " Weight: Std. Designs: 01, 03—Blade; 02, 04, 05, 06, 07—Mallet touredge.com | $69

Titleist Cameron Studio Select

Key Feature: Already synonymous with the finest in putter craftsmanship, Scotty Cameron's four new Newport shapes feature fixed, stainless-steel heel and toe weights that are calibrated to match putters of various lengths (33, 34 and 35 inches). What We Like: A precision-milled stainless-steel body, bold red graphics and what is now a popular part of every Scotty Cameron putter, a red grip. Who It's For: Traditionalists, Cameron-philes. Putterhead: Stainless steel " Putterface: Same Weight: Std. " Designs: Four Newport models are available. scottycameron.com | $299 Yes! Valerie

Key Feature: Yes' C-Grooves (found on all the company's putters) feature a 20-degree upward slant of the C-Groove's concentric edges that grip the ball and promote an end-over-end roll. What We Like: The putter's C-Groove technology, bevy of blade and mallet models, and clean design. Who It's For: People who struggle getting a good roll on the ball; those who prefer a more simplified look to the recent deluge of wacky looking high-MOI offerings. Putterhead: Stainless Steel (Cast) Putterface: Stainless Steel (Milled) Weight: Std. " Designs: Multiple styles yesgolf.com | $190

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