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Wanted: Putter Innovation

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50 years ago Karsten Solheim created the original Anser putter.

And 50 years later, the Anser persists; ubiquitously and largely unchanged.

Compare that to what has transpired in the driver category. We've transitioned from persimmon to steel to titanium and composite. Bigger and lighter, drivers have expanded in volume from the size of some modern hybrids to a robust 460cc. Shapes have been refined from pear to square to triangle and back again. Manufacturers have created resilient faces, slots, adjustable hosels, and movable weights for meaningful mass redistribution.

Even within the confines of the USGA's seemingly ever-narrowing box, driver innovation persists.

But in the putter space we’re fed a steady diet of Anser retread after Anser retread. Toss in a mallet for show, skim mill a new pattern into the face, maybe soften an insert. Keep the story fresh, because at the end of the day that's all there is. The story is 90% of putter innovation. That, and an appeal to the golfer’s aesthetic senses.

Look how pretty. Feel how soft.

Give me a break. What does any of that have to do with performance? Where is the innovation in the putter space?

Did Karsten's original design encroach on the borders of perfection, or have the equipment companies simply stopped trying?

50 years later and putter technologies that quantifiably save and shave strokes are few and far between.

And why is that?  For starters…

Most OEM Putters are Terrible

Alright, Terrible is perhaps a bit vague. Do I mean that OEM putters are terrible looking, terrible performing, terribly constructed, or is it a terrible mixture of all of those things?

Maybe terrible isn’t the right word. Uninspired is a bit more on the nose.

From manufacturer to manufacturer, from year to year, the putter offerings du jour are often remakes of the successful designs of the past.

I’m not saying that everything is an Anser clone, though we know there are a whole bunch of those out there. Rather, what I am saying is that innovation in the putter division for many companies is at best stagnant, and at worse, completely non-existent.

evnroll-test-4

There are, of course, exceptions, but for every putter design with new and measurable innovations, such as the PING TR and Evnroll grooves, MLA graphics, and for you old-schoolers, two-ball alignment, we are bombarded with repackaged same old same old putter designs.

Why does a new paint job and the latest hot grip pass for innovation in the putter category?

Could you imagine what the consumer response would be if Callaway’s 2017 XR driver proves to be an XR 16 with green paintfill instead of red? Golfers would lose their minds – and rightfully so.

Yet this is exactly what happens with many OEM putter lines. Where is the actual innovation? Is there a reason why the putter is seemingly an afterthought for many OEMs? Why is design innovation a much more significant component of the other 13 clubs in the bag?

The Tech Is Tapped

PING Cadence TR Ketsch-06

Could it be that the putter has already been engineered to its apex? One could explain the lack of innovation by arguing that every putter innovation has already been explored.

I don’t believe that for a second, and I know some R&D guys who don’t either.

The Most Wanted dominance of the PING Ketsch, MLA Tour Classic, and Tour-X Dream, and the data supporting the effectiveness of the Evnroll face tell us that there are still improvements out there to be had.

In this golden age of digital engineering, it’s hard to believe that that the tech is tapped. CAD modeling and modern rapid prototyping technologies should yield some putter designs that build upon, rather than copy, successful past models.

It stands to reason that, as the putter design tools have improved, the products of those tools should be better too.

Could it be that putter innovation takes longer? It took Odyssey several seasons to roll their various innovations into a single product. Versa, TANK, Metal-X, and Cruiser lines eventually became the Versa Works Tank Cruiser line of putters. It’s not that the combination of Odyssey tech didn’t work, but it sure as hell took a long time to arrive.

Productive Failures are too Costly

Cleveland Smart Square-1

From a research/science perspective, failure is a critical component of success. By ruling out non-solutions through experimentation, researchers move closer to discovering the actual solutions.

As with any science, the only way that we are going to see new and improved putters is if companies can push the boundaries of design into risky areas, and be supported when those risks hit the marketplace.

Some companies are more willing than others to roll the dice on a new concept. These experimental concepts are critical to advancing putter design, even if the new ideas don’t always pan out.

