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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.