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RESULTS! – “2013 GOLF’S MOST WANTED – BLADE PUTTER”

Post image for RESULTS! – “2013 GOLF’S MOST WANTED – BLADE PUTTER”

Let's Get to the Testing!

(Written by Golfspy Dave) Welcome to Day 2 of the "Golf's Most Wanted!" - Blade Awards. Today we unveil the best blade putter for 2013!  Remember in this competition, like with the preceding Most Wanted Mallets, accuracy is everything. Here are the testing parameters:

  • Location of Testing:  Outdoor Practice Green at Haggin Oaks Golf Complex
  • Ball Used:  Wilson FG Tour 2014 PROTOTYPE
  • Number of Testers: 10
  • HCPs of Testers: 2-20+
  • Putters Tested: 28
  • Total Balls Rolled Per Putter:  150
  • Total Balls Rolled Per Tester: 420 over two sessions
  • Time for each tester to complete test: Approximately 4.5 hours

all Putter collage

Accuracy Scoring

Yesterday in Day 1 of the "Golf's Most Wanted!" - Blade Test, we met the 28 competitors and also reemphasized that accuracy is the ultimate factor that matters when we have our putter on the course. Reviewing our trial conditions, we had each tester take five putts at distances of 5, 10, and 20 feet. 15 putts per putter with each tester, gives us a total of 150 putts per putter.

Once the distances from the edge of the cup were adjusted for the five and ten foot putt, the scores from all of the testers were combined to generate a total accuracy score for each putter.  "Golf's Most Wanted!" Blade Putter, should be the most accurate, regardless of the person swinging the stick.

Based upon our years of testing & data, we selected a total miss distance of 127.5 inches from the cup as the ideal accuracy value that a putter could achieve for a given tester. This number represents the total adjusted miss score for all fifteen putts for a given tester and equates to an average miss of 8.5 inches per putt.  Individual putters were then scored against this ideal accuracy value, with the final score representing a percentage of that ideal.  All numbers were rounded off to the nearest whole number. Here is an example of how the final accuracy score is calculated:

EXAMPLE: Accuracy Score Calculation

:: Total Miss Distance (all testers, adjusted for distance)= 1686 inches
:: Average Miss Distance Per Tester (Total/12)= 140.5 inches
:: Percentage of Accuracy Ideal Value (127.5/Average Miss Per Tester x 100)= 91%

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Testing Photos-3

Why Looks No Longer Matter

Some of you might be saying, "Wait a second, where is the looks category, this only shows accuracy, the looks of a putter matter!"  But do looks really matter when testing or purchasing a putter?  Most of you would say yes and so would every other knowledgeable putter expert in the industry. Both you and the industry would be wrong. Looks do catch your eye in the shop, making you buy that putter. However, liking how a putter looks is not going to make you better on the green.

Conventional wisdom states that a golfer’s views regarding the looks of a putter can have a positive or a negative impact on putting performance (accuracy).  Just like with the Most Wanted Mallet Test, our data demonstrates that liking (or disliking) how a putter looks does not actually reflect how well one putts with that putter. Just like with the mallets, we had inaccurate putters that scored near the top for “Looks & Feel”, as well as some very accurate blades that the testers judged visually unappealing. I know that many of you still believe that liking the looks of your putter will make you feel confident and thus make more putts. You are welcome to go on believing that, but the data says otherwise.

"Golf's Most Wanted!" -  The Results

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Not All Putters Are Created Equal

As you can see from the data, not all putters are created equal.

The results do show that the putter does influence the performance of the golfer.  The construction of some putters may make it more difficult for a player to put the ball into the cup, some have a moderate impact, and a select few can help any golfer to be more accurate, regardless of his or her skill level on the green.  Those putters are definitely the best of the class, and the best of the best represents the "Golf's Most Wanted!" Blade Putter.

The "Golf's Most Wanted!" Blade is a putter that is more accurate than its peers, and although, like with the mallet putters, the numbers were close, a putter did separate itself from the pack. The Nike Method Core MC01w was the most accurate of the blades tested, the Machine M1A Adjuster finished in 2nd Place, just ahead of the Byron Morgan 006 that finished in 3rd Place.

The Winners

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The Nike Method Core MC01w putter is designed with tour weighting for optimal forgiveness, roll and accuracy. Polymetal Groove technology and a lower center of gravity team up for precision control on the green.

  • Lower and deeper center of gravity for a faster roll and more precise stroke
  • Mid-size Method Core grips for durability and enhanced control
  • Tour weighting for accuracy and more forgiveness
  • Multi-material insert and Polymetal Groove technology for a more consistent roll

Congratulations to Nike Golf!

Your Method Core MC01w is the 2013 MyGolfSpy "Golf's Most Wanted" Blade!

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The M1A MACHINE Putters begin with proven, traditional designs, and are improved with precision CNC milling, our patent pending VMG face mill pattern, and significantly broadened with new hosel, fit and finish options to suit individual performance needs and tastes. From material choice of the head, to weight adjustability, to platings, coating, custom grinds and finishes, options in modular hosels, to alignment indicator options, the M1A model line gives you the options you need to make your perfect custom MACHINE putter.

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The Byron Morgan 006 is one-piece construction, milled from billet.  Its classic lines are easy to look at and line up.  Welded in sound slot gives a cool, custom look to the pocket and changes the sound of the ball off the face. The sound slot also removes 3-4 grams of weight from the center of the putter.

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The Data Doesn't Lie, But What Does It Mean?

This test has given us a great deal of data to analyze and decode. Does a sight line make a putter more accurate? The difference in the Scotty Cameron ranking would suggest so, but then spots 2 and 3 are both line-less putters. Was it the neck? Could grip diameter be the tipping point? At this point we are still trying to decode the results. You can look at it this way. Many talented putter makers are out there putting out high quality putters, but how many of them test against others in the market like we have? My guess is very few. We have collected a bunch of data from the blade and the mallet tests this year, and we will get even more in the future years. It is likely just a matter of time until we can come up with some data supported claims regarding what characteristics will help a putter be more accurate for the majority of golfers. Stay tuned!

{ 90 comments… read them below or add one }

Matt @ PluggedInGolf.com September 24, 2013 at 9:03 am

Great work, Dave. I know this is a tremendous undertaking, and you did a great job.

