STREET PRICE: $300WEBSITE: odysseygolf.comTECH TALK: The fusion of a milled 1025 carbon-steel body to a dense tungsten flange moves the center of gravity (CG) low and deep for a better roll. Two head weights are used to accommodate different shaft lengths, and the dual-layer face insert comprises a resilient elastomer back and a urethane outer surface that's thin but firm. The finish is black nickel. Also available in #1 (Anser-style) and #9 (mid-mallet).PLAYER COMMENTS: (M) "Such clean, beautiful lines. best-looking putter they make." ... (L) "Sound and feel are fabulous, very quiet and distinct." ... (T) "A perfect putter for someone who focuses on path." ... ("If you're an instinctual putter, this is your instrument because it has just that single dot.")HOT: The sleek application of extra weight to the flange encourages this classic shape to swing close to the ground.NOT: The soft "click" might not provide enough audio feedback for some.
TAYLORMADE DAYTONA TP-KIA MA
STREET PRICE: $300WEBSITE: taylormadegolf.comTECH TALK: There are five models available in this introductory series from in-house craftsman Kia Ma (three blades, one mallet and one mid-mallet). Each is milled from soft 1020 carbon steel. Six five-gram tungsten weights in the heel and toe help lower and deepen the CG, as well as provide a crisp feel. The toe hang across the three blade models ranges from 40 degrees to 54 degrees.PLAYER COMMENTS: (M) "The detail in this is unbelievable. The head weight is perfect. It feels like a true piece of art." ... (L) "The white alignment aid really pops nicely off the black head." ... (T) "It's fast off the face. This allows you to shorten your putting motion, which translates into more control."HOT: The midnight-black finish and skinny, eight-millimeter topline are darn sexy.NOT: The plain milled face. If this is TaylorMade's most expensive putter line, why isn't the technorific Rossa groove face insert, which the company touts, an option?
TITLEIST CAMERON STUDIO SELECT
STREET PRICE: $300WEBSITE: titleist.comTECH TALK: All three blades in the line--the Newport 2.6 (near center-shaft), 2.7 (double-bend shaft with offset) and the traditional Newport 2-- are milled from forged 303 stainless steel. The topline curves slightly up from heel to toe. The purpose is to raise the toe to reduce the tendency of aiming left. Screw weights of 10, 15 and 20 grams in the sole allow the swingweight to match different shaft lengths and player preferences. A single white line is the aiming feature.PLAYER COMMENTS: (L) "It feels exactly like a blade should." ... (L) "Doesn't feel or sound like a metal face, yet here I am looking at one." ... (M) "This has a cool neck--different, but I like it. All of the Newports just set up perfectly."... (T) "I tried hard not to like this, but, man, the Cameron putters always feel like butter."HOT: For starters, it's the Performance and Look/Sound/Feel winner. The custom weighting is an exceptional addition.NOT: How can the modern icon of puttermaking not offer a lefty 2.6 or 2.7?
YES! TRACY III PLUS
STREET PRICE: $300WEBSITE: yesgolf.comTECH TALK: During the fitting process, golfers can choose from four interchangeable hosel designs. Not only does this provide a variety of aesthetic options, but it affects the putter's balance (from face-balanced to 60 degrees of toe hang). Hosel switches are quickly made with a wrench that fits a small locking fixture on the sole of the putter. The company's face technology is another interesting story: The concentric grooves, milled in 20-degree upward slants, are designed to grab the ball at impact and impart forward roll.PLAYER COMMENTS: (M) "One of the coolest things I've seen this year. I could definitely see myself fiddling around with looks in the shop." ... (L) "Quiet sounding." ... (L) "Nice roll. Ball seemed to really hug its line."HOT: This is a breakthrough for adjustability in the category, and rumor has it a mallet version will be along soon.NOT: The strong 2.5-degree loft has potential to get stubby on slow greens.
STREET PRICE: $250WEBSITE: coutourgolf.comTECH TALK: The head is milled from hot-rolled A36 carbon steel and features a traditional plumber's neck with one-quarter-inch of offset. You cannot purchase a putter from this company, even online, without being fitted. Its Tri-Fit Method employs the Pythagorean Theorem in which a2 (the distance from the hands to the feet) plus b2 (the distance from the feet to the ball) combine to solve the dimensions for c2 (your appropriate shaft length and lie angle).PLAYER COMMENTS: (T) "It's a great fitting idea. With this system you could buy a putter like you'd buy a suit." ... (T) "Felt like I could get right into my stance." ... (L) "Impact was loud for my liking, more like a 'knock' than a 'click.' "HOT: Having three head weights (335, 350 and 365 grams) to match different shaft lengths exemplifies the company's commitment to fitting.NOT: The matte-nickel finish and sharp corners at almost every edge make for a somewhat militaristic aesthetic.
TP MILLS TRADITION II XL
STREET PRICE: $360WEBSITE: tpmillsputters.comTECH TALK: The first one-piece forged plumber's neck in the 40-year history of the company is available in 1030 carbon steel and 304 stainless steel. Instead of cutting loft into the face, the "parallel-pocket" design ensures that the distance between the front and back walls of the face is a constant thickness. The milling process is specifically engineered to avoid creating faces that appear closed in the address position.PLAYER COMMENTS: (M) "It's got a sweet, pitched sound." ... (T) "I enjoyed solid hits everywhere on the face, and no wavering on off-center strikes. Classy." ... (L) "The face is softer than the gunmetal finish would indicate." ... (T) "The grip is great, too. It fits nicely across the palm and sets in easy."HOT: Each putter is hand-milled by David Mills, who learned from his father, legendary founder Truett P. Mills.NOT: Availability is limited. Mills isn't running off 10,000 of these at a time from his shop in Tuscaloosa, Ala.