2010 Buyer’s Guide Putters

Choosing the right putter means first looking at what type of putting stroke you have

Looking to drain a few more putts this year? We don't blame you; and deciding to buy a new flatstick this year isn't such a bad idea.

Golf Tips Legend Our picks for new technologies, hot trends and equipment standouts.

The trend with putters this year is, well, there isn't one! Puttermakers are now offering so many different styles, shapes, materials, metals, etc. to accommodate literally every type of golfer. Speaking of which, the best way to go about buying a new putter is to look at what type of putter you are. Do you miss on the short side? Try a heavier one. Have trouble aiming? Consider a mallet with an aggressive alignment aid. Check your stroke, too, and see if the putter's weighting best matches how you swing the putter. Typically, face-balanced models are good for straight-back-and-through strokes, and non-face-balanced models are good for arcing strokes.

Check out all the putter goodness we've put together in 2010. And don't forget to get fit.

Adams a7 Select Key Feature: A stainless-steel head with a milled face and a clear, yellow, urethane face insert for improved feel and perimeter weighting. What We Like: They have a resounding feel. And dare we say, we like the splash of yellow color, both in the putterface and the grip. We like the mallet model, in particular. Who It's For: Fans of Adams equipment who also like the benefits of having a soft insert for a more muted feel. Specs: There are four models: two Anser style, one blade and one mallet. adamsgolf.com | $69

Bettinardi BB32 Key Feature: A modern mallet with a classic pear-shaped profile, plus a spud neck with a double-bend shaft. What We Like: The flange of this well-made putter is designed to achieve maximum perimeter weighting. Who It's For: Golfers appreciating quality craftsmanship who also want a single sight line for alignment. Specs: Part of the 2010 BB Series, which also includes four blades. Each is plated with a rich-looking, durable black nickel finish. This model is 35 inches long and weighs 345 grams. bettinardigolf.com | $265

Cleveland Classic BRZ Key Feature: The copper-infused face insert makes for a soft, responsive feel. What We Like: The heel-toe weighting on this stainless-steel model limits twisting on off-center hits, so all putts across the face roll straight. We love the coppery-bronze finish! Who It's For: Golfers who want a classic-shaped, value putter that feels awesome. It comes with an oil-treated cloth that prevents oxidation. Specs: Four models are offered in this series, each finished in bronze PVD to minimize glare. clevelandgolf.com | $89

Cleveland T-Frame Key Feature: More than 70 grams of weight was redistributed to the rear of this high-MOI model, which increases forgiveness on off-center hits. What We Like: It incorporates a dominant "T" feature as you look down on it, which facilitates proper alignment. It's also a cinch to swing back and through, not to mention its buttersoft feel. Who It's For: Players seeking a steel mallet who need help lining up putts. Specs: Offered with three lie-angle options (68_¡, 70_¡ and 72_¡) in a glare-reducing satin finish. clevelandgolf.com | $ 119 Delacruz Sweet Slot Key Feature: The "Sweet Slot" located behind the face provides immediate auditory feedback, as well as softens the impact for a great feel. Other features include a CNC-milled micro-groove face and a black finish that's perhaps the most durable ever made. What We Like: Amazing feel and craftsmanship. The shaft over the hosel design is pretty sweet. Who It's For: Discriminating golfers who want super sound and feel. Specs: Milled cavity-back or blade designs in black or S/S finishes. dgd.com | $299-$325 Edel Basic Colombia Key Feature: Precisely milled from a block of 303 stainless steel, it's machined to different thicknesses to accommodate different head weights determined by the fitting process. What We Like: You may not have heard of this manufacturer yet, but Edel's putters are of the highest quality. Who It's For: If you go through Edel's intricate three-step fitting process, the company can customize this putter exactly to your stroke and tendencies. Specs: Part of the six-head Basic Series, each with all sorts of custom options. edelgolf.com | $375

Heavy Putter Q2-MT Mid-Weight Key Feature: This special Tour-edition model has a balance point 75 percent higher than a conventional putter's, translating to more consistent release through impact. What We Like: The plumber's neck hosel with a full shaft offset frames the ball nicely, while the glossy graphite finish adds elegance. Who It's For: Pendulum strokers wanting to stifle wrist use. Specs: This toe-droop blade's putterhead weighs 400 grams. heavyputter.com | $ 169 Louis Ville STIMP MAX-O Key Feature: Beautifully hand-crafted out of real walnut wood! The Stimp MAX-O is actually more than just a showpiece; it's a darn good putter, weighing 400 grams for a solid, pure feel. What We Like: It's gorgeous, but it's also really consistent. We like the sound and feel, and were surprised at how easy it is to control distances. Who It's For: Golfers who appreciate natural materials and who want a work of art in their golf bag. Specs: Also available in a center-shafted version. louisvillegolf.com | $149 Never Compromise NCX-Ray Key Feature: Suspended Face Technology, a dual-density insert with isolated ribs embedded in a softer composite provide dampening and responsiveness, and improve directional dispersion. What We Like: Ball speed is constant–no matter where you strike it on the face–because 25 percent of the head weight is at the putter's extremities. Who It's For: All player types. Specs: Available in four models, each with a gray-and-red alignment feature. nevercompromise.com | $149

Face Tecture!

