Golfing Magazine Online -
2005 Putters
Tom Landers
By Tom Landers
Published on 11/10/2005

Our Readers Test The New 2005 Putters

Putters that compliment your stroke and instill confidence by both looking and feeling good are as critical to successful putting as good technique and no other club in the bag is available in as many different styles, looks and performance characteristics than the trusty flat stick. Since its only purpose is to get the ball rolling in the right direction at the right speed, putter designers and manufacturers spend untold amounts of money and time refining and developing new and better weighting schemes, alignment aids, insert materials and shapes to perform better than previous models...

According to Scotty Cameron, whose beautifully crafted putters are made for Titleist, the most important thing to consider when choosing a putter is how the putter looks at address. "A certain look, feel and weighting are what golfers want when they pick up a putter and we work hard to make sure that they are immediately impressed. The putter has to let the golfer see the line when they set the putter down. Once you have the right look, then you can focus on feel."

Although feel is very subjective, it is important to keep in mind that a large part of feel is sound, and materials play a significant role in both. If you like a firmer feel, don't mess around with putters that feature face inserts fitted with urethane of other soft materials. If you like a softer feel, keep clear of harder materials, or putters that makes a loud "click."

Lastly, it's important to find a putter with a weighting scheme that matches your stroke. If you are more of a straight back and through putter, then a face-balanced putter may be your best choice. If your stroke moves inside to square to inside, then a toe-balanced putter is a better choice.

The position of your hands at address is something to consider when choosing a putter. The more vertical your hands the more likely a center-shafted, face-balanced putter will work better for you. Conversely, if your hands are lower at address you will tend to putt better with an end-shafted, toe-balanced putter.

But putters are much more than look and feel these days, as the popularity of mallet-style, high MOI (moment of inertia) models demonstrate. The objective of putters is the get the ball rolling, not skidding along the ground, as quickly as possible. Designers are taking this into consideration
"In the past you had to stick with more conservative designs," says Cameron. "Now the floodgates are open. We can be as creative as we want and not be concerned that golfers will be put off by something that looks different. Designers are able to do almost anything--as long as it works--and that’s a great thing for everyone, especially the golfer."

As far as trends go, face insert technology is making a comeback, with an array of materials, including some that combine the flatness of milled steel with the softness of urethane for the best of both worlds. Inserts take on three forms, metals, polymer and a combination of both. Of course, mega-sized, high MOI mallets continues to provide the putter market with a wide array of styles, weighting schemes and materials. Don't be afraid to experiment.

Taylormade Rossa Monza Corsa | (800) 456-8633 | $208
“Felt Confident with this putter and made lots of putts, liked it better than my 2-Ball putter.” Dan Feltman 9 handicap

TaylorMade-adidas Golf (TmaG) recently introduced new innovations in its Rossa Putters line. The Monza Corsa features Rossa’s new Anti-skid Groove System Insert (AGSI) characterized by a large putterface insert made of Titallium. It promotes forwardspin, according to the company, because the unique shape of the grooves hold the ball through impact, reducing backspin. The putter also features TaylorMade’s Movable Weight Technology that allows players to change weight and feel by installing differently weighted cartridges in the two ports located in the rear of the putterhead to suit personal taste and playing conditions.

Putterhead : Stainless Steel
Putterface: Titallium insert
Construction: Cast
Design: Face Balanced Mallet Heel or Center,
Shafted Model available

Titleist Scotty Cameron Futura Phantom | 800-225-8500 | $285
“Great Balance, Easy to align, Great Roll – I am trading in my Cameron Red-X for this model.” Eric Kelley, 10 handicap

The Titleist Scotty Cameron Futura Phantom Putters are a contemporary, high-tech line of putters with a dramatically deep center of gravity for unmatched balance, stability, forgiveness and roll. The topline slopes up from heel to toe to help sole the putter with the proper loft and face angle at address and a single bend shaft gives the Phantom proper toe flow and an unobstructed look at the ball. The face is a contemporary high-tech design made from 661 aircraft aluminum and a steel backweight helps the putter track dead square on the forward stroke producing putts that roll along the intended line. The deep center of gravity provides for unmatched balance, stability, forgiveness and roll.

