New Putters, New Rule for 2016

Putter review

If you’re looking to upgrade the most important scoring club in your bag, putter manufacturers have come up with several impressive offerings for 2016. From innovations in materials and design to helping golfers affected by Rule 14-1b (anchored club ban), this year’s crop of putters will help you dial in your short game and shoot lower scores.

The Nike Method Origin blade putters and Nike Method Converge mallet putters both won Gold on GolfDigest’s Hot List with a focus on counter-balance technology, improved feel, and better roll.

The Nike Method Converge putter with CounterFlex system comes in a heel-toe weighted style (B1-01), and a mallet style (S1-12).

Nike Method Origin

The CounterFlex system helps players transition from belly and broom putters with a user-adjustable weight in the grip. It consists of a 75-gram moveable weight that slides on a 15-inch track. Golfers can then dial in the perfect counterbalance to maintain a balanced and smooth stroke without anchoring the putter.

Nike’s Method Converge mallet also has a resin polymer mid-layer and face insert, yielding a softer feel and more reliable roll with less skidding and jumping off the face.

Nike Method Origin blade putters also feature a layer of resin polymer between the club face and the body of the putter. This layer compresses and rebounds during impact to help maintain feel and performance on mis-hits. Horizontal grooves completely cross the face left-to-right and top-to-bottom for better roll on impact at virtually any spot on the face.

Nike Method Converge

Nike has a number of other models and head shapes – each with a different look and feel with designs to complement any golfer’s stroke. These are just a couple of their many options.

Callaway’s Odyssey White Hot RX mallet and blade putters also brought home Gold from GolfDigest with a face derived from a golf ball. Odyssey designers tried seventeen different combinations to create a face insert with a firm cover over a soft core to improve balance and feel.

The oval mesh pattern on the White Hot RX insert is covered with a textured coating to help the face grip the ball, get it rolling more quickly, and keep it on line to the hole. The pattern on the face of the putter creates less points of contact at impact producing a softer feel, especially if you play with a mid-to-firm golf ball.

Odyssey White Hot RX

Odyssey Works/Tank Cruiser putters feature a weight system that gives golfers total control over the counterbalancing effect. Odyssey found adding more weight to the grip helped golfers cut down on hand action during the stroke while removing weight from the grip increased swing weight and club head feel.

The weight kit includes adjustable weights (5-, 15- and 30-grams) which are installed on the head and in the butt of the grip so each golfer can find the right combination for his or her stroke.

Odyssey Works Tank Cruiser

Odyssey Works/Tank Cruiser putters come with the Fusion RX face insert, which combines the White Hot insert with steel mesh for more friction and better roll.

Ping has a top performer and award-winner this year with the Cadence TR line of blade and mallet putters. In celebration of the Ping Anser’s 50th anniversary, the Anser has been updated with new technology and is the inspiration for Ping’s new TR 1966 putters.

The TR 1966 Anser comes in a manganese bronze PVD finish and sports the famous sound slot in the sole. It has rounded toe and heel counters, a thicker top line (like the original), and no alignment line.

The TR 1966 Anser 2 comes in a stainless steel blast finish. It has a single white alignment line on the flange, less rounded contours than the TR 1966 Anser, and a narrower top line.


Ping’s Cadence TR models come with different-weight face inserts, Traditional and Heavy. The Traditional version features a blue aluminum insert and a blue grip for golfers with a fast-to-normal putting stroke tempo. The Heavy version is black and works with normal-to-slow stroke speeds. It’s made of stainless steel and adds around 25 grams to the weight of the head.

You can find out which one is best for you by trial and error or you can use the Ping iApp on an iPhone. The app is free, but you’ll have to buy the cradle to attach it to your putter shaft.

Titleist struck Gold as well with Scotty Cameron’s new Futura X7/Futura X7M and Scotty Cameron Select putters.

