2008 PGA Merchandise Show: Putters
Golf manufacturers from around the world are descending on Orlando for the 2008 PGA Merchandise Show. Among all the clubs on display at the annual Demo Day were some hot new putters. Take a look at some of the most interesting flat sticks around.
Back in 1999, SeeMore putters got a lot of exposure after Payne Stewart used one to win the U.S. Open at Pinehurst. In 2007, Zach Johnson used a SeeMore putter when he won the Masters.
Before this year, the shafts of all SeeMore putters attached straight into the head. But the new line of SeeMore putters includes models with an offset "Whistle Shaft" for players who prefer to have their hands slightly ahead of the ball at address and impact. While the new shaft has a bend, it still uses the popular "Riflescope" technology, which helps players keep the face of the putter square.
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Zen RDE Mallet Putter
The newest mallet putter from Zen incorporates two unique design aspects. The first is a built-in training aid the company calls "Direct Feedback." The putter allows you to insert a ball into a hole behind the putter face for practice putts. As you finish your stroke and the putter lifts off the green, the ball is released. Swing from inside to outside and you'll miss right; swing from outside to inside and you'll miss left. If you'd rather not see the hole when you're on the course, a top plate is included. The putter conforms to USGA regulations for play with or without the top plate attached.
The second is RDE (pronounced "Ready") technology. Zen Oracle researchers, working with a putting robot, found that flat-faced putters can produce inconsistencies in the way golf balls roll. According to Zen, "dimple error" can cause a perfectly struck putt to miss the hole from as little as five feet away. Zen is now crafting its putters with tiny ridges milled into the face. These ridges are designed to get the ball rolling right away and along the ideal line more often.
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Mizuno Black Carbon 2
Putters designed by Bob Bettinardi are easy to spot thanks to their signature honeycomb-face design. But Bettinardi did things a little differently to enhance the feel of Mizuno's new Black Carbon line of putters.
Rather than using an insert, the hitting area of the Black Carbon putters has a "Feel Impact Technology Face" (F.I.T. Face for short). The horizontal slits milled into this section of the putter face reduce the surface area that hits the ball, which is meant to produce a softer touch.
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Nike IC 20-15 Mid Mallet
Leave it to Nike to make a putter that strays from the common chrome or black. The new IC putters are forest green, a color Nike chose after studying golfers' eyes. The rounded edges of the green putter head blend into the putting surface, which makes the white alignment aid pop. By making the alignment aid the focus, Nike hopes to help you square the face and start your putts on line. The face of the putter is milled 303 stainless steel for softness, and Tungsten weights behind the heel and toe help increase the moment of inertia for added stability on off-center hits.
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