Lots of surprising results: I can’t imagine many people would have guessed that the Nike would be the winner or that Scotty would be well out of the Top 10. Also cool to see a couple “small” makers in the top 3 and top 10.

It’s also really interesting how putters that are “the same” design (Ansers and Anser 2′s) can vary so dramatically in terms of performance.

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Jmiller065 September 24, 2013 at 9:08 am

Thanks for your efforts Dave, this was well written. I especially got a kick out of the part talking about how looks don’t matter. Well they flat don’t matter, performance matters at the end of the day in my book for really any piece of equipment in my bag.

One more thing, it is sort of cool reading this but the winner any any putter contest really doesn’t mean it is the best putter for “everyone”. The best putter for a player is one that fits their stroke the best.

There are a ton of variables that play into the proper putter for an individual player. Some examples would be things like shaft axis (center, mid, heel), shaft offset, weight all play a role into finding the proper putter for a player.

For example the Nike Method Core MC01w would not fit my stroke because of the specs. It is 2* of loft (this is what gives the “better roll” / “faster roll” marketing BS) and 1/2 shaft offset are two deal breakers for my stroke. My stroke doesn’t fit that style of putter so no the winner for MY stroke would not have been the Nike Method Core MC01w.

Sorry for the rant, just don’t want people to fall into marketing BS with the most important club in the bag.

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dr. bloor September 24, 2013 at 10:17 am

Yeah, as with the Best Driver competition, the essential takeaway here is that if you’re dumb enough to walk into Golfsmith and buy a putter off the rack, the Nike is likely to be the least terrible selection you can make.

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mygolfspy September 24, 2013 at 10:50 am

For all of our individual putter reviews we provide something that we feel is very useful and that is “Fit For Stroke” section. This is where we tell golfers what type of stroke the putter being tested would fit best. You can view an example at the link listed below:
http://www.mygolfspy.com/odyssey-protype-2-ball-black-review/

However, with a head-to-head test like this one a perfect test is impossible. We have consulted with just about every expert in the industry regarding how we test equipment. And surprisingly many are surprised at the system we built. Some claiming that it is much more thought out and thorough than their own testing systems.

But with putters it is slightly different. Not saying our testing parameters for putters are diluted by any means. We still have the most logical testing system for putters in the industry I believe. Look around at the others and they are all almost 100% subjective. Even when they look at their accuracy ratings. They are asking their testers to tell them how accurate they felt a putter was, versus how we test, which is data based when it comes to this calculation.

Yes, you could fit every golfer for his stroke and have the companies send a boat load of different set-ups for all 10 golfers to achieve this. Problem is every company has different theories on their fitting system. So then you are starting to test more about what their system is rather than their actual putter.

And you have to remember the huge majority of golfers still buy putters off-the-rack. Last I checked that number was well over 90%. So, the test we performed will show for that majority which putter will put themselves in the best position out of the gate if they are considering having the best performing putter for their game.

Could getting custom fit for a putter help your performance even more? Sure. But it could also lead to worse putting if not being properly fit. And right now where we are in the industry their is no GO TO fitting system for putting. Some might think they have it, but at the end of the day there are lots of those people that feel the same way.

We have to deal in reality, and like I stated earlier, reality is that almost 100% of golfers still buy off-the-rack for putters, so currently this is the best way to test for the majority of golfers and consumers.

Trust me, we are not sitting here thinking, “What is the easiest way to test 28 putters”. We are always thinking of the most logical way to test clubs that will benefit the largest % of golfers.

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Dave Wolfe September 24, 2013 at 10:30 am

Thanks for the comment, though I am not sure where the “marketing BS” comment is directed. The intention of this test was not to somehow custom fit everyone who reads it for putters. We were looking for the putter that scored the best for our range of testers. We used the putters with the specs provided by the manufacturers, and the Nike MC01w was the overall most accurate FOR THE GROUP.

Did some individuals score better with specific putters? You bet. One tester made 12/15 with the Whitlam/Gauge Design Classic 2013. For other testers, that putter did not score as well. The top three putters scored near the top for all testers. That’s the point of the test.

Our data shows that under controlled testing conditions, the Nike MC01w, the Machine M1A Adjuster, and the Byron Morgan 006 were the most accurate for our testing group. Is there a specific design component that we can attribute this to? We are looking into that exact question. Something separated them from the pack, we just need to explore what that something is.

The take home message for the reader is that if you are shopping for a putter, these three out performed the others in our test. They were the most accurate for our ten guys, and that makes them worth exploring for any golfer. Maybe it’s just a starting point in your search, and then your specific play characteristics take you down a more fitted path.

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Jason Kanis September 24, 2013 at 9:45 am

Thanks for the effort Dave – this looks great! Job well done!
JMiller brings up a good point about fitting for stroke, and different putter set ups. I wonder – if you would add additional value to this test – and list the shaft/hozel style, loft, lie, weight and tested grip info for each model. It would be great to know for stoke fitting purposes; and I’d be curious to see if any trends emerge in setup style.
Keep it up MGS – great job as always!
JK

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Dave Wolfe September 24, 2013 at 10:34 am

I wil definitely see if we can get all of this data for you in our 2014 tests. Most of what you are looking for can be either picked up from the photos or via quick searches as all of the models were stock configurations.

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Tim September 24, 2013 at 10:03 am

Great work, Dave (and testers). Did you see any consistent correlation between weight and accuracy, either overall or within specific distances?

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Dave Wolfe September 24, 2013 at 10:33 am

That’s one of the things that we are looking into. Quite a few of the heads came in at 350g, and then had very different accuracy profiles. Testers did comment about how some of the putter felt more “balanced” than others, even though the head weights were identical. Swing weight is another factor that we are looking into.

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Hckymeyer September 24, 2013 at 10:18 am

I think it may be time for the Mallet vs. Blade battle royale!!

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John Barry September 24, 2013 at 10:41 am

Great write up and thanks Dave for all the work. Always been a Machine Putter fan, guess I have another reason!

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princeton September 24, 2013 at 10:58 am

For the first time ever I think you FAIL. The test is scewed by the difference in golfers. To get an accurate data pool a sam robot should have been used. The data here has too many mitigated factors. I am a little disappointed.

