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The Big Review – Radius Classic 2 Putter

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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.

Appearance

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).

Performance

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.

Conclusion

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.

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Accessory Reviews

I tried the great Golfboarding experiment… here’s how it went

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Corica Park Golf Course is not exactly the first place you’d expect to find one of the most experimental sports movements sweeping the nation. Sitting on a pristine swath of land along the southern rim of Alameda Island, deep in the heart of the San Francisco Bay, the course’s municipal roots and no-frills clubhouse give it an unpretentious air that seems to fit better with Sam Snead’s style of play than, say, Rickie Fowler’s.

Yet here I am, one perfectly sunny morning on a recent Saturday in December planning to try something that is about as unconventional as it gets for a 90-year-old golf course.

It’s called Golfboarding, and it’s pretty much exactly what it sounds like: an amalgam of golf and skateboarding, or maybe surfing. The brainchild of surfing legend Laird Hamilton — who can be assumed to have mastered, and has clearly grown bored of, all normal sports — Golfboarding is catching on at courses throughout the country, from local municipal courses like Corica Park to luxury country clubs like Cog Hill and TPC Las Colinas. Since winning Innovation Of the Year at the PGA Merchandising Show in 2014, Golfboards can now be found at 250 courses and have powered nearly a million rounds of golf already. Corica Park currently owns eight of them.

The man in pro shop gets a twinkle in his eyes when our foursome tells him we’d like to take them out. “Have you ridden them before?” he asks. When we admit that we are uninitiated, he grins and tells us we’re in for a treat.

But first, we need to sign a waiver and watch a seven-minute instructional video. A slow, lawyerly voice reads off pedantic warnings like “Stepping on the golfboard should be done slowly and carefully” and “Always hold onto the handlebars when the board is in motion.” When it cautions us to “operate the board a safe distance from all…other golfboarders,” we exchange glances, knowing that one of us will more than likely break this rule later on.

Then we venture outside, where one of the clubhouse attendants shows us the ropes. The controls are pretty simple. One switch sends it forward or in reverse, another toggles between low and high gear. To make it go, there’s a throttle on the thumb of the handle. The attendant explains that the only thing we have to worry about is our clubs banging against our knuckles.

“Don’t be afraid to really lean into the turns,” he offers. “You pretty much can’t roll it over.”

“That sounds like a challenge,” I joke. No one laughs.

On a test spin through the parking lot, the Golfboard feels strong and sturdy, even when I shift around on it. It starts and stops smoothly with only the slightest of jerks. In low gear its top speed is about 5 mph, so even at full throttle it never feels out of control.

The only challenge, as far as I can tell, is getting it to turn. For some reason, I’d expected the handlebar to offer at least some degree of steering, but it is purely for balance. The thing has the Ackerman angle of a Mack Truck, and you really do have to lean into the turns to get it to respond. For someone who is not particularly adept at either surfing or skateboarding, this comes a little unnaturally. I have to do a number of three-point turns in order to get back to where I started and make my way over to the first tee box.

We tee off and climb on. The fairway is flat and wide, and we shift into high gear as we speed off toward our balls. The engine had produced just the faintest of whirrs as it accelerated, but it is practically soundless as the board rolls along at full speed. The motor nevertheless feels surprisingly powerful under my feet (the drivetrain is literally located directly underneath the deck) as the board maintains a smooth, steady pace of 10 mph — about the same as a golf cart. I try making a couple of S curves like I’d seen in the video and realize that high-speed turning will take a little practice for me to get right, but that it doesn’t seem overly difficult.

Indeed, within a few holes I might as well be Laird himself, “surfing the earth” from shot to shot. I am able to hold the handlebar and lean way out, getting the board to turn, if not quite sharply, then at least closer to that of a large moving van than a full-sized semi. I take the hills aggressively (although the automatic speed control on the drivetrain enables it to keep a steady pace both up and down any hills, so this isn’t exactly dangerous), and I speed throughout the course like Mario Andretti on the freeway (the company claims increased pace-of-play as one of the Golfboard’s primary benefits, but on a Saturday in the Bay Area, it is impossible avoid a five-hour round anyway.)

Gliding along, my feet a few inches above the grass, the wind in my face as the fairways unfurl below my feet, it is easy to see Golfboards as the next evolution in mankind’s mastery of wheels; the same instincts to overcome inertia that brought us bicycles, rollerblades, scooters, skateboards, and more recent inventions such as Segways, Hoverboards and Onewheels are clearly manifest in Golfboards as well. They might not offer quite the same thrill as storming down a snowy mountainside or catching a giant wave, but they are definitely more fun than your standard golf cart.

