Win a Custom Bellum Winmore Putter

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Congratulations to Kenny Thomson! You have won the Bellum Winmore putter!

 

Brass Balls

At the most recent running of the annual PGA Merchandise Show companies rolled out the products that they believe golfers will want/need in the coming season. How many products? Let’s just anger my 7th grade English teacher and use the descriptor a lot. There are new clubs, carts, rangefinders, shoes, ball markers, training aids, and a myriad of other competitors for the golf dollars. The companies making the products are as diverse as the products themselves, ranging from the huge OEM to the dude in the garage, yet they all share one common character: courage.

Reverend, you've got balls as big as church bells.
-Dragnet, 1987

For some reason, I always incorrectly associate that quote with Clint Eastwood’s preacher in Pale Rider. Regardless, it was the first thing that came to mind when thinking about getting involved in the golf marketplace.

Bringing a new product to market is risky. You are betting the year’s bottom line on how well the product is embraced by the buying public. For a small company, this is a life and death equation, they essentially get one shot to make an impact, or fiscally die. Even large companies though can take a significant hit if the new product flops. Google “New Coke” if you are not old enough to remember that debacle.

From My Cold, Dead Hand

Given the competitive nature of the golf market, a company must believe strongly in their product to brave the risk of entering the golf fray. Some golf products seem riskier to launch than others.  Maybe my view is askew, but I think that entering the putter business is the riskiest of all.

Why the riskiest? First, there are lots of putters out there. A trip to your local shop will yield putters of all shapes, sizes, and prices. Second, putters can be an emotional purchase. Subjective terms like looks and feel can get in the way or making the purchase based on performance. Third, and maybe most significantly, putters show a low bag turnover rate. Nobody I know is still gaming their 20-year-old driver, but I’ve seen more than one putter that has been in a bag since the 80’s. I use a new putter each time I play, but the rational golfer tends to stick with a putter longer than any other club.

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Bellum Winmore: Willing to Take the Risk

Enter Bellum Winmore, a small (i.e. two guys) company out of New York that has dove into the putter pool. Bellum Winmore has decided that they can bring a putter to the market that will separate them from the other competitors. Is it a different color? Nope. Does it have a unique alignment system? Nope. Unique insert polymer? Nope.

Instead of edging into the market with a unique “gimmick”, Bellum Winmore is making a putter that is 100% milled. I feel that the milled putter market is the most dangerous of all because that puts you directly up against Mr. Cameron and Mr. Bettinardi, as well as the other established small shop makers like Byron Morgan and Machine. It’s like choosing to be a heavyweight fighter when Mike Tyson was in his prime. Risky.

So today we are going to take a closer look at Bellum Winmore, and their new model 707 and see if we can’t shed a little more light on their story and their putter.

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Bellum Winmore: The Name & Mission

I had Tim, one of the owners of Bellum Winmore answer a couple of questions so that we could all learn a little more about them and their putter. Let’s get the obvious two out of the way first:

Tell me the meaning behind the Bellum Winmore name.

Originally the name was going to be Bellum, which is Latin for war. War on its own just seemed kind of negative with overtones of extreme personal danger. So we added a simple word smash and Bellum Winmore was born. Winning more is a concept I think we can all get next to. A tip of the hat to Charlie Sheen

What separates Bellum Winmore putters from off the rack putters? From other small-shop putters?

Bellum Winmore was formed on two immutable concepts: performance and quality. Zac and I have complimentary skill sets in manufacturing that ensure a sustained commitment to these guiding elements and a promise to consistently make our precision putters available at the lowest price possible. To our knowledge we also offer the largest selection of grip weights of any manufacturer, large or small. This gives our customers the ability to really tune their putters from a swing-weight perspective. Our emblem is pretty cool too

Bellum Winmore: The 707 Putter

Now that we have an idea about where they are coming from as a company, let’s take a look at the putter.

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Specifications: Bellum Winmore 707

  • Material: 100% Milled 303 Stainless Steel
  • Weight: 350g
  • Toe Hang: about 4:00
  • Length Tested: 34″
  • Finish: Satin
  • Grip:  Bellum Winmore logoed PURE Grip
  • Ball for Testing: Wilson Staff 2014 FG Tour

Looks

Bellum Winmore-08

My thoughts on the looks of the Bellum Winmore 707 are best captured with the word clean. The edges are sharp and precise, as is the milling throughout the entire head. If you are looking for handmade character, you won’t find much in the 707. Instead, you will find precision milling, with seemingly very tight tolerances.

The specific visual features that stand out to me are the neck, with it’s short over hosel rather than plumbers neck design. The between-the-bumpers valley is also a little narrower than a typical Anser-style putter, leading into a cavity-free transition from the back through the face.

Personally, as one who aims primarily by squaring the face to target, I really like the thick, flat top line of the putter. I also find the sloping geometries from the cavity to the bumpers visually pleasing. Aesthetics are, of course, subjective.  From my perspective though, the Bellum Winmore 707 is a great looking putter.

 

Feel

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303 Stainless Steel with a thick face equals softer than I expected. No sweet mush of carbon, but no expected crisp pop of stainless either. It’s not as crazy soft as the 304 stainless that STX uses, but the 707’s softness is worth noting.