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mygolfspy September 24, 2013 at 11:15 am

We have addressed this on many occasions, but if you want to go have a look at one of the articles we wrote regarding this exact concern you can at the link below:

http://www.mygolfspy.com/golf-club-testing-results-you-can-trust/

But in a nutshell:

1. We have consulted with the experts and they agree that while robots sound like an obvious solution they in fact are not. More can be read about this in detail in that above mentioned article.

2. We have a putter robot, but robots testing purposes are fairly limited. And this is not one of their best uses believe it or not.

3. In my personal experience designing putters one of the best uses for putter robots is for accuracy relating to center, heel and toe putts. Other than that the uses for putter robot testing are limited. THis really only gives you data on “distance loss” rather than a complete overlook of the accuracy of the putter when used by a golfer in real world conditions. Here is a video with an example of this type of test:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=-JnJlLw-1tg

4. If you use a robot and lets say you set it up with the exact same striking point for every putter. Which would be an obvious choice, what you get are almost identical results for straightness of putt while distance will be vary from putter to putter because of different lofts, faces, etc.

But in real life golfers don’t strike the ball in the center every time. What you want to test is real golfers testing putters in real world conditions and find which putter allowed them to achieve the best results over a large sample size of putts. That is how golf is played.

This way you find out amongst all the variables that are different from one putter to another allow the golfer to get in the best position to make the best putt most often.

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fleeter September 24, 2013 at 10:58 am

An amazing job done as usual here! Congrats Dave and testers on a job well done. I particularly like how you worked the data from each tester to come up with solid results. The results blew me away I must say, as I expected the Cameron to finish much higher than it did. My thought has always been that putting is about comfort and confidence. If you’re comfortable with the putter (look and feel) then your confidence will reflect that. After seeing the data from these tests I’ll assume the NIKE feels and looks pretty good in hand. Great Stuff MGS!

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mygolfspy September 24, 2013 at 11:03 am

Actually in our testing it has all but proven that looks actually DO NOT matter. When surveying testers on looks and comparing those to the results you quickly see that some of the worst scored putters in the looks category perform then best in the end.

This has always been a myth about putters without any detailed testing done to show if the myth is actually true. Form our years of testing and data this does NOT show to be true.

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fred September 24, 2013 at 11:06 am

great write up and test

I would wonder, how do #9 style putters stack up being as they sit somewhere between mallets and blades?

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AH September 24, 2013 at 11:17 am

Are people really going to argue about robots again? I thought that this had been put to bed with the previous article MGS did with actual industry experts explaining why robot testing isn’t the end all of club testing?

That’s right, people who actually test clubs for R&D departments in the industry explaining why robot data is useful but not representative of human performance. Not opinion based on what you think is right or what you assume is correct, but what actually has been proven to be useful by people who do it for a living.

Anyone wanting to bring up robots (princeton) can see the following article and save themselves the typing strokes arguing over something that has already been answered. Until you are a robot you can’t swing like one. But you guys who won’t let it die can sure post like a robot, the same uninformed arguments over and over again.

http://www.mygolfspy.com/golf-club-testing-results-you-can-trust/

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Joshzilla September 24, 2013 at 11:23 am

Great article! Putters are a tough one to quantify but I think you did a good job.

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Sean September 24, 2013 at 11:38 am

You guys always do a thorough job with product reviews. I am intrigued about the Nike and Machine results. I may have to go and test these out myself. I am due for a new putter after all. Thanks again!
Sean

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Bubba September 24, 2013 at 11:39 am

Great write up. The best part of this test was to see the Camerons fall outside the top 15! LOL.

More evidence that potty camerons are overpriced inferior copies!

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Graham Ballingall September 24, 2013 at 11:40 am

Thanks guys for all the time & effort you put into this test.
Down through the years I have seen putter styles/shapes come & go but one basic design has never left us, the incredible Ping “Anser.” Many have tried to better it but often end up tweaking the “Anser” head style because it is just so darn good.
Once again, here it is in not just the winning putter but all of the top three. Amazing to think that almost fifty years after Karsten Solheim created the first “Anser,” variations of his putter head are still taking top honors.

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Joe Duffer September 24, 2013 at 11:45 am

What exactly is meant by the phrase “Tour Weight”, and what lead up to this byword?

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Chris September 24, 2013 at 11:47 am

Great work you guys and very interesting results. I’m sure this will generate much more noise than the mallet test as we mallet putters have already abandoned the idea of form over function and are just searching for one that gets it going down the line. It seems as if “blade” players tend to be much more attached to their Scotty because it’s a Scotty, or boutique putter because it’s a boutique putter etc. I know that’s a generalization but I’m guessing that the outcry will be rationalized along the lines “but my ___________ is the best one for me, no matter what your test says”

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mike hallee September 24, 2013 at 11:58 am

And the winner is under $150………I would say that would be a pretty good bang for your buck

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Gary Goetz September 24, 2013 at 12:09 pm

Why do we feel that this putter or that putter is the best putter for us when in reality if your good putter you should be able to putt with about any thing and stick with it.If your a bad putter once again it doesn’t matter what you use just stick with one putter and work on your putting.I’m one of the worst sinners of all.I have tried about every putter out there.I’m an average putter but I really don’t give a single putter a chance.I think the next putter out is the one.I’m sure I’m not alone.

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SkipThisAdd September 24, 2013 at 12:28 pm

This test is incomplete, the article is missing a section where its explains how we going to tell our wife’s that we need a new Nike putter. lol
Great Job on Putter test !!

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Eric September 24, 2013 at 12:30 pm

2 degrees of loft. 360 gram head weight. Just like a piretti. Low loft heavier head makes for a better putter for most people. Nike has figured this out to their credit.

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Sherry September 24, 2013 at 12:45 pm

Awesome report!

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Joe Gilbert September 24, 2013 at 12:45 pm

Great job guys!! I’ve always wanted to use a blade putter, but have never found one I like better than my Oddyssey #9 semi mallet.

Joezilla

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Matt September 24, 2013 at 12:46 pm

Also interested in the #9 odyssey style putters. Did you do any testing with this headshape? Great read and interesting results thanks.

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Ricardo del Castillo September 24, 2013 at 12:55 pm

This article seems bogus. Any putter contest should have Scotty Cameron at least near the top. My switch to Cameron putters changed my life, then pretty soon after all my friends followed and all their lives were changed. Specially talking about precision.

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Camillo September 24, 2013 at 1:02 pm

I’m sorry that you and your friend purchased an over-priced putter and expected better results in a real-life test. Perhaps the Nike putter will change your lives even more.