Putterhead : Stainless Steel
Putterface: 661 aircraft aluminum
Construction: Cast
Design: Center Shaft Mallet 2 • Mallet • Offset Mallet designs

Dunlop LoCo | 800-235-5516 | $120
“Felt softer than my current putter, which I liked – Excellent price.” Rich Hyde 14 handicap

New to the LOCO family of products in 2005 is the LoCo (Crazy Straight) Putter. This putter is 100% CNC milled from a solid block of aerospace grade aluminum. Precision face balanced weighting along with an oversized shape provides a soft touch and feel with each putt. This putter has a deep CG and high MOI due to the arc heel design. This unique shape serves as an alignment aid and the double shaft bend positions the hands properly ahead of the ball for a proper setup and impact position. This brilliant blue finished putter features a Winn V-17 grip and is one of the best all-round values in putters.

Putterhead : Aluminum
Putterface: Aluminum (milled)
Construction: Milled
Design: Face Balanced Mallet

Ben Hogan Hawk by Bettinardi | 800-225-1132 | $190
“Solid, Solid feel at impact – best feel I have had with a putter and I try lots.”John Williams 8 handicap

Milled from a single block of aluminum, the Hawk design features unique shapes that place the bulk of the weight toward the rear of the putterhead. This weight distribution creates a high Moment of Inertia to help resist any twisting or distance loss on off-center hits. The Hawk comes in 2 designs, both are face-balanced and feature dramatic sight lines that aid in alignment and control. This new addition to the Ben Hogan line features Bob Bettinardi’s classic Honeycomb face design that provides tremendous feel, increased flattness and added looks.

Putterhead : Aluminum
Putterface: Aluminum (milled)
Construction: Milled
Design: Face Balanced Mallet • Heel or Center-Shafted
Model available

Aserta Monster | 800-748-7421 | $199
“ This putter really rolls the ball – got a lot of roll out on all my puts.” Scott Anderson 4 handicap

Behind the compliment – “Good roll” – is a fundamental truth about putting: Well-struck putts have topspin, since backspin causes the ball to skip, bounce, check up, and veer off line. The new Aserta Monster mallet putter employs “inverted mass technology,” which is the underlying design and construction of every putter in the Aserta line. This technology raises the center of gravity of the putter face and in turn guarantees that the ball is struck at or above its equator and that topspin – up to 100 RPMs – is imparted. The higher CG is attained by designing the putter “upside down,” with the majority of weight on the top half of the putter. If you want backspin, Aserta says, putt with your wedge. For lower scores, try an Aserta putter.

Putterhead : Aluminum, Stainless
Putterface: Stainless Steel (milled)
Construction: Milled
Design: Face-balanced Mallet

MacGregor V-Foil GT | 800-841-4358 | $229
“Once got used to look – I made a lot of putts – I now want one for my bag.” Phil Thompson 9 handicap

Crafted from milled aluminum with copper tungsten weighting, the V-FOIL MOI putters feature a beryllium copper face insert for extraordinary feel and feedback. The patented tri-plane design sole, directs the mass to the furthest point from the center of gravity, reducing drag and allowing for greater control even when putting from the fringe or off the green. The V-Foil GT is designed to eliminate twisting by positioning a 150-gram tungsten weight as far from the face as possible, creating a high MOI. New to the GT model are a dual sight band for better alignment and the Tri-Tech Adjustable Weighting System. Three putterhead sizes are available in regular, belly or long length.

Putterhead : Aluminum
Putterface: Beryllium Copper
Construction: Milled
Design: Face Balanced Mallet

Never Compromise Speed Control Series | 800-999-6263 | $155
“Always wanted to try one of these putters – easy to line up with the different colors and felt really solid – I would buy one.” Brad Schaefer 13 handicap

The new line of Speed Control Putters features two different models, the Speed Control Gray and the Speed Control Red to accommodate the fact that no two greens are created equal. The Speed Control Gray features an S66 polymer insert which helps to produce highly responsive feedback for improved distance control. This makes it most suitable for faster greens or those that register 8.5 or higher on a stimpmeter. The Speed Control Red, on the other hand, has a specially-treated, stainless steel insert that is heavier and more resilient than normal stainless steel. This added weight and strength make it the ideal choice for putting on slower greens.

Putterhead : Stainless Steel
Putterface: Gray – Proprietary Polymer, Red – Stainless Steel (milled)
Construction: Cast
Design: Heel-toe blade in 4 different designs

Nike Blue Chip OZ T 160 Blade | 888-799-NIKE | $167
“Easy to aim and ball rolls nicely off the face – face felt softer than I am used to.” Dave Roberts 16 handicap

Designed for feel, forgiveness and reduced skidding, The NIKE Blue Chip Putters help deliver true, accurate putts. Optimal weight distribution in the heel and toe, and the soft, light Blue Chip insert helps send putts on line at the speed you want. Nike moves 48% of the clubhead mass (160 grams) rearward in the Tungsten plug thereby reducing skidding and allowing a truer roll. The precision milled face enhances feel and the Blue Chip aluminum insert is 73% softer and 65% lighter than steel, enhancing feel and control at impact. The putter also features a face-balanced design and a double bend stepless steel shaft.

