Putters from 2009 GOLF Magazine Buyer’s Guide | golf equipment

1 of 14 Schecter Lee
$69 clevelandgolf.com Steve Chien, VP of R&D: "Our design goal is to give you a pleasant surprise when you read the price tag. These putters really offer the traditional golfer a classic design at a value price point in a tough economy." How it works: This baby looks and feels like a flat stick that would cost twice its sticker price. The 17-4 stainless steel head has a milled clubface that delivers a soft feel with ample feedback. A hand-polished satin finish minimizes glare. Buy and Compare This Putter
2 of 14 Schecter Lee
$239 yesgolf.com Blair Philip, Director of R&D: "There are real benefits to using a hosel style that fits you. A great deal of care and attention has been paid to this project from aesthetic form to performance function. The putter also addresses the detailed demands of pro golfers who want to use C-Grooves." How it works: You can be fit for length, lie or hosel configuration. The interchangeable hosel system includes: full offset short hosel (most amount of "toe" hang), half-offset short hosel, plumber neck, slant neck or Z-bend (least "toe" hang). Makes sense because different hosels produce varied outcomes. Installation is easy—simply attach a stainless steel screw (through the sole) to the forged stainless steel hosel and you're ready to roll. Lastly, the forged stainless steel head features "C-Groove" face technology.
3 of 14 Schecter Lee
$299 titleist.com Scotty Cameron, Master Putter Craftsman: "Different golfers require putters of different length, weight, body and neck configurations. Studio Select putters deliver a range of specs and options to accommodate golfers' requirements. All Cameron putters are made from the finest materials to the most precise specs as demanded by the Tour." How it works: The precision milled head is made from soft aluminum for a sweet, solid sound and feel. Visually, the Kombi has a high toe, to limit the likelihood that you'll raise the toe at address and aim left of target. Three steel weight screws (in heel, toe and rear) increase head stability. Kombi's length and weight combos include: 35" length (10 grams in heel, 10 grams in toe, 20 grams in rear); 34" (15g heel, 15g toe, 20g rear); 33" (20g heel, 20g toe, 20g rear); 35" Heavy (15g heel, 15g toe, 20g rear); 34" Heavy (20g heel, 20g toe, 20g rear). Buy and Compare This Putter
4 of 14 Schecter Lee
$299, steel taylormadegolf.com Kia Ma, Putter Craftsman: "I've made custom putters for 25 years for some of the best Tour players in the world. Now, for the first time, I'm offering select versions of my best creations to you. Through personal interaction with hundreds of players I've learned the art of shaping a putter head, blending a hosel transition, sculpting a topline, and cambering soles and leading edges to ensure the head passes the test. I've perfected my craft through hand-grinding, welding, polishing and assembly." How it works: Kia Ma believes that proper shape can inspire confidence, provide optimum alignment and, ultimately, lead to better putting. This face-balanced mallet has gorgeous lines and a striking Black OX finish. The milled head, made from 1020 carbon steel, feels buttery on contact. Buy and Compare This Putter
5 of 14 Schecter Lee
$185 seemore.com Andre Shmoldas, Director of R&D: "The majority of its head weight is concentrated behind the center of gravity and point of ball contact. (A reverse MOI story.) Take an FGP2 head and spin it in your hand compared to a higher MOI model. There's a huge difference. This allows for a free clubhead rotation through your stroke. Also, feedback is immediate for off-center hits versus putting somewhat 'blind' with an MOI putter." How it works: The no-frills, center-shafted head has a proven alignment device called "RifleScope" technology (RST). Line up the black lower portion of the shaft between two white lines on the heel (cover the red dot) for dead-on aim. The putter can be bent for lie due to its milled aluminum hosel. Comes with non-offset shaft (FGP2) or offset shaft (FGP2w).
6 of 14 Schecter Lee
$149 rifeputters.com Guerin Rife, Founder and Chief Designer: "I began to move weight to the middle of the head in the stainless steel Two Bar Hybrid, to create 'ramrod' stability behind the ball. Now I want to take it to the next level. Using lightweight aluminum, I can make a big head with more weight in the middle because the hollow sides get lighter. The Two Bar Hybrid has 70-percent of its weight in the middle while IMO has 85-percent. Now, we're pushing the concept to its limit." How it works: The aptly named "IMO" (for inline momentum) practically swings itself because so much mass is packed into the center section. Rife's approach puts weight where most golfers strike putts (within 5/8" of the center). IMO has a face-balanced head with 2-degrees loft, milled face, excellent visual alignment aid and adjustable lie angle. The IMO should benefit those of you who decelerate on putts. Unlike previous Rife putters, the IMO has no removable back weights.