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Berniez40 September 24, 2013 at 1:22 pm

Scotty Camerons are good putters for those who have an “Arc” putting stroke. Scotty himself admits that he doesn’t much cater to “The Pendulum Crowd”, and even makes “Toe Heavy Mallets.” In a world of putting where “The Arc” has become viewed as a fast track to “The Yips” due to the necessity of the incremental timing involved, I am not surprised to see the Scotty’s fare worse than they would have 10 years ago when “The Arc was King”.

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Blade September 25, 2013 at 8:22 am

Because you are partial to a particular model and the actual data didn’t put that at the top, the article is bogus?!!! Your thought process is wildly flawed. Why do a test? You spent a ton of money for a stick to roll a ball and don’t want to hear that something more affordable can be even better.

NOTHING about your desired results not matching the facts makes this test bogus.

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stephenf September 25, 2013 at 10:18 am

Absolutely right. It’s obviously legit to prefer a different putter, but that falls under the category of individual variation (presented as anecdotal evidence here), and doesn’t change a thing one way or the other about the test results.

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John September 24, 2013 at 1:01 pm

Thorough testing, but a bit ridiculous. To think you can get accurate test results with this protocol is ludicrous. To keep any sort of consistency in a stroke over 4.5 hours and 420 strokes with 28 different putters is crazy. In any testing, whether survey based or experiment based, there is a point where you hit tester fatigue. I’m not talking about actually be tired, although being bent over in your putter stance for 4.5 hours would kill my back. If that’s not enough to questions, you’re making assumptions on a best putter based on a sample size of 10 people.

Think about it this way, If I was testing 28 different bowling balls or darts, do you think i’d be as accurate toward the end?

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Dave Wolfe September 24, 2013 at 1:17 pm

That is why it was done over two sessions with 14 putters per session.

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Kris September 24, 2013 at 7:17 pm

I’m not arguing there is an effect, but any way to analyze the data to see if the putters the testers used later in their sessions tended to score worse? Did you randomize the order of the putters for each tester or same order for all?

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Dave Wolfe September 25, 2013 at 10:26 am

Don’t fret, we thought of this potential issue and looked into it before, during, and after the test.

We randomized the set, and then kept the order constant. I spent a great deal of time going over the data to see if position had an effect on performance. There was no observable pattern generated based upon position.

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Berniez40 September 24, 2013 at 1:18 pm

A great review indeed. I think looking for “The Mean Average” is by far the best way to approach what you were trying to accomplish—given the fact that you covered as many basic variables as you could. Though everyone’s mileage may vary, this is one of the better reviews/tests I’ve ever read. It certainly beats the pants off of a certain magazine’s advertising dollars spent lis……ooops I meant to say “Hot List”. There is obviously no bias here, and I find it re-affirming that I’m not the only one who has found the vast improvement in Nike’s Putters over the years. I recently did a side by side with a Nike and my SeeMore PCB Center Shaft….My SeeMore stays in the bag, but that Nike was the first putter in the past 3 years to give her a real run for her money.

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DB September 24, 2013 at 1:33 pm

How did the top three compare in relation to face balanced/toe hang and if they had toe hang how much.

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Jeffrey Fish September 24, 2013 at 1:33 pm

I like the looks of the Machine & Byron, but I’m curious who orders a $350+ putter sight unseen without trying it out?

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MBWAKALISANA September 24, 2013 at 2:01 pm

I fully agree with your comment :if you have the faith ,you do so !
it’s like believing in JC!

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Jason Cristilli September 24, 2013 at 1:48 pm

Are we going to get another post tomorrow going over the numbers in depth ie the Most Wanted 2013 Driver. Would be interesting to see if there was any change based on handicap. Love the tests keep them coming.

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MBWAKALISANA September 24, 2013 at 1:59 pm

Very interesting review ,but ,alas ,it proves nothing at all!
“It’s not the arrow ,it’s the Indiian ”
I’m a very good putter -less than 30 puts per round,,sometimes 25 or lower -and I have a desperately ancient WILSON putter with a brass head ,36 inches shaft .I put very much unconventionally , ball off left big toe ,à la “BOBBY LOCKE” or WALTER HAGEN as you like (HAGEN taught LOCKE his curling inside down the line stroke which gives topspin and a slight draw to the ball.)
I ‘ll try your NIKE winner to see if I can do better .Thanks for your very valuable work .
I found that your advice so far has been excellent

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Kris September 24, 2013 at 7:21 pm

Sounds like some awesome putting. Just curious, how many greens in reg do you tend to hit?

While you might be right about it being the golfer not the equipment a lot of the time, unless you plan to try every putter and get properly fit for each, having this type of info is invaluable. I’ve been considering going to a blade putter from my Vicino, and I know that Nike will be at the top of my ‘to try’ list now :)

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stephenf September 25, 2013 at 11:15 am

Why switch at all? I have a desperately ancient 8802 copy by Old Master and another desperately ancient Wizard 600 copy, both forged blades, and I’ll challenge anybody on this list to take the Nike and bring five bucks. Doesn’t sound to me like you’re all that unconventional, either. What’s so unconventional about playing the ball off the left big toe? Lots of great putters throughout history have done it.

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stephenf September 25, 2013 at 11:17 am

Come to think of it, why are you even reading an article about new putters? Hell, for that matter, why am _I_?

Oh, yeah. Curiosity. Also, I want my old putters to understand that there is always the possibility of replacement. Seriously.

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Leftienige September 25, 2013 at 1:20 pm

Yes, but if you gave the most accurate Indian an arrow shaped like a banana he’d be rubbish!

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stephenf September 24, 2013 at 2:24 pm

Interesting and worthwhile, so don’t take it as an attack when I ask whether anybody even remembers what an actual “blade” putter was (centershafted, perimeter-weighted, relatively big-headed putters like these don’t strike me as “blades” in anything other than an arbitrarily designated way).

