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2014 Golfs Most Wanted Mallet – The Results

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(by Dave Wolfe)

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Welcome to Day 2 of the “Golf’s Most Wanted!” – Mallet Awards. Today we unveil the most accurate mallet putter for 2014!

Remember in this competition, accuracy is everything. Here are the testing parameters:

  •  Location of Testing:  Outdoor Practice Green at Haggin Oaks Golf Complex
  •  Ball Used:  2014 Wilson Staff FG Tour
  •  Number of Testers: 10
  •  HCPs of Testers: 2-20+
  •  Putters Tested: 24
  •  Total Balls Rolled Per Putter:  150
  •  Total Balls Rolled Per Tester: 360 over two sessions
  •  Time for each tester to complete test: Approximately 4.5 hours

 

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Accuracy Scoring

Yesterday in Day 1 of the “Golf’s Most Wanted!” – Mallet Test, we met the 24 competitors and once again reemphasized that accuracy is the ultimate factor that matters when we have our putter on the course. To assess accuracy, we had each tester take five putts at distances of 5, 10, and 20 feet, recording the distance that each putt ended up from the edge of the cup. That means measurements were taken for 15 putts per putter with each tester, totaling 150 putts per putter!

Once the distances from the edge of the cup were adjusted for the five and ten foot putts, the scores from all of the testers were combined to generate a total accuracy score for each putter.  Accuracy was assessed for the group of testers, not the individual testers.

“Golf’s Most Wanted!” Mallet 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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Why Looks No Longer Matter

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Some of you bristle every time that we say that looks of a putter need not be considered when assessing the value of the putter. Our data shoes that a golfer can putt well with a putter that they really don’t like the looks of. You will tell me that liking the looks of a putter, improves your mindset, making you more confident, and thus effective when you putt. You have a strong feeling that this is the truth. We have hundreds of putts worth of data and tester putter aesthetic scores that say it is not.

A putter’s looks may motivate you to buy it in the shop, but liking how a putter looks, or being loyal to the company that made it, will not make you putt better. It will just add another unused putter to your cache in your garage.

Even the “ugliest” of putters should start to look better and better to you as you hit the cup more and more often. I bet you will find that increased accuracy will actually end up positively influencing your aesthetic opinions.

“Golf’s Most Wanted!” –  The Results

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More To Come

The margin of the Ping Ketsch’s victory, as well as the four-in-the-top-10 presence of the Ping TR insert definitely warrants further investigation. How could the Ketsch be so dominant? Is it a perfect pairing of body architecture and the TR insert technology?

Don’t worry, we will be looking into this amazing win in much more depth.

We will also be looking at the other putters as well in Golf’s Most Wanted Mallet – Beyond the Numbers.

What was it that decreased accuracy for the other putters? Did they perform well up close, only to miss more significantly from distance? Was there an alignment scheme that really worked, or one that didn’t live up to expectations? We will get into the nitty gritty of mallet data.

For today though, congratulations go out to the top 5, and especially the winning Ping Ketsch. The Ping Ketsch’s accuracy was amazing, and definitely earns the title of 2014′s Golf’s Most Wanted Mallet!

More Most Wanted Mallet Coverage

2014 Most Wanted Mallet: The Contenders
2014 Golfs Most Wanted Mallet – The Results (This Post)
2014 Golf’s Most Wanted Mallet – Beyond the Data 

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{ 92 comments… read them below or add one }

BenJ March 18, 2014 at 9:45 am

Was each tester fit for stroke first and matched to the correct putter types?

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Chris March 18, 2014 at 9:49 am

I have never gotten along well with huge mallets or any putter lacking some type of hostel. I have also putted with other Pings with the TR insert for an hour or so and found it difficult to get used to the insert. I currently alternate between a small mallet Edel and the Tour Edge Exotic tested above( 2012&2013 versions). However, your test results are so remarkable that I will undoubtedly be spending another hour or so at GS testing the Ketsch. Perhaps the combination of all three aspects of a putter I would normally not like, to-wit: huge size, no hosel and the TR insert will prove to be the holy grail of putting.

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Adam March 18, 2014 at 10:22 am

Chris

I assume you are a more straight back straight through putter if you using mallets styles. If you like the idea of a smaller head but want a TR face and a Plumbers neck. Ping does make the Karsten Anser 5. Not a mallet but faced balanced “studio” loook with the TR grooves.

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harv March 18, 2014 at 9:49 am

why no scotty cameron putters?

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Dave S March 20, 2014 at 12:57 pm

Because Titleist are a bunch of ______. They probably see no value in being a part of any test they might not win since people will go buy them anyway… why give them a reason not to? They have Golf Digest and Golf.com in their pockets so they can always count on Gold ratings to their products in those tests (which – as unfortunate as it is – reach a MUCH larger audiance than MGS). If you don’t see negative results, but still see tour players putting with them, you end up just assuming that they’e good… which is what titlest wants. They are the Elite golf company… above ‘silly’ objective tests like this one… LAME.

Also, the fact that MGS doesn’t take into account looks, that really hurts Scotty, b/c honestly, they ARE some of the most appealing putters on the market.

