Welcome to another edition of Yo, Gear Guy!, an interactive GOLF.com series in which our resident dimplehead (a.k.a., GOLF’s deputy editor of equipment, Mike Chwasky) fields your hard-hitting questions about clubs, fittings, gadgets, bounce, lofts, CG, MOI, and a bunch of other scary acronyms. This week he’s diving into boutique putter brands and mini drivers. Got a question for Gear Guy? Hit us up on Twitter, Facebook or email.
@ianrichman on Instagram: Putters seem to be made by companies far and wide these days. Are there any little-known brands out there I should be looking into in my search for a new club?
Companies like Odyssey, Ping, Scotty Cameron, and TaylorMade produce fantastic flatsticks, But it’s also true that there are some smaller, lesser-known manufacturers who also make some really terrific putters.
Among those I’d start by looking at models from Bettinardi, Evnroll, SeeMore, Happy, and Bloodline. Each of these companies make high-quality products at varying price points. Furthermore, they can perform exceptionally well, provided you find one that fits your stroke, eye, and feel preference.
If you prefer high-end milled putters then Bettinardi and Evnroll are good bets. SeeMore, which is known largely due to Zach Johnson’s success (he grabbed the Green Jacket and Claret Jug with one), offers a wide array of designs. All of them feature the company’s signature RifleScope alignment technology. Happy also focuses on alignment by offering a customizable design. Bloodline putters feature a unique weighting design that allows the putter to stand up on it’s own so you can get behind the ball and check your aim.
@Drew_cloud on Instagram: I love my TaylorMade mini driver. I haven’t seen any updates in years on future models, though. Is there any update on that front?
The Mini Driver, which TaylorMade offered in SLDR and AeroBurner models, was a very cool product. It nicely bridged the gap between a driver and fairway wood.
For a lot of players that was a perfect fit, as the added loft and shorter shaft of the Mini gave them exactly what they needed.
However, I’d say it’s unlikely that a new iteration of the Mini is coming any time soon. Modern fairway wood designs, like TaylorMade’s M3 and M4 for example, are so good and so long that former Mini players can simply find the right fit and most likely get the same, or even better, performance.
Remember, the Mini came in 12°, 14°, and 16° models and had a 43.5″ shaft. If you want something like that a custom-fitted M4 fairway might be about right, except it will probably offer even more ballspeed and forgiveness.