2011 Buyer’s Guide Putters

Find the flatstick that works for you

Knock it stiff, then knock it in. Sounds easy, but it's not. Find the flatstick that will make it easier for you.

The fastest way to lower your handicap is to shave strokes on the green. Everybody knows that, so why do so few people put in the time on the practice green? For one thing, it's a lot more fun to bust drives that stand over three-footers all day long. For another thing, it's just so much work. We understand, but if you want to get better, you've got to start knocking in some of those little white pebbles.

To make it fun, you have to roll the right putter, and we guarantee you'll find at least one in the following pages. Keep in mind style (blade, mallet), hosel shape, materials and, of course, price. There are many premium offerings and a few steals, too.

Golf Tips Legend

Our picks for new technologies, hot trends and equipment standouts. s = steel g = graphite

Adams a7 Select

Great Buy!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 Studio Stock

Editors' PickKey Feature: The company's patented "Honeycomb" face pattern, which is produced from milled carbon steel. What We Like: How classy the line looks. The Borealis Black finish is top-notch. Who It's For: Golfers who don't mind paying a premium for a quality flatstick. It's hard to beat Bob Bettinardi's craftsmanship; that's why you'll pay a premium for it. Specs: Precision milled from soft carbon steel. Four models available. SS8 is the only left- handed model. bettinardigolf.com | $375 Boccieri Golf Mid-Weight

Beauty & BrawnKey Feature: The Mid-Weight series isn't as heavy as the earlier generations of Heavy Putters. Instead it weighs roughly 750 grams—still a lot, but lighter than earlier iterations. What We Like: Its balance point is 75% higher than conventional putters, which helps eliminate overactive wrists during the stroke. Why? There's a 200g weight inserted into the grip's butt end. Who It's For: Pendulum putters who want to quiet their overactive wrists. Specs: Four models available (two mallets, two blades), between 32 and 36 inches. H1-M shown. Comes in a Black PVD or Bronze finish. boccierigolf.com | $120 Clearview  

Alignment All-StarKey Feature: Its transparent design isn't a gimmick, it functions as an alignment aid to get your ball rolling on the right track. What We Like: That should be pretty, er, clear. It was easy to line up correctly, and the stats say that 90% of us struggle with alignment. Who It's For: Golfers who struggle to consistently line up their putts correctly. People who aren't afraid to try something a little unorthodox on the greens. Specs: Offset and center-shafted models. Right- and left-handed, and a variety of lie and length options, including broomstick and belly. clearviewputter.com | $170 Cleveland Classic Collection

Great Buy!Key Feature: Made from 17-4 stainless steel and comes in three different finishes—black platinum, platinum and BRZ (shown). The copper-infused face insert of the BRZ makes for a soft, responsive feel. What We Like: There are many high-performing models available that are incredibly affordable. What's not to like? Who It's For: Budget golfers looking for putters with classic good looks and solid craftsmanship. Specs: Fourteen different models, including blade and mallet, with varying hosel shapes. clevelandgolf.com | $79 Cleveland T-Frame

Editors' PickKey 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 butter-soft 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

Edel Basic Columbia

Beauty & BrawnKey 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 Louisville Stimp Max-O

Key Feature: Beautifully handcrafted 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. In the age of modern materials sometimes you just have to play it old school. 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 Gambler

Editors' PickKey Feature: Made from a soft block of 303 stainless steel, these weighty putters are soft and solid. What We Like: Its Vegas-themed artwork that adorns its sole and hosel. Makes us want to put some money on our next four-footer. The Winn grip always feels good on a putter. Who It's For: Golfers who are a little bit classy and a little bit flashy. Specs: Four flatsticks (two blades, two mallets). Standard length on all is 34.35 inches, with custom options available. Left-hand available only in the Royal model. nevercompromise.com | $299 Nike Method

Players OnlyKey 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. Winner of two major championships. 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. 33-35-inch lengths. nikegolf.com | $249 Nike Method Core

Key Feature: Its grooved face and polymer-aluminum insert, which Nike claims grabs the ball and gets it rolling faster. What We Like: Its handsome black nickel finish and red insert makes it stand out from the crowd. Also how can we argue with a more affordable version of last year's Method? Who It's For: Golfers who want to play with a putter made popular on Tour, but don't want to pay the "professional" price. Specs: Available in three blades and two mallets, and varying hosel shapes. 33-35 inches. Left-handed in MC-3i and MC-5i only. nikegolf.com | $130 Odyssey D.A.R.T.