I was actually surprised a bit when I went back to check the head weight on the 707. It feels a bit stouter than the advertised 350g. I don’t have the exact swing weight of the tested putter, but more than one tester commented on how it felt “head heavy”. Bellum Winmore has a way to address this feel/play system though: customizable grip counterweights. I’ll let them tell you the significance of these weights.

Swingweight, simply stated, seeks to quantify the golfer’s perception of a club’s headweight as it travels through space. A club’s swingweight is calculated by defining the balance point of the club based on the fulcrum point on a swingweight scale. Measurements are denoted on a graduated alpha-numeric scale ranging from A0 through F10, each letter having ten equally measured increments.

A club measuring on the low end of the swingweight scale (A0) will feel lighter than one measuring on the high end (F10). That said, two clubs having identical headweights may have distinctly different swingweights. This is because swingweight is a reflection of the weight distribution of the entire club. A club feels heavier during the swing as the balance point nears the head, and lighter as it nears the grip.

Feel in golf is never so important as it is in putting, and Bellum Winmore believes that golfers should be able to tune their putters to suit their own personal strength and stroke characteristics. That is why every Bellum Winmore Milled Putter is available with back weighting from 10g to 100g.

With putters, as in life, it’s important to find proper balance.

Adjusting the feel is part of the Bellum Winmore process. That’s a plus.

 

Alignment

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Line or no line. You have the choice. As a no-line guy, that’s a huge option. Every custom putter I have ever ordered has been line-less, which is probably why only-with-lines production putters don’t last long in my bag. Bellum Winmore gives you the option. It’s as easy as using a drop down menu on their ordering page. Can you imagine what it would take for you to get a putter from another big company without a line? Ask your buddy how much he paid for that line-less Newport 2.

As I mentioned before, I also appreciated the presence of the thick top line when it came to lining up the putt. The position of the cavity also ties in nicely for alignment. The short neck seems to get itself out of the way so you can really see the relationship between the ball and the face.

 

Accuracy

Here is the real measuring stick of the Bellum Winmore: accuracy. No putter is going to make it in the market if it misses the hole with tiresome regularity. Here is how our testers faired with the 707.

BW-707-score

I think that an 84 is a solid score from a first-time offering, from a brand new company. Our testers were a little shaky at 5’, commenting about both the lack of line and head-heavy feel. Once they had taken a few more putts, accuracy jumped dramatically. Another interesting thing was that more than one tester mentioned how nice the putter would feel with a bit more grip weight. This was unprompted by me. I didn’t mention Bellum Winmore’s weights at all. Looks like the Bellum Winmore guys really understand their product.

 

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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 Bellum Winmore 707 is a: Slight Arc

 

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Ordering a Bellum Winmore

I started this article talking about risk in the golf market, from a company’s perspective. A consumer ordering a product from a new company is also a risky venture. Let’s see what Tim has to say about ordering and the future of Bellum Winmore.

What is the process for ordering a Bellum Winmore putter?

Bellumwinmore.com is a fully functional commerce website where putters can be spec’d out and purchased via credit card or Paypal. Additionally we are working toward making our putters available at select pro shops along the east and west coasts.

What can a golfer expect when he or she games a Bellum Winmore putter?

Gaming a Bellum Winmore putter means you can expect the same pleasing feel at impact from model to model. In addition, our customers can rest assured that their sightline is in line with the COG.

Can you give us a glimpse of things to come at Bellum Winmore?

We have a cache of production ready designs that we’re extremely excited about. Right now it looks like 2014 will yield three releases in addition to the 707. We have plans to increase our grip and head cover offerings as well.

 

The Bellum Winmore Secret Weapon: $229

If you are stepping into the ring with Scotty Tyson, you had better have something special. The fact that the Bellum Winmore 707 is a solid putter is an excellent start, but there are lots of excellent putters in the market. Let’s think about that line-less Newport 2 I mentioned before. How much would it cost to get one? Likely thousands, if you could even find one on the secondary tour market. At Bellum Winmore, you can get a 707 with or without a line for $229.

Now settle down. I am not saying that the 707 is the same as a Circle T NP2. I can’t make that claim, because I don't own that Cameron. I could never afford a Circle T NP2, and that’s the point. The 707 can be customized, and had by anyone for $229. That’s a niche in the milled putter market. I can’t think of another company out there offering fully milled, customizable putters at that price. And remember, it’s a nice putter.

Bellum Winmore-10

 

It’s Still Risky for Bellum Winmore, But Looks Promising

Bellum Winmore has dove into the putter pool, and shows signs that they will be able to swim rather than sink. I applaud their bravery, and belief that they are producing a putter that will not only hold its own in the putter corral, but also blaze the trail for the new models that follow. Hopefully consumers will match their bravery, risking the $229 to order a putter that is customized to his or her preference. Honestly, the consumer gets the better risk position. I’ve played the 707 and talked to Tim at Bellum Winmore. If I wanted one of these putters, I’d PayPal that $229 with feelings of excitement and expectation, not anxiety and trepidation. In this case, the company and the consumer should both Win More.

 

Win A Bellum Winmore Putter

Do you want to win a Bellum Winmore 707 of your design? Just do the following three simple things:

Head to the Bellum Winmore website (HERE) and then leave a comment below about the Bellum Winmore  707. (Mandatory for entry)

Follow @bellumwinmore on Twitter (Bonus Entry)

One lucky winner will be chosen at random on or around February 7th. GOOD LUCK!