A Weighty Issue – Putters

The putter category was in no-man’s land during the first half of 2013, as the industry waited to hear whether the R&A and USGA would confirm its intentions and ban anchored putting strokes. They did, and now we can move on. Here is a look at some of the latest putters and data

Retail audit data provided to GOLF RETAILING by Golf Datatech is sobering to a degree. The latest retail figures show that UK putter sales in 2013 so far are down on 2012 by 3.8% in terms of unit sales volume, and down by 4% in terms of sales value.

The UK putter market had been on a gradual slide – falling for 11 consecutive months since June 2012, although since the R&A and USGA confirmed that anchored putting strokes are to be banned in competition from January 1, 2016, golfers have been re-awakening to putters, and showing an interest at retail. According to Golf Datatech, putters have sold well since May 2013, with August being the biggest growth month, with a 6.6% increase in volume.

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Year on year, there is little shift in the category so far, with the £50 to £99 price segment remaining the most attractive to golfers, with 43.6% of sales. The average sale price for putters overall is £90.66 for the year to date, which is flat on 2012.

Moving to mallets?

TaylorMade reported that 30% of PGA Tour golfers used high-stability mallet putters in 2012, anchored or not, and so it seems logical that with the anchoring ban on the horizon, the popularity of mallet putters might increase as golfers with an anchored stroke seek for an alternative.

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Jim Grundberg

However, Jim Grundberg, chief executive of American company SeeMore Putters, tells GOLF RETAILING that he does not see the future of putters in mallets.

“In our opinion, the future of putters is definitely not moving toward heavier mallet putters,” starts Grundberg. “There is no real evidence that high MOI or a heavy mallet provide any real benefit in putting. The only exception to that may be that for some golfers, the non-anchored alternative to the belly putter has become the ‘counter balanced’ putter, with a heavier head on a longer shaft, counter-balanced by a heavier grip, to give some golfers a feeling of greater stability in the stroke. Otherwise, we believe for many golfers that blades, mid-mallets and larger mallets with lower MOI offer the best game improvement and the greatest upside in terms of developing a great putting stroke, rather than trying to put a band aid on a bad putting stroke.

“SeeMore offers many putters which are face balanced at Impact, which is the ultimate in game improvement and forgiveness for a putter. Face balanced putters have a natural tendency to be square at impact.”

142nd Open Championship - Final Round

Adam Scott

 Long and Belly Putter Usage on the European Tour

Keeping close to his chest: Adam Scott with his broomhandle putter at the 2013 Open Championship at Muirfield in July. Having won the 2013 Masters with a broomhandle putter, Scott might be one of the last golfers on tour to relinquish his anchored stroke. (Picture courtesy of Mercedes-Benz, patron of the Open Championship)

Market Leaders

Here are four current putters that have caught our attention at GOLF RETAILING

SeeMore Putters

FGP CS

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Centre-shafted SeeMore putters are face-balanced at impact. The toe weighting in the FGP CS encourages a square face at impact without any manipulation. At address, when the two white lines are visible, the golfer knows the clubface is neutral.

RRP: US$295

Scotty Cameron

GoLo S5

GoLo S5 Laydown

The GoLo S5 is a recent addition to Scotty Cameron’s premium Select line. The straight shaft of the GoLo S5 meets the putter head nearer to its centre, while the stainless steel head features a deep-milled face and a thick topline that should offer soft yet solid feel. Sole weights at the heel and toe are interchangeable, depending on the length of shaft and personal preference.

RRP: £278

Odyssey

Tank

TANK 7 34 hero

The counter-balanced Tank has been specifically designed to produce a high moment of inertia, which should translate into a strong resistance to twisting at impact. With a conventional shaft of 34 or 36 inches, Odyssey promises the Tank has an MOI that is 34% higher than that of a standard putter, and with a 19% rise in total club weight. With the longer shafts of either 38 or 40 inches, Odyssey promises the MOI is 109% higher than a standard putter, with a 32% weight increase.

RRP: £139

TaylorMade

Daddy Long Legs

Big Daddy Long Legs

TaylorMade says its counter-balanced Daddy Long Legs mallet putter has the highest moment of inertia of any TaylorMade putter. That means it should be the company’s most stable putter, so it should be easier to keep on a preferred swing path, and with increased resistance to twisting on off-centre strikes. TaylorMade goes as far as to claim the Daddy Long Legs is 50% more stable than a traditional blade.

RRP: £159