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Putter Reviews

Review: Kingston KP1 and KP2 Putters

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Pros: Solid sound at impact and consistent distance on mishits. These are classic-styled putters with a minimalist look. Custom stamping and sight lines are available.

Cons: Upper tier price point ($279). There’s only one finish option and one head weight (350 grams), Those preferring a mallet style or insert putters are out of luck at the moment.

Bottom Line: A first-rate putter for the Anser-style loving purist. 

Overview

Kyle Sears, founder of Kingston Putters, sees the mid-1990s as the golden age of putter design. The early CNC milled works that appeared on Tour at that time are the basis for the modern putter, in Sears’ mind. The Anser-style flatsticks of this era were played by some of the best putters in golf history and continue to find their way in top pros bags.

In this tradition, all Kingston putters are made from a single block of carbon steel and feature the company’s trademark aggressive milling pattern.

IMG_1366TT

The standard KP1 and KP2 putters come without sightlines, as Sears prefers this look, believing that many players situationally prefer to putt the ball off the toe or heel. However, lines or dots can be added at no extra charge.

All of Kingston’s manufacturing is done in the U.S. Additionally, all of the company’s vendors, such as Pure Grips and Delilah club covers, are based in the U.S.

For Sears, delivering tour-quality putters to the marketplace became something of a mission after he was dissatisfied with the present incarnations of that classic style. Thus, he set off to hone the look, sound, and feel of an Anser-style putter.

In both the KP1 and KP2 models, Sears went through numerous prototypes in order to refine the feel and sound of the putter, varying the width and depth of the pocket in the rear of the face until he achieved precisely what he was after.

IMG_1336rrTT

Kingston Putters is also rolling out a unique “Putt 4 Putt” initiative. The company has partnered with the First Tee in order to give a premium putter to a young golfer for every putter that’s purchased. It’s a unique effort, and one which puts first-rate flat sticks in the hands of young people who otherwise wouldn’t likely be able to afford them.

Both the KP1 and KP2 can be bent to your liking (+/- 4 degrees), and some stamping can be added. See all the details here.

Performance

Performance was comparable with any premium putter. Consistent roll, as well as consistent distance of putts struck on the heel or toe of the putter were apparent.

IMG_1349rTTIMG_1349rTT KP1 Sight Line Top
IMG_1349rTT KP1 Sight Line FlangeIMG_1349rTT KP1 Sight Dot

The KP1 (above), as well KP2, can be customized with one of four different alignment aids: blank, sight line on top line, sight line on flange and sight dot on top line. 

At 350 grams, both the KP1 and KP2 are a pretty standard weight. Neither face was hotter or deader than one would expect and the putter head seemed appropriately stable and balanced throughout the stroke.

If you’re already playing a premium putter, there isn’t a substantial learning curve once you get either the KP1 or KP2 in your hands.

Looks & Feel

It may entirely subjective, but the deep milled grooves seem to grip the ball in a way at impact that really gives the sensation of transferring energy from the putter face to the ball, all with a satisfying firm click.

IMG_1371rcali1d

The KP2 (left) has a more “square” overall shape than the KP1 putter and tour-inspired “rocker sole.”

In testing, both pros who helped me out felt that Kingston has gotten it right in terms of the sound and feel of the putter. Both described the sound as a “unique” and “pleasing,” as well as a “firm click.” Feel is what would be expected from a putter milled from a single piece of carbon steel, which is to say, excellent.

A lack of unnecessary ornamentation defines both the KP1 and KP2 visually. Rather, it’s clear Sears and company prefer to let the putter shapes they’ve labored over so exhaustively take center stage.

The soles of both putters are rougher and less polished than one might expect and create an interesting contrast to the more highly polished steel.

The Takeaway

Ultimately, if you’re in the market for an Anser/Newport-style putter, the KP1 and KP2 merit your consideration alongside industry heavyweights. The legitimate “made in the U.S.A.” element and the Putt 4 Putt initiative only sweeten an already sweet deal.

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8 Comments

8 Comments

  1. Boss

    Nov 21, 2015 at 3:37 pm

    Wow. Another Anser/Anser 2 copy.

  2. kevin

    Apr 16, 2014 at 1:42 pm

    Wow nice copy…are those made in China???

  3. rymail00

    Mar 19, 2014 at 8:50 pm

    I thought the same thing. I won a KP2 in the giveaway. I thought the first thing i would do was paint the K black like the rest of the letters. But in person it looks way better.

    It has nice balance and great feel. Even SC, and Byron had to start somewhere. Why not Kyle.

    I am by NO MEANS anyway near a pro like the ones who gave their view in this review, but had shared a lot of the same views. Here is my review, along with pics comparing my KP2 to my Byron’s.

    http://www.golfwrx.com/forums/topic/978660-kingston-putters-kp2-initial-thoughtsreview/page__p__8902545__hl__+kingston%20+putters#entry8902545

  4. Alfredo

    Mar 19, 2014 at 1:03 pm

    Who ever won the giveaway?

  5. Cwolf

    Mar 19, 2014 at 7:29 am

    Nice looking putter, but their logo is absolutely hideous. To me, the logo looks like an after thought and really cheapens the appearance of the putter.