So, while I’m annoyed they didn’t participate (in this or the Driver test), I guess I can understand it from a business perspective… it’s not like being absent from an MGS test is going to make anyone forget about them.

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stephenf March 20, 2014 at 2:48 pm

You said it. So accurate. If they have nothing to gain and something to lose, it makes no sense for them to participate. The safest route is the “ethos” or “authority” appeal: If tour players (who are paid to play it) say it’s great, it must be great.

I love the basic thrust of the testing and the wide coverage of various clubmakers, which amounts to this: Look around. Something might be a better fit for you, if you’re serious about playing well.

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Tyk March 18, 2014 at 10:06 am

Wow, that isn’t even close. Looking forward to seeing if you can expand on the reasons for such a huge gap between first and the rest!

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hckymeyer March 18, 2014 at 10:18 am

Very surprising that the #7 finished dead last when it’s so popular right now.

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bubba March 18, 2014 at 11:36 am

Because, the Pro know’s which one is the best putter.

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Tony March 18, 2014 at 6:48 pm

Used my #7 Monday and played like crap but still won the event from 53 players because I had only 25 putts. I bought mine because, watching TV, it seemed the most used by PGA pros. Either it or similar styles. Wow just imagine what I would have had if I used a Ping Ketsch.
Tony
Just another golf tragic

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MarkD April 13, 2014 at 1:17 am

I had similar thoughts but am trying out the Ping as they are now reaching stores by me. I think what the pros use versus amateur can be deceiving as they have theirs fine tuned to their game and fitted really does mean fitted.

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golfer4life March 18, 2014 at 10:26 am

Just purchased the Piretti Bosa as it was head and shoulders above everything else I tried. And I tried every big oem and anything else I could get my hands on, including what was at the 2014 Pga show. Anyone I let roll it makes a lot and says how good it is. I make the most and limit my misses the most with it. Not to mention it has the best feel/sound and looks I could find. I agree with the Pings being really good, just can’t buy the Bosa being so close to the bottom. Maybe the weather and grass are just really that different on the East Coast haha

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leftright March 22, 2014 at 10:13 pm

For the price you paid for it, you should make everything.

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AWOL March 24, 2014 at 2:21 am

Or maybe you overpaid for something that is really less accurate ;)

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Lee August 29, 2014 at 4:38 pm

LOL.

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mygolfspy March 18, 2014 at 10:26 am

I think one of the more interesting an validating data points for a test like this is when you take a look at models that are identical in design and how close they finished vs. their counterpart in the standings.

For example: The Bettinardi BB-55 and Bettinardi BB-55 CB
Another example: Bettinardi BB-32 and Bettinardi BB-32 CB

Another standout takeaway: TR technology from PING is legit. 3 of the top 5.

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Damon March 18, 2014 at 10:41 am

Agree on the TR insert. I spent 20 mins putting at Edwin Watts with an Anser style the other day (which I normally don’t like too much), and made everything. I then spent 20 minutes a couple of days later at GolfSmith with the same style, and again made everything I looked at. The putter color is interesting and pleasing to the eye, the insert feels solid, and I find it easy to align and put a solid stroke on the ball. I did not try the Ketsch, but I will give that a roll too.

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GolfSpy WD March 18, 2014 at 12:16 pm

It’s gotta be a combinations of the TR face and adjustable shaft. Ping also uses midsize grips their putters.

So what does that say about counter balanced putters? Only one CB model in the top 5.

Also curious on the role of MOI. The DLL has 8k+ MOI (whatever that means), yet came in 13th.

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Damon March 18, 2014 at 1:12 pm

I used the slight arc Anser style, non-adjustable shaft. The 34″ fit me OK (Edwin Watts), the 33″ fit me perfectly (this is what I use). My belief is that high MOI is really not needed and can actually make it harder to square up the clubface.

And agreed on the mid-size grip. It fit and felt nice. I also liked the new Cleveland putter (the alignment seems to work for me), but the grip is a no go. Obviously an easy change, but something the OEM should really consider when releasing the putter. Mid-size has to fit and/or feel better for the majority of the golfers these days.

I do experiment with CB putters with either heavy grips or grip inserts. I haven’t kept specific stats, but I have not noticed a make percentage difference. I do notice that the putts do feel more “solid” with the CB though, which is nice.

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Dave Wolfe March 18, 2014 at 1:25 pm

FWIW, the Senita B is also counterbalanced.

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GolfSpy WD March 18, 2014 at 1:27 pm

Ahh, I overlooked the ‘B’

Great stuff Dave!

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Paul S March 18, 2014 at 10:41 am

Could it be time to fill yet another slot in the bag with Wilson Staff?!

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Dave Wolfe March 18, 2014 at 1:29 pm

I think that the Ping domination will overshadow the Wilson Staff score a bit, but it shouldn’t be overlooked. That Vizor Level 2 was a solid performer, significantly more so than the Level 1 we had last year.

People really need to give Wilson Staff a longer look these days.

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Damon March 18, 2014 at 4:51 pm

I game Wilson FG Tour V2 (and never would have looked at them had it not been for your review a couple years back), and am a big Wilson Staff fan. I liked the previous version of the Vizor line of putters, but didn’t care for the feel all that much. These seem significantly improved (visuals, alignment), but how about the feel? It previously felt “dead” to me.

