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The Big Review – Nike Method Putter

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Since they burst onto the golfing scene, it’s fair to say that Nike golf have surprised everyone with the scale of their success. Capturing the world’s number one golfer was the sort of marketing move you would expect from a global sports behemoth like Nike but how quickly they started making genuinely brilliant golf equipment was not.

For the last few years, Nike has made superb options for all areas of the game – all areas bar the putter. In fact, given the quality they have in every other part of the bag, the glaring blank spot where you would expect to find premium putter is distinctly odd. Previous attempts at making one produced the likes of the Unitized which you would describe as average if you were being kind. However, the creation of a putter that in prototype form took 2 majors and 3 other tour wins has made everyone sit up an take notice. Step forward the METHOD putters.

Named after the ‘scientific method’ used by the engineers and designers at Nike’s Research and Development center The OVEN, the METHOD series putters have a face with a unique combination of grooves and multi-material construction. Like Yes!, TaylorMade and Rife before them, the polymetal groove system is designed to get the ball rolling faster to minimize bounce and keep the ball on line to produce the sort of performance that top tour players demand. How well they have succeeded at this seems to have been demonstrated by Lucas Glover and Stewart Cink when they won the 2009 U.S. Open and The OPEN Championship respectively.

The METHOD comes in 5 models, the 001 plumbers neck blade, the 002 heel shafted blade, the 003 heel shafted mid mallet, the 004 face balanced blade and the 005 face balanced mid mallet.

We are told this about the design of each of these putters: ‘The Nike METHOD has a flowed-through low-durometer polymetal groove technology that dampens impact vibrations for soft touch, while the interspersed milled steel face maintains audible feedback for proper distance control. A multi-material face starts the ball on a positive spin that is faster than both a milled steel putter as well as putters with a polymer face insert.’

Appearance

Nike have left behind the weird designs and dodgy paint jobs to and have returned back to a clean and classic approach and they have done a great job with this new look. The steel part of the face has fantastically precise milling marks and the 7 polymetal lines are actually flush with the face despite looking like they are slightly proud. A closer look at the face also shows that the face has 3 surfaces in contact with the ball – the milled 303 steel, the polymetal grooves and the actual grooves milled into the face. The sole of the club looks ‘beached’ but in fact is just where polymetal enters the head.

The one fly in the looks ointment is the ‘waffles’ on the back of the bumpers. Only the most die-hard of Nike fans could think that they are attractive and considering that there weren’t present on the prototypes you wonder why they were added. Thankfully they are invisible at address as they don’t fit in with the rest of the club.

Specifically looking at the 001, it’s no secret that this is the version that was designed with Tiger Woods in mind. With styling highly reminiscent of Woods’ Newport 2, sight dot and all, it’s a beautiful piece of craftsmanship and Nike’s biggest desire must be to get this into his bag. Of course, whether Woods will ever be parted from his putter is another matter.

The head cover is a classy black leather affair and is very well made. The magnetic strip closures makes them both very easy and very quiet to use.

Feel

Coming from previous Nike putters, the level of feel offered by METHOD putters is nothing short of a revelation. Finally Nike have taken the step up into the level of feedback required for a putter to be considered top tier. The feel is softer than a pure metal putter but has none of the deadness you often get with full face inserts. Across both the putters tested the feel from the combination of the milled steel, the polymetal insert and the grooves managed to be both lively and solid. While this was most obvious with premium balls, even distance balls gave the level of feedback required to be able to judge distances perfectly.

One of the most obvious strengths of the METHOD putters is that the sweetspot is right across the width of the grooves. You have to actively try to miss the grooves if you want to get anything less than a great sensation.

The grip is a GolfPride Tour Tradition and the standard smaller sized grip ensures that you don’t lose anything from head to hands as the club sits more in the fingers.

Performance

Whether you have a gated stroke or a straight-back straight-through or some combination of the two, the variety of models offered ensure that there is something that will match your stroke and make it easy to get the ball rolling to the hole. Another of the benefits of the polymetal groove system is that it allows 30 grams of internal weight to be excavated from the face and body and relocated to the perimeter. The resulting increase in MOI means straighter putts on off center hits.

