Put­ters

They’re the flat­sticks for the purists, yet even these ben­e­fit from some clever tech

Today's Golfer (UK) - - Contents -

We rec­om­mend 30 dif­fer­ent blades, mal­lets and high MOI mod­els.

PING VAULT ANSER 2 £275 FIXED SHAFT £299 AD­JUSTABLE

www.ping.com

Head weight: 350g Grip: Ping Pis­tol PP62 Toe hang: Strong

TECH: Milled from solid blocks of 303 stain­less steel and in­spired by Ping’s tour pros. True Roll face tech sees grooves milled to dif­fer­ent widths and depths to help speed up off-cen­tre hits to in­crease con­sis­tency.

WE SAY: The Anser 2 comes with se­ri­ous cre­den­tials. It’s a Tour­proven shape, the fin­ish is fan­tas­tic, it’s made from soft car­bon steel and we know Ping has pored over the new vari­able width and depth grooves for hours. But the mil­lion-dol­lar ques­tion – and the clincher to any po­ten­tial pur­chase – is whether it’s demon­stra­bly bet­ter than what’s gone be­fore. And that’s what our testers strug­gled to agree. We just couldn’t say for sure that dis­tance con­trol, feel and roll were any bet­ter (which could partly be down to the new su­per-sized grip, which felt huge on this style of head).

VER­DICT: It feels lovely and will do a very good job for those who take the plunge. But you can get ex­actly the same head shape in the Sigma G range, with the same grooves, for £100 less...

TAYLORMADE TP COL­LEC­TION JUNO £199 (LAMKIN GRIP) £219 (SUPERSTROKE)

www.tay­lor­made­golf.com

Head weight: 345g Grip: Stan­dard Lamkin rub­ber or OS Superstroke Toe hang: Mod­er­ate

TECH: Skim-milling and a tour satin fin­ish give a re­ally crisp ap­pear­ance at ad­dress, while new 45° face grooves and a 6061 alu­minium face insert en­sure putts skid less.

WE SAY: Taylormade blade put­ters have never had quite the same suc­cess on Tour – or in club golfers’ hands – as their Spi­der de­signs. But it doesn’t stop them try­ing. These mod­els are all cast and then skim milled, so you get a very sharp, clean ap­pear­ance at ad­dress. It also means the put­ter doesn’t need to be painted, so you get a top qual­ity look and fin­ish. We loved the new Lamkin grip; its pis­tol shape with sharp edges, tra­di­tional size and a flat front drew plenty of com­pli­ments, mak­ing it re­ally easy to tell when the face was square.

VER­DICT: Though the Juno is beau­ti­fully made, if you sat it down among a line of blades it would strug­gle to stand out. A slightly lower price is re­flec­tive of the head not be­ing 100% milled. But if we’re hon­est most golfers would strug­gle to feel the dif­fer­ence.

PIRETTI CORTINO 1.5 £349

www.piret­tigolf.co.uk

Head­weight: 365g Grip: Piretti stan­dard Toe hang: Strong

TECH: The Cortino is cre­ated from a sin­gle block of 11L17 car­bon steel, so there are no welds around the hosel to ab­sorb vi­bra­tions or feel. The flow neck de­sign favours an arc-shaped put­ting stroke.

WE SAY: From top to bot­tom the Cortino oozes class, and you can’t fail to spot it. Yes, the head is a shape we’ve seen be­fore, but rarely have we seen such ex­quis­ite crafts­man­ship. A strong toe hang is quite se­vere, so it’s best suited to strokes with a slight to stronger arc. Our testers liked the firmer feel and ex­tra feed­back the Piretti gen­er­ated over some pre­mium mod­els, but at £349 a piece the Cortino is a hefty in­vest­ment. For us, it’s one likely only to be used by se­ri­ous golfers who’ll cher­ish this club.

VER­DICT: At this end of the mar­ket price is ir­rel­e­vant. If you’ve promised your­self a new pre­mium put­ter and you’ve got a nice arc­ing stroke, you won’t be dis­ap­pointed.

SCOTTY CAMERON SELECT NEW­PORT 2 £320

www.titleist.co.uk

Head weight: Change­able depend­ing on length Grip: Red Mata­dor Mid­size Toe hang: Mod­er­ate

TECH: Pre­ci­sion-milled from soft 303 steel to max­imise feel and re­spon­sive­ness. A float­ing insert helps raise MOI which means a higher re­sis­tance to twist­ing.