Cleveland Smart Square wasn’t a universal hit with consumers, but at least it offered up a fresh idea. Even if some consumers panned the idea (consumers often hate unconventional design, and that’s half the problem), it took alignment design into a new arena and invigorated the discussion about what forms effective putter alignments can take.

ping-in2

The engineering-driven PING putter powerhouse has had some design missteps in recent years. Do you remember IN Series putters? You know, the ones with all of the holes cut through the head? If you’ve forgotten, that’s OK; PING is probably happier that way. But what if the failure of that line was the key to developing the TR Groove technology? I can’t connect those particular dots, but what if?

That’s all Scientific Method 101, and in theory, that should be the driving force for new product production, but the reality for many companies is that failed designs are costly. While the engineer may view a failed innovation as one step closer to success, the shareholders and CEO will probably not share that optimism while the bottom line plummets. Profit over progress may trump trial and error.

Marketing Is King

tp-milled-1

What if you could keep a product basically the same, rebrand it, and keep making money? Do you think that sounds like a recipe that management and shareholders would approve of?

Sadly, it seems like that is exactly what’s at the core of the design plan for some OEM putter design teams.

One can argue that marketing is a, or perhaps THE, driving force for all golf products, and, big surprise, that marketing may not always have the interests of the golf consumer in mind.

You can likely come up with some examples where the product hype outpaces the product performance, but let’s look at a recent example from the putter corral.

Just a few weeks ago, TaylorMade announced their new TP Collection of putters. Consumer confusion likely begins right away with the name. Historically, TaylorMade has reserved the TP notation for their high-end gear. This time, though, it’s relatively low-end putters get the TP moniker.

Maybe that means that inexpensive putters built to high-end specs?

Nope.

The description of TP Milled line is ripe with the requisite putter buzzwords: milled, 303 Stainless, Classically Designed, and so on.

If one weren’t paying close attention – and TaylorMade must hope you aren’t- it would be easy enough to arrange the words in such a way as to find quality and innovation where none exists.

Are these fully milled from 303 stainless? Nope. They are skim-milled. The head is cast, then the face and only the face is milled. It’s not a terrible manufacturing strategy. It’s significantly cheaper than milling the full head, but it’s hardly innovative.

Cleveland Classic 1i-4

Cleveland does the same thing with its Classic line, which is how it’s able to sell what has become one of the best budget priced putters in golf for $99.

The problem with the TP Classic is that skim milling and 303 Stainless Steel have absolutely nothing to do with the effectiveness of the putter.

Promoting milling and metal seems like marketing folly when you are going to hit the putt with the PureRoll insert anyway. You could argue that the entire strategy diminishes the value of an insert that TaylorMade pros have won millions of dollars with on tour.

tpmills-tpp

Additionally, though perhaps unintentional, attaching TP and milled together in the marketing could confuse consumers. TP Mills is revered as one of the all-time great putter designers, and is, to the best of my knowledge, in no way connected to the manufacture of the TP Milled line. Was this an oversight on TaylorMade’s part or is the company hoping golfers will subconsciously connect their skim-milled, cast offering with the great TP Mills putters?

This is but one example where marketing has outpaced innovation and performance, but you can likely come up with multiple other examples of OEM putter recycling.

Is This Your Fault?

cameronandcrown

It’s easy to throw fist-shaking blame at the big golf companies, but aren’t they just responding to market demands? Could it be that the golf consumer is more likely to buy a putter that looks like other putters that he or she has purchased in the past (even the ones that stopped working)?

Scotty Cameron gets criticized for releasing the same models year after year. By now, there must be a staggering number of Newport and Newport 2s in play. Is this because Scotty is telling the golfer that these are the models that they must play, or instead, are golfers telling Scotty to make these models because they want to buy them?

Put yourself in Cameron’s blazer. What would you do if you sold millions of Newports and caught hell when you released something bold like the Futura X? Selling in abundance while not riling up the consumer seems like a rational plan, especially when it ensures an annual profit as well.

We can complain all we want about the new Cameron & Crown line of putters being nothing but short putters with new paint, and that’s essentially what they are, but if the golf consumer buys them, then we too must shoulder the blame for their creation.

So What Does the Golf Consumer Really Need, or Want?

Do golfers really want the OEMs to produce putters that improve their games, or do they want a putter that is familiar, and comfortable? Is the golf consumer really open to any innovative putter design, or will any such designs be dismissed immediately when it doesn’t fit inside our narrow comfort zones?