I played and taught as a pro and was a plus-2 handicap as an amateur when I was competing a lot, so maybe my opinion is a little skewed, but I still find it hard to understand why any player, particularly those around a 10 handicap or better, needs one of these devices to be able to hit a sweet spot with a putter-length swing. Without arguing with the fact that these putters are really playable and result in a higher degree of accuracy regardless of how they’re struck — I’m sure they are (and do), and even I have one or two that I tried out years ago and still have in a closet somewhere — I wonder what people would think of the comparison between those and either of the forged blades I use (an 8802 replica from Old Master and a George Low Wizard 600 replica from MacGregor, both without aiming/sweet-spot lines). There is a certain discipline in learning to hit an actual sweet spot rather than a modified or expanded one (really, a dampening of the bad effects of _missing_ a sweet spot) that I think can, if you want it to, extend up through longer and longer swings. Being a competitive pragmatist, I’ve tested about a million of the newer designs over the years, and I’ve never seen anything that would make me want to give up the simple forged blade that tells you when you’ve hit it wrong. If you practice enough, you’ll hit it right, and you’ll end up with a really sharp idea of distance and line, not a dulled feel that gets developed through dampened feedback. Just saying.

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Regis September 24, 2013 at 2:42 pm

Thanks-May be the best review I’ve read and for once the comments really add to the review. I have a straight back and thru stroke and never could master the arc stroke-hence Scotty’s have never worked for me.(Amazing the number of golfers I see with Scotty’s who have no idea and just can’t put with them because of this). I extend my putters to 38 inches so my swingweights are not precise. I have a couple of Mizuno Bettinardi putters with milled faces that I like and as far as insert putters I favor the TM white spider in the mallet and the white smoke spider blade. Never had a problem with any paint chipping on any of their white clubs. To be honest when my putting is hot with one from my stable I run with it and when it starts to dissapoint I switch and I think that is true of a lot of us. Thanks again

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Steve September 24, 2013 at 2:50 pm

Outstanding work! I look forward to the data analysis results.

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adam September 24, 2013 at 3:46 pm

Great job as always guys your work sets new standards in club testing IMHO. As for the nay sayers and rants..I would be interested to see a non edited transcript and or a non edited draft of some of your responses there at MGS to those “readers” that obviously cant read. I’ve thought of a few…but haven’t posted yet…not worth the time.

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Golfer Burnz September 24, 2013 at 4:52 pm

Love the principle of this test. Try a plethora of putters and see which one comes out on top! That is exactly what I do on my basement carpet. I round up a bunch of putters and test them out. The putter that beats down the others gets the first in line of all putters along the wall. There does seem to be a magical quality to certain putters. That perfect blend of feel, balance, aesthetics, craftsmanship, and results. Nice job Dave and testers.

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Aotearoabrad September 24, 2013 at 8:26 pm

Tour Edge DG Proto. Was on my list of putters to try because I love the look, and a top-5 finish! This is definitely getting a look in as a Christmas present “Dear Brad, Merry Christmas, Love Brad” lol.

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Drew September 24, 2013 at 9:04 pm

Very nice write-up thanks for your effort and hard work to bring this review to the masses. One thing I would add is the prices for each item in these shoot outs so that the reader can quickly see what is affordable for their budget. I appreciate the “buy” links but sometimes it doesn’t take you directly to the item being reviewed. Thanks again for a great read!

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DB September 24, 2013 at 11:05 pm

These tests are great, thanks for undertaking such a task.

However, I have to wonder… are the results repeatable? If you performed this same test, with the same putters, on another day, on a different green, with 10 different testers… would the results be similar?

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stephenf September 25, 2013 at 10:02 am

Hard to get that kind of scientific reliability and validity with a group of testers, especially a group of 10. But it’s a helluva lot better than nothing.

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Lee H. September 24, 2013 at 11:24 pm

Congrats to Nike…Having used the the Nike MC11w Mallet Putter all season, since it 1st came out, I can agree that the blade version is the top or one of the top putters available. I am very pleased with the overall results I have gotten so far. With a little work, my putting will improve even more…Very true rolls and great feel.

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Matt @ PluggedInGolf.com September 24, 2013 at 11:50 pm

Dave,

A question struck me as I was thinking about this test today: was the winning Nike the best putter for any individuals, or was it just the best on average? If the former, for how many players was it the best?

It might be interesting to know which putter each individual player putted best with, maybe even 1-2-3 for each player, to compare to the overall averages.

Best,

Matt

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stephenf September 25, 2013 at 10:04 am

Now _that_ is a very astute question. It is entirely possible in a test like this for one putter to have the highest average without actually being rated best by any individual tester, which to me would be a meaningful result or at least a hedge on the overall results.

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Dave Wolfe September 25, 2013 at 10:21 am

Based upon the scoring mechanics, this was all about finding the best putter for the GROUP of testers, not the individuals. How tester #5 did with a given putter is really immaterial. What we are looking at is the putter that puts the ball closest to the hole for the majority of testers.

One of the ways to look at this as well is which putter made for better misses. The winning Nike was the closest to the hole on average for all testers from all distances. Did some individuals score better with other putters? Of course they did, but those other putters did not score as well overall because they did not have the universal success of the Nike.

Think about it this way. What if I added an 11th tester, Zach Johnson? I believe that it is safe to assume that he would just kill it with the SeeMore putter. However, the overall position of the SeeMore would not change much. Many of the testers were familiar with the SeeMore putter as a putter, but not so much with the proper way to putt with it. In this case Zach Johnson being a SeeMore putting maestro would be irrelevant.

The scores of the many outweigh the scores of the few, or the one.

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stephenf September 25, 2013 at 11:00 am

“What we are looking at is the putter that puts the ball closest to the hole for the majority of testers.”

But that’s in fact _not_ what was tested. What was tested was accuracy measured as mean distance, not accuracy measured as “closest to hole for majority of testers,” and that’s the point the OP was making.

The Zach Johnson example is irrelevant because Johnson already uses the SeeMore. If you used a pro who wasn’t already familiar with

It’s not that the average results should be thrown out; it’s that a double measure would be more meaningful, whether combined with some kind of formula or algorithm or left uncombined as a simple comparison. If, for instance, you found that the Nike also scored first for 40% of the individual testers, triple the number for the #2 putter, then you’d have a really robust result. But if you found that a different putter actually scored higher with more individuals, while the Nike had the better average, the picture would be of one putter with which players tended either to do very well or very poorly, with the Nike having more consistent results. As a buyer, that could mean that you’re taking a bit more of a chance with the other putter, but with a higher potential for reward, while the Nike is more of a reliable choice that is not likely to disappoint. People make decisions like this all the time about consumer items, whether golf clubs or cars or house paint. It’s a completely valid comparison to make, and you’re wrong to state or imply that it’s not. Simply declaring the average of all players to be automatically more significant than individual place rankings is arbitrary and meaningless. They’re both significant.

