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Putter Reviews

Review: Odyssey Tank Cruiser Putters

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Pros: Available in four different models — #1 Wide, #7, 330M and V-Line — and two different lengths (35 and 38 inches). Each Tank Cruiser putter comes with a weight kit that offers three different head weights and counterbalance weights. Stock 15-inch SuperStroke Mid Slim 2.0 grip is a nice touch.

Cons: $249 is pricey for an insert putter, but there’s value in the stock SuperStroke grip that houses an adjustable counterbalance system and the putter’s slick weight kit.

Bottom Line: Odyssey recognized that there was a gap between the company’s conventional putters and its counterbalanced Tank models. Tank Cruiser putters sit nicely in between, offering several different models and a well-thought-out, nicely packaged adjustable weight system.

Overview

Odyssey Principal Designer Austie Rollinson told me in last 2012 that the ban of anchored-putting styles by golf’s ruling bodies would fuel putter innovation. My guess is that the Tank Cruiser was exactly what he had in mind.

Like previous Odyssey models, the Tank Cruiser putters ($249) have two adjustable weight ports and three sets of putter head weights that weigh 10 grams, 15 grams and 20 grams. They allow the putter head to be made as light as 365 grams or as heavy as 385 grams in 10-gram increments.

What’s new, however, is that the putters also have a screw-in weight system in the butt end of their grips. Those removable weights, which weigh 0, 15 and 30 grams, allow golfers to change the overall feel of the putter.

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Adding the heavier weights to the handle of the grip will move the putter’s balance point closer to a golfer’s hands, while using the lighter weights will move the balance point closer to the putter head. Golfers looking to smooth out their stroke often add more weight to the handle of their putters, while those more reliant on feel or like to feel a more active release during the stroke usually add more weight to their putter heads.

Counterbalanced putters like the Tank Cruiser are nothing new to golf, as many serious players have tinkered with different head weights and “back weighting,” the process of adding weight to the handle of the putter, for decades. But Odyssey is the first major putter manufacturer to simplify this process with adjustable weight ports in both the head and handle of a putter, saving tinkerers time and money.

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The V-Line (left) and #7 Tank Cruiser putters. Click on the photos to enlarge them.

The Tank Cruiser putters are available in four different styles — the #1 Wide and 330M have a bit of toe hang, while the #7 and V-Line are face-balanced — and each is available in lengths of 35 or 38 inches. Odyssey advises golfers who are interested in a counterbalanced putter to try the 38-inch model if they use a putter that is 35 inches or longer, or to try the 35-inch model if they use a putter that is 34 inches or shorter.

The Tank Cruiser putters come stock with a 15-inch SuperStroke Mid Slim 2.0 grip that weighs about 70 grams without weights. It’s extra length allows golfers to choke down on the longer-than-standard putters as Odyssey advises without the worry of running out of grip. And since the grips are non-tapered, golfers will have the same feel at the top of the grip as they do at the bottom.

Performance

As a former long putter user, I was devastated when the USGA announced that starting in 2016, I wouldn’t be able to anchor my 50-inch broomstick to my sternum in the USGA qualifiers I like to play. So like most golfers who were reliant on anchored putters, I started experimenting. I tried arm lock/Kuchar putters, big grips and several different putting styles before I realized that I could survive without my anchor. But surviving on the greens and thriving on them are two different things.

The takeaway from my tinkering was that I needed a counterbalanced putter with special weighting to help me putt my best. One of my favorite options was Odyssey’s Tank putter, but it felt clunky to me and I was moving away from face-balanced models. If only the Tank Cruiser putters were available then, I wouldn’t have spent so much time and money adjusting my gamers with shaft extensions, grips and lead tape.

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The #1 Wide (left) and 330M putters. Click on the photos to enlarge them. 

Adjusting a Tank Cruiser putter allows a golfer to play Goldilocks. For me, putting the heaviest weights (20 grams) in the putter head made it feel too heavy. The 5-gram weights, on the other hand, made it feel to light. The 15-gram weights got me closer, but it still wasn’t “just right.” I’ve spent the last month experimenting with the 0-, 15- and 30-gram counterweights in the grips of the #1 Wide and 330M putters I was sent for review, and have finally settled on the 15-gram weight in the #1 wide. That gives me a more traditional look and the counterbalanced feel that I’ve come to enjoy, especially on the short putts that I tend to miss to the right of the hole.

