Finding Balance: Bold new weighting properties add stability to today's putters
Counterbalanced putters are suddenly in vogue. What exactly is counterbalancing? Simply put, extra mass is placed in the grip end of the club to counter a heavier head. This weighting technique boosts the club's overall moment of inertia (MOI), so that it swings and feels more stable throughout the stroke. For players who use a conventional putter, the stability of these clubs can mimic an anchored model. Here's a sample of some of the latest counterbalanced flatsticks. If nothing else, these clubs bear names that are as bold as their designs.
Odyssey Tank #7
The Tank, available in 34", 36", 38" or 40", features a heavier version of the popular fang-like (#7) head. Its counterbalance element helps you make a smooth, flowing stroke that relies more on the big muscles and quiets the hands. The 36" option, for instance, has a 400-gram head, a 137-gram shaft and a 63-gram grip with a 40-gram counterbalance weight. The result is an overall MOI that's 34 percent higher than other standard-length putters. Despite the additional mass, the Tank feels similar to traditional putters because of its low-balance-point shaft. The White Hot Pro urethane insert has a similar feel to the original White Hot. Its new laser milling process means tighter tolerances and more consistency.
TaylorMade Daddy Long Legs
The Daddy Long Legs features a 16-piece head made from eight materials. It has a "Pure Roll" face insert and a 15" grip that tips the scales at 130 grams, which is about twice the weight of a standard grip. The heavy grip moves the balance point closer to the player's hands. As TaylorMade tells it, this approach makes it easier to control the clubhead and square it at impact. An extra-long grip also allows players to choke down two or three inches, which, according to the company, is critical to taking full advantage of the counterweight design.
Bobby Grace NYC Tour Ass Kicker
The NYC Tour Ass Kicker isn't counterbalanced (with additional grip-end weight) in the same manner as the others. However, it employs its own stability wrinkle -- a back-entry center shaft -- to shift the center of gravity more toward the rear. Therefore, it swings on a more stable path. Putts feel a bit softer and roll 10 percent farther than its heel-shafted sister model. The aluminumheaded Ass Kicker has a radial-shaped face -- the farthest protruding groove is higher than the ball's equator -- to get putts rolling with topspin. The polymer face insert produces more rebound in the heel and toe so that off-center hits go about as far as center strikes.
BUT WAIT, THERE'S MOI...
When it comes to high-MOI putters, large mallets spring to mind. But there are other options, including these two blades and a new grip.
Ping Scottsdale TR Anser 2B
This classic blade combines a heavy head (395 grams) with an adjustable shaft that extends from 37.5" to 46.5" for added stability. The longer you extend the shaft, the more stable the club feels when you swing down the path. The Scottsdale TR Anser 2B is designed for slight-arc strokes. An adjustable shaft is standard in the Anser 2B.
TaylorMade Spider Blade
The club is 80 grams heavier than conventional blades because of a 130-gram grip. The multi-material, 355-gram head -- stainless steel body and screws, tungsten weights, a polycarbonate sole plate, a Surlyn "Pure Roll" face, aluminum cavity badge, 3M foam dampener and TPU gaskets -- shifts more mass to the heel and toe. It comes in 35" or 38". The Spider Blade 12 has an L-neck, while the Spider Blade 32 has a short slant neck.
Boccieri Secret Grip
Boccieri debuted ultra-heavy Secret Grips earlier this year to counterbalance full-swing clubs. The same technology is now available for putters. Secret Grip weighs three times more than an ordinary putter grip (155 grams vs. approximately 50 grams) because of a heavy rubber compound and a 17-gram tungsten weight in the shaft butt. You can find the Secret Grip at secretgrip.com or major retail chains.