Bettinardi Studio Stock #7, $375; bettinardigolf.com
Bob Bettinardi, President/CEO and chief designer at Bettinardi Golf, was "messing around" with a mallet putter in his design studio when he decided to cut a half-moon shape in the flange. "Actually, it looked great the first time around," says Bettinardi, "so I decided to put it in the line." The Studio Stock #7, made of carbon steel, has a horizontal pattern milled into the face (it's not an insert) for a pure, soft impact feel. The package is topped off with a striking "borealis black" finish. By contrast, the company's BB Series (carbon steel) features a "metallic fog" finish, and its Signature Series (stainless steel) has a "Tour satin" finish.
2 of 6Schecter Lee
Bobby Grace AMG Triumph, $200; bobbygraceputters.com
The big, lightweight aluminum body combines with a heavy stainless steel ring along the perimeter to promote added head stability. The three-piece ('hole seeking material') face insert virtually eliminates energy loss (and distance loss) on off-center hits due to a livelier, higher-rebound polymer in the heel and toe. Typical blade putters, for example, experience as much as 10 percent energy loss on off-center (0.5 inches) hits. In addition, the clubface radius (curvature) is designed to reduce skidding so putts roll sooner with topspin. How? The center of the radius is 0.03 inches higher than the center of the ball, to promote contact with the top half of the ball.
3 of 6Schecter Lee
Coutour Bolt, $265; coutourgolf.com
Todd Sones, a Golf Magazine Top 100 Teacher, has designed and sold custom-fit Coutour putters since 2006. Sones' objective is simple: To make you a better putter, rather than to simply sell you a putter. The key is getting you in proper setup position (posture) and then building a putter to fit your setup (correct shaft length and head weight to match the length). The midsize mallet Bolt aluminum head, titanium face insert and heavy carbite weights in the heel, toe and rearhas a 1.5-inch square flat spot in the center of the sole so the head won't flip open at address.
4 of 6Schecter Lee
Plop RSVP 2 CSH 1, $250; plopgolf.com
In the early to mid-1990s, Plop made its name by specializing in mass-market custom-fit putters. The company is back in action (under the original owner) following an extended hiatus. Its newest entry, the stainless steel RSVP 2, looks like a heel-shafted blade but offers the stability of a center-shafted blade. The secret lies in the hosel, which attaches to a vertical post in the center of the head rather than connecting in the heel area. The milled "center-shafted hosel" (CSH) eliminates virtually all of the twisting associated with standard heel-shafted putters. The payoff is improved feel and directional control. Beyond that, Plop's updated "Pfit" fitting device enables you to determine proper shaft length and lie angle in a matter of seconds.
5 of 6Schecter Lee
SIK Mo, $299 (weight kit sold separately for $50); sikgolf.com
Former PGA Tour pro Kenny Knox is behind SIK's clever face design, known as "descending loft technology." In short, the face has 4 degrees loft at the top and gets progressively less lofted each quarter inch down the face (to 1 degree loft at the bottom of the face). The goal is to get you to roll or release the ball with as close to 2 degrees of loft as possible, regardless of whether you add loft to or de-loft the clubface at impact. According to Knox, this gets the ball to roll end over end quickly and smoothly.
6 of 6Schecter Lee
STX Sync Series SS2, $100; stxgolf.com
The SS2 is noticeably smaller but heavier (355-gram head) than its predecessor, the Sync Tour Mallet. The face insert has a techie-sounding "friction enhancing elastomer layer." STX officials say it helps the ball to stay in contact with the face longer (to improve direction) and creates more topspin (less skid). The SS2 comes with the black (softest) face insert, while other Sync Series models have a red (medium) or green (firmest) insert.
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