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Putter Reviews

TaylorMade Ghost Manta Belly Putter Review

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by member SheriffBooth

TESTED:
TaylorMade Ghost Manta Belly Putter 47”

PLAYER PROFILE:
Age:35 Ht: 6’4” Wt: 185
Yrs Playing: 20
Hcp: 3.4
My game: I was scratch as recently as 2007, but work, marriage and children are slowly eroding my handicap, as is want to happen. But this is mostly due to chipping and putting, not poor ball striking or driving.

WHAT TAYLORMADE SAYS:
EASY ALIGNMENT AND FANTASTIC FORGIVENESS IN A SIMPLE SHAPE.
Features:
Rich and more durable white finish eliminates glare; high contrast with turf makes aiming easy.
New large performance mallet shape promotes great feel and excellent stability on mis-hits.
PureRoll Surlyn face insert promotes forward spin for a smooth, accurate roll and beautiful soft feel.
Dual alignment lines frame the ball, making aiming easy while maintaining a clean and simple appearance.

PROS:
Easy to align
Great contrast with green surface
Face insert puts a smooth roll on the ball
Adjustable sole weight for customization
Great looking headcover.

CONS:
Stock weight a little heavy
Stock grip a little slick
Face insert maybe too soft and muted for some

LOOKS (4.5*):
Out of the box the putter looks great. The white finish has almost no gloss at all and to the touch feels like perhaps its some type of powder coating. The total Ghost package looks really sharp and well put together from the Winn pebble grip down to the perforated leather (or leather-like) and sheepskin (or sheepskin-like) headcover. I’ve read complaints about theManta tending to flop open because of the sole design, and I’ve noticed this in standard length versions, but this belly version soles square and definitely does not flip open like I’ve experienced with its shorter sisters.

PERFORMANCE (4.5*):
On the green the Manta puts a very nice roll on the ball. I would say the roll grooves have an impact on slightly longer putts and that the ball rolling more quickly in the first 4 or 5 feet after impact is noticeable. The putter is also extremely easy to align. I think this is the by far the best implementation of the Ghost concept in a putter yet. The white body with the black lines is fantastic and I’m not a fan at all of the other Ghost Tour putters.

The putter shines, as it should, on putts inside of 10 feet. If you like easy alignment and consistent rolls then this is a putter to try. It doesn’t read the green for you, but it does most everything else. My version right now is a little heavier than I would like, but that’s going to be easy to fix with a simple weight change.

The bottom line for me is that this is the easiest putter on the market to align, and once I get the grip and weight squared away with a couple of tweaks I’m expecting to make a lot of putts this summer.

FEEL (3.5*):
The pebble grain Winn grip is just okay. There is a reason that almost every pro on tour is using the same red and black Winn wrap belly putter grip – it’s very good. That grip is very smooth, but also very tacky. The Ghost Manta’s grip is a little bit softer and squishier than the more common Winn, and the pebbles also make the grip more slippery. If the Manta is going to become my #1, it will need a grip change to match my Odyssey.

I think the face insert will be a mixed bag for a lot of players, especially if you are used to an all steel head. The Manta’s surlyn face has a very soft and muted feel, even when compared to current Odyssey or Ping inserts. Because the head is so heavy and the face so soft, there is very low feedback. But then again, the Manta isn’t being sold to the Loren Roberts and Brad Faxons of the world and many will appreciate this softness. My personal preference would have been for a slightly crisper feel, but the feel did not alter the performance.

PLAYTEST:
I’ve been putting with a belly putter since January of this year. I started my belly experiment with an older Odyssey XG SRT Mid that I had extended from 43” to 47” due to my height. I had a pretty unpleasant yip problem that started around 2003 and had pretty much made short putting a nightmare for 8 years. I switched to the claw grip in 2011 (thanks to a tip from Hank Haney) and this was working well for me, but belly putters are hot and I thought I’d give one a try during the offseason. It took me about 4 practice sessions and 3 full rounds to get used to it, but once I got it dialed in I’ve really enjoyed it. I can’t say that it’s revolutionized my putting, but it’s definitely given me a boost of confidence especially on 3 and 4 footers.

So now the Ghost Manta. TaylorMade built mine at 47” straight from the factory, so I got to test with the stock Ghost grip. Mine came built with a 25g sole weight, which is changeable and I’m supposing that this is the stock weight but I don’t know for sure. Fitting is the most important part of belly putting, so if you buy a Manta belly off the rack you may need to have a shop adjust the length up or down for you or order the length custom.