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Bill March 19, 2014 at 8:50 am

Damon, I suggest you give the Vizor 2 a try. I felt the same way about the original. Liked the alignment idea and the look was ok, but felt way too heavy in my hands and couldn’t feel the ball off it as well as the Wilson 8885 that for some reason is the easiest putter for me to lag accurately. Anyway, I saw the Visor 2 at PGA Superstore and gave it a roll and was taken back by the difference in feel. The 1 felt clunky to me but the Visor 2 felt like a well integrated machine piece. Rolled it much better.

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Damon March 20, 2014 at 12:06 pm

I will definitely give it a try – thanks for the feedback.

Adam March 18, 2014 at 10:55 am

I’m surprised the results are so one sided. Such a wide margin. Really interested to hear why you guys think this might be.
It would seem that the TR insert really makes a difference for consistency.
Congratulations to Wilson for the runner up position nice to see them at the top of the list.

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docshao March 18, 2014 at 11:05 am

I recall a test done last year with mallets and the Odyssey #7 came in 3rd. Just curious why you think in came in dead last on this test.

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pooch July 10, 2014 at 3:20 pm

I was wondering that too. #7 is last but I see the #7 in more tour bags than I can count.

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Mike March 18, 2014 at 11:31 am

I would like to see more qualifying data about the person using the putter and the specs of the putter used (full offset, 1/2 offset, center shafted) that feed this data set. These factors affect accuracy. If the person is a right hand putter that is left eye dominate they would be more accurate with less offset all the way to center shafted. So, a right hand right eye dominate person would not perform as well with a center shafted putter than a right hand left eye dominate person would. This alone changes the results.

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Mackdaddy March 18, 2014 at 11:32 am

I have been playing a putter from positiveputters.com for 7 years and it is the best putter I have ever held! It is custom made to my needs. It is perfectly balanced. Heavy 360 grams like a Heavy Putter. It is made from the same 303 steel as the Scotty Cam putters. You choose the alignment aid you like best. You set the lie angle, length, weight, shaft position, grip, everything. How much would you pay for a putter like that? I paid $150!!! Go to their website before you buy anything else!

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Damon March 18, 2014 at 6:30 pm

My response here will make it clear I have a putter problem… I own one of these too! I bought a used one off of eBay that are pretty much my specs. Agreed – it is a great putter – it just swings itself. I’m not sure about the material though – I think it is brass, not 303 steel.

I would be interested to see how one of these putters (Positive, or a Plop) compares to the new ones in this test.

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Gil B. March 18, 2014 at 11:51 am

Very interesting. Thank you for the study.

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DB March 18, 2014 at 11:52 am

What?!?

How was the Ketsch so far above everything else? Really surprising. Interesting. Can’t wait to see the details.

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Dick March 18, 2014 at 11:55 am

Nice article. Pleased that I’m not the only one with 24 ugly putters. Been a mallet guy for the last 20 years. Went center shafted four years ago and haven’t been able to swing anything else since. Surprised there were no center shafted mallets in your line up. Congrats to Ping and Wilson on the numbers. I’ve read all the hype about a club has to look good to be effective. People who don’t keep stats tend to blame their failure on the ugly club in the bag, doesn’t matter that the ill fitting irons in bag left them 40 feet from the hole and they three putted everything, so they blame the putter.

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blstrong (SeeRed) March 18, 2014 at 12:03 pm

Is my math correct in that the average miss/tester with the Ketsch was 96.6?! That’s just silly. Can’t wait to read more about this tomorrow.

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Kenny B March 18, 2014 at 12:13 pm

Interesting indeed! Do we get to hear from the testers on what they thought?

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Dave Wolfe March 18, 2014 at 1:26 pm

I do have some tester comments that I will share when we hit the Beyond the Numbers next Monday.

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TwoSolitudes March 18, 2014 at 12:22 pm

Wow. I use a Ping putter now, but it looks like they have really come up with something with this one. That is now an extremely likely buy this summer.

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matt March 18, 2014 at 12:25 pm

Never tried the Ketsch, but the Nome TR was awesome. I’ve gone away from true mallets because I feel wide body blades are easier for me to aim. But the Nome was great and the grooves really did seem to work for me. If I were looking for a new putter the hardest decision would probably be which Ping putter to buy.

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Mbwa Kali Sana March 18, 2014 at 1:46 pm

I may seem partisan ,but the looks of the putter you Play with ,and the sound it makes when you stroke the ball are of primary importance .This is why I basically “hate “mallett putters :most of them are desperately ugly and clumsy looking
Then ,most of the great putters don’t Play with mallett putters ,but with blade putters
Just look at One of the best today ,TIGER WOODS :the best putter I know ,BOBBY LOCKE ,BEN CRENSHAW ,BOBBY JONES (CALAMITY JANE ),PAUL RUNYAN,JOHNNY REVOLTA ,all are blade putters .
The sole exception -and what exçeption indeed -is DAVE STOCKTON , ONE OF THE BEST PUTTERS EVER.
I couldn’t Play with a putter which does not give the very précise feed-back on the exact spot of the blade which has Made contact with the ball .
You don’t get that information easily with a mallett face putter .

