2013 Buyer’s Guide Putters


When it comes to putting grips, there's really no wrong answer! Don't be afraid to try different styles if you find your current grip isn't helping you make more putts. The cross-handed grip can help if you have trouble leaving the putterface open at impact. The 10-finger grip may help add some hinge in the wrists and release some tension.

Unconventional grips like the claw grip can help remove unwanted wrist and hand motion. No matter what grip you choose, the goal of the grip is to keep the clubface square at impact. This can be achieved by having the hands placed on the club in different ways, as these photos illustrate.

Remember the feel from putting comes right through your grip; you also need to be aware of grip pressure. The key is to maintain the grip pressure in both hands throughout the stroke. Just be sure that when you experiment, you stick with one style for a while. The last thing you want is to change up so often that you lose faith and confidence in your grip.

PUTTING IS AN ART. It's the most stylish aspect of golf, since there's really no wrong or right answer for how you should putt. If you have a particular style and it works for you (well, except anchored styles), and that style is repeatable, then anything goes. This year's models are as varied as ever, with blades, mallets and everything in between. We can't say this enough, though: No matter what putter you get, choose one that fits your stroke. Like any club in your bag, the one that's fit for you will perform the best. The same applies to putters.

Golf Tips Legend

Axis1 Joey

Key Feature: For golfers who want the benefits of the innovative AXIS1 putters, only this time in a more traditional blade-style design. Well, it's not fair to call it traditional with such a radical hosel, but the center-of-balance sweetspot is just plain incredible. It should be on everyone's must-try list. Who It's For: All player types, especially those who want to try what we think is one of the best putting innovations lately. Wow Factor: Gotta love that hosel with the clean blade-style lines. It's a cinch to align and roll straight putts. Specs: Coming soon this March. axis1golf.com | $299 Axis1 Umbra Belly

Key Feature: The Umbra features a CG that's in the center of the putterface (as opposed to closer to the hosel) for a higher MOI, zero torque and straighter, truer-rolling putts. Who It's For: Golfers who like unorthodox-shaped putters and want to try one that just feels so darn good in the hands. Wow Factor: It's perfectly balanced. Try it. You'll immediately see what we mean. It's that good. Specs: Available in 34- and 35-inch models, in standard and heavy weights. axis1golf.com | $299-$349

Bettinardy BB1

Key Feature: The 2013 version of this blade has a slightly lower profile and a more shallow face than its predecessor, so the putter sits below the ball and frames it better. It's wider from front to toe, for stability. The "Hyper Honeycomb" face provides impact crispness. Its durable PVD finish enhances feel. Who It's For: Fans of exquisite craftsmanship, that's who. Wow Factor: Powder blue grip adds to the overall coolness. Specs: One model available for righties and lefties. Clubhead weighs 353 grams. bettinardigolf.com | $299 Bobby Grace Stainless 6-Diamond

Key Feature: These premium offerings from the Heavy Putter line feature two models (blade and mallet) that are 100% CNC milled. Who It's For: Those who can afford a very pricey putter and want it hand-milled by Bobby Grace. Wow Factor: It's stunning. But okay, we can't ignore that sticker price. Then again, if there's someone who's worth it, it's probably Bobby Grace. Specs: One putter model available. The clubhead weighs 360 grams. bobbygraceputters.com | $825 Clearview  

Key Feature: Its transparent design functions as an alignment aid to get your ball rolling on the right track. It was easy to line up correctly, and the stats say that 90% of us struggle with alignment. Not anymore. Who It's For: People who aren't afraid to try something a little unorthodox on the greens. Wow Factor: It's really fun to use! Specs: Offset and center-shafted models. Right- and left-handed, and a variety of lie and length options, including broomstick and belly. clearviewputter.com | $110 Cleveland Classic Collection HB