OEMs can’t shoulder all of the blame if the consumer is driving the marketplace, but manufacturers could also try a little harder to produce better putters, or at least market the putters with a little more responsibility. If not, it won’t be long before someone other than Titleist rolls out their line of Scottish Cameroon putters.

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Comments

{ 55 comments… read them below or add one }

Chris Herrbach November 22, 2016 at 5:27 am

Whisper Rock is a bit private, tough to get into that one.

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Bill Presse IV November 22, 2016 at 5:26 am

Also Whisper Rock, see Gary McCord

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Chris Herrbach November 22, 2016 at 5:21 am

Dutch Skiver, I see you are listed as living in Scottsdale. Take a trip over to Hotstix and take one for a test run. It’ll change your world.

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mainuh November 19, 2016 at 3:11 pm

Iread the post by Chris, very thougtful .

Innovation, cutting edge…?
The putting landscape has a cemetery full of company headstones
that tried and failed to interest the golf consumer.
Millions of dollars gone.
As noted about Scott – if it ain’t broke don’t fix it.
He can afford those occasional one offs because he has customers who will pay
for that limited experiment.

I have been gaming a Seemore putter for the past 5 years, retiring my Bettinardi.
That little two dot Innovation beneath the hosel works alignment perfectly.
I “read” the line of my putt, aim the line on my ball to it and commit to it when I
do not see the red dots – my putter face is square.

Lets face it, most consumer golfers are loath to spend $300 on a putter.
Tell me which OEM will commit to the R&D that is a light year ahead but does
not pass the focus group ?

rob

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Ryeguy November 19, 2016 at 1:08 pm

I have only been golfing for a few years, but until this year I’ve never seen a putter like Odysseys Toe-up. I’m in love with it! It wasn’t cheap but I just love the way it rolls and feels. Nice to see Odyssey toying with other face styles than their white Insert!

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GilB November 19, 2016 at 12:23 pm

One of the best articles you’ve written, and you’ve had many great ones. It’s right on the mark when I’ve tried so many putters over my 25 years of golf with all the bells and whistles promoting all the promises in the world that this or that was greatest putter ever invented. After years of frustration and refusal to put a Ping product in my bag I put the Anser 2 in my hands and I’ve never looked back. I didn’t have any great expectations at first glance but, in a nutshell, this is the best putter I’ve ever used, ever. It’s not a mental thing either because I didn’t expect much but the ball rolls perfectly down the intended line, gets to the cup, and goes in, in 2 strokes or less, regardless of where I’m putting from. You can’t ask for more than that. This putter has changed my belief and approach to playing better golf. Love my Ping.

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robinj November 19, 2016 at 12:03 pm

I own a Ping mid size Ketsch are those grooves illegal now ? It must be because it’s all most impossible to 3 put with it.

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Gary November 19, 2016 at 11:17 am

The one aspect that is not mentioned is counterweighting. Very important for any golfer and especially those with all the dexterity of a bull in china closet. Use at least an 80 gram backweight.

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Tom Duckworth November 18, 2016 at 6:28 am

So much of what make a golfer use a certain putter is looks and feel. That’s OK, if it looks ugly to you or feels like crap why would you want to use it. Putting is mostly about feel for distance and reading a greens speed and slope. For the most part driver design is “under the hood” so people will try anything that seems to work because the driver still looks pretty much the same. If you like the looks of a blade putter and that’s what you feel like fits you then a mallet is a very different thing to you. Lets not forget golf is at it’s core a skill game that’s the beauty of it. Don’t let equipment be the main thing.

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Brian Smith November 19, 2016 at 9:15 pm

Your comments are spot on, I’ve been teaching golf for 30 years.

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Walt Pendleton November 17, 2016 at 3:40 pm

Gentlemen, its not the arrow…it’s the Indian! Read’m, Roll’m & Hole’m only works when you’ve been trained how to use the equipment. http://www.Nside10.com. Just ask Patrick Reed!

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Keith Vaughan November 17, 2016 at 6:43 pm

The long putter improved putting but the USGA doesn’t want the mass population to enjoy it. I still use the long. Don’t care.

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Justin Opinion November 17, 2016 at 12:47 pm

It sounds like your just board with colors and shapes.