A lot of putters have "milled faces," but what does that really mean? A milled face is accomplished by using a CNC-milling machine that cuts the face to an extremely tight tolerance and evenly across the face. Unlike casting, or even forging, milling tends to leave a textured (but perfectly flat) surface, which then also helps with the gripping qualities of the clubface.

As for insert technology, they actually serve in more ways than one. The first is the most obvious, since inserts using polymer, urethane and even softer metals like copper or bronze all lend a softer, more muted feel. (Harder metals also can be used to add a firmer feel.) Second, most inserts are lighter than the metal they replace, meaning they aid in adding perimeter weighting across the putterface for more forgiveness and push the CG back farther toward the back of the putter for a higher MOI (resistance to twisting). And finally, some inserts are made to help reduce surface contact with the ball, helping to ensure a faster end-over-end roll. Nike IC Series 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. Who It's For: Golfers who struggle to retain an image of their target line while standing over the ball. Specs: Seven models available; the head and face are made from aluminum. nikegolf.com | $ 159 Nike Method Key Feature: Combines steel, polymer and low-durometer polymetal groove technology on the milled-steel face. What We Like: Several Tour pros put this in play and instantly catapulted to victory or came real close. That must mean it's pretty darn good, and Tom Stites knows exactly what he's doing. distances. Who It's For:Those who don't mind looking at an unusual face pattern, especially when it's backed up by so much success on Tour. Specs: Offered in four blades and one mallet model. nikegolf.com | $249 Odyssey Black Series Tour Dsgn Key Feature:A urethane dampening layer is wedged between the carbon-steel head and tungsten flange. The result is a lower, deeper CG and a quicker, truer roll. What We Like: Its aesthetics include a squared-off, heel/toe-weighted blade with a crank-neck hosel and full-shaft offset, milled face and glare-free finish. What a smooth feeling... Who It's For: If you want a balanced stroke, this is for you: Its precision weighting is based on putter length. Specs: Part of a four-blade series. odysseygolf.com | $269

Odyssey White Ice 2-Ball V-Line Key Feature: An extended mallet that features the 2-Ball alignment system, a double-bend shaft and full-shaft offset. What We Like: The multilayer insert offers enhanced sound, responsiveness and consistency. And how easy it is to align. It's almost like cheating. Who It's For: Golfers who like the 2-Ball alignment system and want to customize the putter's weight to 350, 360 or 370 grams. Specs: Part of the six-putter White Ice Series, it bears a dark nickel finish and comes in three lengths. odysseygolf.com | $169 Ping iN 1__ã2 Wack-E Key Feature: To achieve a high MOI, the center body cutout allows weight to be redistributed to the perimeter for increased stability. What We Like: The first-of-its-kind nano-nickel-plated, lightweight polymer face insert produces a solid sound and firm feel. We also love the balanced feel this putter has during the stroke. Who It's For: Anyone seeking a PING putter with an alignment feature. Specs: There are 10 models in the iN Series; many of the head shapes are company staples. pinggolf.com | $170 Ping iWi Craz-E Key Feature: A machined stainless-steel face insert is encased in an elastomer backing, to perform like steel but with a soft feel. What We Like: You can customize the weighting to your desired feel, using optional tungsten weights. Who It's For: PING putter fans who want the ability to dial in the putter for different green speeds. Specs: Comes in six popular head shapes, each standard with two 12-gram steel sole weights. (Weight kit is an additional $70.) pinggolf.com | $220

Rife Deep Blue Key Feature: Weight's deep in the rear corner, for stability and a high MOI. It's complemented by a fully milled 6061 anodized-aluminum face insert. What We Like: The __-inch-thick face insert yields a solid feel and impact sound, yet the putter feels light. Great if you want better distance control. Who It's For: Golfers seeking easy alignment on a light-feeling putter with heavier mass that guards against deceleration on the followthrough. Specs: Swing weight is F2, but feels like only a D7. rifeputter.com | $ 169 STX ProFIT 6 Key Feature: A cool, stylish mallet design with three face-insert options: black/soft, red/medium, green/firm. What We Like: Three-piece insert system helps golfers adjust to different putting surfaces, green speeds, even golf balls without having to switch putters. The adjustable weighting is cool. Who It's For: Those who really want to fine-tune their putting and who like the feel of insert technology. Specs: There also are a handful of blade styles to choose from, sporting the same insert goodness. stxputters.com | $199 Seemore iN 1mSeries DB4 Key Feature: The alignment system sits on top of the hosel, as opposed to the original that's on the putter's top heel section. What We Like: The heel-shafted plumber's neck visually deflects the red dot and white lines of the alignment system away from the ball, which helps eliminate optical distraction. Who It's For: Anyone seeking a nice putter with a subtle and effective alignment system. Specs: A classic blade with an offset hosel, in a beautiful platinum finish. seemore.com | $295-325

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