CLUBS LISTED IN ALPHABETICAL ORDER
CLEVELAND CLASSIC BRZ SERIES
STYLES: Three (#4.5, pictured)
TECH TALK: Cast from 17-4 stainless steel, this blade is hand polished with a bronze finish to reduce glare. The face insert is made of a low-density material so that a greater percentage of the putter's mass can be relocated in the heel and toe to improve stability. The insert is coated with a copper-infused exterior layer to offer a softer feel. A single white sightline bisects the flange on all three models.
L:"Feels like it's carved from one solid piece."
M: "The understated click at impact is really nice."
H: "There's a real balance between your hands and the head."
HOT: The sweetness quotient (that's total performance divided by price) is among the highest in this year's Hot List. With $90 and a good stroke, there's no reason you can't hole everything.
NOT: Sometimes there's psychological baggage with buying inexpensive: On a bad day you wonder if it's indeed the putter, not the user.
NIKE METHOD CORE SERIES
STYLES: Three (3i, pictured)
TECH TALK: The original Method had alternating grooves of soft polymer behind a milled-steel face. The Method Core is designed to impart topspin using the same groove pattern but with different materials: It has a face insert of alternating polymer and aluminum grooves. The effect is a slightly firmer feel that is less expensive to manufacture. Player tests conducted by the company indicate the new design is as effective as the original at reducing initial skid.
L:"The three-step back gives a nice verification that you're aligned correctly."..."Very smooth feel with the insert."
M: "A bit of a surprise. Not enamored with the looks, but I think this insert actually does what it claims."..."The offset is tastefully done."
HOT: Premium technology at a value price. Believe what you want, but there's real science suggesting that if you can hit the ball on the upstroke using a putter with grooves, it's possible to have immediate topspin.
NOT: Tiger doesn't play it.
ODYSSEY BLACK SERIES/TOUR SERIES
STYLES: Three (#1 Wide, pictured)
TECH TALK: The head is constructed from three materials: a 1025 carbon-steel body, a tungsten flange, and between them a thin urethane dampening layer. The purpose of placing heavy tungsten in the rear is to get the ball rolling end over end more quickly. The #1 Wide is a no-hosel design. The #2 has a plumber's-neck hosel with a full shaft of offset. The #8 is the Arnold Palmer style.
L:"I'd buy it for just how it looks."..."The feel is soft, yet the ball came off the face fast, which is a rare combination."
M:"It's got a great, heavy feel to it. Your stroke can't get jumpy."
HOT: If you desire real technology but can't abandon the looks you know and love, then this is your putter. Making classic shapes play better, and doing it with elegance, is why this series is Hot List Gold two years running.
NOT: Urethane-covered tour balls work well with the face, but other balls can feel too firm.