I think your only real complaint (and good point) here is the plagiarism of Ping designs or classic shapes. To copy a companies putter, line for line, should be grounds for a beating to any company that even comes close to someone else’s design. Thats stealing, regardless of the laws.

As for advancements in putters??? What are the requirements for a more advanced putter?? Better sight lines? Better feel and balance? Less skid/more true roll?

Right now, there are a ton of strange looking mallets on the market designed to improve aim, feel, MOI and even cater to stroke types. All in the name of improving your putting and they certainly do a good job in improving someones putting.

Again, like the rest of the equipment categories, the critical issue with putters is the FITTING of a putter to the player. LENGTH –LOFT—LIE ANGLE—AMOUNT OF OFFSET —TYPE OF SIGHT LINE AND FACE BALANCED VS TOE HANG. These are the real factors in getting a great putter that improves your stroke.

The real complaint is that there’s very little information about proper putter fittings from the major OEM’s. But like you said, we’d ignore the info and spend our time/money on the fun categories like drivers and driver fits. It takes an unreal amount of marketing to get the consumer refocused on a less popular category and obviously as it stands, EVERY manufacturer is happy, simply producing adequate/good putters while gaining more profit from less overhead.

SO MAKE THEM PRETTY !!!

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Dutch Skiver November 17, 2016 at 1:52 pm

Well, if you where in Tucson? I did. And as i shared, im a fan of innovation. Continued success to you and all involved.

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Tim Skophammer November 17, 2016 at 1:48 pm

Watching doesn’t count need to putt with it yourself. Most stable putter ever at impact. Only one that the face stays square to the arc. The “revealer”shows it all.

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Robert Smith November 17, 2016 at 12:19 pm

When scottys first came out I was like who is remaking ping putters and putting Scotty Cameron on them? Better of w a bullseye knock off

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Dutch Skiver November 17, 2016 at 12:19 pm

Honestly, ive seen it..and watched it in action…..and watched it get fit….again, statement stands. But, i do support innovation always.

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Stve Dodds November 17, 2016 at 4:32 am

The problem is that ‘innovative’ putters don’t work any better for people than traditional ones. We’ve all had the experience of trying a new putter that is magic, then the magic fades.

The Ketschis a good example. I bought one and putted well with it. Then for a few weeks I didn’t put well with it. Then I did again. Then I didn’t.

For sure it is me, but no putter I have tried offers the same consistent improvement one saw when going from small drivers to large ones. Or even when adjusting a modern driver. If I tweK the weights and settings on my GBB! I see a consistent, measurable effect.

Likewise when I go from blades to gI irons the difference is consistent.

Yet when go from my old blade TP Mills Mizuno putter, to my modern Ketsch or Craz-E, this not the case.

So by default, people tend to pick what makes them look like real golfers, like what the pros use.

I do use a mallet putter now because I believe the science and think it makes sense, but I’m not convinced my putting is any better. Whereas I know i drive better than I used to with persimmon, and I know my irons are longer and straighter than my blades.

Putter companies try. But nothing they do makes any difference.

Maybe it never will.

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Steve November 17, 2016 at 12:46 am

If we want to talk about innovation, what about the Biomech Acculock Ace? I know, it looks really different, a bit too much like a lampshade, maybe. I also know that few on this site would ever consider using it, because it does not look anything like what people use on tour. That, of course, is the point of the article, most of us want to be good like the pros, so we believe the BS and use what they use. Anyway, I have not come across a putter that rolls better than the Biomech, ever. It takes a bit to get used to, but it works for me.

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Uhit November 17, 2016 at 9:43 am

Very interesting design – maybe MGS should consider the Biomech Acculock Ace for the next putter test…

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Thomas Amore November 17, 2016 at 2:24 am

Try a directed force putter. It’s. game changer.

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Chris November 16, 2016 at 8:52 pm

I think there is the opportunity for putter innovation, but it must be driven by the consumer. As you indicated in the article, too many people have listened to the long standing myths (SBST is face balanced and arc determines toe hang, or eyes over the ball) or only pick putters that the like the looks of. The putting stroke is considered to be easy and as a result people really don’t look at performance. When looking at the other clubs in the bag, we have ready access to launch monitors and club configurations. With a driver I can get on the stores launch monitor, change shafts, move weights, and actually compare the perfomance of various clubs. With putters there is a wall of OEM models and a few holes on a suspect instore putting green. People pick what they traditionally like, roll a handful of putts at a hole 20 feet away and declare that is the putter for them.