The effects of the grooves is obvious too. As with other groove faced putters, the ball comes off the face and gets rolling fast. The way the ball hugs the green means that it is less likely to stray. So you can spend more time thinking about getting the ball in the hole rather than worrying about it skittering offline.

Grooved faced putters can sometimes make judging long distance putts tricky. With the ball rolling faster and skipping less at the start of the putt the tendency is to gas the ball past the hole. The sheer torrent of feedback means that you quickly pick up the required touch to regularly leave the ball close to the hole.

Conclusion

Finally, Nike have produced something that belongs in the premium putter market. They took a not unusual decision to release a limited edition (LE) version months ahead of the standard version. As hoped for, the interest generated was huge. However, the time between the LE and this version coming out has meant that the buzz generated has died down a little which has left some people wondering whether the METHODS are as good as they say. This is one occasion when you should believe the hype as they are definitely good enough to be challenging for bragging right with any offerings from the likes of Scotty Cameron, Ping or Odyssey. Having been in the bag for 2 majors, this is a club that performs as well as anything out there and the only question is; which METHOD do you want?

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  1. Pingback: What's in Rory McIlroy's Bag? | Golf Gear Select

  2. Walter Pendleton

    Feb 6, 2013 at 8:41 pm

    Is Nike, Odyssey, Cameron or anyone manufacture putters that have the advantages of adjustable lie angles? Doesn’t anyone have the nerve to say, “Hey, that putter is to short, the lie angle is 5 degrees off, the grip it two sizes to small and their is too much loft on that putter.

    Am I the only guy in the world that notices how poorly putter fit the average player’s stroke. Com’On Man!

  3. RH

    Aug 12, 2012 at 4:57 pm

    The putter is not working to well for Tiger at the PGA!

  4. Pingback: GolfWRX.com – The Big Review – Nike Method Putter | Golf Products Reviews

  5. Pingback: money|make|freebie

  6. Kevin

    Jan 12, 2010 at 8:24 pm

    Rep was in our store today.  Tried the #1 and the #4.  I was blown away at the sound and feel of these putters.  I wasn't a fan of goose neck #4 until I rolled some putts with it.  Wow, it's a very, very solid putter.  In terms of feel, i don't think there are many putters that have a softer feeling face.  To me, it's a better feeling putter than a Redwood or Scotty.

  7. alex

    Jan 10, 2010 at 10:24 pm

    When do the company release the new method putter to golf shops and when do the company release, the new nike Victory Red line of drivers and woods.

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WRX Spotlight Review: TaylorMade M5 fairway Rocket 3

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Product: TaylorMade M5 fairway Rocket 3

Pitch: The TaylorMade M5 fairway Rocket 3 is a stronger-lofted version of the standard TaylorMade M5 3-wood. The Rocket is 14 degrees. The standard M5 is 15.

Our take on the TaylorMade M5 Rocket 3

“WOW, you really hit that 3-wood like a rocket!”

” Not like a rocket… an actual Rocket!”

The beloved 3-wood. A favorite club of both average golfers and pros alike, a club that many will hold onto well after what some might consider their “best before” date. But with new options and improved technology, these old faithfuls are getting the boot quicker for a lot of reasons including the ability to better dial in a fit and help minimizing misses.

Since making a club faster off the middle is becoming more and more difficult thanks to the limits set forth but the USGA, OEMs are changing the way we think about clubs and putting a greater focus on decreasing dispersion and optimizing misses. TaylorMade is doing this with TwistFace, which was originally introduced in drivers a generation ago, and has now been included in the M5 and M6 fairway woods.