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Dave Wolfe March 18, 2014 at 2:50 pm

Ugly and clumsy looking really do not affect performance. We have the data that shows it. That is why we test accuracy.

As for the blades being more accurate, we did see that in our 2013 test. Testing will show if the 2014 blades can touch this unreal Ketsch accuracy standard.

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Josh March 19, 2014 at 2:47 am

You mentioned that great golfers used blade putters, then mentioned Bobby Locke, Ben Crenshaw, Bobby Jones, Paul Runyan, and Johnny Revolta.
How many of these large mallet clubheads were available when these golfers were plying their trade? Considering that Karsten Ping was basically the first to even come out with a putter that incorporates perimeter weighting, it doesn’t seem applicable to list golfers who primarily pre-date the era of the modern golfer, with the exception of Tiger Woods.
One could just as easily list a bunch of modern day golfers who use non-blade putters to prove just the opposite of your point.
It’s like saying that you won’t use a 460cc driver because you can’t tell your mishits as well because of the large face, so you use an old 150cc metalwood from the 1980′s instead.
Let’s face it: Mallet putters work great for some people, not so great for others. They don’t work for you, but don’t try to make a blanket statement based on your own personal preferences.
A golfer can easily get used to the looks of a putter if the results are great, which is the point of the article.

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stephenf March 18, 2014 at 2:27 pm

Just wondering: Why was the Wilson FG Tour used as the ball for the test? I happen to like it too, I was just wondering whether there were specific criteria. Wilson used to advertise their balls as being perfectly balanced, with not even the slightest tendency toward any specific point on the sphere, so maybe that was it. (It wasn’t false advertising, either. I used to play it competitively, and I also tested it to see if it tended to run back to the same point when suspended in water. The True Tour was the only ball that wouldn’t do that.)

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Dave Wolfe March 18, 2014 at 2:47 pm

Wilson Staff has been the ball sponsor for the test since we began testing Most Wanted mallets and blades this way.

The FG Tour is an excellent ball, with many testers commenting about how they like the feel of it off the face.

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stephenf March 18, 2014 at 6:17 pm

Couldn’t agree more about it being excellent. It’s just too bad it’ll have trouble getting a foothold in the market. Same for the old True Tour, which was not a long ball but was absolutely the most stable ball in flight and the most true-rolling ball I ever played. Also had a great feel, resilient without being poofy-soft. (Why they ever went to the True Tour Elite, I’ll never know — just another clacky-feeling semihard ball.)

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J kelly March 18, 2014 at 3:28 pm

Interesting to see the Odyssey #7 in last place when it came 3rd last year. Any reason you can think of for this as both are metal x models?

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Michael March 18, 2014 at 3:39 pm

Damn it. Now, I really want a Ping TR, either last year’s model or this year’s Karsten.

So attempting. I have sworn to do away with mass produced putters, now this survey …

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jpcgolf March 18, 2014 at 4:16 pm

I have been using the odyssey white ice two ball f7 for a long time now, and I feel so confident on the greens, I have been making many puts lately. I want to try something new with better technology, but I don’t know if I can bag that one. Once something is working for me, I don’t take it out.

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Golfer Burnz March 18, 2014 at 5:05 pm

Is it just me, or was the Ketsch released without much fanfare? One day out of nowhere Ping Ketsch. Is the Ketsch a break the mold putter? In other words, I don’t see it relating directly to another model in the Ping lineup. It reminds me of how the Ping doc didn’t really have a close relative. What is a Ketsch? Is it named after the designer, is it a German design or does Ketsch mean something? Pretty cool how it took the mallet world by storm.

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Kmac™ March 18, 2014 at 10:33 pm

Its not out yet. I think I saw oosthuizen rolling it though a few weeks ago.

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stephenf March 18, 2014 at 6:22 pm

Interesting. I wonder whether anybody is, or was, bothered by the long straight lines on something like the Ketsch et al, since without a good deal of manipulation, there really isn’t any such thing as standing on one side of the ball and swinging your arms and a club literally straight back and through. It’s always bugged me, but then, I don’t even like a line or a spot on a blade putter. (Competitively, I alternate mostly between an Old Master 8802 replica and the MacGregor George Low 600 redo, without lines.) I don’t know how it’s possible, particularly for pros, to need a putter to make up for missing the sweet spot, mainly because I don’t see how it’s possible to miss the sweet spot on a _putter_ if you practice at all, or if you’ve used the club for more than about five rolls of the ball. But clearly I’m way in the minority, since a lot of people with a lot of money at stake use the Jetsons stuff.

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annsguy March 18, 2014 at 6:58 pm

Count me in as one of the folks who are happy to see Wilson Staff do so well. Ping kicked booty and they deserve all the praise but I love seeing the Staff make such a great comeback. All the way through the bag AND the bag itself each product is awesome with a real story, not just marketing BS

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John kelly March 18, 2014 at 7:18 pm

Any idea why the odyssey #7 finished 3rd last year and this years model finished last? It has the same head shape, is the insert or material different?