  6. paul

    Mar 18, 2014 at 10:17 pm

    I have often considered making my own putter at work. Apparently all you have to do is try, if it works you can sell them for way to much and make a few bucks.

  7. c masty

    Mar 18, 2014 at 8:14 pm

    Looks like another dude found access to a cnc mill and wants to make putters. What differentiates this from any other joe bloe putter maker wanting to charge exorbitant prices for a chunk of steel?

  8. Reggie Ramos

    Mar 18, 2014 at 6:45 pm

    The KP1 and KP2 putter sound like a good putter. I have a Taylormade White Gost Tour Putter.

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Equipment

WRX Spotlight: Toulon Design San Diego Stroke Lab putter

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Product: Toulon Design San Diego Stroke Lab putter

Pitch: From Odyssey/Toulon: “The Odyssey Toulon San Diego Stroke Lab Putter is our take on on another classic putter. It’s an expertly crafted, premium milled blade, with our multi-material Stroke Lab Shaft, deep diamond milled cross hatch grooves, and a new Charcoal Smoke finish.”

Our take on the Toulon Design San Diego Stroke Lab putter

Toulon is the line of all milled putters from Odyssey, originally started by club designer Sean Toulon and his sons. Toulon putters have always featured their Deep Diamond Mill face, adjustable sole weight, and brazed (instead of welded) necks. That combination has created a great putter line that has become popular on tour as well as us amateur players. For 2019, there are some new head shapes, Charcoal Smoke Finish, Deep Diamond Milling across the whole face, and the Stroke Lab putter shaft.

I got my hands on the Toulon San Diego, a more squared-off blade shape, for this review. The shape, milling, and finish on the San Diego are great and really show off what a high quality piece it is. The biggest change visually is the full Deep Diamond Mill face, making the view from address more uniform. The face used to have the milling only in the center of the face and to some that was a distracting look while others liked the way it framed the ball. The new finish also looks great. I always have liked darker finishes and this looks high end while still reducing glare in the brightest conditions.

The Stroke Lab shaft goes well with the finish on the San Diego and the head cover is a plush synthetic leather that feels like it will hold up for years of use.

On the green the San Diego SL has a crisp sound and feel. If you like a little more click to your putter, then the San Diego SL will be right what you are looking for. And don’t take that as a negative thing, that crisp feel gives great feedback on face contact. You know exactly where the putter face and ball met by the sound and feel. The Deep Diamond Mill gets the ball rolling quickly on line with very minimal hop and skid, providing very consistent and repeatable distance control.

This is blade, so shots off the toe to tend to stray from your intended line a bit, the face does seem like it wants to rotate open a bit. Heel strikes defiantly stay online better, but tend to lose more steam and net get the roll out you might expect. The simple alignment line on the flange of the putter is easy to align, even for a guy who has been using mallets for years.

Like I have said before, I think there is something to the Stroke Lab tech, the lighter shaft and weight in the butt of the shaft do affect tempo for me; I noticed a slight calming of my backstroke and stroke through the ball.

Overall, the San Diego is a great putter for those who like a little firmer feel and more audible click on their putter. It is very responsive and putts a great roll on the ball. This isn’t a cheap putter ($450) and the fit and finish let you know that you are getting what you paid for.

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Putter Reviews

WRX Spotlight Review: Miura MGP-NM1 Putter

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Product: Miura MGP-NM1 putter

Pitch: Limited to 300 pieces, the Miura MGP-NM1 is Miura’s first 303 stainless steel putter. Its appearance is in keeping with the bolder designs of the Miura Giken family.

Our take on the Miura MGP-NM1 putter

Miura Giken has become the brand where Miura can push some limits and try out designs and technology not really fit for the standard Miura line. And if doing something new and different is what Miura Giken is about, then the MGP-NM1 fits like a glove. When most people think of Miura, they think forged carbon steel and traditional, old school shapes. The MGP-NM1 is a long ways from that, being milled from 303 stainless steel, having adjustable weights and milled stepped pockets in the sole.

If you love mill marks, then the MBG-NM1 will fulfill all our needs because the head is covered with them. I really liked the top line where the mill marks go front to back but then get much finer around the alignment line. If you look close the milling is still there, but just much finer. It works great along with the alignment lines on the “fangs.” The MGP-NM1 is a great size: large enough to give you confidence that a mishit will stay online, but not too big to be distracting. Like most putters with this (Odyssey No. 7)  shape, it frames the ball really well and looks great to my eye. The way the shaft goes into the head is for sure unique, it is straight from address but does drop down into the head.

I will get my one con on this putter out of the way early: the way the shaft goes into the head from address. I love the shape of the head, but the way the shaft enters the head makes it harder for me to line up. At address you can see the the top line of the putter on both sides of the shaft and for some that might be helpful, but it took me a long time to get comfortable with my alignment. Also, the head cover isn’t up to standard for a putter in this price range.

