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WRX Spotlight: L.A.B. Golf BLaD Putter

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L.A.B. Golf putters have been a cult hit for quite some time now. They offer a unique fitting process designed by engineers to make sure each golfer get a putter build just for them—it’s called Lie Angle Balancing.

The company on Lie Angle Balancing:

“It’s perhaps best defined as the putter head’s ability to stay square through the ball during the putting stroke without any adjustments from your hands. The result — the body’s smaller and less reliable muscle groups relax, allowing a player’s stronger muscles to maintain control over swing speed and path. Lie-angle balancing creates a “pendulum-like” stroke with unmatched stability, ball direction and distance control.”

“Every putter we manufacture has our proprietary lie-angle balancing formula built-in, ensuring our players achieve the pure putting stroke they desire — and sink more putts!”

Their original design is the Directed Force now in version 2.1.

We all know that shape and appearance from address is almost as important as the fit itself so L.A.B. Golf has introduced its second design (now available in Stainless Steel) that offers all of the technology advances of Lie Angle Balancing but in a much smaller package.

This is the L.A.B. Golf BLàD.

Looks: When it comes to putters I’m all over the map, I’ve used everything from large mallets to traditional Anser-styles with success. Regardless of putter style one of the most important factors (for me)  is alignment and with my right eye dominance the shorter the line the better I set up. For me, the BLàD is VERY easy to line up because of if very squared-off look from address. If you prefer some onset then, this could be an even bigger winner. The sole shape is drafted in such a way that it wants to get square as soon as you set it down, and thanks to the lie angle fitting you should get with this putter is helps you get into the perfect position every time you address the ball.

Performance: Getting used to the feel of the stroke with the BLàD was interesting. It feels like the face really wants to stay online which is pretty cool. The putter also comes stock with its proprietary Press Grip that creates a forward press without having to adjust your natural setup—this also makes getting used to it a LOT easier.

Feel: This part is obviously going to be very subjective. I found that for me, even using a premium ball that it was a little firm. I think for many used to an insert putter it would take some getting used to but overall it’s by no means harsh—just SOLID. I think that if there was one thing that could be done to improve the sound, it would be the addition of traditional mill marks on the face to help damped the sound at impact.

Overall, I really like the L.A.B. BLàD design. It’s a straight forward looking putter packed with a bunch of well-engineered technology to help any golfer that goes through their fitting process the opportunity to drain more putts. If you are looking for more info on L.A.B. Golf, the BLáD putter, of the Direct Force design check out their website L.A.B. GOLF

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Ryan Barath is part of the Digital Content Creation Team for GolfWRX. He hosts the "On Spec" Podcast on the GolfWRX Radio Network which focuses on discussing everything golf, including gear, technology, fitting, and course architecture. He is a club-fitter & master club builder with more than 17 years of experience working with golfers of all skill levels, including PGA Tour players. He is the former Build Shop Manager & Social Media Coordinator for Modern Golf. He now works independently from his home shop and is a member of advisory panels to a select number of golf equipment manufacturers. You can find Ryan on Twitter and Instagram where he's always willing to chat golf, and share his passion for club building, course architecture and wedge grinding.

17 Comments

17 Comments

  1. Samuel Rainey

    Mar 27, 2020 at 1:34 pm

    Very solid putter. I have a DF 2.1 and love it but the Blad 1 is great feel look etc. doubters should watch videos on YouTube or LAB site on how this technology works

  2. HKO

    Aug 30, 2019 at 4:07 am

    grip is not installed correct

  3. JimmyRay

    Aug 28, 2019 at 6:23 pm

    I am also wondering how this technology differs from a well-fit center shaft putter like a Seemore or Edel…

  4. Samuel Rainey

    Aug 28, 2019 at 4:55 pm

    Get over the looks the Original DF 2.1 is strange but so was the Big Bertha compared to my persimmon driver but it worked so everyone flocked to it. Give it a chance the engineering is there. I haven’t tried the BLaD because I’m very happy with my 2.1 much more MOI on long putts.

  5. Milo

    Aug 28, 2019 at 4:20 pm

    Why does your comment system suck so much?