Incidentally, there are other confounding factors, of course. For instance, there’s the question of how closely any of these putters resembles the putters already used by anybody in the group, both in appearance and other physical characteristics (swingweight, overall weight, whatever). Different grasses, different balls (you can standardize for the test, but in actual play, players are going to use different ones), the question of average remaining distance versus make-miss percentages, left-to-right-breaking putts versus right-to-left, etc. Just _so_ many variables.

All of which is just to point to the extreme difficulty of establishing test validity in matters such as these, or drawing conclusions of extreme certainty. This test, in which the tester made a reasonable effort to get some kind of meaningful results without stretching too far toward an unattainable certainty, suggests an elevated probability that anybody looking for this type of putter ought to give a serious look at the putters that ended up at the top of the ratings. That’s probably a valid recommendation.

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stephenf September 25, 2013 at 11:09 am

Whoa, sorry, I’ll finish this graf:

The Zach Johnson example is irrelevant because Johnson already uses the SeeMore. If you used a pro who wasn’t already familiar with a specific model in the test, you’d still have yet another variable problem, since the pro’s skill would be a strong differential factor, and since the pro himself might be likely to use a model every day that bears a strong similarity to one or more of the putters in the test. Or, the pro might be one of those who changes putters frequently and has developed the ability to adapt very quickly to a new putter, with a much higher level of skill than even a good amateur who doesn’t play five rounds a week.

Point is, the introduction of a pro into the mix confounds things for more reasons than one. The question of _any_ player using a putter he already uses and does well with is a separate one, because that would affect the results no matter what. In fact, you could hypothesize (I think accurately) that this particular variable would be more significant for an amateur than it would be for a pro, since pros are notorious for being able to take your sticks and beat you to death with them.

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Warwick Weedon September 25, 2013 at 3:07 am

Oh nooooooooo! I have just got used to my STX xform 3 and now you want me to go buy a Nike!!

This is a superb forum and the Best Mallet Award has improved my putting greatly…many thanks Dave and MSG. I am sorry that you have so many detractors when you are presenting an impartial test but then this is human nature and you sure have broad shoulders and your mature responses to these negative people is to be commended. Keep the tests coming please.

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reqq September 25, 2013 at 5:20 am

Why does your mc01 look different then the one at nike? The connection with the shaft is straight and sight line is different color.

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reqq September 27, 2013 at 2:10 pm

Nike support didnt have a clue either. Can you maybe tell me where you got this version of mc01w please? Is it a 2014 model maybe.

Thanks.

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MikeB September 25, 2013 at 5:59 am

I will definitely give the Nike a try. Notice how the top three putters have strong perpendicular lines? That’s how I like ‘em.

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Blade September 25, 2013 at 8:13 am

Haha! I noticed that too. Just another catch phrase from a manufacturer. If they can slip “tour” into anything, they will. It’s become meaningless for the most part as a result as far as I’m concerned.

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kakashi54 September 25, 2013 at 8:48 am

Great test My Golf Spy very interesting glad to see the Machine M1A doing well. Why is their no Bobby Grace putter in this test. I made the same comment when you guys did the mallet test. How could they decline to be in this when they are a sponsor of the site and you even did an article about them last week.

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Pete September 25, 2013 at 9:42 am

First of all, great study- love the detailed results and appreciate the time spent by the testers to make that many attempts from that many distances with that large selection of putters.

I have started using the Tank putter from Odyssey and wonder if the results were skewed for this heavier design by difficulty in immediately adjusting to a heavier, end loaded putter?

I immediately loved the Tank for short putts as it seems to be very difficult to leave short and not drive the ball into the back of the cup.

I do think that it has taken several rounds to adjust to the stroke required on longer putts.

At any rate- love the study results and hope that I don’t start putting badly after seeing the accuracy ranking for my newest putter.

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RAT September 25, 2013 at 9:44 am

All things considered but, Would the fact of the period of time ( amount of try’s) have a bearing on the results? By this I mean the more you attempts you make you tend to improve your putting? Would a person be better at something the more attempts they make? So was there any data on this in the consideration of the winner?

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Dave Wolfe September 25, 2013 at 10:07 am

A couple of you have expressed concern with test order and fatigue. I too wondered if the “learning” from taking more putts at the target would result in an unfair advantage for later putters, or if fatigue would cause later scores to drop. Based upon the tester scores, neither one seemed to be the case. For example, the winning Nike was in the first third of its flight, while the Byron and the Machine were toward the last third, and middle respectively. I did not see a single pattern of performance in any tester. No bell curve, no linear progression, or linear decline.

Overall, there was no observable correlation between position and scoring. The two batches also scored with similar ranges, ruling out the possibility of the testers being more relaxed and better scoring the second time.

Rest assured, I was looking for this exact type of data-skewing situation. My goal is to make this all about the putters. I spent quite a bit of time designing the test, and reviewing the data in order to be as sure as possible that what you see in the results was not from a non-putter testing artifact.

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stephenf September 25, 2013 at 10:11 am

Wow, another really astute observation. Definitely a variable that needs to be covered, either by randomizing (with a much larger sample, preferably) or by deliberate assignment.

There have been times in my competitive career when I’ve noticed something similar — for instance, anything I work on in the second half of a practice seems to be working really well, even if the techniques from one week to the next are opposite or oblique to each other (with the obvious implication over time that it’s the simple fact that I’m fully warmed up that makes the difference). For a while, it was the opposite — anything I did in the first 15 or 20 balls beat hell out of anything that came later. This went on for a couple of months to really confusing effect, until I realized that my swing had gotten too long over the previous year, but early in each practice, while getting up to speed, I would make much shorter swings and hit it dead center all the time. Once I had warmed up and would start making longer swings, everything would go to hell.

All of which just proves my theory that this game is fundamentally evil. Irresistible, but evil.

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stephenf September 25, 2013 at 10:14 am

Here’s a plan for anybody who doesn’t want to switch right away, can’t afford it, etc. It’s worked for me for years. If you’re doing OK with your current putter, just casually bring it in to the shop now and then and let it see all the other sleek, gorgeous, high-dollar putters, just to let it know it can be replaced. Nothing cruel, don’t be explicit about it, just let it look around a little. If it gets the message, you’ll know.