In the three rounds that I’ve used the Manta, I can say for certain that it is very consistent and confidence inspiring on short putts. For a belly putter, this is an absolute first hurdle. On longer putts, I found the ball to roll out a little bit more than I was used to, which I think is a combination of the slightly heavier weight of the head and the PureRoll face. On very long putts the head weight and grip combined to create some looseness in my stroke; distance control was just fine but keeping the head on a consistent swing path was a little more challenging.

The appearance and alignment of the putter is the trump card for me, and I’m looking forward to making a few tweaks and hopefully getting the Manta dialed in.

CLICK HERE TO DISCUSS THIS REVIEW OF THE TAYLORMADE MANTA IN THE FORUMS.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

GolfWRX Tech Talk with Mike Fox of TaylorMade:

[youtube id=”E7asB_gN3aI” width=”600″ height=”350″]

WHAT TAYLORMADE SAYS:
EASY ALIGNMENT AND FANTASTIC FORGIVENESS IN A SIMPLE SHAPE.
Features:
Rich and more durable white finish eliminates glare; high contrast with turf makes aiming easy.
New large performance mallet shape promotes great feel and excellent stability on mis-hits.
PureRoll Surlyn face insert promotes forward spin for a smooth, accurate roll and beautiful soft feel.
Dual alignment lines frame the ball, making aiming easy while maintaining a clean and simple appearance.

 

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Rob is a golf junkie that has been involved with GolfWRX since its inception in 2005. From designing headcovers, to creating logos to authoring articles to social media management to sales and marketing, Rob has done it all. Born and bred in NJ. Favorite golfers: Phil, Freddie. Favorite club: Driver.

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Putter Reviews

WRX Spotlight Review: T Squared TS-713i Standard Series putter

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Product:  T Squared TS-713i Standard Series Putter

About T Squared: T Squared Putters is a small putter manufacturer just south of Buffalo, New York. The company was founded by Tony Tuber who created his first prototype putters, after hours, in his father’s machine shop. Since then Tony and his father have been creating high-quality putters in the same facility that creates high precision instruments for the medical field. They pride themselves on creating the highest quality, most precise putter they can offer. They offer a few different head shapes from small traditional blades to high MOI mallets and even a custom program to get exactly what you want.

The Ts-713i Standard Series is based on the Ts-713, the first prototype that Tony created. It is a blade-style putter with a slightly longer flange and a unique face insert milled from 6061 aluminum. The body of the Ts713i is milled from a solid block of 303 stainless steel that is produced in the USA and has a Teflon backing between the body and face insert.

This Teflon backing helps give the putter a softer feel at impact and reduce any unwanted vibration. Details are what T Squared is all about and the neck of the putter shows off their milling expertise. The neck is similar to a plumbers neck, built with multiple pieces and offering some cool texture on the section bonded to the head. Another great detail is that all the silver markings on the putter are not filled with paint, they are milled into the head. T Squared finished the head in a sharp matte black and then milled all the markings on the putter for a unique, shiny silver look that really stands out. Ts-713i putters are built for customizing and have a ton of options that you can select if you would like to build something totally unique

On the green, the T Squared TS-713i really performs fantastic. I found the feel at impact very solid without any unwanted vibration. The impact produces a muted click and soft feel that I wasn’t expecting from this aluminum insert and thin face. The deep milling and Teflon coated back to the insert really work together to produce a great, responsive feel that I enjoyed. Deep milling usually makes me a little worried because it can soften the putter too much and lose that feel we all demand.

The TS-713i has no issues and transmits impact feel back to your hands with ease. Mishits are a little louder and harsh, but nothing even close to unpleasant. I have used putters that don’t feel as good on perfectly struck shots as the TS-713i feels on mishit putts. Distance and accuracy on those mishit putts are not as drastic as you would expect with a blade putter. I often just missed the cup by small margins when I struck a putt on the toe or heel of the TS-713i. There aren’t too many blade putters that have shown this level of forgiveness on the green for me.

The “T” alignment aid on the flange of the putter is large and easy to use. Not only do you get a straight line from the face to the back edge for alignment, but the back of the “T” also helps you square the putter up to your target. The Pure grip is not my thing, and it would be great for T Squared to offer a few more options, but that is an easy fix and a very minor criticism.

Overall, the T Squared TS-713i is a great putter from young Tony Tuber that exceeded my expectations. His attention to detail, precision milling, and take on a classic head shape offer golfers something different without sacrificing any performance. If you are looking for a great feeling putter that is made in the USA, you should take a look at T Squared and see what they can make for you.

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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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