What I was after, and what most golfers will be looking for, is the feeling of an effortless release of the putter at impact. In theory, the extra weight in the handle should slow down that portion of the putter during the stroke and allow golfers to more easily square up the toe with the heel at impact, but that won’t be true for all golfers. Some players, like me, will like the overall heavier feeling, which can add stability to a golfer’s stroke. Some golfers won’t know why they like it… they just will. And that’s great, too.

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Each Odyssey Tank Cruiser comes with three sets of adjustable putter head weights (5, 10 and 20 grams) and three different counterbalance weights (0, 15 and 50 grams), as well as a special wrench to make the adjustments. 

So how do you know if a counterbalanced putter is for you? Making changes to the putter’s adjustable weight system creates noticeable differences in feel, but if you’re strongly opposed to the way the putter feels in its stock configuration (two 15-gram weights in the head and a 15-gram weight in the handle), it’s probably not right for you. And if you do like the stock setup, you should still experiment with the different weights. You’ll know when you get it right, even if it takes you some time like it did for me.

Looks and Feel

The Tank Cruisers have Odyssey’s Black Matte finish, which gives the putters a classic, no-glare look and offers a nice contrast with white alignment aids on each putter. I found the finish to be fairly durable, although the finish on the sole will show some wear as soon as you take it to the course.

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The #1 Wide (left) and 330M putters at address. Click on the photos to enlarge them. 

Odyssey also took care to offer several different alignment aids in the line. The #1 Wide has a single alignment aid that is located in the flange of the putter, while the 330M has two lines on the flange that frame the ball nicely at address. The #7 has a sightline on the putter’s top line, as well as two longer lines that reinforce a golfer’s alignment on the fins of the putter. The V-Line has the most aggressive alignment aid with three long sightlines on its flange.

Each of the putters has Odyssey’s re-formulated White Hot insert, which feels extremely soft and is Odyssey’s most popular insert on the professional tours.

The Takeaway

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If you’re struggling with your putting, there’s no reason not to try a counterbalanced putter. They’re great for golfers looking to get a jump on switching from their anchored putters, and while they’re not for everyone, they can be a nice change of pace for golfers who want to feel something a little different.

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Zak is the Editor-in-Chief of GolfWRX.com. He's been a part of the company since 2011, when he was hired to lead GolfWRX's Editorial Department. Zak developed GolfWRX's Featured Writer Program, which supports aspiring writers and golf industry professionals. He played college golf at the University of Richmond (Go Spiders!) and still likes to compete in tournaments. You can follow Zak on Twitter @ZakKoz, where he's happy to discuss his game and all the cool stuff that's part of his job.

23 Comments

23 Comments

  1. Neil

    Aug 28, 2014 at 8:05 am

    As you say nothing new really, still prefer the look of my Wilson Staff Kirk Currie #1 – he was playing with this sort of thing years ago.

  2. Thus

    Jul 31, 2014 at 2:59 am

    Are you able to remove the weight blow the grip off cut it down then re grip using the same grip? I was fitted yesterday for a 330m mallet at 34″ so would like to cut it down if possible.. I’m fussing to weigjt screws into the grip not the shaft?

  3. bobbyfoling

    May 17, 2014 at 11:33 am

    Since there is no replacement grip available, where would you order a customized Tank Cruiser with a 33″ lenght?

  4. Martin

    Apr 27, 2014 at 10:49 am

    I love the look of the Vline, tried a Fatso on my #5 last year and didn’t like it, went back to a midsized grip.

    Counterbalancing is intriguing, not sure it’s $249 intriguing though

  5. Graymulligan

    Apr 27, 2014 at 10:26 am

    Love the idea, but I’m not a huge fan of the superstroke only option.

  6. LorenRobertsFan

    Apr 26, 2014 at 1:54 pm

    I putted with one in my local course’s pro shop and liked the #7 and VLine. I didn’t like how hair-thin the alignment line on the #1 was. Looked more like a scratch in the paint than a line. I would have probably loved it if it was a thicker line

    • da man

      Apr 26, 2014 at 4:10 pm

      line! line! line! line!

    • Charlie

      Apr 26, 2014 at 9:58 pm

      Yeah for $249 the paint job on the line for the #1 looks cheap!