7 of 14 Schecter Lee
$169 pinggolf.com David Jones, Senior Design Engineer: "Fitting for weight in putters has been largely unexplored beyond the Tour level. Now, we want to give amateur golfers the ability to change putter feel before a round. We include 20- and 28-gram options in the weight kit because they represent the most noticeable feel differences." How it works: The iconic head style, made of stainless steel, has a two-piece face insert (stainless steel and elastomer) and interchangeable weight inserts ("iWi") along the sole. Combining a steel face with soft rubber backing delivers a steel-like click, plenty of feedback and repeatable distance output. Two 12-gram removable plugs contribute to a head-heavy sensation and rhythmic, controlled stroke. (The weight kit is sold separately for $70.) Use the additional plugs to tweak head mass—and feel—to your stroke or green conditions.
8 of 14 Schecter Lee
$299 odysseygolf.com Austie Rollinson, Principal Designer: "It's for those who demand the best in performance, precision and craftsmanship. The precision milled head has a rich, nickel-plated finish, tightly controlled weighting and multi-layer Tour insert that provides premium feel and responsiveness." How it works: We pity the guy who has to source materials on this one. The 2-Ball has a carbon steel body and crown, tungsten-weighted rear flange (helps the club swing freely back and forth), stainless steel base, urethane disc (vibration dampener) and two-piece elastomer face insert. The face elicits precise feedback that's often missing from "plastic" inserts. Head weight is 350 grams (in 33", 34" or 35" length).
9 of 14 Schecter Lee
$99 nikegolf.com David Franklin, Club Designer/Putters: "When designing the OZ 6, I heard comments like 'it looks like a jester's hat' and 'I'd have to get a bigger golf bag to use it.' Well, get a bigger bag, if necessary, because OZ 6 is worth it. The unconventional design is so stable that you have to work to make it wiggle during a stroke. It looks this way due to physics. Just one practice stroke will show you." How it works: The face-balanced design has a large clubface that's milled flat for consistent output. A soft, light polymer insert (63-percent lighter than aluminum) frees up mass that's moved to the head's perimeter for added stability. Lastly, the T-shaped sight line makes it a cinch to aim. Buy and Compare This Putter
10 of 14 Schecter Lee
$99 nickentgolf.com John B. Hoeflich, COO: "Many alignment putters can look square in the address position but they really aren't lined up to the hole. The PIPE has '3-dimensional alignment' to solve that problem. Don't believe it? Ask somebody who has one and is making more putts than his buddies." How it works: The white cylinder, or pipe, provides a strong visual display of where the putter is aimed. (The pipe is 1.68 inches, which is the same diameter as a golf ball.) A heavy tungsten rear plug (15-percent of the putter weight) contributes to its high MOI and low center of gravity so putts skid less and start rolling sooner.
11 of 14 Schecter Lee
$149 nevercompromise.com Steve Chien, VP of R&D: "Our goal with the X-Ray is to fine tune feel, alignment and technology. With inspiration from the early days of Never Compromise, we improved the heel-toe weighting, increasing MOI. We also want the lightweight face to be visually light and have a distinct feel. This inspires the see-through design with isolated ribs." How it works: The lightweight face insert—25-percent less mass than previous Never Compromise models—contributes to extreme perimeter weighting and high MOI. The dual-density face insert (chrome-alloy "ribs" imbedded in a soft composite) creates a cushioned feel, precise feedback and reliable roll on heel or toe hits. Lastly, the gray-and-red alignment aid is a great aiming device.
12 of 14 Schecter Lee
$249 mizunousa.com Bob Bettinardi, Master Miller and Putter Designer: "With BC5, we want to develop a putter that promotes a pendulum [straight back, straight through] stroke. This one tests out as the easiest putter to align and, in my opinion, is a tremendous putter for all skill levels." How it works: The center-shaft mallet head is milled from one piece of carbon steel, for consistent feel and roll. Its patented "feel impact technology" (F.I.T.) face reduces the surface area on contact. The effect is a soft, solid sensation. A black chrome finish should limit glare on sunny days. Buy and Compare This Putter
13 of 14 Schecter Lee
$169 heavyputter.com Steve Boccieri, President and CEO: "Some players find the original Heavy putter [900 grams total; 475-gram head, 250-gram 'counter balanced' weight in the grip end of shaft] to be too much of a leap from a standard 500-gram putter. Our Mid-Weight putters are 750 grams total [400-gram head, 200 grams in grip]. We find that going lighter than 750 causes you to get into all the bad habits of a regular putter." How it works: This high-MOI mallet has a thin face that provides a bit of vibration at impact. (Previous Heavy putters had a thick face that dampened feel and increased club weight.) The Mid-Weight putter triggers a short, accelerating stroke while a higher balance point increases feel on lag putts. The H3 comes in black (pictured) or silver finish with Winn's firm, full cord grip.
14 of 14
Our exclusive research partner, Hot Stix Golf, robot tested the aforementioned 13 mallet putters. Hot Stix anchored each of the 35-inch putters to a mechanical putting device. Clubs made the same consistent backswing and we measured results for center hits, — inches toward the heel and — inches toward the toe. Results show the distance roll (on a percentage basis) on heel and toe hits relative to center hits (100 percent) for a particular putter.