I got to spend some time with the knowledgeable crew at TaylorMade Canada in their new indoor facility just north of Toronto (lets call it Kingdom North) In that time, we went through a driver fitting, and then to the new M5 fairway woods to try and replace one of my oldest faithfuls: a 14-degree SLDR Tour Spoon. To say I have a unique ability to elevate a fairway wood is something that even my fitter was a little surprised by. My numbers with my cranked down to 12 degree (measured) fairway off the deck were good but could be improved. I can hit it both ways (as much as a 6-handicap can actually claim that) but my trusted go-to shot is a slight fade with some heel bias contact because of my swing. I am willing to sacrifice some distance but usually hit it where I want.

What I saw at the end of the fitting was a club that produced longer shots along with a tighter dispersion without having to make or to try and make any changes to my swing. The final fit was a 14-degree “Rocket” M5 fairway set to 12 degrees. It beat out my SLDR by a total of nine yards, which is an increase of just over a total of three percent, including an additional six yards of carry.

To say I was honestly surprised would be an understatement. The SLDR TS is a club that the first time I hit it I went WHOA! Low spin, workable, looks exactly how I want that club to look (small and compact). You can see from the numbers below when it works it works.

Why does TwistFace work?

Let’s explain and get a little deep in the technology weeds for a second. Bulge and roll is not a new concept. In fact, it would be a lie to claim that all OEMs haven’t done something similar to this is the past or played with these two variables to help golfers hit better shots. Fact: Every OEM optimizes the bulge and roll on their clubs to increase speed and maximize performance. Tom Wishon actually had a line of woods at one point that went the other way had VERY limited roll from the top tine to the sole. With this design, more loft on the bottom of the head helped players who miss low or need help elevating the ball off the deck increase launch and spin. It worked. Cobra also has what it calls E9 technology to tweak bulge and roll to help maximize the speed and forgiveness of their woods. It also works.

What makes TaylorMade’s TwistFace different is that it is the most aggressive iteration of this bulge and roll tweaking yet, and by introducing it into the fairway woods and hybrids, it’s proving to be a winner — even for this now-proven wrong skeptic.

At the end of the day, the M5 Ti “Rocket” was a measurable improvement over my previous 3-wood. Now it would be disingenuous to say “if you aren’t using TwistFace in your fairway woods you’re not maximized,” but if you are someone that struggles with fairway wood dispersion and looking to find some extra distance for taking on par-5s, taking a look at the new M5 and M6 fairway woods as part of your next fitting should be very high on your list.

 

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Forum Thread of the Day: “Low handicapper switching to game improvement irons”

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Today’s Forum Thread of the Day comes from jasonTel3 – a low handicap player who plays blades but who has had his head turned by game improvement irons. According to jasonTel3, every ball was hit straight when testing out a set of Ping G400’s at a simulator, and he’s been asking fellow members for advice on whether he should make the move to GI’s.

Here are a few posts from the thread discussing jasonTel3’s conundrum, but make sure to check out the entire discussion and have your say at the link below.

  • balls_deep: “My first thought is to say don’t do it.. but then if you’ve hit them, liked them, and the numbers were right, it could be a good option. A friend I play with uses G400 and they have too much offset for my liking. I also don’t like that you can see the cavity on the 4 and 5 iron. Top line is actually very nice for a SGI iron. I just read the Ping Blueprint article on Golf Digest where they were talking about how some players hit small heads better. I definitely fall into that category. That said, I just ordered a set of i210 to try as I had really good luck with the i200 and should never have sold them. Have you tried the newer I series? IMO it’s GI help in a players look with an acceptable sole width. Long story short though – if you felt comfortable and the fit was right, why not try them? If you don’t work the ball a ton, I don’t see any issue with it. High and straight is a good way to go!”
  • hammergolf: “I’ve been playing Ping G25’s for 6 years. Still can’t find anything I like better. I can hit any shot I need to whether it’s my stock draw, fade, high, or low. And when I hit it a little thin, or on the toe, it still lands on the green. My thought is why play golf with a club that will punish you for mishit when you can play one that will help you.”
  • azone: “Everyone has an opinion, and here is mine. If you are/have been a good ball striker with a sound mental game, your mind will keep writing checks your body may not be able to cash as you get older or don’t practice enough. Those “ugly” forgiving irons look beautiful when a miss ends up on the green, and you are putting– not in rough or deep in a short side bunker. Those irons won’t be AS ACCURATE as, say, a blade, BUT if you aren’t as dependable as in the past, your results will be better. I used to keep two sets of blueprinted irons; blades for practice and CB for play. I play with guys that have cashed checks playing…and they don’t care how ugly the iron is.”
  • Jut: “As a decent player (and ball striker) and a sweeper/picker (I could hit off of a green and not take any landscape with me), I’ve found much success with the F9s (which, with the wide sole, are very similar to the G410 irons). In the past 4 years I’ve gone from Mizuno MP-68 to Callaway Apex CF16 to Ping i500 (a brief and bad experience) to the Cobra F9’s. For what it’s worth, the Cobras have been the best of the bunch by far.”