Putterhead : Stainless Steel
Putterface: Blue Chip Aluminum (milled)
Construction: Cast
Design: Face-Balanced blade

Nickent Golf’s PIPE Putter is the # 1 Alignment Putter in Golf

We have been writing a lot about one of our favorite companies recently, and we had to keep that trend up once we got our hands on the new PIPE Putter. Nickent Golf has outdone themselves this time with a fairly simple idea. The PIPE Putter has a cylinder shaped pipe on the top of the clubhead that makes the 2-Ball alignment look like child’s play. I never thought I would be saying that a putter should be illegal, based on how hard putting is, but this putter makes it so much easier than any putter I have tried.

Not only is it easier for me to see where my putt is lined up, it is easier for everyone to see, including your playing partners. Stand 10 feet behind someone putting with a PIPE and you will be able to tell where the putt is headed. Caddies have even been guiding their players based on where they see the PIPE aimed. What’s the secret? The PIPE is 3-dimesional. It makes it so you can visualize the line to the hole. It also allows you to see your line and your stroke in motion. Because it is one continuous, 3D alignment aid, it only lets your eye to concentrate on one thing: where the putt is headed.

It’s no wonder that the PIPE Putter has helped players on all the 4 top U.S. Tours have their best putting rounds of the 2005 season. Players on the PGA Tour, LPGA Tour, Nationwide Tour and now Champions Tour have posted their lowest amount of putting strokes with the PIPE lining up their putts.

It even led 3-time PGA Tour Major champion, including the 1983 U.S. Open to their best putting performance of the season, this time in a Major event on the Champions Tour. In its first week in the bag, the PIPE Putter drastically improved the Larry Nelson’s putts per round from a season average of 29.46 to a tournament average of 26.3. This impressive 3-stroke swing led the player to a 2nd place ranking in putting and a 5th place finish at the Ford Senior Players Championship. Previously the 22nd ranked putter on the Champions Tour, the PIPE catapulted the player up to the # 2 putting ranking in the second major tournament of the 2005 Champions Tour.

That’s pretty impressive given Mr. Nelson is a10-time PGA Tour winner and 19-time winner on the Champions Tour. Larry’s putting had slipped a fraction in 2005 from previous years until he found the benefits the PIPE’s 3–dimensional aid on the practice green on Wednesday. A few hours of work with the PIPE and it replaced his traditional anser-like putter for the start of the tournament. His big finish at the major event moved him from 59th to 27th in the Charles Schwab Cup Points standings.

When we asked who the PIPE was for, Nickent officials responded by saying it was for everyone who wanted to instantly shave strokes on the green. What they meant to say is that it was for all players using the 2-Ball and Craz-E putters. The company picked these two best sellers as their comparison competition. They had independent tests by two of the world’s leading golf-club testing companies show the Nickent PIPE handily beat the 2-Ball and the Craz-E putters in tests done to see which model offers the best alignment. They showed that four out of five golfers said the PIPE offered better alignment characteristics than the 2-Ball putter.

On the heels of skid and roll being the new hot putting topic, they also had tests done to see which of the three had the least amount of skid and the truest roll. Nickent said they came out on top with 24% less skid than both putters. According to Nickent, this kind of performance was accomplished due to maximum ground level weighting mixed with a tungsten plug at the end of the PIPE, plus extreme perimeter weighting caused by surrounding a super lightweight thermoplastic pipe with stainless steel. It’s weight deep in the club head, low in the club head and to extreme outskirts of the club head. Despite what some other manufactures claim, this is the best way to decease skid in a putter, according to Nickent.

The PIPE’s face insert is called the P-Line, an advanced polymer face insert has 98 hardness rating. It produces the perfect combination of soft feel and stability at impact and a truly pleasing feel. I love the way the PIPE feels and I think that this is the easiest alignment system ever produced in a putter. It is worth a look at this smokin’ new putter.