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Andy March 18, 2014 at 7:48 pm

>>Ugly and clumsy looking really do not affect performance. We have the data that shows it. That is why we test accuracy.<<<<
Seems there needs to be a Super Bowl putt-off with top 10 Blade vrs. top 10 Mallets, right? Now about this "accuracy" testing? My take is it means best at getting the ball to roll on the line intended at the speed desired, which means NOTHING in actually making putts on the golf course if have a BAD greenread. That's why a special putter was created at expertgreenreading.com that just flat out guarantees an expert greenread every putt. But not offered in a mallet yet, but stay tuned…

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craiger March 18, 2014 at 7:54 pm

I believe its extremely difficult to judge a putter. To me its whatever putter best fits the eye. I’ve used my PING crazy forever mostly because I cant find another that fits.

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RAT March 18, 2014 at 8:36 pm

I have the first version of the Wilson Staff Vizor and love it but the face insert felt a little dead. I will go ahead with the purchase of the new Vizor because I’m a staff fan and I have the V2 irons based off that test and they are the best . So I will get this putter.

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Charlie Williams March 18, 2014 at 10:41 pm

This is a very interesting article. I am a die-hard Wilson Staff fan mainly for their golf putters, golf balls, and golf bags because of their strong performances on the green. With is impressive report, I hope that golfers will give Wilson Staff Golf products a strong consideration over their competitors.

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Eric March 19, 2014 at 12:20 am

I play Piretti. The other day I went to the store and rolled a bunch of putters from odyssey, TM, seemore, Nike. I was shocked how junky they felt, every putter seemed cheaply made and garish next to my Piretti. There is no way any of them could outperform my piretti, mostly because my brain could never bypass the feeling of rolling a walmart putter, no matter if the stats proved me wrong or not, something to be said for how it feels and looks to each golfer.

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golfer4life March 20, 2014 at 1:51 pm

Agreed Eric. Saying there is proof that looks sound and feel make no difference is something I’m going to disagree with. There is a reason these so called best mallets aren’t in everyone’s hands on tour. I like the test done here and find them interesting and informative. I have applied some of the info here to fittings I’ve done. That doesn’t mean I agree with everything, as being a fitter I find different results at times. You can have a different group that could change everything.
I also play Piretti (I have a Bosa) and found them to be far from the bottom for myself and most that I have had roll one. One reason for liking the Bosa is that it has some toe hang. Most mallets are closer to face balance, and I have never had much success with fb putters.
Still glad to have the test available and appreciate the time and effort everyone puts in at MGS

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stephenf March 20, 2014 at 2:33 pm

But you guys are comparing apples to gallons here. What you’re talking about is the difference between objective testing and player perception. Player perception has to be factored out in a scientific test (or as scientific as it can get). All that test can do is to give you the objective results. Whether your personal results would match the testing depends on variables that just aren’t testable.

I had (and still have) something analogous going on with irons and drivers. I am a fairly staunch traditionalist, having played and taught as a pro, mostly during the ’80s and ’90s — which, as you’ll recall, was a pretty important time for the evolution of golf technology, probably the first big leap away from tradition for tradition’s sake (going back to the steel-for-hickory shift, at least). For quite a few years, I was still playing Wilson blades, although to be fair, even then, the drill-through, the muscleback, and the Dynamic Gold shafts were all technological improvements over a previous generation. Driver was a Penna persimmon, followed by a TM Burner in the mid-’90s. Look and feel were the absolute determinants of whether I would consider another club. I was typically the last guy in a group to think about changing or updating.

Eventually, though, I had to see that at least _some_ degree of testably better technology was critical. If it would make the difference in a couple of instances per round where (for example) a full approach shot would make the fringe or the green 50 feet away rather than dropping another 15 feet short and right of that in the bunker or water, that obviously could make a big difference over multiple rounds and over a season. Same for a slightly mishit drive still made the fairway instead of the edge of the (meaningful, then) rough. Or the extra 12 yards that make the difference between a reachable par 5 and a three-shotter. I just had to figure that I couldn’t completely ignore the newer technology, and I had to expand the range of choices. It was costing money. (I still hate thick toplines, but…anyway.) Eventually a whole class of top-quality clubs for good players that had some forgiveness but still had a mostly traditional look made the decision a little less difficult.

Of course, then there were also tests showing that if you wanted to play at a high level, you were going to have to hit the ball fairly close to the sweet spot a reasonable percentage of the time anyway, regardless of whether you had game-improvement features or not. Being 40 feet from the hole versus 60 feet, or 30 instead of 45, won’t make a difference in birdie rates. So I do still think there’s a limit for how much game-improvement tech means to a low-handicap amateur or pro.

With drivers, I still feel like I’m swinging an empty metal Danish cookie tin on the end of a shaft, but the results are undeniable. I was a decently long hitter in my 20s — not like the long-drive-contest gorillas, but probably upper 25% or better for a plus-handicap player — and now, in my early 50s, I hit it at least 30 yards longer on the average than I did 30 years ago. It’s completely ridiculous. Straighter, too. If I’m competing, that’s just not something I can ignore for a more pleasing look. (Actually, I’ve found that what the writer says is true: The better you hit the club, and the longer you hit it well, the more you end up liking the look and feel of it after all.)

