Thursday, May 1, 2008
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.
Taylormade Rossa SpiderKey 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 ClassicKey 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 GeoMaxKey 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 SelectKey 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! ValerieKey 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
Prices of putters are rising, generally because there’s more technology in the design of the latest models than there ever was before. Many of today’s putter models come with changeable weight cartridges and face plates, as well as with multiple materials that are positioned to create a high MOI. That translates into stability at impact that keeps the ball rolling straighter and more smoothly. Several companies are also now offering models with face grooves that generally promise to impart more-immediate forward roll to keep the ball on line better, all while absorbing a great deal of impact vibration. All you need to do is aim, stroke, then listen for the putt to drop. “A groove that’s made properly will hold the ball at impact very close to the face, and then releases the ball with topspin,” says Steve Sacks, vice president of sales and marketing at Rife, which grooves the faces of its putters. “So you get much better roll at impact and it rolls towards the hole better.” In fact, this is the fastest-growing putter category, as models have also appeared on the market from Yes! Golf, Gel Golf, TaylorMade’s Rossa, Tour Edge and Zen Oracle. “It’s technology that works,” says Dave Richardson, director of sales at Yes! Golf. “We wouldn’t have gotten to where we did in the last three-and-a-half years if people didn’t truly believe we say what is happening is happening. And since we can show it to them on a high-speed camera, they do believe it. They can see that the ball genuinely does roll faster.”
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