Putterhead : Stainless Steel
Putterface: Polymer
Construction: Cast
Design: Face- Balanced

Odyssey 2-Ball White Hot Steel | 800-228-2767 | $215
“Alignment is easy, Great balance – felt lots of mass behind the ball – easy to hit good putts.” Mike Robbins 10 handicap

The Odyssey White Steel Putter line utilizes an all-new technology called Dual Insert Technology- a milled stainless steel insert suspended within the tour proven White Hot® insert. Dual Insert Technology combines the best of both worlds, providing the soft responsive feel of insert technology with the sound and precision of milled stainless steel.The instantly recognizable 2-Ball alignment aid and low and rearward Center of Gravity remain in the design. The precision milled, stainless steel trapezoid insert ensures a consistent, flat surface for improved roll. This produces a unique, pleasing sound, and feel for increased feedback.

Putterhead : Stainless Steel
Putterface: Urethane/Stainless (milled)
Construction: Cast
Design: Heel-toe blade, Heel & Center shafted Mallet designs

Ping G2i CRAZ-E | 800-4-PING-FIT | $130
“Design is a little out there, but the putter felt solid and performed well – I could get used to it.” Mark Carbone 8 handicap

Designed with a geometric shape for increased inertia and easy alignment, this new putter has an extremely high moment of inertia for increased accuracy and consistency. The crescent shapes and extra-long sight line contrast with the blue urethane inserts to create an Optigraphic Effect- a visual aid that helps golfers square up and stroke the putter along the intended target line. The Blue urethane full-face insert produces a softer insert that creates a pleasing feel and sound. The insert cavity and face are precision milled for quality and consistency, creating a flat surface for accuracy on the greens.

Putterhead : Stainless Steel
Putterface: Polypurfelan (milled)
Construction: Cast
Design: Center-shafted, Anser-style hosel & Double-bend shaft designs

STX Envision | 800-STX-PUTT | $250
“Putter was solid, Easy to control distance, especially on long putts – really could feel ball on putterface.” Robert Clarkson 12 handicap

The EnvisionTM is the first putter in the Impressionist series by Bob Engman — unique designs that can only come from the hands and eyes of a gifted sculptor and golfer. Bob combines superb putting attributes with beautiful lines to create these putting masterpieces. The Envision Series is a face balanced putter that features a sculpted, rear-weighted design. The unique design lowers the center of gravity for greater accuracy and control. STX claims increased putting accuracy because you will experience a short skid distance due to high dwell time and high coefficient of friction.

Putterhead: Proprietary Elastomer
Putterface: Elastomer
Construction: Molded
Design(s): Face Balance Center Shaft Design

Wilson Staff Kirk Currie Series | 779-714-6400 | $299
“Lots of weighting options that were confusing at first – found a weight I liked and putter performed well – very solid feel.” Roger Baker 14 handicap

An adjustable weight system called BalanceFit gives the elegant KC putters peerless ability to offer players customization based on how greens are playing. Weight portals in the shaft’s end cap and sole of the putter head allows players to transfer the club’s balance point so that, regardless of greens conditions, the putter can create the right response. The weight located in the grip serves to steady the hands, enabling a more pendulum-like stroke. This creates a better individual fit and delivers truer more accurate putts. The body is milled for optimum weight distribution and maximum feel and the milled face provides for smoother ball roll.

Putterhead : Stainless Steel
Putterface: Stainless Steel
Construction: Milled
Design: Heel-toe blade, Semi-Mallet, Mallet, Alignment designs

Q-ROLL GOLF’s Radius Face “Wave” | 866-QROLL-GO | $250
“Really Different look – but great results. The ball really rolls off the face.” Will Paradis 8 handicap

They are the exciting result of an extensive research and development project. These patented putters are designed to make contact above the equator of a golf ball, thereby imparting immediate top spin, and tracking the ball to the hole with improved control and accuracy. They automatically deliver a “roll” that leading Tour Professionals practice for hours to achieve. The “Wave” is 100% Milled from 6061 Aluminum by a CNC milling machine and features Q-Roll’s Patented Radius Face Technology, designed to deliver a Tour Professional type roll along with special alignment “waves” to improve alignment make for better putting and lower scores. The “Celebration” series of putters is offered in 5 unique colors.

Putterhead : Aluminum
Putterface: Aluminum
Construction: 100% Milled
Design: Face Balanced

Heavy Putter Series Milled | 888-PUTTER4 | $259
“This was heavy – thought I would knock putts
off the green – was I surprised – I had more control than with
my traditional putter.” Allan Robertson 10 handicap

The patented Heavy Putter heads weigh over 450 grams. Conventional putter heads weigh roughly 330 to 350 grams. This promotes a pendulum stroke and leads to a more consistent swing path. One of the most notable features is the Weight Management System, which consists of a 250-gram insert located in the upper portion of the shaft. This effectively prevents an early release that leads to pushed and pulled putts. The head is perimeter weighted which produces a high Moment of Inertia and creates a high resistance to twisting, producing straighter, and more accurate putts that reach the hole. A double CNC milling process produces a diamond cut face pattern, optimizing the golf ball’s roll and also imparts a soft feel directly following impact.