On the other hand, when it comes to putters, I alternate between two ultratraditional flanged blades with absolutely zero game-improvement qualities. (More like game-exposing.) I don’t know what would ever make me pick a putter like the top-rated one here, or any of the mallets. I’ve always been a really good putter — early on, putting and ability around the greens were the only reasons I could even think about competing for money — but maybe if I ever started sucking, I’d start looking. I do have to admit that some mallets have a ridiculously solid feel, although I can’t get over the feeling (especially with some of the face-dampening features) that with most of them, it’s an artificial solidness. When you hit one on the sweet spot with my old 8802 Old Master replica or the Wizard 600, there’s nothing false about it. It’s not an illusion, and you get exactly what you hit. I also agree with the comment about how cheap many of the newer putters, mallets included, appear to be. Three-hundred-dollar putters that look like Wal-mart specials. I don’t get it.

But none of that means they don’t test out exactly as the testers here say, and for anybody looking for a new putter (which I think usually means they’re not crazy about the way they’re putting with their old stick), I don’t think they should disregard the results. Nor should they disregard what looks and feels good to them.

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stephenf March 20, 2014 at 2:37 pm

Also — re the Bosa, face-balancing, etc.: I mean, you just have to go with results, no matter what. If you’ve tested it personally and it works better, what else is there to do? I guess that’s the point whether you’re doing the objective testing or the personal feel-plus-look-plus-performance test: Results matter.

I do think, by the way, that look and feel actually _do_ have something to do with performance, partly in perception but not all as a matter of perception. Certain clubs just have a better look to a person’s eye, influence a better swing and better contact, etc.

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golfer4life March 21, 2014 at 10:52 am

I am not exactly sure I followed all the comments made, but we are talking about a putter that I have had numerous people test/try being one of the bottom rated putters in the test. It sounds that both Eric and I agree that the Piretti Bosa was a putter we both felt belonged higher on the list. I am certainly not disregarding nor questioning the testing done by MGS. When testing is done by such a small group its not hard to believe that another group would find different results. I do a fairly good amount of putter fittings and have found that some of the putters tested were just not in the same order as tested here. Any test information you can obtain can be useful weather or not you agree with all of it. It doesn’t mean if I see something different with my own findings that I would completely disregard there testing. Its just another tool to use.

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Mbwa Kali Sana March 19, 2014 at 5:43 am

Dear Mr Dave WOLFE ( Tester ),
Thanks for your comments ,I have great confidence in your testing site !I bought the NIKE MCO Putter last year ,after it came on the top of your blade putter review ,and it did improve m’y already excellent putting .So I’ve placed the order just now for the PING KETSCH Putter ,I’ll compare the MCO and the KETSCH and let you know acordingly .
I also bought the PING G25 driver ,after the driver review ,and I CAN assert it works just wonders for me ,better than the KRANK FORMULA ONE i own ,and better than the HONMA BERES ,even fitted with the four star shaft !
I’m waiting now for the FAIRWAY WOOD test .
Are you going to test the WEDGES in the near future : i Hear a lot of hype on the RENEGAR .
Is it that good ?

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RAT March 19, 2014 at 9:48 am

Glad to see there are a few Wilson Staff fans o here.Their product has greatly been overlooked by a lot of people and it now there is a way to prove it MGS testing .Thanks to this testing I’m sure sales will go up for Ping and Wilson.

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Mike March 20, 2014 at 7:21 am

Not a single putter from Scotty Cameron? Odd.

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Tyler March 20, 2014 at 12:11 pm

I think it would be kool if they re-did the test with different people and see how close the results come the same. Also be kool to do the test with people who havent even golfed before and see what there results would be.

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I_golf March 20, 2014 at 4:18 pm

Wilson golf balls are not widely used, so lets say this ball is clickier than others, and insert face would feel and sound better. If wilson is softer, a milled heavier weight mallet might win. Really, you should have allowed them to play with their ball of choice, considering this test is laughably unscientific, might as well try to get each golfers real input.

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Dave Wolfe March 20, 2014 at 9:01 pm

Do you understand how variables work in scientific research?

By keeping the ball constant, regardless of the actual ball, you remove one of the possible variables from the experimental design.

Under your multi-ball system, how can you associate the results with the putter and not the ball?

I will grant your speculation that the softness of a ball could impact the test in some way, though I am not sure there is a consensus about how golf ball durometer impacts putting performance. Maybe this is a lab topic that we can look into at a future date.

That being said, before you throw stones at something that is “laughably unscientific”, you may want to double check your understanding of scientific methodology.

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stephenf March 21, 2014 at 2:14 am

Absolutely. The most that could be said is that the test wasn’t broad enough to be maximally useful (hey, anybody who wants to do testing that is several times more complex and expensive, mostly timewise, knock yourself out, right?), but that has nothing to do with whether it’s “scientific” or not. If the Wilson ball had been notably out of whack with other premium balls feelwise, that also might’ve been a point of contention (because, in limiting that variable, you’d want to pick one that more or less represented the general run of balls with regard to feel, not to mention other factors — for instance, you wouldn’t want to pick one that was known for being more likely to be out of round, etc.). But the Wilson ball isn’t anomalous in any identifiable way. The fact that it isn’t _precisely_ the same as another is just a limitation of a test where the scope of the test was not to test every single type of ball on every single putter.

