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).
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 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 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 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.
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.
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).
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.