Scotty Cameron Futura

The X7 line is an extension of the X5 line with the same head shape but a larger head, a larger sweet spot, more forgiveness, and more alignment lines. It features an aluminum face-sole core enclosed in a stainless steel frame. This design promotes a softer feel than the X5, 303 stainless steel putter face.

Scotty Cameron Select putters are engineered for performance. They feature three multi-material compositions designed specifically for each putter style. The Select’s new face inlay technology promotes soft but solid feel and responsive feedback.

Scotty Cameron Select

The new face inlays wrap around the sole and fade from view at address, as opposed to a traditional face insert installed in the center section of the face.

Bettinardi offers counterbalance models for traditionalists (BB1), mallet lovers (BB32), and, if you need some forgiveness, the BB55.

Bettinardi’s counterbalanced putters move the balance point of the club closer to the golfers hands by extending the shaft and grip by 3 inches, adding 42 additional grams to the putter. Then they add 42 grams to the head so the weight is countered on each end of the putter. This makes the total weight of the putter 395 grams, which promotes stable feel and boosts the club’s overall moment of inertia (MOI).

Bettinardi BB1

Check out Bettinardi’s high-quality, high-end putters as well. The Kuchar model is a great choice if you’re switching to “arm-lock” style.

There’s no doubt, the 2016 crop of putters offer impressive innovations in technology, space-age materials, performance improvements, and aiming aids. And with the large number of choices to match any style, you’re sure to find one that helps you shoot lower scores more often. So whether it’s time to upgrade your putter or deal with Rule 14-1b, head over to your golf shop and have the pro help you find a putter that’s right for you.

Shoal Creek – Standing Out Among Missouri’s Very Best

Shoal Creek

Shoal Creek stands out among public courses, not only in Kansas City but statewide. It is still rated the second best public course in Missouri by Golfweek’s America’s Best You Can Play.

Why does Shoal Creek get such accolades? Assistant Pro Rhett Fregoe came up with some answers pretty quickly.

“Maintenance is one reason it rates so high,” he said. “We are always in good shape – the fairways, greens, everything. You can’t beat it, especially for a public course.”

Shoal Creek

The design of the course also distinguishes Shoal Creek, he said. “It’s a mixture of different layouts, basically,” Fregoe said. “A few holes are links style, a few are more traditional, and some are tree-lined.” As an added feature and to help players navigate the course, Shoal Creek has GPS systems on all carts. Another plus at Shoal Creek, Fregoe said, is the large clubhouse and attentive staff.

Location also works in Shoal Creek’s favor. Under 15 minutes from the airport and with plenty of hotels in the area, Shoal Creek draws a lot of business travelers, Fregoe said. Besides air travelers, many players come from Iowa and Minnesota, especially in the early spring and fall when weather to the north is not as golf-friendly as in Kansas City. For travelers of all kinds, the course has stay and play packages with some Northland hotels.

Shoal Creek

Overall, Shoal Creek offers players a private course experience on a public venue according to Shoal Creek General Manager Brett Plymell. Shoal Creek is owned by the Kansas City Missouri Department of Parks and Recreation and managed privately by KemperSports.

Playing to a par 71, Shoal Creek, is 6,983 from the back tees and 6,363 from the middle, with respective course ratings of 73.9 and 70.8. It has a lofty 139 slope rating from the back and 127 from the middle. From the forward tees, the course plays at 5,571 yards, has a 66.5 course rating and 116 slope.

Shoal Creek

The opening five holes are the toughest stretch on the course before giving way to an easier 6 through 16. Then, the par-3 17th requires a tee shot over Shoal Creek while 18 is a 464-yard dogleg par 4. Throughout, Shoal Creek has zoysia fairways and bent grass greens, maintained by Duane Sander, course superintendent since the course opened.

Club pros offer lessons, either on the practice tee or in a nine-hole round. The course also has junior clinics and a PGA Tour Academy camp in June and July. The pro shop is fully stocked with apparel and equipment and it custom fits clubs. For several years, Shoal Creek has hosted the Kansas City Amateur tournament.