Of course, if that ball test (that Dave Wolfe mentions) ever happens, you’ll have to select one putter or a very limited set of putters (maybe one representative mallet and one representative blade), and then the complaint will be that not enough different putters were selected.

So yeah…limiting variables equals important element of scientific testing.

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Tony Covey March 25, 2014 at 8:37 am

What’s actually laughable is to 1) Make a declaration about a ball you know nothing about. 2) declare a test you know only slightly more about “unscientific” (please do enlighten everyone on how this should be done), and then in the same breath 3) suggest the introduction of additional variables. Unreal. Typical, and expected given your malcontented history here, but seriously…unreal all the same.

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steve March 21, 2014 at 9:19 am

Right.

Best blades vs best mallet….same golfers. Would be interesting.

Jim Furyk, 2010, wins FedEx cup with a used YES/Sophia blade putter bought @ Joe & Leigh’s golf shop (20 minutes from my home). 3 weeks earlier I’d bought the same putter …my daughter’s name is Sophia, I like blades and find Yes putters very true. Still got it.

I like simple. Play 430 and smaller drivers because of look and feel. Play Miura irons for feel and look. Mallets don’t appeal to me…however, i grabbed a PING Nome and putted around with it; very good. Actually, uncanningly good…plus very good hand feedback, easy to align and consistent distance control.

I’ll have a Nome or Ketsch in my bag this year…I think ‘simple’ low scores are better than ‘ugly’ high scores.

Also, “best putters use blades” comment–it’s time to acknowledge what Tiger does skill wise has anything to do with what we do; really. And amen to that.

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Mbwa Kali Sana March 21, 2014 at 9:40 am

A lot of négative comments on the testing methods of GOLFSPY X
I feel strongly they are unfair .
I went with the conclusions of the best drivers test and the blade putter tests .
I bought a NIKE MCO Putter and a PING G25 driver :both work splendidly for me ,improved distance and accuracy with the driver ,More puts homes with the NIKE MCO (and I AM already a fairly good putter ,28/32 puts per round ,sometimes better ,20 /25 if my short game inside 100 yards is accurate (or simple lucky )
The ball issue is pure nonsense :I Play any kind of ball ,whether soft or hard ,it doesn’t make a big difference for me :o f course ,soft balls ,FIVE layers give a nicer feel when putting or playing short pitches or chips ,but if you have a good short game ,the différence is not significative .
I’m 80 .a seasoned good golfer ,7 Handicap today ,scratch when younger ,and I read too much nonsense about this fine game :with persimmon drivers in the 70 ‘ s , my drives were sufficiently long enough .
MIKE AUSTIN put out a world long drive record with a persimmon driver !
The best golf équipment ever is your own body :I train every Day 3/4 hours to keep,fit ,and I’m Mr Average ,5 feet 9 ,160 pounds ,but my distance Off the TEE is Still at 225 yards .

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Mbwa Kali Sana March 21, 2014 at 9:45 am

A complement :though I don’t like at all mallet putters ,Of course I’m going to give a try to the PING KETSH putter ,it has such an overwhelming score over the others ,it must have something the others don’t have .
I’ve placed my order with GOLF SPY X .

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golfer4life March 21, 2014 at 10:59 am

A golf ball doesn’t make a difference?

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RAT March 21, 2014 at 12:46 pm

I think the testing was very fair and detailed. I do however think that the cost of putters is going out of site. All golf equipment is too high.

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Mbwa Kali Sana March 21, 2014 at 2:45 pm

Dear Josh ,I agrée ,Mallet putters weren’t available at Time of the “ancient greats “,but sure they were when BEN CRENSHAW played and won the MASTERS .BEN has the best looking fluid stroke I ever saw ,even better than BOBBY LOCKE’s.(You CAN see them on INTERNET )
I played a long Time the ODYSSEY TWO BALL Mallet putter very effectively indeed .the PING KETSCH has More or Less the same look ?that’s why I Will give it a try .
Regarding ” Bulky drivers ” ( 460 CC heads ), I saw a test by a pro demonstrating hé was longer Off the TEE with a smaller head !
If you have a Well Grooved répétitive swing ,you don’t mess up the contact on the clubface and the so called forgiving “Bulky “heads don’t give you any plus .

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Mbwa Kali Sana March 21, 2014 at 4:47 pm

Dear Josh ,I agrée ,Mallet putters weren’t available at Time of the “ancient greats “,but sure they were when BEN CRENSHAW played and won the MASTERS .BEN has the best looking fluid stroke I ever saw ,even better than BOBBY LOCKE’s.(You CAN see them on INTERNET )
I played a long Time the ODYSSEY TWO BALL Mallet putter very effectively indeed .the PING KETSCH has More or Less the same look:that’s why I Will give it a try .
Regarding ” Bulky drivers ” ( 460 CC heads ), I saw a test by a pro demonstrating hé was longer Off the TEE with a smaller head !
If you have a Well Grooved répétitive swing ,you don’t mess up the contact on the clubface and the so called forgiving “Bulky “heads don’t give you any plus .