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Sam Bithoney September 25, 2013 at 11:36 am

Great article Dave, and great response from MGS about the use of human testers.

One thing I’m wondering about is the shaft type – there are so many variations in putter shaft types, did you notice if any of these factored into your testing in a positive or negative way? Were any of the testers preferential to an double bend, but had positive or negative results with say, a center shafted or simply a single bend shaft style? What about grip types and sizes? Alignment aids?

I feel that this is one of the biggest factors in putters, and it’s something a machine can’t figure out. I personally seek out a single bend type, like the one on my Odyssey Black Series i 2-ball “blade”.

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gunmetal September 25, 2013 at 1:11 pm

These are fun tests and pretty cool to see the results, but at the end of the day this is a very loose interpretation of a scientific test.

I’ve always thought “accuracy tests” were fundamentally flawed because of their very nature. Human beings are the ones testing their accuracy. Does anyone in their right mind really think that by design, the Nike Blade is nearly twice as accurate as the Scotty Newport or the Seemore? Of course it’s not. It had a great run at this test and undoubtedly is as good as anything out there. But it’s not MORE accurate. Just like one high quality iron isn’t more accurate than another. It has to do with how the putter fits the user AND how the user is playing at that very moment in the test. Do we really think LIE ANGLE, WEIGHT, LOFT, GRIP, USER PERFORMANCE has nothing to do with the results? Come on. Bottom line: We do this test with another group, we don’t get the same results. We do this test with the Iron Byron or some type of robot that makes the same stroke, the results are going to be so similar for every putter on here it would be a wash. All these putters, by design, are accurate.

Fun test for sure. Scientific – not so much.

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Dave S September 25, 2013 at 6:36 pm

Fantastic review… I’ve actually putted with my buddy’s Nike Core 1 and loved it, so I’m not totally suprised to see it up top.

Like you guys did with the Most Wanted Driver test, will you be providing the raw data and breaking out what it all means? I can see that 100+ is better than 99, but by how much and what does that mean? (I read the post on how the testing was performed, but still I’d benefit from a data breakdown).

It sounds like that’s not in the plans until later based on your comments at the end, but I wanted to check.

Thanks again for the fantastic review… I know what I’m getting for Christmas ;)

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Bruce B September 26, 2013 at 1:30 pm

I would like to chime in as a tester. Each putter was given it’s due from first to last.
Warming up before putting the first balls, resting towards the end for the last balls. The object of the test was to put the balls in the hole. The challenge was keeping your focus precise for each individual putter. Dave was exceptional at allowing the testers to progress at their own pace, and breaking the test into two occasions made it fair for the guys putting. Water breaks, conversations and bathroom breaks also made it fun. In fact I use the test method to practice now whenever I go the putting greens.

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WhitneyH September 26, 2013 at 6:16 pm

Thanks for the doing this kind of testing and publicizing how you execute it, it’s certainly more than we get from any vendor R&D and as well there are some excellent comments by many here. I am often interested with the latest equipment and feel very lucky to be a part of all the explosion of golf technology, I can’t imagine what the future holds for all this but I certainly have learned in my 39+ years of playing (currently 2hdcp) that one often can’t buy a game nor improvement and talented players can play with just about anything, the rest of it is optimization provided your equipment fits you. Putters are rather personal to everyone, it’s very difficult to state one is better than another other than stroke type info and even that is not foolproof. Even for those who are traditionalists, sometimes a change just to try something with a different feel is nice but this doesn’t always lower our scores although in a temporary timeframe it may. After reading this I went out and tried the winner since it’s easy to find in a local golf store compared with the others at the top. I have not liked much of anything from Nike, only recent wedges and some players irons perhaps but never think of them as a top company other than the prototype stuff some pros are able to obtain. I also looked at this model last year and didn’t like it at all, not very refined as compared with their more expensive models. This years model is very differnt and a step in the right direction. I will say their R&D does seem impressive for the short time they have been producing golf equipment even if initial models weren’t all that. I do believe in their face technology, although I am not convinced it does all that much if you know how to roll it, just an optimization. Having changed to a Scotty Newport2 this year (had one before but then went with others) I will admit I went out and tried this Nike blade and bought it for testing. It’s not quite as soft as the Scotty N but that’s not totally critical to me if there is a bit more forgivening on mishits and we all mishit. I have had it on the putting green for a few days and am pretty impressed with it, I have made more putts than anything else I use, perhaps just b/c it’s something different who knows. My iPing hdcp is a +1.4 which is better than anything else I have and that’s a pretty good list. Will see how it performs in competition this weekend, I will give it a chance even if I wasn’t looking for something new.

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Spot September 26, 2013 at 6:56 pm

the winner of the mallet test only scored a 93, does this mean blade putters are better than mallet putters?

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tim September 28, 2013 at 6:57 pm

Great effort made my decision easy about the touredge

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PauoaBoy October 2, 2013 at 1:58 pm

Great job! Thanks for the helpful information.

I know the dispute over methodology will never be settled, and I have no idea who is right. But I do know this: I am a putter nut, and I am crazy enough to have gone online and bought the Nike Core MC01w sight unseen based solely on these awards, and I LOVE IT.

I have way too many (according to my wife) putters of different types, brands, materials, hosels, balances(?), weights, and shafts. I like to roll putts with many of them (just like the basement competition described above) and have come to find what I like. Although I have over 20 putters rotating through the “competition” (5-6 at a time), one putter has stayed in my bag for quite a while. It just seems to fit me better, it rolls the ball well and consistently without much thought or adjustment, and it seems to make a lot of the big putts (the ones that really matter). It is the King.

What a shock when the Nike immediately jumped to the front of the pack and gave the King a real challenge for the throne! What can I say? I’m a believer! No, this “test” was not scientific or robotic or complete. But the Nike (for me) immediately and repeatedly put a good, straight, strong roll on the ball to the target. Everything just seemed to go in with no thought or adjustments to setup or stroke. The putter just seemed to send the ball to the hole naturally. And the feel is good, allowing for almost intuitive distance control. As a result, the Nike is going in the bag for at least the next couple of months, so I can see how it performs in game conditions on different green types/speeds.