  7. CT

    Apr 26, 2014 at 1:39 am

    I did some market training with Callaway Golf for the golf store I work at. Alan Hocknell and some other top executives spoke there. When the question was asked, “I regrip my putter every year, how do I get this regripped?” They had an interesting response of “we don’t know the answer yet, hopefully, in a years time, we will know the answer.” You cannot order this grip from anyone. It is an exclusive to this putter and is not available for individual purchase. It was funny to see top people in the company sort of laugh this one off… Very prepared…

    • LorenRobertsFan

      Apr 26, 2014 at 10:13 am

      And even if they start selling the counterbalanced grips, people will buy them to put on their own putters, or on their Taylormade putters that were silly enough to put the CB in the grip rather than the end of the shaft, unlike doing like the original Tank did

  8. Clemson Sucks

    Apr 25, 2014 at 8:11 pm

    + other putter grips

  9. Jeff Borders

    Apr 25, 2014 at 12:32 pm

    So all the weights can be used in either the head or grip? I assume the 0g is just a cover?

    I tried the Tank Cruiser #1 and loved it.

  10. Charlie

    Apr 25, 2014 at 2:09 am

    What do you do when you want it regripped?

    • Scooter McGavin

      Apr 25, 2014 at 9:52 pm

      You order another special back-weighted grip from Odyssey…. or give up the back-weighting.

      • CT

        Apr 26, 2014 at 1:40 am

        I was told by Callaway Golf that this grip is not available for individual purchase

  11. Joel Domen

    Apr 24, 2014 at 11:32 pm

    I love the idea and will likely be picking one up, I have to assume that callaway will make replacement grips available to ease in keeping the coolest part of the putter going for more than one season. Adjustable headweight is awesome but this putters selling point for me and probably many others is the ability to on the fly change the counterbalance effect.

    I get barely a season out of a superstroke playing twice a week and it would be a shame to lose the super quick tinkering ability in a few months of play. Granted, most people will find a setup and stick with it to a certain degree so you could just weight under the grip when you change to a new grip but it still seems like a shame to lose the quick tinkering ability.

    • Bainz

      Apr 26, 2014 at 6:31 am

      Are you hitting drives with your putter?? How do you wear out a putter grip??

  12. Jump

    Apr 24, 2014 at 8:44 pm

    Rolled the Cruiser 1 today and was really impressed. I realize there is a SuperStroke and weight kit included but I wish these were around $189 instead of $249.

  13. Reggie Ramos

    Apr 24, 2014 at 7:02 pm

    I like the counterblance tank cruise puntter,it sounds awesome.

  14. LorenRobertsFan

    Apr 24, 2014 at 6:59 pm

    What if you don’t like the SS grip, or prefer a Flatso? Or when the SS grip gets dirty after a couple months, will you lose the CB effect when removing the grip?

    • LorenRobertsFan

      Apr 24, 2014 at 9:46 pm

      I wish they wouldn’t use a grip that is white and known for easily getting so dirty

    • Clemson Sucks

      Apr 25, 2014 at 8:09 pm

      I imagine Super Stroke will bring these grips to retail.

    • Odyssey_Koske

      Apr 28, 2014 at 7:24 pm

      The weighting system is the shaft. A re-grip and cutting any other 67-gram grip will give you the same effect. Replacements will come in the future, but for Tour we just cut other grips open if one is requested. The grip is a 15-inch SuperStroke (67 grams) with a hole in the back.

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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.

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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

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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.

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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?

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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.

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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?

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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

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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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Putter Reviews

Review: Directed Force Putters

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Pros: Stroke stability and consistency are likely to improve with a proper fitting. The putters also double as training aids for stroke tempo.

Cons: The looks, overall feel and forced-forward-press grip will likely take getting used to.

Who’s it for: Golfers seeking more stability in their stroke. If you don’t get fit properly, however, the technology will not reach its maximum potential.

The Review

DirectedForcePuttersOften times, great inventions are made out of necessity — a solution to a problem. That’s how Bill Presse, founder of Directed Force, developed his innovative putter technology. As a playing professional and teaching pro, he was frustrated by poor putting and needed a solution. Presse began building putters, and after “drilling holes in [putter] heads,” he figured out he could make a putter that stayed square to the putter path. His buddies were disbelievers, so he built “the revealer” to prove the technology — another invention born because of a problem.