Shoal Creek

The clubhouse features a fireplace, dining area and lounge, locker rooms and exemplary service. The clubhouse is well known for its ability to host events and is booked for 30 to 40 wedding events every year. Receptions can make use of three different rooms in the clubhouse, including a banquet hall that seats 250 people. Couples who want to also marry at the course can do so. The ceremony seating is usually set up on the driving range in front of the clubhouse, offering an open setting with great views.

Shoal Creek

The clubhouse also hosts many parties for birthdays, anniversaries, reunions and other occasions. The course has periodic wine-tastings, with hors d’oeuvres, and features one of the more fun weekly events on Taco Tuesdays.

More information about the course, its amenities and tee times are available on its website, The course is located at 8905 N. Shoal Creek Parkway in Kansas City. The phone number is 816-407-7242.

What Happens at Impact

Practice golf

Impact is often referred to as the “Moment of truth.” Regardless of what occurs throughout the backswing and downswing the goal is to square the club face at impact while the club travels toward the target. The result is a straight shot. The following club positions are ideal at impact.

Shaft Lean

Shaft lean is the measurement of how far the hands are forward or backward at impact. An ideal impact position creates a forward shaft lean at impact while the hands are slightly in front of the club head. Forward shaft lean is necessary for the correct downward angle of attack and ball compression.

Club positions

Forward shaft lean strikes down through the ball causing the ball to lift in the air. Backward shaft lean is an indicator of several potential swing faults such as hanging back and scooping. When the shaft is backward at impact the result is often thin or topped golf shots. Shorter clubs will generally produce slightly more lean than longer clubs.

A fundamental impact position is the head behind the ball, flat left arm and wrist while the shaft leans forward at impact.

Attack Angle

Attack angle describes the direction the club head strikes the ball. The attack angle indicates an upward, downward or neutral angle of attack. The normal downward angle of attack allows the club head to strike the ball followed by the turf. The loft of each club produces a shot that travels up in the air. Longer clubs such as woods and drivers produce a minimal downward angle of attack. The ball should be positioned in a manner that the club bottoms out through the ball.  A poor angle of attack occurs when the club head travels up on the golf ball with an iron. Professional players generally produce a -1 to 3 degree angle of attack with a driver and -2 to -4 with an iron. Notice how professional players swing down and through the ball, something many amateurs must learn to do. A steep angle of attack produces a divot.

Face Angle

Face angle is the direction the club face is pointed at impact. Face angle is generally referred to as an open or closed club face. The face angle is crucial to the starting direction of the ball. The ball launches similar to the face angle at impact. An open club face produces a fade or slice while a closed club face leads to a draw or hook. When the club face is square the ball will travel straight in relation to the club path.

Club Path

Club path is the direction the club head is moving at impact. The club head travels down the target line for a straight shot. The path helps determine the golf balls starting direction. Players that prefer a draw must produce an in-to-out path while a fade requires and out-to-in club path.

Shaft Angle

The shaft angle is an indication of how steep or flat the shaft is at impact. The shaft angle is measured from the ground to the shaft of the club. The general rule of thumb is to get the shaft angle at impact as close to the shaft angle at address. Most players create a slightly steeper shaft angle at impact.

Club positions

Note this professional golfer’s address shaft angle and impact shaft angle are nearly identical, demonstrating how the game’s elite find consistency and success. This was Anthony Kim during his prime. We hope to see more of Anthony at some point and hope he makes it back to this kind of form.

– Matt Keller, PGA
Matt Keller is a PGA Golf Professional with over 15 years of experience. Matt is a graduate of the Penn State PGM Program. Throughout his career he has worked at courses in Pennsylvania, Maryland, Florida and Delaware. Matt has conducted thousands of golf lessons to players of all ages and ability levels. Currently, he is a PGA Professional at Cripple Creek Golf and Country Club located near Bethany Beach, DE.