WE SAY: Re­spect to Ping for in­vent­ing the Anser put­ter shape, but surely Scotty de­serves credit for com­ing up with the idea to pre­ci­sion Cnc-mill such an iconic shape, too. The New­port 2 is one of his most cov­eted mod­els, and we can see why. The head’s mod­er­ate toe hang will suit a stroke with a bit of ro­ta­tion and we felt the head bore a touch more weight, which we re­ally liked as it’s been said be­fore that Scot­tys can be a bit light for year-round use in the UK. A sim­ple sin­gle align­ment line fo­cuses at­ten­tion nicely.

VER­DICT: A top qual­ity put­ter which blade purists will adore. The float­ing insert is a worth­while re­fine­ment. If you must have the Rolex of put­ters you’ve just found it.

ODYSSEY O-WORKS #1 WIDE £179

www.odyssey­golf.com

Head­weight: 350g Grip: Superstroke Pis­tol GT Tour or Superstroke Slim 2.0 (Counter Core) Toe hang: Slight

TECH: New finger-shaped grips on the stain­less steel face plate are com­bined with a ther­mo­plas­tic elas­tomer feel layer to grab and in­ter­act with the cover at im­pact, lift­ing the ball into a bet­ter roll.

WE SAY: Many golfers think blade put­ters are just for arc­ing strokes, but it’s sim­ply not true any more. The #1 Wide, with its shorter but wider body, along with the sort of dou­ble bend shaft you of­ten find in mal­let put­ters, means this de­sign has much less toe hang, so is much more suited to straighter strokes. That mi­cro­hinge face insert feels ab­so­lutely per­fect and we all loved the new red high­lighted sight lines. We tested this model with a Superstroke Mid Slim 2.0 grip, which is big­ger with softer edges than the Pis­tol GT Tour, but just as nice to use.

VER­DICT: We love how mod­els like this open up blade put­ters to a wider au­di­ence. Our testers felt the full shaft of off­set re­ally en­cour­aged get­ting the hands ahead of the ball to stroke the ball beau­ti­fully. A top all-round put­ter.

‘WE’VE SEEN THE SHAPE BE­FORE, BUT RARELY HAVE WE SEEN SUCH EX­QUIS­ITE CRAFTS­MAN­SHIP’

PING SIGMA G KIN­LOCH £175 FIXED £199 AD­JUSTABLE

www.ping.com Head­weight: 350g Grip: Ping Pis­tol P60 Toe hang: Mod­er­ate

TECH: New milled alu­minium face in­serts have vari­able depth and width grooves to de­liver con­sis­tent across-the-face ball speed per­for­mance. Feel is en­hanced by a high­en­ergy elas­tomer insert.

WE SAY: A clas­sic toe and heel weighted de­sign is com­bined with a scal­loped back. A plumber’s neck means a slight toe hang, mak­ing it a good match for a slightly arc­ing stroke. The head’s re­ally clean and sim­ple and the plat­inum fin­ish looks very sleek with a sin­gle align­ment line. Ping’s big new thing is the alu­minium face insert and vari­able width and depth grooves. It means you get a slightly higher MOI from this tra­di­tional blade as weight’s re­moved from the face. All three testers felt they holed more than their fair share with the Kin­loch.

VER­DICT: For golfers who like tin­ker­ing with their put­ter, Ping’s ad­justable length shaft should def­i­nitely be an op­tion. It means you can change your set-up in an in­stant. We re­ally liked the qual­ity fin­ish, ex­cel­lent new feel, sound and roll.

SCOTTY CAMERON SELECT NEW­PORT 2 NOTCHBACK £320

www.titleist.co.uk Head­weight: Change­able depend­ing on length Grip: Red Mata­dor Mid­size Toe hang: Slight

TECH: Pre­ci­sion-milled in the USA from soft 303 steel to max­imise feel and re­spon­sive­ness. A float­ing insert and wider notchback help raise MOI, which means a higher re­sis­tance to twist­ing.

WE SAY: Proof, if you need it, that blades don’t just suit arc­ing strokes. Cameron has clev­erly come up with a sin­gle bend shaft, which does away with the plumber’s neck you usu­ally get on a blade. It means you get less toe hang and opens up the Notchback to be­ing much more friendly for less arc­ing strokes. Two of our testers ab­so­lutely loved the con­cept and thought they could im­me­di­ately slide the Notchback straight into play. As you’d ex­pect, feel and roll is fan­tas­tic, and a worth­while ad­di­tion is the ‘notch’ which helps raise MOI higher than you’d typ­i­cally find with a blade.