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CHASTEL October 5, 2013 at 1:00 pm

I’m also a putter nut ,As PAUOA BOY I have quite an assortment OF putters:I pick up one or another from Time to Time .My basement is fitted with several mats ,OF which a 25 feet WELLING .I DON’t see much OF a différence between my putters .I put with THE BOBBY LOCKE technique ,ball off second left toe ,closed stance ,right foot 5 inches back and I’m pretty good .especially on lag puts .,28/ 30 puts per round ,down to 25 occasionnally .
So I bought THE NIKE MCO1:it’s a good putter ,very,very accurate from long distances ,never misses up to 9 feet :I don’t like though THE noise it makes and THE feel I have on contact ,not velvety but hard .
I’ll probably get used to it and keep it m’y bag for a while !

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WhitneyH October 25, 2013 at 4:31 pm

I couldn’t agree with you more, the sound is bad and somewhat the feel is hard but if it gets it online accurately that’s got to be a good thing and I do feel they did well with the weighting. As for that face, I believe it’s somewhat proven and it does roll quick, especially if you stoke that way vs. hitting but it’s just not soft. If they created all that and made it soft, the sound would calm down and they would have a real winner. I would guess the more expensive midnight ones would be that putter but since they are smaller they don’t seem to match up. I am on the fence but if I make putts with it, it will stay in the bag and replace my Scotty, although this years blade models are the best I have ever felt to date but I am not as accurate with it.

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D Rock December 28, 2013 at 7:06 pm

Looking at the results, it looks like the best blade putters are more accurate than the best mallet putters. Is that the case?

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MbwaKaliSana December 30, 2013 at 11:58 am

To concurr with your comment,Mr ROCK ,about all Great putter players with one exceptionally fine putter (DAVE STOCKTON ) wielded blade putters .Now this is not to say mallet putters are infériori: I bought a YAR putter ,which is mallet headed ,and I put very well with it :I just played a round reçently with it and took only 21 puts .
It’s a matter of personal préférence:I Like to Know at what point of my putter head I’striked THE ball ,and this I find only with THE blade not with THE mallet .

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Artie January 7, 2014 at 10:55 am

I love the methodology used to eliminate the wanna be’s from the pack. It can’t be a coincidence that so many different golfers share the same general experiences with these putters. I also am one of those who is always looking to get a more predictable putter in my hands to compensate for my unpredictable strokes. I have tried dozens over the years. Aiming and alignment of the putter face at impact are such subjective issues for different golfers. After reading the article a few months ago I bought the Nike MC01 sight unseen to replace my Odyssey Versa that my wife stole from me after trying it. I have used (AND ABUSED!) many blade putters in the past including the Scotty Camerons and other $$$$ blades. I never had the confidence or feeling that I was aimed properly with them and I turned to mallets with better alignment aids for solace and results. After playing with the Nike for a few months now it is not going to leave my bag for a prettier face any time soon. I have no idea why but I can align this thing infinitely better than other blade putters I have tried. It has just a perfect swing weight for me. Many putters are too light or heavy and I find myself with a case of the yips trying to force a putt. It rarely happens with this putter. I find it particularly accurate on putts under 20 feet. It is terrific at getting the distance right which can be really tricky on down hill putts. I have an extraordinary since of “feel” with this putter.. Where it is lackluster is on really long putts. It is still online all the way but it gets harder to gauge distance on putts over 30 feet and longer than some putters I have used in the past.( tells you about my game doesn’t it?) Inside 15 feet? Killer! The group I play with ($$$) joke that my gimme’s are now inside of 5 feet.This putter has put a lot more pressure on my game to get my shots to the green inside of 15 feet to the pin! I just have to make sure that my wife doesn’t try the Nike and try to stick me with the Odyssey again. Thanks for the article, Golf Spy. My wallet thanks you. My golfing buddies not so much…!

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Raymond CHASTEL January 8, 2014 at 8:07 am

I’ve seen THE last comment posted on THE NIKE METHOD CORE MCO 1: I concurr .
This blade putter looks quite alike most of THE Many ,Many Blade putters I possess,but in action ,it proves more efficient .I’m a pretty sharp shot game player already ,both chipping ,short ptching an putting ,but THE NIKE MCO1 gave even more assurance with my putting .
I average 28/32 puts per round ,THE good days it goes down to 25 ,I reçently posted 21 on a difficult course .
Within 9 Feet ,I rarely miss ,up to 25 Feet ,I put THE ball close to THE holà,sortimes in THE hole.
Of course ,I do train a lot ,exclusively in my basement where I have several putting mats ,including a 8 meters WELLING Mat .
THE only downside to this putter is it’s metallic sonority ,it gives a loud “Click “,Even when I
stroke softly with !
But I CAN live with it .
Without GOLF SPY ,I would never have chosen this putter ,it’s way sharper than THE SCOTTY CAMERON’s I tested !

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Sluggo42 January 17, 2014 at 11:02 am

I now have about six rounds in with my new mc01, and can give some real life quick thoughts. I have been struggling for the last few months with my putting for who knows why reasons, but my distance was always the problem. Either short or way long. I got a rossa sport -6 , which on the surface seems very similar. I also have a few old ping copper blades, and a maltby PET.
It all got so bad that I even switched to the “claw” grip, which really improved the distance, but wasn’t super accurate.

I read this test and put the nike on my Christmas list as it wasn’t overly expensive. Last year I read the driver contest winner where the I20 won and so I bought one. Needless to say, happiness ensued, which is how I gained my confidence in this blogs testing protocol. So anyways, Christmas cam and my great wife worked out a deal with Santa to place a crisp new unit under my tree.
Just unwrapping the putter made me happy and within a minute I was scrolling putts across my carpet. First thing I noticed was that it was going straight at the table leg I was aiming at.
So of course I had to make a run to the local track to utilize their putting green.
Right from the very first putt I could feel a difference. Swing weight was just right. Roll was just right feel was just right, but the key, and perhaps the reason it scored so well for all the testers, was the incredible ease of squaring this stick to the target line. I found it to resemble a rectangle that stayed correct in my periferral vision while looking down my putting line. It’s almost a subconscious result that instinctively allows you to set it on the correct line. I kinda think that’s the subtle difference with this putter, and why it wins the accuracy award. It’s like a crude geometry equation that the brain already knows, and is easily set correct. That, coupled with the terrific weighting and feel, and suddenly the ball is going right at the cup. Kind of odd in how nice it is.
Final analysis. This putter, for me, is just what the dr ordered…

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