Putterhead: Stainless
Putterface: Stainless (milled)
Construction: Cast
Design(s): Face Balanced Blade & Mallet

Nicklaus JN Series Cyanamet | (800) 322-1872 | $99
“Overall a nice putter with a solid feel. I liked the look of the putter.” Hank Wadsworth 14 handicap

JN Series putters feature CNC milled faces with a Cyanamet insert, which delivers a soft consistent feel for increased confidence. The putter comes in five perimeter-weighted head designs. The CNC-milled face is perfectly flat, with no imperfections to cause deflection and the Cyanamet insert offers unparalleled, consistent feel. The putters feature Cavity back weighting for accuracy and are Heel-to-toe weighted for stability.

Putterhead: Stainless Steel
Putterface: Cyanamet (milled)
Construction: Cast
Design(s): Heel-Toe Weighted

Sorenson EPIPHANY PUTTER | 319-385-2233 | $199
“This looked and felt different. Solid putts really rolled well – sound was a little hollow. Had a hard time getting used to rear-shaft design.” Dan Feltman 9 handicap

It features a rear-shafted design coupled with the forward concentrated mass behind the face. Put another way, a golfer is pushing the mass of the putter when using the Epiphany Putter versus pulling the mass. Eighty-five percent of the weight of the putter has been engineered to be directly behind the golf ball, so the putter resists torquing and swings on an even path. This putter also features a white tube, the same diameter as a golf ball, which acts as a visual alignment aid. The Epiphany Putter is face-balanced in a unique way, exactly perpendicular to the line of the putt, which adds to the control and consistency of the putter.

Putterhead : Stainless Steel
Putterface: Stainless Steel
Construction: Cast
Design: Face-Balanced

Mitchell Golf Studio Fit Putters | (800) 437– 314 | $229
“Overall a nice putter, I am more of a traditionalist – made a fair share of putts – a little difficult to control speed of short putts for me.” Joe Patterson 12 handicap

Mitchell Studio Fit Putters have Custom Weighted Heads for constant balance & feel. Head weights of 330 to 350 grams are matched to their 5 standard lengths. The heads are USA Milled CAD design from Aircraft grade 6061 Aluminum and the double milled diamond face pattern grips ball to start it rolling quickly. The face flatness is milled to within one-thousandths of an inch and the deep alignment cavity moves CG rearward for a smooth roll. A triple sight line ensures accurate alignment and a Face-balanced double bend shaft optimizes the ball’s roll. The Black Anodized Finish makes this putter stand out in any bag.

Putterhead: Aluminum
Putterface: Soft 360 Brass Insert (milled)
Construction: Milled
Design(s): Face Balanced Mallet

Green Golf Sho-Me Pro Series | 866-656-4723 | $99
“This is really different looking – my results were fairly good with it – but not sure I could put it in my bag.” Todd Evans 14 handicap

Boasting a unique design, arguably the oddest looking putters on the market, the Sho-Me putters feature a parabolic alignment aid on the top of the putterhead to enhance performance in three key areas, according to Green Maurer. They contend the alignment aid creates better posture by setting your eyes over the ball; makes it easier to align the putterhead correctly and keep it moving along the target line throughout the stroke. Most importantly, the weight above the ball positions the CG high, which according to the company reduces skidding by over 130 percent.

Putterhead: Aluminum
Putterface: Polymer (milled)
Construction: Cast
Design(s): End-Shafted Mallet (One-Ball, Drain-O), End-shafted modified blade (blade)

Guerin Rife Two Bar | 800-493-1421 | $199
“Like the ability to easily adjust putter’s lie angle to my stroke – solid feel and great roll – had less pulls and pushes than normal.” Tom Patrick 6 handicap

These have RollGroove Technology™, a narrow space between the grooves that grips and carries the ball forward slightly off the putting surface. The aluminum body of the Two Bar putter is engineered with stainless steel weight inserts in the heel and toe to increase the putters stability on off center hits. The stainless steel bars create another form of heel/toe weighting by moving the weight back and behind and on either side of the center of the putter face. By dispersing weight to the four furthest points of the putter while at the same time surrounding the center of the putter makes for extra large sweet spot. The removable cylinders in the back of the two bars allow you to customize your putter depending on the speed of the greens.

Putterhead: Aluminum
Putterface: Aluminum
Construction: Milled
Design(s): Mallet