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The Big Review – Radius Classic 2 Putter
Due to launch on Thursday 27th at the PGA Merchandising Show, Radius is a new putter manufacturer and is the brainchild of Graham Webb and Peter Lord, the two guys behind the design and success of VEGA throughout Europe.
After 5 years of working on the European PGA Tour, they saw many players trying to make putters work for them rather than finding a putter that fits their own stroke and decided to do something about it. From the path the putter head takes came the name and from their experience of working with some of the best players in the world came the designs – some influenced by classics such as the anser and some distinctly more modern day offerings.
The first 3 putters designed are now known as the Path Concept line and are based around the 3 most popular strokes taught today. Inside to Release (ITR), Inside to Square (ITS) and Square to Square (STS). The finished products are very similar to the prototypes that first appearance at the 2010 PGA Show in Orlando but have also been expanded to include the Classic line.
CAD designed in the UK, Radius putters have a unique crosshatching pattern on the face. To combat the dimple effect when putting, Radius looked at ways of minimising the contact area without increasing spin. In house testing showed grooves had little to no effect and in fac the crosshatching gave them the results they were looking for.
There is the standard range of combination of lengths and lies: 31-37" length, 3.5 degrees loft, 71 degree lie and with a standard weight of 340g . Full customisation is available – all heads are available from 4 degrees flat to 4 degrees upright with any weight or length. And since they build to order, every customer gets what they want. Putters are made from either SC20 or 304 steel depending on the head shape and the sound.
As a long-necked anser model, what's not to like? The version that we had to test was actually an early release prototype of the Classic 2. The gorgeous clean lines produced by the CNC milling make this one very desirable club. The Classic line has a fantastic black finish (the Path Concept line are satin plated) that reeks of quality. The milling work really is excellent and the overall look is flawless. The Radius logo, concentric red/orange/yellow circles, sits small at the heel of the face (see below).
With only 1/8 toe hang, this putter is almost face balanced. This means that it works best for STS and to slight ITR strokes. The putter is very easy to line up with the white sight line showing strongly enough against the black finish to clearly indicate both your intended line and your swing path when in motion. On this long neck model the sweet spot is right in the middle of the face, lining up with the sightline.
So how does it roll? in a word beautifully. The crosshatched face feels unbelievably soft. When you hit a quality ball like a ProV1 or a Z-Star it feels like a balata coming off the face. When you hit a distance ball, you lose some of that sensation of softness but not enough to affect your distance judgement. Speaking of which, the distance control with this is top notch. The combination of the sight line and the feel makes it just as easy to drain short putts as it is to lag long ones so they cosy up to the hole. And don't be surprised if you hole a few more of the long ones than you thought you might.
The Feeltec (reviewed a few weeks ago here on golfwrx) grip provides a great connection to the club and comes in either pistol or oversize styles. Iomic grips are offered at no extra charge.
For any new putter manufacturer, getting the product in the bags of Tour players signifies that what you are making is the real deal. Radius have already had some prototypes out on Tour and plan to off a full tour service in 2011, extending that out to include the US PGA and the Asian Tour. Radius say that they are only looking to release putters when they have something that is an improvement on their current range. The Classic range is unlikely to change but the Path Concept range is likely to see additions like a high MOI putter.
The Classic 2 is a gorgeous putter that performs as well as it looks but ultimately it's how well the putter suits the golfer that makes the difference. Given the spectacular looks and performance along with the full customisation on offer, that doesn't seem to be a worry. Radius products look like a great addition to the putter line up and we can't wait to see what else they have to offer.