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chrisk March 21, 2014 at 9:38 pm

I think Golfspy’s great and I love reading your stuff. If it hadn’t been for some of your articles, i would have never hunted down my beloved Powerbilt Air Force driver that is the pride of my bag! I’m definitely going to look real close at a Ping Ketch next time i’m in Golf Galaxy, the win here was ridiculously huge.

This isn’t a putter comment, but I thought it was interesting that one of the guys above mentioned a long-driver record with a small-head driver. In all honesty, I’ve been wondering lately why the companies don’t make smaller drivers. I know the big ones are really forgiving, but you’ve got to believe you’re losing clubhead speed with the sheer size of these things nowadays.

Thanks for all the great articles, Golfspy!

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chrisk March 21, 2014 at 9:39 pm

I should have included “losing clubhead speed due to wind resistance” in my comment above. Sorry to be confusing.

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RAT March 21, 2014 at 9:49 pm

I believe there are already some mfg that are going down in size to about 440 430 cc.

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Mbwa Kali Sana March 22, 2014 at 5:42 am

Attention DAVE WOLFE.
I bought a YAR putter a year ago ,after discovering it had been ranked best putter of the year on another testing golf site ,
It’s a small head Mallet putter ,customized to your BUILD ,”scientifically designed “!
When I took it to the golf course ,first Time ,I hit an incredible low score of 21 puts !
I have since reverted to my NIKE MCO BLADE putter ,because I feel More “comfortable “with blade putters ,the main reason being I “want “to get the feed back from the blade as to the spot on the blade I have stroked the ball with .
You should have tested the YAR in your sélection of Mallet putters ,it’s worth trying !

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Dave Wolfe March 23, 2014 at 4:46 pm

Thanks for the tip on YAR.
I’ll add them to my contact list for the next mallet run

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AWOL March 24, 2014 at 2:14 am

WHAT!?!?!? I’m shocked there are no trolls in here that are going to claim PING paid MGS to provide excellent reviews. Oh wait that’s right only TMAG gets to be pegged and victimized for that. I’m sure however if the TMAG putter finished on top it would be a different story. Any who I have always loved PING putters and am glad to see them saturating the top 5. Good for them!!! One of my favorite mallet putters of all times was the 2003 PING CRAZ-E. Like always PING makes great stuff.

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chris m March 24, 2014 at 6:07 pm

Just purchased a bb32cb and I was surprised that it came in almost dead last. Wanted a truly made in America putter. I was hoping for some dramatic improvement but it didn’t happen. I’m a pretty good putter (HI is 4). it hasn’t improved my putting stats but it worked well with the lengthy putts one can have at Bandon Dunes – just got back. Have a TM daddy long legs as well. counter balancing may not be the answer. Also have an Odyssey #9 that I really like and a Cameron Kombi belly putter. And others…

The testing was nicely done; agree that there should be a super putt-off between the mallets and the blades – that would be very interesting. Gotta check out the Ping products. Thanks.

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Chris C March 25, 2014 at 11:39 pm

As in the instance of MGS’s driver test, one can always nit pick these endeavors. I appreciate the effort. With regards to the use of the Wilson ball, I believe that it served to enhance the validity of the results. Ideally, the ball should be one gamed by all or none of the testers. Hey! Perhaps Mizuno could provide MGS with a few dozen of their tour balls.

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Vlad May 6, 2014 at 10:59 am

Can you guys please tell me which arc was used on Ketsch slight or straight?

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Del May 11, 2014 at 1:31 am

As per previous reader’s question, was the Ping Ketsch version used a straight, slight arc, or full arc version? Thanks.

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Big T May 23, 2014 at 12:39 am

Went looking for a Ketsch but no luck, tried a CB spider mallet which actually rolled it nicely. I see it finished in 19th place in the mallet test. Could the CB Ketsch really be that much better?
Maybe one day I’ll find out……

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MaxApp June 23, 2014 at 1:57 pm

Which putter of this model was used?

Standard, Counter Balanced?

Which Stroke line was used?

Straight
Slight Arc
Strong Arc?

Thanks

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Ian1958 July 11, 2014 at 5:49 am

Guys !
You can test all the putters you want. But it comes down to one simple fact. The putter that is best for you is the one that feels good in your hands. All my clubs are Ping and I love them except for my putter. It is an Amazing Grace Mallet from Bobby Grace in Florida. From the moment I first picked it up it felt fantastic. The best $450 I ever spent. They are much cheaper now but I wouldn’t swap it for anything. My Ping Mallet is in the rack just in case but for the past eighteen months Grace is good.
Putting is all about how it feels and like and old T shirt I had in the 80s said “If it feels good do it!!”

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Mbwa Kali Sana July 11, 2014 at 9:44 am

I bought ,and currently play with the PIND KETSCH putter ,
It’s excellent .
However ,I then bought the winner of the contest between the blade putters ,the TAYLOR MADE putter :I played one against the other ,several Times on my home course .
The TAYLOR MADE performed slightly better ,it’s due to more facilty to play it from long distances ,15 feet/ 20 feet .
But this is just a matter of personal préférences .
Both putters are extraordinarily good!
I feel very confident with both

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