TrendsetterKey Feature: Three converging white lines that meet at the center of the clubface and look like a dart. It's purpose? You fill in the rest of the imaginary line toward the hole. What We Like: Soft feel at impact from the White Ice insert, optically engineered for performance. How can you not align it correctly? Who It's For: Golfers who like putters with visually striking alignment aids. There's a lot to digest with the D.A.R.T. line, but once you adjust to the sight lines, they roll nice and true. Specs: Three designs available—blade, mallet and backstryke mallet. odysseygolf.com | $179 Odyssey Black Series

Beauty & BrawnKey Feature: Its three-material construction: 1025 carbon-steel body with a weighty sliver of tungsten positioned in the flange and a urethane dampening layer in between. What We Like: The entire line is handsomely constructed from 1025 carbon steel and features a deep black PVD finish. Who It's For: Golfers looking for a weighty, premium milled putter. Specs: Eight models available, including two mallets. The headweight drops 10 grams on the 35-inch models. (#8 shown). odysseygolf.com | $270 Ping Scottsdale

Editors' PickKey Feature: Its dark finish stands in contrast to its white and maroon alignment aids, making the mallets easy to align. On the blades, the maroon is limited to a few lines on the white face insert. What We Like: Lots of model options and easy alignment aids. Plus, on the blades, the finish stood out as being very classy. Who It's For: Something for everyone here, so if you're a PING fan, you'll find one of your favorite models, in a darker finish. Specs: 14 models to choose from including the new, futuristic Wolverine model (shown). ping.com | $140-$180 Ping Karsten 1959

Great Buy!Key Feature: Made from 17-4 stainless steel, these upgraded classics are PING's most affordable putters. What We Like: Its soft elastomer cavity insert helps produce a solid response and sound. Features a clean look that inspires confidence. We didn't mind the price, either. Who It's For: Golfers who are fans of PING's classic putter line but with modern upgrades. Specs: Six different models available, including PING classics like the Zing, My Day and B60, plus the wackier Craz-E mallet. ping.com | $100 Piretti Golf Cottonwood II

Beauty & BrawnKey Feature: Milled from a solid billet of 11L17 carbon steel, the custom Cottonwood II blade weighs a healthy 365 grams. What We Like: Very well balanced, as if all the company's putters could swing themselves. Handsome, solid and classy-looking, too. Its two finish options: Midnight Black or 303 Stainless, both of which produce a nonglare finish. Who It's For: Golfers looking for a premium-priced milled putter from a boutique outfit. Specs: Available in a variety of lengths, and in both right- and left-handed models. Four grip options available, too. Dot or line sight option. pirettigolf.com | $265 Plop RSVP 2 CSH 1

Unsung HeroKey Feature: The CSH stands for "Center Shafted Hosel." Unlike other putters, the Plop features a separately milled hosel and body, rather than one milled piece. Why "RSVP?" It's a response to PING's famous Anser model. What We Like: The "floating" hosel. It fits the back of the putterhead right where you make contact. That produces solid-feeling putts. Who It's For: Folks who like Anser-style putter heads and the floating-hosel concept. Specs: Comes in 325-, 345- and 375-gram weights, and lengths from 30 to 37 inches. Custom options including LH versions available. plopgolf.com | $250 Seemore Si4

Alignment All-StarKey Feature: RST2 technology, and no, that's not a Star Wars reference. The Si4 features RifleScope Technology (RST) in the hosel for the first time. Two white lines are milled parallel to the putterface to give users a "gunsight effect" so they know when they're properly aligned. What We Like: SeeMore brings their innovative alignment technology to an "Anser-style" blade with a soft TPU face insert. Who It's For: Golfers who don't want to guess whether they're lined up properly. Specs: RH and LH. The Si series also comes in three other models, the Si1, Si2 and Si3. seemore.com | $180 STX Sync Series Collection

Key Feature: Each of the five models has F.E.E.L., a Friction Enhancing Elastomer Layer that produces a supersoft feel. What We Like: The option to customize three different "feels." Comes with three different face inserts, Black (softest), Red (medium) and Green (firmest) so you can alter its feel. Who It's For: Golfers who play on a variety of different greens and want to be able to tweak how hard or soft the ball comes off the face. Specs: Five putters available in the collection. Three blades and two mallets. 34- and 35-inch models, 335-355 grams. stxgolf.com | $109 Superstroke DCF

Beauty & BrawnKey Feature: All the putters' bodies, face inserts, necks and back weights are made with premium 303 stainless steel. What We Like: The Diamond Cut Face (DCF) Technology. The face grooves are precision-cut with diamond-coated machining tools and combined with an exotic diamond finish to help increase friction between the insert and the ball. Who It's For: Golfers who want to roll a premium flatstick made from the highest-quality materials. (Consider that puttermaker Bruce Sizemore sells some models for $15,000.) Specs: Five original designs available. superstrokegrip.com | $350 Taylormade Rossa Corza Ghost

TrendsetterKey Feature: An all-white h

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