In my opinion, people really don’t know how to fit themselves to a putter or understand how to fit themselves to a putter and I would say most store associates don’t either The happy putter is probably the most innovative putter since there are so many ways configure the putter to your stroke. Unfortunately, it is ugly and there are no real instructions on why I need to change the configuration or how to optimize.

Why can’t stores have Puttlabs just like they have launch monitors to optimize putter configuration. In most stores I can compare my current driver to the latest clubs on the market to see if I get better results. Can’t do that with a putter… I would love to walk into a store and configure a putter that enables me to setup with consistent alignment (Seemore), optimize roll on off center hits when I make a bad stroke (EVNRoll), adjustable weighting/hosel configurtions to start the ball on intended line (Happy), etc. Note: The putters mentioned are purely examples and not necessarily the opimum.

Even if this was option available, it would have to be at a decent price point to get past the people that say I can putt as well with my $20 30 year old putter as I can with a $400+ custom configured putter.

Until an OEM can get this type of configurabiity in a brick and mortar store and people can actually witness how their perfomance is impacted by lines, shape, weight, hosel, etc there is not reason to innovate other than coming up with a few new marketing gimmics to draw attention to their product.

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Lenny Leonard November 17, 2016 at 1:48 am

Cure putters!!!!

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Brian November 17, 2016 at 4:04 pm

Exactly! And with their increasing popularity and a couple of their models in play on tour, I’m sure you’re going to see their models/concepts being copied by Odyssey, Cameron, TM, and others. Real adjustability will be the next phase of putter development.

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Steve P November 16, 2016 at 8:14 pm

You read it here first….

The new Odyssey O Works putters will be a category changer once golfers give them a try.
Feel is outstanding, the lines are clean, and with the new insert, the ball roles IMMEDIATELY of the putter face.
At $220 map, they’re not cheap, but they will be 42% cheaper than the same old re-hashed Scotty Cameron designs.

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dr. bloor November 16, 2016 at 7:54 pm

“Even within the confines of the USGA’s seemingly ever-narrowing box, driver innovation persists.”

I suspect you’re overselling the impact of driver innovation at this point, but even given your premise, there’s still a lot of room for improvement in the driver game. It’s a big-muscle, lotta-movement club, and even the best players in the world vary considerably in terms of distance and accuracy.

In contrast, there’s a lot less variability in putting. PGA pros sink something like 90% of all putts inside of ten feet, and if you’re below 80% you’re not likely to keep your card very long. Hackers are a different breed, of course, but there’s only so much you can tweak in terms of MOI, grooves, etc. to counteract lousy mechanics on a golf stroke that involves minimal physical activity. At some point it isn’t mostly about the Indian rather than the arrow; it’s *all* about the Indian.

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Steve S November 19, 2016 at 11:55 am

I hate to nitpick but….it’s more like 50% inside of 10 feet…read Mark Broadie’s book or check out PGA’s own statistics. It may seem like 90% watching the last round of a tournament when you are watching the leaders….who are have a hot putting day….

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Charlie Han November 17, 2016 at 12:21 am

I also putt better with a mallet, putts per hole data confirmed this.

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Charlie Han November 17, 2016 at 12:20 am

The new TMAG spider putters they are selling for $300+ in Justin Day or Dustin Johnson colors were the same spider putters from 3 years ago that were in the bargain bin for under $100.

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Tony Wright November 16, 2016 at 6:59 pm

Curious about why no discussion about Cure Putters – they are certainly different!

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Chris November 16, 2016 at 8:58 pm

Cure putters basically thrive on extending the concept of the anser and other large mallet putters by distributing weights to the extreme to reduce rotation, reduce twisting on mishits, and returning the putter to the same position at impact. This really isn’t new innovation and really may not be beneficial to all putting strokes.

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Uhit November 17, 2016 at 9:39 am

Like the Easy-putters, you can easily adjust the lie angle of some Cure putters (beside the weighting), which is very convenient for finding the optimum lie angle for your putting stroke…

…and this very helpful feature is not that often found on the market,
despite it would save a lot of time and money for a good fit – especially, if your putting style changes from time to time.