VER­DICT: If you love the look of blade, but don’t have the stroke to get the best out of one, this could be right up your street. If you gen­er­ate half as much con­fi­dence as we did with it, you’ll be over the moon.

BETTINARDI BB1F £249

www.bettinardi.com Head­weight: 350g Grip: BB Se­ries stan­dard Toe hang: Strong

TECH: A clas­sic flow-neck blade with toe and heel weight­ing for a good de­gree of for­give­ness. Each head is cre­ated from a blend of mild steel to de­liver a great sound and feel at im­pact. Milled in the USA. WE SAY: With such sleek de­signs Bettinardi’s stock is con­tin­u­ally grow­ing in tour player cir­cles. Every di­men­sion, curve, mill mark and even the pat­tern on the face (which Bettinardi has worked out af­fects feel) has been pored over to de­liver a top-class put­ter. The flow­neck means you get more toe hang than most of the blade put­ters we tested, so it’s par­tic­u­larly well suited to strokes with a stronger arc. We loved how it en­cour­aged get­ting our hands ahead of the ball and re­ally stroking it across the green, rather than hit­ting at putts with a dam­ag­ing, wristy stroke.

VER­DICT: With a de­cent price gap be­tween Bettinardi and Scotty put­ters now there’s a real choice to be made be­tween the two.

EVNROLL ER2 £249

www.evnroll.com Head­weight: 370g Grip: Winn Pro 1.18 Toe hang: Slight

TECH: EVNROLL put­ters have a brand new face milling pat­tern which in­ven­tor Guerin Rife says gives a pro­gres­sive en­ergy trans­fer. To me and you, that means putts hit off-cen­tre roll vir­tu­ally the same dis­tance as cen­tre hits.

WE SAY: EVNROLL only started up last year, yet Guerin Rife has been de­sign­ing put­ters for 25 years. So it’s fair to say there’s a ton of ex­pe­ri­ence rolled into his new con­cept. The big story is the spe­cially-shaped face grooves, and we’ll hap­pily ad­mit to feel­ing a real en­gage­ment be­tween ball and face at im­pact. The ER2 had the widest head of the blades tested, so MOI and for­give­ness should be slightly en­hanced over most mod­els, and that cer­tainly played out with the amount of putts we holed.

VER­DICT: We’re not go­ing to go quite as far as say­ing the ER2’S clever face grooves ‘gear’ off-cen­tre putts back on­line, as EVNROLL claims. But we were very im­pressed by the tech, so much so our gear ed­i­tor put one in play.

ODYSSEY O-WORKS #1 £179

www.odyssey­golf.com Head­weight: 350g Grip: Superstroke Pis­tol GT Tour or Superstroke Slim 2.0 (Counter Core) Toe hang: Mod­er­ate

TECH: New finger-shaped grips on the stain­less steel face plate are com­bined with a ther­mo­plas­tic elas­tomer feel layer to grab and in­ter­act with the cover at im­pact, lift­ing the ball into a bet­ter roll.

WE SAY: Odyssey can le­git­i­mately claim to have in­vented the insert. And since its in­tro­duc­tion in the ’90s, they have toiled over im­prov­ing the feel and roll of their orig­i­nal de­sign. In 2017 they reckon they’ve hit the jack­pot. Our test­ing re­sults sug­gest they’re def­i­nitely onto some­thing. Lit­tle fin­gers on the O-works insert ‘lift’ putts into ac­tion and the re­sult­ing feel, sound and roll is dif­fer­ent to any­thing we saw on test. If you’re not one to be se­duced by CNC milled put­ters, we reckon the #1 is the com­plete blade.

VER­DICT: A top drawer put­ter, and that the mi­cro hinge face is some­thing else. It’s not milled, but when it looks, feels, sounds and rolls as good as this, who cares? If you’re in the mar­ket for a new blade in 2017, you’d be do­ing your­self a dis­ser­vice if you didn’t try one.

‘WE WERE VERY IM­PRESSED BY THE TECH, SO MUCH SO OUR GEAR ED­I­TOR PUT ONE IN PLAY’

PING VAULT ANSER 2 TAYLORMADE TP COL­LEC­TION JUNO PIRETTI CORTINO 1.5 SCOTTY CAMERON SELECT NEW­PORT 2

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