    • Tiger Noods

      Aug 28, 2019 at 6:11 pm

      Because this is a paid article, and they don’t like people saying how silly it is.

      • JP

        Aug 28, 2019 at 10:06 pm

        And the site owners/staff all get freebies from these companies…

      • Milo

        Aug 29, 2019 at 10:05 am

        I mean, kinja is better than this and that’s saying something.

  6. Eric Hutchens

    Aug 28, 2019 at 2:41 pm

    I would try it. Looks like SeeMore and Edel Brick made a baby!

    • Funkaholic

      Aug 28, 2019 at 4:06 pm

      My thoughts exactly! That’s not a bad thing.

  7. jm

    Aug 28, 2019 at 1:48 pm

    looks a lot like a seemore

  8. DB

    Aug 28, 2019 at 1:39 pm

    I like the idea of them having a blade option, but this is just too weird looking.

    Their mallet is huge but it at least has some flow to it and looks finished. The blade looks like an unfinished prototype or something. I’m not sure how to explain it.

  9. Tester

    Aug 28, 2019 at 1:17 pm

    The Lab Golf stuff is AMAZING! It nearly strokes itself. You literally have to mess it up. It would be nice for it to look a little better but THERE IS NO DOUBT IT WORKS. Quite possibly the best putter I have ever used…. and I even invented my own.

    • Frank Diaz

      Aug 28, 2019 at 5:54 pm

      What position at this company do you hold?

    • Adam

      Sep 6, 2019 at 8:20 am

      ” It nearly strokes itself.”

      Best comment by far

  10. BO BO

    Aug 28, 2019 at 12:33 pm

    $400 bucks for one of these monstrosities. The cost of golf equipment is starting to get ridiculous.

  11. JP

    Aug 28, 2019 at 11:45 am

    No thanks!

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What GolfWRXers are saying about the best “5-woods under $125”

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@golfexchangeapp

In our forums, our members have been discussing 5-woods, with WRXer ‘gary3aces’ looking for a 5-wood for between $100 and $125. He’s looking to replace his current “M2 5 wood with something a little easier to hit”, and our members have been discussing the best options in our forum.

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

  • C6 Snowboarder: “Take a look at a used Callaway Heavenwood in the Epic Flash model = pretty Friggen sweet. It is Heaven!”
  • Golf64: “Bang for the buck, hard to beat Cobra, but find Ping one of the easiest to hit off the deck. Since you are limited in the funds dept., maybe an older model Ping 5W would do the trick?!”
  • tilasan1: “G400 7 wood turned down or just use it as is.”
  • jbandalo: “Fusion fairways. Highly underrated, cheap, easy to hit and go for miles.”
  • RyanBarathWRX: “PING G fairway would be hard to beat and easily in price range:
  • Nelson.br.1515: “Another vote for the Callaway Big Bertha Fusion. Great stick!”

Entire Thread: Best 5-woods under $125″

 

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What GolfWRXers are saying about “blending Ping i500 irons with Blueprints”

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In our forums, WRXer ‘ballywho27’ has asked for thoughts on combining his current Ping i500 irons with the brand’s Blueprint irons. ‘Ballywho27’ is considering going “i500 in 3-4 iron and blueprint 5-W” and has asked for fellow member’s thoughts on the idea – who have been sharing their takes in our forum.

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

  • jblough99: “I had a combo set for a minute, 3-5 I500 and 6-PW Blueprint. I could not get used to the transition, HUGE difference in looks at address. If I had it to do over I would just go 4-PW Blueprint and maybe a 3 I500 with graphite shaft as a driving, iron.”
  • animalgolfs: “iBlade{5i} – BP{6i-pw}. That’s my combo.”
  • Chunky: “I have i500 4-5 and Blueprints 6-PW. As mentioned above, there is a significantly different look at address. More importantly for me, the i500s are 1/2 to 1 club longer than the BPs (they fly much higher, too). Make sure you account for that added i500 distance when blending lofts or you’ll have a large gap.”
  • howeber: “I’ve done that exact set — 3 and 4 i500 and 5-PW Blueprint. It’s perfect for me since the 3 and 4 are more like a traditional 2 and 3.5. 4 is usually the longest iron I carry, so I like a little extra oomph out of it. At the end of the day though, when I finally tested them vs my MP4s, the Blueprints performed identically, while the i500 launched a little higher (same specs same shafts). Mizzys are still in the bag.”