This is effective and as innovative as the adjustable hosel was, which can be found nowadays in nearly every driver.

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Chris November 17, 2016 at 12:22 pm

The adjustable lie angle is a nice feature for some that knows how to cut themselves. Wasn’t trying to say Cure putters are bad just that high MOI isn’t new and was really a premise behind the original anser putter.

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Uhit November 17, 2016 at 12:51 pm

You simply didn´t mention (did not recognise) THE feature that distinguishes some of the Cure putters from the rest of the market…

…and you seem not to value the idea, that a putter, that has a highly adjustable heel / toe weighting possibility, also has the complementing lie angle adjustability…

…both things couldn´t be found on the original anser putter, isn´t it?

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Chris November 17, 2016 at 2:34 pm

True both could not be found in the original anser. The benefit of the anser was perimeter weighting to reduce twisting at impact. If you want to nitpick, adjustable lie angles was around before cure as was adjustable MOI. Reeso putters had adjustable lie. Cure has taken adjustable MOI to the extreme with ultra heavy putters. But they are not the innovator.

The features are great and cure putters have a market place. They are not the original innovator but could be credited with making the innovation more mainstream.

The biggest problem is people don’t really know what those features do for their putting and how to adjust them to improve their putting.

I personally think the happy putter line is the most innovative putter on the market. The putters are just ugly and again people don’t know how to deal with all the adjustability.

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Uhit November 17, 2016 at 3:11 pm

Yes, the happy putter line could really be the most innovative putter on the market…
…and yes, appealing is different.

Funny, how many interesting possibilities exist…
…and still, a putter that ticks all boxes is missing.

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Blaine Zimmer November 16, 2016 at 11:32 pm

Not much you can do with a solid forged piece of metal. If it’s balance, square and has a sweet spot, it’s on you, not the putter.

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Steven Zerella November 16, 2016 at 5:22 pm

Tips for a Good Putter: Judge the Pace, Read the Correct Line, Etc…
Putting will always be the Indian and Not the Arrow!

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John Duval November 16, 2016 at 8:20 pm

A putter can’t read the greens for you, or aim properly, or hit the ball with the correct speed, or on the sweet spot, or on the right path. Only a golfer can do that. While many putters can help with some of the above (forgiveness, alignment aids), making putts in real life ultimately comes down to the indian, not the bow & arrow.

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kevin December 19, 2016 at 2:39 pm

And that Mr.Duval is the Absolute truth !! I have had Putter Manufacturers explain their “Perfect Geometry”. The “Perfect Geometry” gets thrown out the window when the putter is in the hands of a Human Being and not a Robot. people can be streaky putters by changing putters often, a a good consistent putter by working on their stroke!

Indian !!

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Dan Kurtenbach November 16, 2016 at 7:43 pm

Devils advocate here: Taylormade just started tp collection of anser style blades, callaway bought Toulon which does basically anser’s, fundamentally the market still demands anser style blades, no one likes ‘ugly’. Second, heel toe weighting has proven in every way imaginable as one of the best approaches to a putter. Lastly, rolling a golf ball at low speeds inherently is a strange human skill, rather than a science based heavily on the tool used to do the rolling. Sure, MOI, blah blah, can help, but a PGA tour pro will school you in a putting game with a lob wedge while you have a spider in your hands. Putters will always be strongly preference based.

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Phil Ross November 16, 2016 at 7:31 pm

Go back to the great putters of yesteryear. The 8802 or Tommy Armour Silver Scott. I have tried every putter there is in today’s market and still go back to these putters.

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Foz November 16, 2016 at 2:14 pm

Great lead in to the next Big Endeavor of My Golf Spy…..Member testing od the new Guerin Rife Evnroll putter, offering a new technological idea for controling the off center hits.

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Uhit November 17, 2016 at 1:48 pm

To me, it is just a derivate of the latest Ping TR grooves, which seems to work fine on short puts, but not really better on midrange and long puts, according the MGS test.

Curious as I am, I tried to test the size of the sweet spot of my MLA putter…
…guess what, I managed to hit two balls beside eachother, at the same time, with the MLA putter, they were rolling side by side over 8´ ft into the hole on my putting mat.

This was simply perfect – to my surprise.
Neither a Ping TR, nor a Evnroll could have performed better in this case (distances up to 8 ft).

