It may not be fair to say yet that putters are becoming the most intriguing club category from a technology perspective. But it’s clear these days there is a lot more thought being given to how to make what easily has been the least technologically sophisticated club now begin to do things no other club is trying to do.
Specifically, the new technology in putter design isn’t just about making the ball roll better by improving impact, it’s about enabling the player to have better control of the clubface during the stroke. One key is to change how the club is balanced, specifically the relationship between face angle and how a player senses that angle in his hands. It’s the idea of reducing the inherent torsional resistance in the head of the putter so that it doesn’t inhibit the stroke. We’ve seen examples from Edel and Odyssey, and another entry that’s been two years in the making is from a tiny outfit in Nevada.
The looks of the Directed Force putter may evoke a kind of space alien or some sort of metal detector, but the idea behind the design is to make the putting stroke simpler and more natural. So says the man behind it, Bill Presse, a former college golfer, mini tour player, golf teacher and club builder. Presse’s intent was to change the way the hands grip, and as a result, swing the putter.
“Our goal is to reduce the tension in the forearms so there’s less tension in the hands and the face of the putter can more naturally match up with arc of the stroke,” Presse said. His sense is that traditional face-balanced putters are actually “getting in the way of the natural putting stroke.”
The key element in the Directed Force Reno mallet design is how the head is weighted and how the shaft is angled with respect to the center of gravity. Presse’s theory is to balance the head so the face stays square to the lie angle, allowing the larger muscles to control the stroke without the small muscles in the hands interrupting the motion. Directed Force also incorporates an offset grip that’s designed to encourage a forward press at address.
“I’m always trying to eliminate variables in the putting stroke,” Presse said. “So if I can eliminate face angle as a problem, then I can eliminate grip tension. Once I can eliminate grip tension, then I can start to get the player to work on a better path. Then, once I can get a better path, I can start working on aim and address. So it starts a positive cycle of learning instead of this constant chasing getting the putter face back to square.”
Given the technology, a crucial part of Directed Force putters is properly fitting a player to the correct lie angle for his stance and stroke. The company offers customers the option to submit a video for a “remote fitting” if they cannot locate a local retail outlet (currently, there are fitters located in only six states).
The Directed Force Reno mallet putter, which is constructed of 6061 aluminum, is available for $400.