Unlike most putters, which are either face-balanced or have what’s called “toe hang,” Directed Force putters ($399.95) are lie-angle balanced. That means the putter face stays straight (or perpendicular) to the putter path throughout the stroke, which is ideal in theory. And serious golfers across the globe have spent countless hours trying to improve their ability to keep their putter face perpendicular to their path during their stroke.

Can this new putter technology provide a shortcut? Watch the video below to see it in action.

Presse’s technology is effective for golfers because of the importance of the face angle at impact. According to findings from SAM PuttLab, the face angle at impact determines 83 percent of a putt’s initial starting direction, and is thus about 5 times more important than putter path.

Here’s how they’re made.

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The company first forges the putter heads from 6061 aircraft aluminum, then CNC-milled to the proper shape and finishes them with a type-3 anodized coating. It’s important to note that lie-angle balance is not achieved because of the outlandish head shape, which is the immediate assumption, but rather due to the location of the shaft relative to the center of gravity (CG) in the club head. To dial in the specific lie angle of each putter — which are weighted differently depending on a putter’s lie angle, length and grip — weights are installed on each side of the putter face (toe and heel), as well as on the sole. It’s those weights, in conjunction the putter’s shaft position, that give the putters their “lie-angle balance.”

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Not only does the head shape look, well… weird, but the grip is unconventional, too. But there’s science behind it, as well. Watch the video below to learn more about the PressGrip, developed by Presse, and how it works.

The putter shaft runs through the PressGrip at 3 degrees, instead of straight in (or 0), placing the putter in a forward-press position without the golfer’s hands moving forward of center. This allows the golfer to choke down or up on the grip without losing lie angle, and since the grip is made with a constant taper, changing hand positions doesn’t affect the feel of the grip.

The PressGrip comes in two sizes: Mid-Size (1.250 inches) and Large (1.375 inches), and can be purchased separately for $29.95.

Directed Force’s putter technologies are not dependent on the PressGrip, however, so the putters can be made with the aftermarket grip of your choice. Presse says the grip size and weight affect weighting in the head, so make sure to factor that in during your purchase.

Does it work?

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First off, the grip feels very different at first, even for someone who forward presses their putter. It’s the first thing most golfers comment on when they try it for the first time. And while it can feel strange, all it takes is a few strokes to get used to it. After that, you’ll be disappointed going back to a normal putter grip — at least I was.

The second thing someone will comment on is the head shape… obviously. It’s a lot of putter head to look at, and the shape is far from conventional. That being said, different doesn’t mean bad in this case.

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This putter has one of those, you’re-just-along-for-the-ride feels, and seems to swing itself. For yippers or those who struggle with short putts, those are great words to hear. And due to the displacement of so much weight well behind the face, it has a very high moment of inertia (MOI). That means it hardly matters whether you hit it off the toe, heel or center of the face. The putter allows you — and I have confirmed this — to hit 30+ foot putts dead off the heel or toe without much, or any, noticeable affect on distance or direction.

Because of its reliance on lie-angle balance, the technology won’t be as beneficial if the putter isn’t fit to your lie angle. So make sure — if you’re seriously interested in buying a Directed Force putter — you get fit by a Directed Force Fitter, or do a Remote Fitting with Directed Force, which cost $30 but comes with a $30 discount code if you choose to purchase the putter.

The Numbers

So how do Directed Putters perform? We tested them with two golfers on SAM PuttLab, each of which was fit remotely for Directed Force putters several weeks before the test.

  • Tester 1 was me, a former college golfer and now a 1-handicap, weekend player. I’ve used the same off-the-rack Anser-style putter for the last two years, and only practiced with a Directed Force for about 30 minutes at the PGA Merchandise, which is where we discovered the putters.
  • Tester 2 was GolfWRX’s Zak Kozuchowski, our editor and resident professional golfer. He was recently fit for his gamer, an 8802-style, in the fall by another putter company.

Tester 1: Gamer

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Tester 1: Directed Force

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Tester 1 Data Analysis

  • Consistency improved on average with Directed Force putter (98 percent versus 90 percent with gamer).
  • Face rotated less with Directed Force putter on average.
  • Putter path was more neutral with Directed Force putter on average (3.5 degrees left versus 3.9 degrees with gamer).
  • Putter path improved with Directed Force putter (56 percent consistency versus 52 percent consistency with the gamer).
  • Rise angle was higher with gamer putter (1.6 degrees up versus 1.0 up with the Directed Force).