Entire Thread: “Blending Ping i500 irons with Blueprints”

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GolfWRX Vault: Avoid these 5 club building disasters

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It’s never too late to go back to basics, especially when it comes to club building.

Even with modern new club release cycles the do’s and don’ts of building clubs haven’t changed much in the last few decades except for clubs with adapter sleeves and greater amounts of multi-materials incorporated into the design.

With that in mind its time to revisit an article from the GolfWRX Vault from June 2016.

——————

I’ve been fitting and building golf clubs for more than 15 years, and in that time I’ve seen a lot of really poor workmanship—stuff that would make most GolfWRXers cringe. But like anyone who ever did anything new, I didn’t start being naturally good at putting together clubs. It took a lot of time, ruined components, and trial and error to get where I am today.

I believe my attention to detail now stems from the fact that my dad was a machinist by trade, and anytime we ever worked on something together his attitude was to take your time and do it right the first time. My dad’s approach always had an impact on me, because I feel that if you do something right — even when it takes a bit longer — the job is not only more satisfying but also makes things work better and last longer.

The goal with this article is to help WRXers avoid the most common mistakes and assumptions in club building that lead to broken or ruined clubs, as well as real danger.

Over-prepping a graphite shaft

The shaft on the left has been prepped properly. The one of the right, which has noticeable taper, shows signs that layers of graphite have been removed.

This happens far more than it should, and can ruin an expensive new shaft purchase. To prepare a shaft properly for installation, you only need to remove enough of the paint to make sure that the epoxy adheres to the graphite. This is also true for the inside of the hosel.

Be careful to remove residual epoxy, dirt or rust (common with forged carbon steel club heads that have been sitting around for a while), or some type or solvent like the one used to put on grips, as it can cause of bond to break down very quickly. A proper reaming tool, a wire brush and some compressed air (either a small can or a large air compressor) can make cleaning simple, and prevent a golf club from falling apart.

UPDATE: Over prepping specifically applies to shafts that are designed to go into parallel heads and is especially important for 335 shafts with less material at the tip going into drivers and fairway woods. For information on how to properly taper a shaft to go into a tapered head, check out the video below:

Overheating a Shaft When Pulling it

This is what happens to a graphite shaft when overheated.

This is what happens to a graphite shaft when overheated, and the resin holding the graphite sheets together breaks down. It’s not always as noticeable, but if the shaft starts to fray it means the bonds have been compromised and it’s more likely to fail. 

Overheating a shaft when pulling it is another common mistake that can result in ruining a golf shaft. It also highly increases the chance of breakage. There are quite a few methods I’ve learned over the years to remove a shaft from a club head, from heat guns to large propane torches, but personally I find that using a small butane torch with a regulator for graphite offers the best results. It allows a club builder to easily control and focus the heat only where it’s needed. Bigger torches are fine for iron heads, as long as you don’t damage any plastic badges in the cavity or materials in slots around the head.

One of the best advances in club technology has been the invention and mass adoption of adjustable hosels. They not only help golfers adjust the loft, lie and face angle of club heads, but have also greatly decreased the need to pull shafts. So as long as a golfer is staying with the same metal wood manufacturer, they can usually test several different clubs heads with the same shaft, or vice versa — several different shafts with the same clubhead.

That being said, one of the most important tools that any hobbyist club builder should have or have access to is a high-quality shaft puller. It’s a necessary tool for anyone who wants to do repairs and helps prevent damage to a shaft while pulling it. The more linear pressure that can be applied to the clubhead, and the less heat used to break down the epoxy, the better. It makes sure both the shaft and the head are reusable in the future. For steel shafts, you can use a bit more heat, and twisting isn’t a problem. Again, with increased heat, be careful not to damage any of the badging, or permanently discolor an iron head.

Botching a Grip Installation

Using calipers and two-sided tape, you can replicate the taper of shafts to makes every grip feel exactly the same size in your set.

