Putter Tested: Nike Method Concept
(Written By: GolfSpy T) When it comes to putters, the staff here at MyGolfSpy is made up largely of a bunch of traditionalist, elitist fancy boys. They gravitate almost exclusively towards highly polished, CNC milled putters. It's form before function. They're practically communists. Fortunately, for those of you out there who have evolved beyond, this-one-looks-just-like-that-one blades, and mallets that looked like they were produced just so someone could say "hey, I made a mallet", one spy (me) is actually inclined towards what you might call unconventional designs. I find the beauty in what others might see as hideous. And most importantly, I'm not afraid to put a putter in my bag just because it doesn't look like everything else.
While the big golf companies have come out with some pretty interesting looking stuff over the years (PING's Doc 15, and TaylorMade's Spider spring to mind), one could make an argument that Nike's Method Concept, which hit the market in February of this year, is the funkiest looking blade...err...mallet...uh...let's just say putter that one of the big guys has brought to market in quite some time.
The goal of the Concept was to create a high MOI putter with a deep center of gravity; a putter with similar performance characteristics to large mallets, while maintaining a relatively compact footprint. Nike was able to achieve that goal by paring a lightweight aluminum face (less than 1/3 of the head's total mass) with a much heavier steel back piece. While my experience with the Concept suggests that they were largely successful, there is no denying that the nature of the design has some aesthetic implications.
- Multi-Material Construction (lightweight aluminum face with high-mass steel body)
- 350 grams (34", 35") 365g (33"), 390g (43" - Belly)
- Loft: 2 Degrees
- Lie Angle: 69 Degrees
- Face Balanced
- Double Bend Shaft
- Red & Black Color Scheme
- Nike Method Concept Grip
BALL USED: Nike 20xi-x
Nike describes the Method Concept as having a soft feel. I'm inclined to disagree. The putters that come to mind when I think "soft" are, like the Method Core series, insert-based. I think Odyssey, and TaylorMade AGSI, and perhaps the non-insert Bettinardi Fit Face. Some of those, particularly the softer Odyssey inserts, give one the feeling of smashing the putter face against a pile of mashed potatoes. That's basically what I expected the first time I hit a putter with Nike's Polymetal Groove Technology.
To Nike's credit, their insert doesn't feel like the others. It feels solid, clicky. It's not mushy, and unlike many other aluminum faced putters, it's not tingy either. The best thing I can say about the feel offered by the Polymetal insert is that if you didn't know it was there, you'd never know it was there. It's not soft, but it's not overly firm either. It more or less feels like most of the other putters on the market today. That's good...but it's not soft.
When Nike first posted pics of the Method Concept on their Facebook page, some of the reaction was a little harsh. One fan wondered if Nike had entered an "Ugly Putter Contest", while another suggested the most redeeming quality of the new putter is that it's not named RocketBallz...and that was before Nike made a Green and Yellow version to celebrate the Masters.
I'm not going to sit here and tell you that you're wrong and that the Method Concept, despite it's unconventional design, and alternative color scheme is the most beautiful putter on the planet. It's not. The damn thing looks weird...no two ways about it. Personally, I don't hate it, and after having it in the bag for several rounds, I don't really notice the black bar. It basically looks like a blade with some training edge support.
SET-UP & ALIGNMENT
Some of the guys here get all worked up about alignment and sight lines. Me...I basically don't care (something you settle into quickly when you play strange looking putters). The Method Concept features the fairly common single line alignment system. What's not to like about that?
I do find that I'm struggling just a bit with finding my line. It's early in the season, so it could just be me, but I do find I'm missing by a couple of inches. Sometimes left, sometimes right, but rarely ever have I nailed it from outside of 10 feet. I'm always close, but seldom perfect.
With it's face balanced design, the Nike Method Concept should be ideal for a straight-back, straight-through putter. Until last year, I thought that was me. It turns out I'm more of a slight arc kinda guy, which means, on paper anyway, the Method Concept isn't a perfect fit for me. The thing is, I have a flaw in my putting stroke. I have a tendency to bring the putter back slightly to the outside, then loop it around and bring it back from the inside out. Basically, I swing a putter like Jim Furyk swings everything else.