But the good of this putter really outweighs that bad. The putter  feels and sounds great, much like the Miura KM-009 reviewed previously. Feel is very solid with, to me, the perfect amount of click on impact. There might be just a slight bit of vibration on contact, but very minimal and will probably vary with the ball you play. Contact on the toe and heel really stay on target well; you can tell this mallet has a fairly high MOI. Like any responsive putter should do, this really provides good feedback on mishits. Toe and heel shots are not punished as much as you would think, the ball still rolls out well with minimal distance loss. That solid, soft Miura feel really does come through with this putter.

Overall, I think the Miura Giken MGP-NM1 is a really great way for a mallet user to put a Miura putter into the bag.

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Putter Reviews

Review: Optic Z Putters

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Pros: Point-and-shoot putting. Optic Z putters use a Z-neck design that can lead to a more consistent setup with your hands and eyes on every putt.

Cons: It could take a little while to get used to the design.

Who It’s For: Players looking to develop a consistent setup and stroke.

The Review

  • Model: Optic Z8
  • Head Weight: 365 grams
  • Material: Proprietary “Power 51” Alloy
  • Finish: Black “High-Tech Molecular” application
  • Face Milling: Deep Double Mill
  • Stock Lie: 70.5 degrees (rolled sole allows angles from 67 to 75)
  • Loft: 2.25 degrees
  • Stock Length Options: 35 inches (All lengths available custom order)
  • Stock Grip: Lamkin E.B.L “Optic” grip (Custom grips available)
  • Stock Shaft: True Temper Steel (Aerotech, Loomis, and UST available)
  • Price: $325 Base (Up to $500 with custom options)

Over the past decade, it seems like there have been as many new putter companies as there have been drivers released in the past year (I think another one just released since I typed that sentence). While many of them have come up with ways to re-create or re-design the classic favorites of the past 40-plus years, there are a few companies that are pushing the boundaries of what a putter can be and how it can help make putting easier. And a company called Optic Z Putters has done just that.

Z8Putter4

I reviewed the company’s Optic Z8 putter, which has a distinct batwing shape. It’s one of three putters the company offers — its Z3 is more blade-like in shape, while its Z7 is more mallet-like — and each putter sells for $325.

According to the company, Z Optic putters take the two main parts of putting and making them easy to reproduce. And with every putt, Optic Z putters are said to help golfers set their hands and eyes in the same exact position for every putt. “This has been done!” you say? Well, let’s find out if my experience with the Z8 was different.

The Look

back optic z8

When I first saw the Z8 putter with its Z-shaped hosel, I began to wonder, “What exactly is going on here?” It has a unique Z-neck that creates a “3D” effect when looking down over the ball at address. But when looking at the putter in any other view, it does look odd. It will take a little bit of time to get used to it, but like many putters that come out these days, after a while you simply get used to it and forget about it.

Z8putter1

The putter is 100 percent milled, U.S.A. made, and has a deep “double” milled face pattern that is familiar to most people. It offers an incredibly soft feel that is part from the milling, but also from the Proprietary Power 51 alloy metal that is used. The sole of the Z8 has 8 degrees of roll to it. This means that it can effectively play with a lie angle anywhere from 67 to 75 degrees. The new Z-neck hosel also makes the putter face balanced as if it was a center-shafted putter. And finally, there are several thick alignment lines, both horizontal and vertical, to help aim.

The Z Revolution?

3WayAlignment_grande

Once you set the putter down and see how everything lines up in a “3D” type of alignment, you get the point of the Z-neck. Instead of just giving one point of reference similar to other putters, the Z8 gives you three points of alignment.

You align the Z-neck bend with the toe of the putter, the heel and shaft together, and then make sure both are lined up together. Once you have this set, your hands and eyes will be in the correct position.

Z8Putter6

In addition to adding more reference points, the key difference with the Z8 is that it actually requires you to have forward press with your hands. The stated loft of 2.25 degrees is the loft with your hands in that forward-press position. The Z-neck is also supposed to eliminate the visual moment of impact of when the ball comes off the face of the putter. The theory is that it helps you relax more through the stroke by not seeing the point of impact, a similar theory to looking at the hole instead of the ball when putting.

Does it work?

Z8Putter5

I was skeptical of the putter when I first started using it, and it took me a little bit to get used to the 3D effect. After spending a good amount of time with it, I can say that it does what it is supposed to do. It really becomes a “point-and-shoot” kind of putting, and it makes the set up of putting incredibly easy. The ball rolls really well off the face, too, and the feel is incredibly soft. The alignment aids do a good job helping at address, and I’m someone who has moved away from alignment aids because I tend to aim them incorrectly.

The Optic Z8 putter performed the best for me on putts inside 10 feet. I struggled on longer putts, but it was more due to the weight of the putter. At 365 grams, it is much heavier compared to what I’ve been using, but I’ve always struggled with long-distance putting with heavier putters. Overall, I was pleasantly surprised with the performance. And the more I used it, the more comfortable I became and the more putts I made.

The Takeaway

Z8putter

If you struggle with consistency, especially at set up, this is one to try. It may take some time to get used to Optic Z putters, but most golfers should be able to adjust. These putters are well made, feel great and can truly help golfers in two areas that we know are important to putting.

To learn more about Optic Golf’s putters, visit the company’s website

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