Entire Thread: “Low handicap going to game improvement irons”

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WRX Spotlight: Stitch headcovers

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Product: Stitch headcovers

Pitch: From Stitch: “Your game should match your style. At Stitch, we aim to merchandise our line of products so you can easily put together items that not only match your bag and what is it in it, but also match your style and personality. We want to make it easy for you to have a unique and color-coordinated golf bag. We have designed unique products that have defined color schemes so that choosing which items to put in your bag becomes easier. We aim to provide you with various looks, mixing and matching our head covers to give you confidence that the purchase you make for your bag will take you to the course in style. Let us help you dress your game.”

Our Take On Stitch Headcovers

Stitch is a relatively new company – founded in 2012. The company initially only created premium headcovers but has grown into so much more, with all sorts of golfing accessories now on offer on their site StitchGolf.com. Their bags, in particular, are now some of the most popular amongst golfers, with the quality and uniqueness provided leading multiple Tour players to sport them in tournament play.

That sign of quality in the bags bodes well for what the company was founded on – their headcovers. Stitch provides both leather and knit headcovers in a variety of designs that do as good a job as any in covering the needs of all golfers.

Stitch describes the companies Monte Carlo headcover as being their “classic, timeless design”, and for those looking for that vintage style to add to their set up then they can’t go wrong with this headcover. A mainstay in the likes of multiple tour winner Paul Casey’s bag, the Monte Carlo headcover, as with all of the companies leather covers, is hand-crafted from 100% leather and is both water and stain resistant. The cover comes in four color codes: Black, White, Navy and Red, and at $68 is the most affordable of all their leather headcovers.

Other options in the leather department range from their intricately designed Camo cover which comes in a multiple color design, as well as Stitch’s tribute to “The King”, through their Arnold Palmer headcover.

The AP cover comes in a minimalist black with white stripes for a classic feel, but it also comes in a white color code decorated with red, white and yellow stripes which, for myself at least, looks even more alluring. Part of an exclusive collection, the only issue with the AP cover is that only those located in the U.S. are currently eligible to get their hands on one. But for those in the states, the company is now offering a set of three AP leather covers for $128 instead of $298 should you use the code APLEATHERS on their site.

From their Tour Racer, USA, Shamrock and Bonesman editions, Stitch provides a great choice when it comes to their leather covers, and as previously mentioned, all are hand-crafted from 100% leather, water and stain resistant and will assure an excellent fit on your clubs.

Stitch also provides knit headcovers which contain not only excellent designs but also the same quality which has gone into their leather covers. All of the companies knit covers are made from Techno Wool, which is 100% acrylic and designed in order for your clubs to stay entirely dry. Another feature of the knit covers from Stitch is their smart fit design which ensures all of the covers retain their shape over a long period, as well as providing for a cover that will reliably stay on your club.

The knit covers from Stitch cost $68 ($72 for the limited AP cover), and there are currently seven different designs available to choose from over at StitchGolf.com. The leather covers are, unsurprisingly, a little pricier, but still very affordable, ranging from $68-$98. The covers deliver in both style and performance, and for a relatively new company, it speaks volumes that the likes of Jim Furyk, Paul Casey, Bryson DeChambeau and many more tour pros are now sporting the company’s creations.

 

 

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