March 2011

The latest in golf equipment, instruction, training aids, apparel & more

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With 16 models to choose from, Cleveland’s new Classic Collection ($79) offers something for everyone. All models are made from 17-4 stainless steel and come in three different finishes: black platinum, platinum and BRZ (bronze). What really intrigued us, however, were how well made and gimmick-less they were. There’s nothing spaceship-like about them, just good solid craftsmanship. Come in three lengths (33", 34", 35") and with CNC-milled clubfaces.

The 2011 Sync Series Collection from STX improves on the company’s popular Sync models. Featuring new alignment aids, the 355-gram SS1 ($109), as it’s now called, is a center-shafted, “bullet back” design that places optimal weight directly behind the sweet spot. As with all STX putters, the SS1 has a F.E.E.L. (Friction Enhancing Elastomer Layer) face insert for a supersoft feel. We’re jazzed to test this out at the 2011 PGA Merchandise Show as we were big fans of the original Sync.

Rife’s new Montserrat putter ($149) features a slant-back design that’s reminiscent of 1960s’ blade putters. However, what we really like is that this modern version looks sleeker and rolls smoother than many “throwbacks.” Of course, it features Rife’s trademark vertical-alignment notch and patented RollGroove face technology. If you’ve never rolled a Rife, you’ll notice how soft and smooth the ball comes off the face. As are all Rife putters, the Monserrat is 100% milled and made of mild 304 stainless steel. Available in three lengths: 33", 34", 35"; weighs 345 grams.

The handsome, dark finish on PING’s new Scottsdale putter line ($140-$180) stands in contrast to its white and maroon alignment aids, making at least the mallets that much easier to address (the blades don’t have the maroon coloring). With 14 models to choose from, including the new Wolverine model, there’s something for everyone and every taste: conventional length, midlength and long, Anser2, B60 and Craz-E Too. While we loved their soft feel and numerous model options, what stuck out the most was the finish. It just looks classy, even on the “futuristic” models.

Made from either 303 stainless or 11L17 carbon steel, Piretti Golf’s five new handsome putters ($265 ) feature Optimal Roll Control (O.R.C.) for feel and control. When we test-drove them, we liked how well-balanced they felt, as if they could swing themselves without much effort on our part. Their precise milled face with a single-pass deep pattern provides consistent performance at impact, but you’ll notice a bit harder feel at impact than putters with inserts. Still it was hard to complain, given how well they performed. All putters have a PVD (Physical Vapor Deposition) finish (either Midnight Black or Satin Stainless) that produce a durable, nonglare finish.

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