Key Feature: Heel-toe weighting maximizes MOI for minimal distance loss on off-center hits. A slightly deep CNC milling pattern on the face promotes a softer feel at impact, for more control. Sports a pleasingly soft grip. Who It's For: All abilities. Wow Factor: Cleveland has quietly been making some really great putters. It's about time they get their due. Specs: Five traditional designs–three blades, two mallets–available, including one belly model. Clubheads vary between 340 and 360 grams. clevelandgolf.com | $90/$130 Dead Aim  

Key Feature: An optically engineered, raised, three-hole top line that makes it easy to know when your eyes are lined up over the ball. We like the instant lie/loft feedback. Who It's For: Golfers who have a hard time aligning their eyes over the ball and keeping the putterface square. Wow Factor: The laser is awesome! Specs: Two models are available in standard and belly lengths. Both come in black and silver/white finishes. An optional laser-training alignment device and/or a clip for the clubface that helps you hone in on centered contact. deadaimputters.com | $150-$220 Edel Faldo Torque Balanced

Key Feature: Nick Faldo is onboard with David Edel, and together they have created the new Torque Balanced Putters, which are true works of art. Each is designed to not only look good, but to help golfers more efficiently square the putterface at impact. Who It's For: Players who appreciate fine craftsmanship. Wow Factor: They're gorgeous to look at and swing, and with a six-time Major winner involved, you know they're gonna be good. Obviously. Specs: Available in 3 shapes, 3 head weights and 3 weights. edelgolf.com | $350 Nike Method Core Drone 2

Key Feature: The latest in the Method Core Weighted line, this unique-shaped mallet has weight moved to the outside through its wings, for forgiveness on off-center hits. Fixed weights on the heel and sole help lower the CG and move it away from the face for a truer end-over-end roll. Who It's For: Golfers who like radical designs, fo'sho. Wow Factor: The weighting really does what it says. It's extremely stable through the putting stroke. Specs: One model available. Clubheads vary between 350 and 390 grams, depending on the length of the putter. nikegolf.com | $169 Never Compromise Limited Connoisseur

Key Feature: Forged from 303 stainless steel and CNC-milled to ensure incredible precision during production. The combination of soft metal and forged-grain structure provides exceptional feel at impact. Who It's For: Engineered for players who seek perfection on the green and premium putter devotees. Wow Factor: They're spectacular to look at over the ball and weighted/balanced to insane precision. Well done, NC. Specs: Comes in two lengths (34 and 35 inches) and a headweight of 340 grams. Winn grip, plumber-neck hosel. nevercompromise.com | $300 Odyssey Versa

Key Feature: The head's high-contrast, lateral black-and-white alignment system accentuates the face angle at address, through the stroke and at impact. This contrast promotes concentration during the putter stroke, for more impact consistency. An improved White Hot insert produces consistent sound and feel. Trust is, it's perfect. Who It's For: Golfers who need help with their aim. Wow Factor: The look of the blades is Zebra-like cool. Specs: Six models available, including the popular 2-Ball, in varying versions. Clubheads weigh 343g; 2-Ball is 355g. odysseygolf.com | $170 Orlimar Montego

Key Feature: A milled, stainless-steel mallet with a two-circle crown alignment aid bearing a line down the middle–the top circle aligns the putterface with the intended line and the lower circle gives instant visual feedback. It's face-balanced and heel-shafted. Who It's For: Every type of player who wants some help with his or her alignment and stroke. Wow Factor: We love the soft feel this putter has, and the creative alignment aid is clever. Nice price, too. Specs: One model available. Clubhead weighs 345 grams. orlimar.com | $130 Pearl Prosports Pearl butter

Key Feature: The lie angle on this symmetrically balanced aluminum mallet can adjust from 80_¡ to 60_¡, depending on your stance. The center shaft design increases stability, so that off-center hits travel straighter. Custom hosel and shaft create an unobstructed view, allowing natural alignment. Milled face grooves reduce ball skid. Who It's For: Those who want a custom-fit lie angle. Wow Factor: All those color and decal choices! Specs: One model, with a choice of four standard or 12 bright colors and lengths available. Clubhead weighs 360 grams. www.pearlprosports.com | $249-$349 Ping Scottsdale TR

