Club Test: Mallet Putters (November 2005)

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ClubTest: Mallet Putters November 2005 How we did it We assigned each of our 12 ClubTesters a putting lane on a practice green. The surface was flawless and ran 10.5 on the Stimp-meter. Testers struck putts from three feet to 36 feet. Results were recorded; testers took note of feel as well as overall impressions. Where Houstonian Golf and Country Club in Richmond, Texas.
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Heavy Putter B3$259 The company line "The heavier mass (885 grams, or roughly two pounds) promotes a pendulum stroke, which leads to a more consistent swing path." Our testers say No shocker here: As advertised, This putter is supremely heavy. "You didn't tell us us we'd use a sledgehammer," said Ken Stauffer (handicap 14). Testers understood the weight after rolling a few putts. "The ball i almost imperceivable at impact," says Victor DeMarco (12), "But you tend to get a straight roll with it." The rub is that some appreciated it immediately, while others required more time to adapt." the heft keeps my wrists from wandering through the stroke," said Doug lair (10). "Everything starts and stays on line for excellent accuracy." though, again, there's a period of adjustment in terms of distance control. "I flew a few well past the hole," admits Keith Borgfeldt (18). Testers were more in agreement in terms of the B3's appearance. "High-tech industrial look is easy on the eye," said Kirk Fischer (7). Additional Comments: "Nice chiseled look at address." -Jim Perzan (9) "Long putt feel is a struggle." -Pete Stonestreet (12) "Heavy weight makes jabbing at it impossible." -Gary Wilson (13)
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MacGregor V-Foil M6.4K-GT$229 The company line "The V-Foil M6.4K-GT putter designed by Bobby Grace has the highest MOI of any putter available for unmatched forgiveness and straighter putts." Our testers say The panel immediately noted that the heavy-looking V-Foil is surprisingly light. "The extra-large head has a very light and comfortable feel, like an old glove," said Ken Stauffer (handicap 14). "That allowed for easy takeaway and acceleration through the ball." Other testers also celebrate the club's smooth balance while swinging. That explains why the group voted GT tops in our putter test for distance control. In other words, you'll cut down on the number of three-putts. "I burned more lips from long range than a drunken fire-eater," said Doug Lair (10). A minor complaint was its lack of feedback on mis-hits. "The 8beryllium-copper face is actually too soft," said Gerald Holtzman (0). "I can't feel the difference between pured putts and those that miss by a mile." Additional Comments: "The GT is a heat-seeking putting instrument." -Gary Wilson (13) "Perfect for those who want a meaty mallet that isn't overbearing in terms of weight." -Roger Liau (17)
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Odyssey White Steel 2-Ball$215 The company line "We placed milled steel inside our world-famous urethane insert inside to create Dual Insert Technology. the White Steel 2-Ball gives you the precision and accuracy of milled steel with the feel and distance control of urethane." Our testers say Given its success in the field, it's easy to imagine the White Steel 2-Ball collecting top honors. Accolades ranged from look to feel to overall giddiness. "The beautifully simple head design and alignment feature give you an uncultured look at the putt," said Gary Wilson (handicap 13). It wasn't just the 2-Ball brand, wither. Testers thought the updated version improved on the original. "I struggled with distance control on the original 2-Ball," said Hoai Hoang (8). "This steel-insert model sure solved that problem in a hurry." Roger Liau (17) agreed: "The feel factor is heightened from the original 2-Ball. There's now a pronounced pop at impact." That feel contributed to the Odyssey draining the most putts during our test. "It promotes a strong stroke," said Keith Borgfeldt (18). "But I didn't feel like I had to muscle it to the hole." Jim Perzan (9) agreed: "The perimeter weighting is so good that even mis-hits find the bottom of the cup." Additional Comments: "It's the granddaddy of MOI putters for a reason." -Gerald Holtzman (0) "Best of breed for alignment." -Kirk Fischer (7) "It's lethal from five feet." -Mark Waldheim (12) "Effortless and natural to swing." -Ken Stauffer (14)
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Zen Tour Works$249 The company line "The Zen Tour Works blends the best of our exceptional training method with superior design innovations and premier putting performance." Our testers say The shiny red Zen is a two-in-one putting instrument--half high-MOI mallet, half training aid. To that end, comments were mixed. Some saw it as added value while others found it to be a distraction. "Zen is a hybrid putter," said Jim Perzan (handicap 9), "making it difficult to rate. And the hole detracts from its look." mark Waldheim (12) ddisagreed "The color and shape help me see a straight-back and straight-through stroke and the ball-sized circle makes aiming a snap." Feedback on mis-hits was another point of contention. Hoal Hoang (8) said, "it's light and vague-feeling. But the ball rarely shoots off-line. So no complaints here." Victor DeMarco (12) added, "I'd prefer more useful information to differentiate between good and poor putts." Most agree, though, that the backweighted head does an adequate job keeping putts on the straight and narrow. Additional Comments: "Tough to gauge distance due to the light head." -Kirk Fischer (7) "I suspect traditionalists may find it gimmicky." -Doug Lair (10) "I love the eye-catching color." -Ken Stauffer (14)
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Ben Hogan by Bettinardi The Hawk BHB12$190 The company line "The Hawk features rear-weighted alignment technology. It's milled out of a solid billet of aluminum utilizing a unique one-piece mmanufacturingprocess and has the eexclusiveHoneycomb face finish which makes it unmistakably a Ben Hogan by Bettinardi putter." Our testers say Hogan irons always have been known for their sweet feel, and Hogan's putters are following in the same footsteps. the aluminum-headed Hawk was ranked number one for feel. "Soft, soft, soft," said gary Wilson (handicap 13). "It gives me the feeling of rolling the ball rather than having to hit it." mark Waldheim (12) added, "The weighting in the head helped generate a smooth back-and-through motion." Some also embraced the hawk's setup. "the 'T' alignment aid points the way," said Kirk Fischer (7), "and it's very easy to see the line at address." Combining these attributes led to enjoyable testing. "Distance control is stellar," said Doug Lair (10). "I can face long putts without fear of a three-jack." Jim Perzan (9) concluded: "It has a 'nothing-but-net' feeling at impact. No need to look up. Just listen for the cheers." Additional Comments: "The hawk is clean, efficient, deadly." -Gerald Holtzman (0) "Great feel off the face." -Pete Stonestreet (12) "A fine example of a putter that can be forgiving without being too big." -Roger Liau (17)