Using calipers and two-sided tape, you can replicate the taper of shafts to makes every grip feel exactly the same size in your set.

This one seems simple, but when really getting down to professional level detail, it is quite important. We ALL have a preference and different opinion of what feels good in a golf grip, as well as different sensitivities. For example, we all have the ability to figure out what apple is bigger, even if blindfolded because over time we all develop brain function to understand shapes and sizes. This also applies to grips. If you use the same grips on your 13 clubs, you could potentially have 4-5 different final sizes depending on how many different types of shafts you use, because many shafts have different butt diameters.

Some shafts have larger butt diameters, while others taper faster than others. That’s why it’s very important to own a quality set of vernier calipers, and know how to properly use them. It’s also the same for putters, since many putter shafts are smaller in diameter. I have lost count of how many times I’ve had people bring me, putters, where the bottom half of the grip is twisting and turning because the installer never paid attention to the interior diameter of the grip, the exterior diameter of the shaft, and how it changed from top to bottom.

Using epoxy that’s doomed to fail

An example of epoxy that although not completely set, is no longer safe for assembling clubs.

An example of epoxy that although not completely set, is no longer safe for assembling clubs.

I’m a bit of a physics nerd and garage engineer, so this is one of those topics that goes beyond just the physical aspects of club building and into the realm of chemistry.

Here comes my nerd-out moment: In the simplest of explanations for a 0.335-inch driver hosel with an insertion depth of 1.25 inches, the amount of calculated surface area the epoxy can bond between the shaft and the head using the internal dimensions of the head is 1.49 square inches. That’s not a whole lot of area when you consider the centrifugal force being applied to a driver head traveling at 100 mph, and then the forces of torque that also come into play when a shot is struck.

In a PERFECT world, almost zero torque is applied to a shaft when a shot is hit on the center of gravity (CG) of the club head, perfectly aligned with the center mass of the ball, while traveling in the intended direction. This is vectors 101 of physics. Unfortunately, almost every single shot is NOT hit like that, and this is where the epoxy bond is put under the most amount of stress. Lap shear strength of epoxy goes beyond me, but it proves that building a golf club is not just cut and glue after all.

Note: For those of you curious, the most popular epoxies are rated for 4500 psi. 

As far are actually working with epoxy, first things first. Always check to see if the epoxy has a best-before date (yep, just like milk). Also, never store epoxy in direct sunlight. If you are using epoxy from a tube in a dispensing gun, you are using what is an almost foolproof method. Plunge out the necessary amount, mix for about a minute (mix! don’t whip), and remember, the less air that gets into the epoxy the better. If air gets in and the epoxy cures with bubbles in it, then you end up with a club that will often “creak.”

For those using two parts in larger bottles, the best way to ensure proper ratios is to pay attention to the weight ratio rather than volume. This isn’t arts and crafts; it’s chemistry, so by using the weight to calculate the ratio you will get the right amount of each part every time, and help decrease the risk of failure down the road. If you have mixed a larger batch and plan on building quite a few clubs at a time, you really have to pay attention to the consistency and viscosity as time goes on. You don’t want to glue a club head with epoxy that has started to set.

Turning an Extension into a Shank

The difference between a good shaft extension (bottom) and a bad one.

The difference between a good shaft extension (bottom) and a bad one.

This is one of those subjects I don’t even like to talk about. I very much dislike using extensions when building clubs, especially clubs with graphite shafts. Going back to my “do-it-right-the-first-time” mentality, extensions are a Band-Aid fix to a problem that requires surgery. They also counter-balance the club, and by their very nature create a weak point because of the small wall thickness at the butt end of a shaft. The only clubs I don’t mind extending on a regular basis are putters since they are never put under the same level of stress as a club being swung at full speed. I also never extend a club more than 1 inch, because I have been witness to horror stories of clubs that have been overextended that not only break but rip through the grip and cut people’s hands very badly.

If you are going to extend a club, it’s important to make sure the fit is very snug and doesn’t cause the extension to lean in any direction. It’s also best to have the epoxied extension cure with the club on its side to avoid an excess epoxy from running down the shaft and breaking off and causing a rattle.

 

 

 

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