Key Feature: Variable-depth grooves in the aluminum face insert aim to improve ball-speed consistency, regardless of whether the ball is struck on the center, heel or toe. The grooves are deepest in the center and shallower toward the perimeter. Shaft length is adjustable from 31 to 38 inches–yes, it's USGA-conforming! Who It's For: Golfers who want a custom length–anytime. Wow Factor: Pretty much everything. As usual. Carry on. Specs: Twelve models available. Clubheads vary between 345 and 505 grams. ping.com | $162-$235 Plop Icon 2

Key Feature: Milled from a piece of 303 stainless steel, this classic-style mallet looks as if it's heel-shafted, but actually the hosel floats through a topline hole at the heel and attaches to a vertical putter post at the head's center of gravity. This results in better feel at impact. Who It's For: Face-balanced mallet lovers who like the ICON 2's parallel gun-sight alignment system. Wow Factor: A really responsive feel that will help your stroke. Specs: Custom-fitted for length, from 28 to 45 inches, including 38- to 45-inch belly putters. plopgolf.com | $250 Rife El Capitan Z

Key Feature: The plumber's neck design of this beauty promotes a forward press stroke, and the uninterrupted topline allows you to keep focus on the ball, not the putterhead. Of course, it too has RIFE's Roll-Groove face. Who It's For: Golfers who want a stylish putter to go with their forward-press putting strokes. Wow Factor: Everything RIFE does exudes pure class. This putter is no exception. It's silky smooth and feels like butter, even with firmer golf balls. We likey! Specs: Comes in two pretty finishes: Phantom or Rose Gold. rifeputters.com | $219 Rife Legend

Key Feature: With ties to the root of RIFE's history, the Legend mallet has aesthetics and performance driven from the original 2-Bar Putter. The adjustable 2-Bar weighting system can be adjusted to suit different tastes and the aluminum Roll-Groove face promises a true roll. Who It's For: All player types, frankly. Wow Factor: We love the 2-Bar design and the aluminum feels amazing and comfortable. Specs: Available in Black or Champagne finish. rifeputters.com | $234 Seemore XSeries

Key Feature: his large mallet is 100% milled from 6061 aluminum aircraft material and boasts a platinum finish. Adjustable weights can bring the headweight up to 360 grams. We dig SeeMore's commitment to offering this putter in many lengths. Who It's For: Golfers seeking a simple alignment system. Wow Factor: The rich, dark finish. The alignment systems works great–all in all, it's simple genius. Specs: Three models–two blades and a mallet. Clubheads vary between 355 and 365 grams. seemore.com | $195 SG Putterwood

Key Feature: Shaped like a driver and painted with an arctic white finish, these new flatsticks boast a hollow core design that transfers energy from the clubhead to the ball and helps optimize roll. Who It's For: Golfers who want a new feel and look. Wow Factor: They look different, but they're a blast! Specs: Four standard models (3-wood, Hybrid, Hybrid-Blade and Blade) are available in lengths from 32 to 36 inches in 1/2-inch increments. Belly version is available in lengths from 40 to 44 inches in 1/2-inch increments. sorensongolf.com | $140 STX Pitch Black

Key Feature:

The black grip, shaft and head create a one-piece appearance. The neon yellow face insert is soft, and its technology strives to increase the coefficient of friction, to impart more forward spin on the ball for putts that stay on line. Who It's For: All players who appreciate cool designs. Wow Factor: We really like the dark, brooding look at address and behind the golf ball. We dig the neon, too. Specs: Four models–two blades, a mallet, and an in-betweener–available. Clubheads weigh 345 grams. stxgolf.com | $140

Tallface SL Series

Key Feature: The tall face! Designed with a slight convex curvature and taller than standard face height, these putters ensure more putts are hit from the center of the clubface. Who It's For: Golfers who need to improve their putting consistency. These work wonders for distance control. Wow Factor: The tall face and super-smooth face are sweet. It's

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