Tester 2: Gamer

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Tester 2: Directed Force

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Tester 2 Data Analysis

  • Putter path consistency improved with Directed Force on average (95 percent versus 87 percent with gamer).
  • Putter path was 2.3 degrees left with the Directed Force on average, but much more neutral with gamer putter (only 0.5 degrees left).
  • Rise angle was less downward with the gamer (1.1 degrees down) versus 2.6 degrees down with the Directed Force putter on average.
  • Face rotation consistency was better with the gamer on average (93 percent versus 89 percent with the Directed Force)
  • The face rotated less throughout the stroke with the Directed Force on average, and was less closed at impact on average (0.6 degrees versus 1 degree).

The numbers show a rise in consistency for both golfers when using the Directed Force putter compared to gamers. Tester 1, who had little experience with the putter, struggled with alignment, and both players hit more “down” on their putts with the Directed Force, most likely due to the forced forward press.

Therefore, it appears that the Directed Force putters can immediately add consistency to a golfer’s stroke, although it is likely that it will take time for golfers to truly optimize their putting with them.

The Takeaway

DirectedForcePutters7

If you’re going to try a Directed Force putter, make sure you get fit for it. It’s designed to work with your specific lie angle, and isn’t going to be as effective as it could be if it’s more than a few degrees off.

The oversize putter head’s feel and the grip could be a shock to many golfer’s systems, but after just a few putts most golfers will find that they’re no longer even noticing the odd-shaped putter head. And while the setup and stroke that the putter encourages may take some time to master, the benefits are fruitful.

Based on our testing, there’s no question golfers can improve the consistency of their strokes with a Directed Force putter, which is a rare thing to be able to say.

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Putter Reviews

Review: Toulon Design Putters

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Pros: Toulon putters offer clean, classic lines. Exceptional feel and matching sound. Adjustable sole plates allow for custom head weights.

Cons: Only available in RH and polished stainless-steel (for now). Prices start at $399.

Who they’re for: All golfers, especially those true enthusiasts, collectors, and competitive players looking for something new and unique.

The Review

For this review, I tested a Toulon San Diego putter. The specs are listed below. 

  • Weight: 352 grams (head)
  • Material: 303 stainless steel
  • Finish: Tour Satin Mist
  • Face Milling: Deep Diamond
  • Stock Lie/Loft: 71 degrees/3 degrees
  • Stock Length Options: 33-35 inches
  • Stock Grip: Lamkin Deep Etch (also available in charcoal or gray add $10; and SuperStroke Pistol GT Tour or Mid-Slim 2.0 add $20)

Along with the five different models (San Diego, Madison, San Francisco, Rochester and Memphis), Toulon Design Putters are also available in two counter-balanced options: Moderate Release (MR) and Aggressive Release (AR) for $459 and $499, respectively.

From a young age, I have primarily sifted my way through putters designed around the modern blade with the L-shaped hosel. Whether it be a Ping Anser 2 or Scotty Cameron Newport 1995 First Run, some of those putters have hung around, while most have not with a destination unknown. Call me stuck in the past, but apart from occasionally fiddling with the latest and greatest mallet, I have remained loyal to this classic style.

Given that tendency, I was understandably thrilled and equally excited to review the “San Diego” from a new putter company known as Toulon Design. Incidentally, my San Diego was built with a 345-gram putter head and additional 7-gram aluminum plate. The loft was 3 degrees, the lie was 70 degrees and without a grip it measured 34 inches. The overall weight was 541 grams and the swing weight was D4.

Started in 2015, but currently launching its initial stable of putters (Madison, San Diego, Rochester, San Francisco, and Memphis) over the coming months, Toulon Design has set it sights on making the best performance putters in the world, with looks to match that lofty goal. The company is based in Vista, California, and it was started by Sean Toulon, formerly involved with TaylorMade Golf for 16 years in product creation and design, and his sons, Tony and Joe. The founding principles of the company being mentorship, collaboration, and making putters with the serious golf enthusiast in mind — but all players welcome.

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Sean Toulon (pictured)

Upon cracking the box open to take my first look at the San Diego built for me, it was clear that Toulon Design has taken the time to painstakingly build something that any equipment lover should try. If you are the type of person who says, “I’m a golfer” when asked at a cocktail party what do you like to do in your free time, then seriously check out Toulon Design ASAP. The technology behind this initial line of putters, including the San Diego, is simply the icing on the cake. A review can not honestly do justice to what Toulon Design is attempting to create, which is a company satisfied with being no less than extraordinary.

