GOLF Magazine reviews and rates midsize mallet putters.

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ClubTest 2008: Midsize Mallet Putters GOLF Magazine asked players just like you to try some of the newest midsize mallet putters on the market. See which the thought was the best. Boccieri Heavy Putter D3-DF $169, steel We tested: 34" and 35" in True Temper steel shaft Company line: "The deep face (DF) and 'humpback' design raise the CG to encourage consistent sweet-spot contact. This optimal transfer of energy results in better roll and more consistent distance control. The D3-DF is roughly double the weight of a conventional putter." Our Test Panel Says: PROS: Extreme head weight prevents twisting and face manipulation; a good option for those with jumpy nerves; more often than not, it's easy to control distance given its heaviness; smooths out a wayward stroke; there are times this putter seems to putt itself; allows you to use the entire face. CONS: Mis-hits feel too much like center contact; difficult to make delicate strokes, momentum kicks in and you fight the putter; once in awhile, putts can get away distance-wise; uninspiring flat battleship gray finish. "The Seeing Eye dog of putters— it just guides you along." — Andy Simon (23) Rate and Review this club
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Mizuno Black Carbon BC3 $249, steel We tested: 34" and 35" in steel shaft Company line: "This 100-percent milled one-piece carbon steel putter delivers ultra- consistency. Its 'Feel Impact Technology' (FIT) face dramatically reduces the surface area where the ball makes contact with the face, and this in turn delivers an extremely solid and soft feel." Our Test Panel Says: PROS: The surprisingly soft feel, as though it's padded, won't diminish the satisfying click you'll hear when you catch the sweet spot; heavy enough to maintain a pendulum motion without being too heavy to affect speed control; like its compactness; striking jet-black head and sharp white sightline encourage precise alignment. CONS: Not the best for lag putting — needs more oomph to roll putts as far as other mallets; a little lacking in distance forgiveness, misses go shorter than others; some find the small grip makes their stroke too handsy. "I intentionally hit some short putts out on the heel. They still went in." — Peter Kraus (20) Rate and Review this club
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Odyssey White Hot XG Marxman Mini $169 We tested: 34" and 35" in steel shaft Company line: "Our multi-layer insert combines a soft, highly resilient elastomer core [which creates great feel and helps to get the ball rolling quickly] with a thin, firm outer striking surface that's fine-tuned for responsiveness." Our Test Panel Says: PROS: Fans praise its clean feel— there's a noticeable cushioned effect at impact; two bold, shortened alignment bars are effective at address; you can use the alignment bars to mentally trace your swing path; it shines with speed control on tricky downhill putts; offset hosel and toe hang encourage a natural arc stroke. CONS: Dissenters say that feel is often heard more than felt; it can be a little challenging to achieve proper pace on long putts due to the extreme softness of the face; unconventional shape has its detractors; "feel" players may want more. "It truly is a 'marksman' given its feel, touch and directional help." — Jim Esther (20)
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Ping Karsten Series B60 $89, steel We tested: 34" and 35" in steel shaft Company line: "An elastomer insert in the cavity enhances feel while maintaining the solid response of a steel-faced putter. The weight savings from the cavity is redistributed to the perimeter. The multi-level alignment device aids in alignment." Our Test Panel Says: PROS: A good upgrade for B60 devotees; the club respects its roots with a nod to evolution; provides predictably consistent results; gives you feedback from both the crisp, clicky sound and the sense of instant feel coming up the shaft; get dialed in and say goodbye to three-putts; the B60 shape looks like an old friend; fans of old Ping steel heads should step into this one like an old pair of shoes. CONS: A group of testers are not blown away by the B60's directional forgiveness; a few panelists find the textured grip to be too slippery. "Noticeably more impact feel than many others tested." — Mark Haberstroh (4)