What I find is that something in the weighting of the Method Concept wants to pull the putter back a little bit to the inside. Sure, you can fight it, but why bother. For me, it's proven extremely beneficial and resulted in a much better stroke. The Method Concept remains very stable through impact, and remains consistent even on slight to moderate mis-hits.
While 3.5-4° has become the de facto standard loft for putters (you can probably thank Scotty Cameron for that), the Method Concept has only 2° of loft. That design coupled with the Polymetal Groove face causes the ball settle into its roll quickly with very little, if any skipping.
The single biggest reason I've become a fan of the Nike Method Concept is distance control. I've been primarily a belly putter guy for the last year+ now, and I had no designs on switching back to a short stick. While the purist crowd has gotten their knickers in a twist about belly putters offering an unfair advantage, what most would seem not to realize is that like most anything else in the bag, the choice between a conventional or belly putter is one of compromise. While I find belly putters extremely stable (and yes, comforting) on shorter putts, dialing in precise distance...especially from a distance can be an issue.
With the Nike Method Concept I'm more dialed in than I've ever been (especially at the start of the season). I'm averaging under 1 3-putt per round to start the season (and a couple of the 3-jacks are solidly on me...gross misreads, duffing the putter). I'm finding it extraordinarily easy to put my first putt within 3 feet from nearly any distance. And the stability of the Method Concept makes those knee-knockers anything but scary. You think belly putters are cheating? No...this is cheating.
- Distance Control = 9.8
- Accuracy = 9.4
- Sound & Feel = 9.0
- Appearance = 8.5
- Alignment = 9.0
- OVERALL = 91.40
FIT FOR STROKE™
Don’t change your stroke. Change your putter.
The (FIT FOR STROKE™) concept was developed by PING, yet another genius fitting system they have developed for golfers. It works hand-in-hand with the iPING Putter App which is highly suggest everyone getting (IT’S FREE!). You might be surprised to find out that the stroke you think you have isn’t the stroke you actually have.
This addition to the MGS reviews will allow you to become a more consistent putter by matching you with models that better fit your stroke type. They will be broken down into three categories: (1) Straight – for face balance putters (2) Slight Arc – for mid toe hang putters (3) Strong Arc – for toe down putters
“Results from hundreds of player and robot tests at PING offer overwhelming scientific support for the effectiveness of fitting for stroke. In recent years more diagnostic tools and testing equipment have become available, and the results prove that a golfer’s consistency improves when their putter balance matches their stroke type. It was interesting to observe that golfers putt more consistently with stroke-appropriate models, but they also show a personal preference for these models, too. Prior to putting with them, golfers are drawn to models that fit their eye, even before they fit their stroke.” says PING.
The Nike Method Concept is a: STRAIGHT
When trying to reach an ultimate appraisal of the Nike Method Concept putter , I came to the conclusion that it's very likely the Turkey Bacon of the putter world. Some people are going to love it, and will never want to go back to the traditional, while others will see it as an outright abomination. Me, I'm a turkey bacon guy...and I guess I'm a Nike Method Concept guy too. So yeah, if we're talking beauty pageants, the Concept probably isn't going to standout like Ms. Texas, but that doesn't mean it won't take home Ms. Congeniality. After-all, the performance makes this little ugly duckling infinitely lovable.
If you're struggling with distance control, like a solid feeling putter, and aren't afraid of a little extra attention around the green (everybody has something to say when the see it), at $199, you might want to pick up both the red and green ones.
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- Driver: Cobra KING LTD w/ 75g Aldila Rogue Silver 125 MSI X
- Fairway: TaylorMade SLDR S Mini, 12° Fujikura Speeder X
- 3-4H: TaylorMade SLDR TP S
- 5-GW: PXG 0311 w/ KBS C-Taper S+
- SW: TaylorMade Tour Preferred EF Tour Grind (54° bent to 55°)
- LW: Callaway Mack Daddy PM Grind 60°
- Putter: PING Karsten TR ZING