Yet, there are obvious downsides as well. The attendant’s warning notwithstanding, my knuckles are in fact battered and sore by the time we make the turn, and even though I rearrange all my clubs into the front slots of my bag, they still rap my knuckles every time I hit a bump. Speaking of which, the board’s shock absorber system leaves something to be desired, as the ride is so bumpy that near the end I start to feel as if I’ve had my insides rattled. Then there is the unforgivable fact of its missing a cup holder for my beer.

But these are mere design flaws that might easily be fixed in the next generation of Golfboards. (A knuckle shield is a must!) My larger problem with Golfboards is what they do to the game itself. When walking or riding a traditional cart, the moments in between shots are a time to plan your next shot, or to chat about your last shot, or to simply find your zen out there among the trees and the birds and the spaciousness of the course. Instead, my focus is on staying upright.

Down the stretch, I start to fade. The muscles in my core have endured a pretty serious workout, and it’s becoming increasingly difficult to muster the strength for my golf swing. It is no coincidence that my game starts to unravel, and I am on the way to one of my worst rounds in recent memory.

Walking off the 18th green, our foursome agrees that the Golfboards were fun — definitely worth trying — but that we probably wouldn’t ride them again. Call me a purist, but as someone lacking Laird Hamilton’s physical gifts, I’m happy to stick to just one sport at a time.

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Equipment

Titleist AVX golf balls passed the test, are now available across the United States

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Titleist’s AVX golf balls first came to retail as an experiment in three markets — Arizona, California and Florida — from October 2017 to January 2018. AVX (which stands for “Alternative to the V and X”) are three-piece golf balls made with urethane covers, and they’re made with a softer feel for more distance than the Pro V1 and Pro V1x golf balls.

After proving their worth to consumers, Titleist’s AVX golf balls are now available across the U.S. as of April 23, and they will sell for 47.99 per dozen (the same as Pro V1 and Pro V1x golf balls) in both white and optic yellow.

According to Michael Mahoney, the Vice President of Golf Ball Marketing for Titleist, the AVX is a member of the Pro V1 family. Here’s a basic understanding of the lineup:

  • AVX: Softest, lowest trajectory, lowest spinning, less greenside spin and longest
  • Pro V1x: Firmer than the Pro V1, highest spinning and highest trajectory
  • Pro V1: Sits between the V1x and the AVX in terms of feel, spin and trajectory, and will appeal to most golfers

Different from the Pro V1 or Pro V1x, the AVX golf balls have a new GRN41 thermoset cast urethane cover to help the golf balls achieve the softer feel. Also, they have high speed, low compression cores, a new high-flex casing layer, and a new dimple design/pattern.

For in-depth tech info on the new AVX golf balls, how they performed in the test markets, and who should play the AVX golf balls, listen to our podcast below with Michael Mahoney, or click here to listen on iTunes.

See what GolfWRX Members are saying about the AVX golf balls

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Andrew Landry’s Winning WITB: 2018 Valero Texas Open

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Driver: Ping G30 (9 degrees at 8.8 degrees)
Shaft: Aldila Tour Blue ATX65 TX
Length: 45.25 inches, tipped at 1 inch
Swing Weight: D3

3 Wood: Ping G (14.5 degrees at 15.15 degrees)
Shaft: Project X HZRDUS Yellow 75
Length: 43 inches, tipped 1 inch
Swing Weight: D2

5 Wood: Ping G (17.5 degrees at 17.75 degrees)
Shaft: Project X HZRDUS Yellow 85
Length: 42 inches
Swing Weight: D2

Irons: Ping iBlade (3-PW)
Shafts: Nippon N.S. Pro Modus3 105X
Swing Weight: D2

Wedges: Titleist Vokey SM7 (52-12F and 60-10S)
Shafts: True Temper Dynamic Gold S400 Tour Issue

Putter: Ping PLD ZB-S
Grip: Ping Pistol
Length, loft, lie: 33 inches, 3 degrees, 3 degrees flat

Golf Ball: Titleist Pro V1x

Grips: Lamkin Crossline Full Cord

WITB Notes: Landry tweaked his iron lofts before the Valero; 1 degree weak in his 4 and 5 iron, and 0.5 degrees weak in his 6-PW.

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Discussion: See what GolfWRX members are saying about Landry’s clubs.

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