Friday, June 23, 2006

Putter Testing Trip Report

The last two evenings have been spent at the golf club attempting to catch a whif of what it was like to putt well. My hope was that I would find a putter so perfect that magically I could make putts again. As with all things in golf though, it's not the tool as much as the guy who wields it.

Did these putters make me putt better? Yes. Mainly because it forced me to practice putting.

Off we go.

Scotty Cameron Circa 62 #1

While perusing through a local golf store (not my pro shop) I came upon a putter that had a certain glow to it. There's something about the finish to a Scotty Cameron putter that makes it more attractive than others. Cameron's success comes from his ability to make what is in reality a piece of metal into something beautiful and functional. Unfortunately, the golf shop wasn't keen on the idea of my demo'ing a $350 putter so all i could do was roll a few on their carpets. The putter felt solid and looks stunning, that's about all I could say given the short time we spent together. One big downside to the Circa putter is its finish - you'd hate to mark up a putter this nice looking and their choice of finish is really easy to mark. Gotta love Cameron putters, but I can't give you a true trip report on this one since I never got to really roll it.

Ping G5i Zing

The brilliant folks over at Ping have always made some of my favorite putters. The original Anser and Anser2 have been endlessly copied by other manufacturers because the design works. The Zing models is not really fitting to my eye as much as the Ansers however. Ping's blue face insert is one of its newer toys along with a unique half-golf-ball alignment system with traditional top line from ball to back edge. On the greens this putter had a nice, even feel. Slightly dull from the softness of the insert but very strokeable. I found it's biggest downside for me was the new half-golf-ball cutout which detracted from an otherwise very attractive putter (top down that is). If it's not appealing to my eye, it's out regardless of how nicely the ball feels coming off its face. Yoinks.

TaylorMade Lambeau AGSI

TaylorMade makes really awesome equipment these days. Expensive yes, but nice. Harry and NoSkillz both play TM drivers and rescues, I've got a TM rescue, TM rocks. However, i've never liked them for putters until now. Sticking to the blade putter theme I tested the center-shafted Lambeau AGSI as suggested by Ryan in the pro shop. This putter is very clean, very tight and I really like its looks a lot. To this point i've never owned a center shafted putter but that might change. The AGSI system is a series of grooves in the putter face that are supposed to get the ball rolling end over end faster -- sort of like the Yes ! putter faces. The Yes! putter face does its job for sure, and so does this one. I made a lot of putts with this putter -- a LOT. This thing was just lighting it up for me. The only downside to this putter was the feel/roll on off-center strikes. Struck in the middle the Lambeau provides smooth feedback to the hands and rolls the ball beautifully, struck half an inch off middle and you get "clunk". Oh well. If I had a consistantly better putting stroke I would certainly consider re-testing this.

TaylorMade Monza Corza

The TaylorMade Monza Corza uses the same AGSI system as the Lambeau. I knew before taking this out that the ball would roll nicely off the face, but I was surprised that the off-center probs were gone too. The top line on the Monza Corza is a single black line pointing through your target. As anyone who has seen my ancient Zebra can attest, I'm a big fan of a large parallel top-line. This mallet putter rolls the ball very nicely and was certainly better for me on straight putts. I did have some trouble with weight on distance putts however which could probably be solved with a bit of practice. If i were to choose one of the three I actually was able to roll, this would be it.

So what's the result? As usual all this putter testing has brought my putting back up a notch so I'm still using my old-assed Zebra. I'm so damn picky with putters that I've yet to find one that's quite right though I will keep looking. My Zebra has a slightly dead feel to its face now as well as having a shaft that can be turned in the head (need to glue it) -- it's on its way out basically.

If anyone has any recommendations of putters to test, the Toastman would be happy to try and find one to putt with.


Harris said...

I've got a taylor Made Nubbins sitting in the back of my truck, your more than welcome to have. And yes, I left lots of good puts in it for you. I could of kept using it, but keeping with the doing anything matt does I had to get a Scotty last year in an attempt to become a better golfer, like Matt. Man is he good.

Toast said...

Yes I was thinking of buying a scotty just to try and keep up with Matt, but I realized i'm just not that good.

You do copy him on an stunning number of things you know. Not that I can blame you... he's good.