I’ve played many Miura putters through the years. Many who know me personally or my WITB know that there are not many putters made that haven’t gone in my bag at least once. I’ve become pretty much a walking putter reviewer as I’ve experienced so many putters.
The most recent Miura putters I’ve used are the KM-350 and KM-007. Since I’ve recently added the Miura CB-501 irons to my bag as well as the SIT460 dirver, naturally for me or some may say unnaturally for them, I had to buy another putter! I’ve rolled the KM-005 in my local shop a few times and have always coveted it. True… I’ve coveted pretty much every putter made that I haven’t owned, but this one was different. Getting it would be something NEW from Miura that I haven’t had and would match great with my irons, wedges and driver! What better reason to get a new putter!
As with my past Miura additions to my bag, I had Joey the owner of Aloha Golf Center, my local Miura distributor fit me to the KM-005. As I’ve been fitted many times in the past by them for putters, length was pretty much my standard 34.5. We did a little work to get the lie angle and loft correct for me though as it was a new putter head and style for me.
Miura… how much more needs to be said. A classic shape forged and milled from mild carbon steel that has a soft feel and just exudes a richness not found in other putters.
It’s a classic shape that’s doesn’t have all the newfangled alignment marks, high moi, white paint, roll grooves and inserts. For me, that’s all a pro but for some they might want it.
A classic shape designed by the “hands of god” Katsuhiro Miura. A putter that feels as great as it looks and inspires putting confidence when it’s in your hands.
Miura KM-005 1957 Series Putter
4* loft… up 1* from the 3* standard for Miura
72* lie angle…up 2* from the 70* standard for Miura
On initial inspection of the KM-005, for me it just exudes class all over it. Miura takes style to another level with all their clubs and the KM-005 screams it without flash and stampings all over to remind you what you bought in the first place. Even the sight line is left unpainted (although I did paint mine black). The only engraving you’ll see not on the sole is the gold M and tee signifying Miura’s logo in the cavity of the putter. On the sole is the 1957 Miura logo and simple KM-005 Forged engraved. 1957 signifying the year Katsuhiro Miura started in the golf business and also that the KM-005 is a limited edition putter series.
Miura calls the finish on the KM-005 “oiled chrome”. The “oiled” part isn’t seen until you bring it out in the sunlight. You don’t get the rainbows of color seen in some other finishes on the market but a deep, dark bronze/gold look that seems aged at the same time being brand spanking new. Since I’ve been using my KM-005 for a few months now, I’ve found the oiled chrome finish is not only gorgeous but extremely durable. It looks like it might be delicate but it looks pretty much like the day I got it. In fact, all the photo’s I’ve included in this review were just taken after using it constantly for the past months.
A feature I also noticed when I first saw the KM-005 which also made me want to try it was the shorter plumbers neck. Although there are many heel/toe weighted putters with plumbers necks, it’s pretty obvious to even the novice putter collector that no two are alike. Just read the putter forum for a minute and see the people argue Ansers and Newports and you’ll figure that out quickly!
The shorter plumbers neck in the KM-005 changes the toe hang to about almost 5 o’clock. It seems to fit in the middle of the usual plumbers neck length and a flow neck heel/toe weighted putter. It definitely changes the balance of the head when stroking.
The topline in the KM-005 also appears thicker than other heel/toe putters. It’s a feature I’ve always looked for and appreciate in putters.
The milling of the face is also different than most other putters. Not the typical circular mill marks that have become “de rigueur” but a tightly milled pattern that offers a bit of simplicity yet still shows a ton of craftsmanship behind it.
Overall, a beautiful putter that I can’t seem to tire from looking at.
The KM-005 putter is one of those putters that even before you roll it, you know it’s going to feel super. The looks alone of it resting behind the ball make you hear the angels warming up their voices ready to sing.
The shape of the KM-005 fits well behind the ball. The cavity helps to frame the ball and although the lack of huge gaudy alignment marks the shape alone is enough. The thicker topline for me works great in lining up my ball perpendicular to my target line as well. The whole look of the putter creates a beautiful picture behind the ball.
The KM-005 puts a great roll on the ball with a gentle click. The balance of the putter makes stroking the ball very effortless. I’ve told many friends when talking about putters, there are some you feel you need to be a bit more handsy or worry about turning the toe over and some that I simply call “instamatics”….point and shoot putters. The KM-005 is definitely one of those instamatics.
Rolling the ball smoothly is accomplished not by grooves, inserts or any of the plethora of new fangled inventions. Just a great balanced head that pulls you right back to the ball after your backstroke. You can get mad at yourself for missing a putt but the KM 005 is not easy to blame for the misses! Yes, every putter is usually not to blame but the KM-005 makes it harder.
Distance control was immediately achieved. There didn’t seem to be the normal break in period where I’d be on a putting green for an hour attempting to achieve different distances. Again this brings to mind the balance of the head and the instamatic overall nature of the putter.
Putter feel is sooooooooo subjective. I’ve been asked hundreds of times from guys who have messaged me regarding my “what’s in the bag” putters or in golf shops when I’m doing my normal one hour in a putting coral, “how does that putter feel???” Everyone’s sense of feel is different. Some like putters to have a clickier nature or a more muted feel like those with inserts. I myself have a roving feel. I wouldn’t have hundreds of putters if I could contain myself to one type of feel. Each putter has a different feel that makes it seem a bit different from another which in itself makes it hard for me to get rid of or immediately makes me never roll another ball with. For the same reason I’ve probably got forty plus 8802 styles, even duplicate heads, it’s weird to ME that none feel identical.
With that said…the feel of the KM-005 is one of those different heads. The feel that I’ve found in Miura putters is definitely different, just like the irons are. Miura forges the carbon steel of their putters like their irons. Each head is filled with history and craftsmanship that is unmatched by the masses.
The mild carbon steel seems to stick to the ball a millisecond longer than on other putter heads. The softness envelopes the ball and in the moment it takes the soft audible click to reach your ears, the face sends the ball in a gentle roll towards the hole. Without grooves or inserts, the milled face of the KM 005 sends the ball forward with a gentle feel that transfers to your hands so intuitively distance control is magnificently achieved.
Overall Bottom Line:
I feel the KM-005 is destined to be one of those milestone putters for Miura and for putter fans in general. The beautiful look, the graceful nature of the putter, the soft incredible feel that registers immediately in your mind will have you wanting for more immediately. Once you roll it, you will want to roll it again and again. For me it had an addictive feel to it where I stroked it and loved it so much, it was a purchase that quickly became necessity over just a want. The KM-005 easily matches up if not surpasses many of the putters made on the market.
The Miura KM-005 is a putter that you will treasure and inspire your putting confidence just by holding it in your hands. I highly recommend giving the Miura KM-005 a test roll.
Review: Optic Z Putters
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.
- 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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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?
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.
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.
Review: Directed Force Putters
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.
Often 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.
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.”
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?
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.
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.
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
Tester 1: Directed Force
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
Tester 2: Directed Force
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.
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.
Review: Toulon Design Putters
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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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