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MyGolfSpy November 16, 2016 at 1:49 pm

The word innovation can be misleading. What is innovation? Something new, unique, different…

We think not. The only innovation that matters are those that help golfers lower their scores. Ones that get the ball in the hole faster. If it does not do this it is simply a gimmick.

There are lots of gimmicks and innovations, there are very few technologies that work.

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jlukes November 16, 2016 at 9:42 pm

Ding! Ding! Ding!

The dictionary definition of innovation does not always translate to consumer acceptance. Just because a company creates what they think is an innovative product does not mean the product helps solve a problem or meets a need for the consumer.

Plenty of companies in all industries come out with innovative products, but not all innovative products are effective.

Marketing a product is innovative is one thing. Having a product that basically sells itself due to the problem it solves and/or the results it generates is much more indicative of the true innovation of the product.

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Uhit November 17, 2016 at 3:06 am

Maybe MGS should have written “effective” instead of “innovative”…

…whether something innovative is also effective, is something you guess before testing and something you know after testing.

That a putter that you can rest on the ground after you aimed at the intended line works, is something that is easy to guess. It simply enables you to check (like otherwise only a second person could), whether you aimed in the right direction…

…because you can take a few steps back, without holding the putter, and check what you really aimed at…

…the biggest problem most golfers have, is to aim into the right direction…
…this is also, why MLA putters work (which is rather a guess, than whether self standing putters work – I have tried both).

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Uhit November 16, 2016 at 1:44 pm

There are helpful innovations in putter design out there…
…like the self standing putters, which are at least helpful to check the alignment without hassle, and to control, whether one is really aiming at the intended putting line:

EasyPutter
Spicy 3 putter
Klemm putter
K2H putter

Some of them (EasyPutter) are nearly fully adjustable, like some Cure putters…
…so, that you don´t have to change the putter, if your putting style changes, during time.

The only problem is to find those gems in the deep space of advertisments – created by the market leaders…

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peterpc2828 November 16, 2016 at 1:42 pm

Good write up, I’ve always been an answer/ blade style putter, I’ve tried mallets and I always feel like visually it’s too big for me. Thanks to you guys I have the best putter I have ever used, the carbon ringo 1/4, I even tried the new Evnroll putter in blade style for a while that a friend bought and didn’t like and have to say it just was not for me, for me it was too light and I could not get used to it.
I believe putting is an art and visually you must like what your looking down at, ,confidence is another big part of it, I’m not sure where else putters can go in terms of innovation for me personally, yes I’m sure we will see a lot of new stuff and innovative designs but I would bet most will be larger mallet styles.
As for now and the foreseeable future it’s me and my carbon ringo 1/4, bang bang!

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Duane Paehlig November 16, 2016 at 6:40 pm

Evenroll seems to be on to something but and awful expensive experiment

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Uhit November 17, 2016 at 1:24 pm

The latest TR grooves found in Ping putters (I have one with those grooves),
have variable depth AND variable thickness, just like the Evnroll grooves.

The only difference is, that the special shaped area on the Evnroll putters is larger and rectangual, whereas the TR grooves have more a round zone with variable thickness…
…in addition, the Evnroll grooves have a milled (micro) roughness.

In my book it is rather a TR groove evolution, than a revolutionary innovation…
…that seems to work very well on short puts around 5 feet, but not that well on longer puts,
which is somehow a surprise…

…but explainable, if there is truly a gear effect, that steers back to the hole…
…because that effect can only be optimised for one range, and it seems to be optimised for short puts.

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Mike Mueller November 16, 2016 at 6:12 pm

I still say YES! had one of the best roll technologies in their putters. Disappointed they aren’t around too much anymore.

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Jeff Bahry November 16, 2016 at 6:04 pm

Stroke + Confidence = Improved Putting. But, a newfangled putter buys you hope. That’s also what makes golf fun!

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Guy Crawford November 16, 2016 at 5:55 pm

That’s why my old Scotty C Bulls Eye Flange is still in the bag after all these years. It has served me well and earned the nickname Merlin!

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James Dailey November 16, 2016 at 5:49 pm

Callaway’s 2ball fang is innovative and different. As is the tm spider. I recently switched from a scotty blade to the 2ball fang and my putting has improved. I don’t have putts per round numbers yet.

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