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Rife Two Bar Hybrid $199, steel We tested: 34" and 35" in steel shaft Company line: "It features our patented 'RollGroove' technology (horizontal face grooves that produce a no-skid roll), two-bar alignment system, adjustable rear weighting that provides maximum stability and takes various green speeds into account, plus a vertical alignment notch for consistent setup." Our Test Panel Says: PROS: Offers terrific control; heavy head, with two weighted bars, keeps the face square during the stroke even if contact is off-center; face insert is remarkably soft; multiple alignment aids are tough to match and make proper setup a cinch; the soft feel, tight roll and good speed control let testers putt assertively in birdie range; ball seems to roll immediately off the face. CONS: Heavy-ish head feel may cause some to struggle with distance control; quirky appearance could turn off purists; impact feel may be too light for some. "Feel, look, performance. This is the total package." — Chris Klamkin (2)
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Sizemore XM-2 $349, steel We tested: 34" and 35" in steel shaft Company line: "The triangular-shaped aluminum head has pronounced copper rail sightlines. A set of center alignment inserts can be customized to accommodate a player's alignment preferences, while interchangeable end caps let you optimize your speed and distance control." Our Test Panel Says: PROS: There are alignment aids galore, and the large head and broad sightlines make lining up your putt a snap; provides a distinct, firm feel on contact; head-heavy sensation and stability of the face contribute to a smooth stroke; no need to worry about getting it to the hole — putts roll out farther than the rest. CONS: Visually speaking, there's way too much going on with this copper- and silver-colored triangular head; liable to blow putts past the hole; would like more help when putts stray from their line. "Given all the alignment lines, it might make sense to be fit for lie angle." — Jeff Bones (9)
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Titleist Scotty Cameron Red X3 $299, steel We tested: 34" and 35" in steel shafts Company line: "The precision-milled head, made from 303-stainless steel, has a glare-resistant 'charcoal mist' finish. It features a single bend shaft with 1/4-shaft of offset for ideal toe-flow through the stroke. The stepless steel shaft enhances feel." Voted Best for Feel Our Test Panel Says: PROS: Putts don't jump off the face, you're always in control of the ball; extremely responsive, it offers light feedback on off-center putts; testers love its smooth, true roll; grip it lightly and allow overall weighting to generate an easy, repeatable pendulum stroke; this simple, classy, winsome mallet is an aesthetic favorite; long white alignment stripe proves useful. CONS: A player's mallet; inconsistent strikers may want to look elsewhere for more 'game-improvement' help on toe misses; it won't be willing to save you on any blatant mis-hits. "Impact is as smooth as silk — sweet, with no aftertaste." — Jeremy Ross (4)
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Yes! C-Groove Valerie $149, steel We tested: 34" and 35" in steel shaft Company line: "This face-balanced, cavity-back head is made from 304-stainless steel. The C-Groove's concentric edges have a 20-degree upward slant. On contact, these edges grip the ball and lift it out of its resting position and impart an over-the-top rolling motion." Our Test Panel Says: PROS: Gets the ball rolling quick; it takes the fear out of putting; count on sniffing somewhere around the hole on center or slightly off-center contact; soft impact feel, even on longer, more forceful strokes; heavier head mass; ball starts rolling quickly so distance control takes little effort; ideal for square-to-square strokes; weighting encourages a smooth rhythmic stroke; consistent distance across the face. CONS: Feedback to the hands is too muted; some testers question the two-tone look and usefulness of the thin, white sight aid; misses feel too similar to center hits. "Valerie whispers feedback rather than shouting it out." — Dave Lucarelli (15)
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Winner: Midsize Mallet Putters Titleist Scotty Cameron Red X3 $299, steel The head is in tune with the shaft and the stroke flows like water. You can tell when you hit it off-center, but not in a harsh way. It puts a pure roll on it; putts stay on their intended line, they don't hop or skip. Its precision-milled, stainless steel body features a new, glare-resistant finish. Better players, in particular, will appreciate its tight handling, like a European sports car. "The excellent pendulum feel makes a good stroke easy to repeat." — Jeff Bones (9) HOW WE DID IT We assigned each of our ClubTesters a putting lane on the practice green. Testers struck 12 putts per putter from three to 40 feet. They then followed up with on-course testing. (We provided them with 34- and 35-inch putters.) Panelists took note of feel, look and control, and also shared their overall impressions. Our exclusive research partner, Hot Stix Golf, measured roll on center hits and heel-toe forgiveness using a mechanical putting device. • ClubTest Home Page • ClubTest Index Page • Irons: Max Game-Improvement • Irons: Game-Improvement • Irons: Better-Player • Wedges