Classic Look

Beautiful and timeless in its clean lines, the San Diego pushed all the rights buttons for me from the outset. It has a dark charcoal alignment mark that somehow seemed superior both cosmetically and technically in my eyes, especially given the satin mist finish of the putter. While Toulon is opening its “Garage” in May 2016 in an effort to provide its customers with the full “Tour experience” and a variety of options (not readily available for most putters), I chose the stock Lamkin Deep Etch emblazoned with the Toulon Design logo.

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Before I even hit a putt, it felt like this putter was destined to make its way into my golf bag. What’s truly difficult to communicate in words is the attention detail that was evident in closely examining the San Diego. Toulon Design utilizes what is known as vacuum brazing (through the “Big Green Egg” above) to fuse the putter head and hosel in a manner that makes it feel and look as if those parts of the putter were always one in the same. Everything just simply felt and looked right.

Matching Sound and Feel

Possibly the most important aspect of the technology behind Toulon Design putters (including, the San Diego) is the concept of matching sound and feel with launch conditions of your golf ball. It may seem strange, but this concept is effectively untapped in the industry at present. As Toulon explains, “Sound and feel are totally intertwined. And those two things create the expectation of the distance the ball will travel for the golfer.” In other words, when sound and feel are successfully synced, it is easier to correlate and control distance in putting; not surprisingly, when things are off, controlling distance becomes much more difficult. Can you say 3-putt?

I’ve been playing golf for 30 years and I honestly can’t recall a putter that felt or sounded better. Again, words can’t properly describe it, but for me, uphill putts are particularly revealing and my expectation for putts hit with the San Diego closely aligned with my actual result. When I hit any putt (though, in particular, an uphill putt of 20+ feet), the feedback was immediate and in that regard I was able to quickly adjust to the speed and conditions of the greens on which I was playing or practicing. Put differently, I didn’t feel as if I was guessing from putt to putt (which happens) and instead, I was able to trust what I was hearing and feeling.

Diamonds in the Rough

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The face milling pattern is also unique to Toulon Design, and the product of not only the creativity of its design team, but its relentless pursuit of something better. The goal was to achieve a crisp, yet soft feel as the result of a putter face that would create gentle (rather than aggressive) overspin on the ball at the point of impact. Inspired by the tread pattern on car tires, Toulon Design putters use what is referred to as a “Deep Diamond Mill” pattern. Within each diamond is a separate groove (or “eyelid,” as I refer to it), which minimizes the opportunity for your golf ball to climb up the putter face upon contact. The result being, to date, a reasonable, yet appropriate amount of forward roll immediately after impact.

My experience is that everything matches up almost perfectly. And rather than a ball coming hot off the face with an almost uncontrollable amount of forward roll, Toulon Design putters (and in my case, the San Diego) produce roll that allows for consistency, especially from beyond 20 feet.

Performance on the Green

It is certainly 9-plus out of 10 for me. The technology, coupled with the classic look and attention to detail, which is evident, make the San Diego an easy putter to love. What makes it easy to use is the feedback it provides by eliminating much of the confusion (that I’ve had with other putters) when hitting putts expecting a certain result and not getting it. The by-product of which is not being able to harmonize the feel and sound in order to gain consistency. In short, I have yet to feel as if I needed to guess with this putter. No, I do not make everything, but I actually feel like I have a very good chance on almost every putt I hit because I am confident that my stroke will match with the speed and distance I need to hit any given putt. And this is especially true from inside 10 feet.

Overall, the San Diego is worth every penny and Toulon Design is committed to making putters for golfers and golf enthusiasts that will make a difference in your game. There’s no question its an investment, but one you won’t regret.

I have yet to take advantage of the adjustable weighted sole plates (I absolutely plan on it), but in the near future (May 2016) you will be able to purchase from Toulon’s Garage the 7-gram aluminum plate, 20-gram stainless steel plate and 40-gram tungsten plate, as they are interchangeable in every Toulon Design putter. In doing so, you will easily be able to vary the putter head weight from 352 grams to 365 grams to 385 grams.

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Don’t overlook Toulon Design when looking for a new putter in 2016, and with five models to choose from there’s probably one for you.

To learn more about the company and its products, visit toulondesign.com. 

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