2014 Buyer's Guide Putters
Have a look at some of 2014's best
OdysseyKey Features: Adjustable weights on the sole, plus a rich, dark PVD finish give a sleek look. Chemically milled face depressions interact with ball dimples to impart a controlled and consistent roll.
Wow Factor: We love the ability to adjust weights, to accommodate for the green speed of wherever we're playing. Odyssey makes top-quality putters, and these are no exception. This model costs more, but will do all it can to help you make more putts.
Specs: Each putter is offered in lengths of 33, 34 and 35 inches. Head weight can vary from 340 to 360 grams, depending on how you arrange adjustable weights.
odysseygolf.com | $300
OrlimarKey Features: Each of the four putters in the series has a traditional shape, game-improvement features and a washboard face milling to help you get consistent and accurate roll, plus distance control.
Tad Moore Signature Series
Wow Factor: Tad Moore used to have a very popular, well-made putter line. After a long hiatus, he's back with this selection.
Specs: TMO-1 is a heel-shafted blade; TMO-2 has a slightly wider blade with a thinner topline; TMO-3 has a wide sole; and TMO-4 (TadPole) is a center-shafted circle T-shaped mallet.
orlimar.com | $199
PingKey Features: Milled, variable-depth grooves improve ball-speed consistency for distance control. An elastomer back-cavity insert boosts MOI and enhances both feel and sound. An optional adjustable-length shaft lets you self-fit. Color-coded shaft labels indicate if the putter is best for a straight, slight arc or strong arc putting stroke.
Wow Factor: We love the adjustable shaft—it's not gimmicky and it truly works easily. Finding the right shaft length can quickly help your game. And, like always, PING putters have a feel and balance that's uniquely their own. In a really good way, of course.
Specs: Available in five models, with a choice of a fixed 35-inch shaft or an adjustable, telescoping 31- to 38-inch shaft. Head weight is 360 grams.
ping.com | $197.50/adjustable length, $162.50/fixed
RIFEKey Features: Four models are offered, differing by type of hosel and neck. All have the company's proprietary Lie Align
alignment system. Iconic One is a plumber's neck heel/toe putter; Iconic Two has a slant neck and is face-balanced; Iconic Three sports a gooseneck and half-shaft offset; and Iconic Four is a center-shafted blade.
Wow Factor: Whatever it is about the putterheads, we've always been impressed by how soft Rife putters feel, how well they're made and how dang accurate they can be.
Specs: Available in lengths of 34 and 35 inches, plus customized lengths, in both right- and left-handed models, with sterling or black finish. Head weight is 350 grams.
rifegolf.com | $150
|Worth The Weight?
"Counterbalancing is definitely very hot in the market right now," says Tomo Bystedt, director of product creation for irons, putters and wedges for TaylorMade.
So, what gives? Well, for starters, the club is heavier, both the head and grip—hence, the tag "counterbalancing"—and typically a few inches longer than what a player would use in a "standard" configuration. This makes the putter more stable through the stroke, due both to a higher MOI—a 50% to 60% increase according to TaylorMade—and the enhanced unity of the hands/shoulders/arms.
Explains Ben Alexander, a decorated PGA teaching professional in Monterey, California, "The longer shaft and heavier weight help prevent wrist break. The whole thing we're doing in teaching [putting] is the pendulum stroke, letting shoulders, hands and arms work together. That was the whole idea behind anchoring in the first place, tying the pieces together, solidifying the path."
Will you end up looking like Matt Kuchar? Not likely. Counterbalanced putters are gripped as a person grips his or her traditional putter.
"Counterbalancing acts to provide additional stroke stability without the need for any changes to a player's technique," explains Bystedt.
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