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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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Whats in the Bag

Anirban Lahiri WITB 2020

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  • WITB accurate as of January 2020

Driver (two models): Titleist TS3 (9.5 degrees, D4 SureFit setting)
Shaft: Aldila Rogue Silver 130 M.S.I. 60 TX

anirban-lahiri-witb-2020

3-wood: Callaway Epic Flash (15 degrees, DS OptiFit setting)
Shaft: Mitsubishi Tensei CK Pro Blue 70 TX

anirban-lahiri-witb-2020

5-wood: Ping G410 (17.5 degrees)
Shaft: Mitsubishi Tensei CK Pro Blue 80 TX

anirban-lahiri-witb-2020

Hybrid: PXG 0317 X (22 degrees)
Shaft: Mitsubishi MMT UT 105 TX

anirban-lahiri-witb-2020

Irons: Srixon Z 785 (4), Srixon Z 945 (5-PW)
Shafts: Nippon N.S. Pro Modus3 Tour 120 X

Wedges: Titleist Vokey Design SM7  (50-12M)
*We were unable to photograph Lahiri’s other wedges

Putter: Toulon Design Austin Stroke Lab

Putter: OnOff Prototype

 

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A Deep Dive: The equipment timeline of David Duval, 1993-2001

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Like Tiger, David Toms, and Fred Couples there are certain players that I have been obsessed with for years. If you go to my Instagram, you can see it in plain sight. When it comes to DD it was more than the what, it was the why, the how that sparked my curiosity. Let’s face it, in 2000 with the Mossimo gear, Oakley shades, jacked-up physique, and on Titleist staff, was there ever a cooler looking player?

No. There wasn’t or isn’t.

That’s where my interest in Larry Bobka came about. I saw David and Larry walking the fairways of Sahalee at the ’98 PGA Championship.

At the time, I was already knee-deep in David Duval fandom but that experience took me over the top. Bobka had a handful of clubs in his hands and would pass DD a 970 3-wood, Duval would give it a rip and the two would discuss while walking down the fairway. Of all my time watching live golf, I have never been so awestruck.

This is an homage to David’s equipment during his prime/healthy years on the PGA Tour. From his early days with Mizuno, into the Titleist days, and finally Nike.

1993-1995 Mizuno

*This was an interesting time for Duval from an equipment standpoint. The pattern of mixing sets to put together his bag began and it was the time he transitioned from persimmon (Wood Bros driver) into metal woods. It was also the beginning of his long relationship with Scotty Cameron, a relationship that still stands today.

What was in the bag

Driver: TaylorMade Tour Burner 8.5 w/ Dynamic Gold X100 (*he also played with the Bubble XHKP Prototype)

3-wood

King Cobra @14 w/ Dynamic Gold X100

TaylorMade Tour Issue Spoon @13  w/ Dynamic Gold X100

Irons

1993: (1) Ping Eye2, (3-PW) Mizuno Pro TN-87 with Dynamic Gold X100

1994: (1) Ping Eye2, (3-PW) Mizuno Pro TN-87 with Dynamic Gold X100

1995: (2,3) Mizuno TC-29, (4-PW) Mizuno TN-87 with Dynamic Gold X100

Wedges: Mizuno Pro (53, 58) with Dynamic Gold X100

Putter: Scotty Cameron Classic Newport (35 inches, 71 lie, 4 degrees of loft)

Ball: Titleist Tour Balata 100

Glove: Mizuno Pro

1996-2000 Titleist

The beginning of the Titleist years started off quietly. There wasn’t any new product launched and David wasn’t quite the star he would become 12-18 months later. However, it gave Titleist the opportunity to get to know DD and his overall preferences, which aren’t dramatic but certainly unique. He didn’t win in 1996 but did qualify for the Presidents Cup Team and finished that event off at 4-0. So the buzz was going in the right direction and his peers certainly took notice.

It was 1997 that things took off on all fronts and it was the year that Titleist made David Duval the face of the DCI brand and with that decision spawned the greatest cast players cavity ever: the 962B—and also equipped David Duval to go on a 3-year run that was surpassed by only Tiger Woods.

Hence the deep dive article I wrote up earlier this month

What was in the bag

Driver

1996

TaylorMade Bubble Tour 8.5 w/ Bubble XHKP Prototype

1997

TaylorMade Bubble Tour 8.5 w/ Bubble XHKP Prototype

King Cobra Deep Face 9 w/ Dynamic Gold X100

Callaway Warbird Great Big Bertha 6.5 w/ Dynamic Gold X100, True Temper EI70 Tour X

Titleist 975D 6.5 (no line heavier head weight) w/ Fujikura Prototype X

1998

Callaway Warbird Great Big Bertha 6.5 w/ True Temper EI70 Tour X

Titleist 975D 6.5 (no line heavier head weight) w/ True Temper EI70 Tour X

1999: Titleist 975D 6.5 (no line heavier head weight) @ 7.5 w/ True Temper EI70 Tour X

2000: Titleist 975D 7.5 (no line heavier head weight) w/ True Temper EI70 Tour X

3-wood

1996

King Cobra @14 w/ True Temper Dynamic Gold X100

1997 

King Cobra @14 w/ True Temper Dynamic Gold X100

1998

Callaway S2H2 (1 Dot) @14 w/ Fujikura Vista Pro 90X


Callaway Steelhead 3+ @13 w/ RCH 90 Pro Series Strong

Titleist 970 (Dark Grey Head) @13 w/ True Temper EI70 Tour X (only tested this one)

1999

Callaway S2H2 (1 Dot) @14 w/ Fujikura Vista Pro 90X

Cobra Gravity Back 14.5T w/ True Temper EI70 Tour X

Irons

1996

(2-PW) Titleist DD Blank Prototype w/ True Temper Dynamic Gold X100 (w/sensicore)

(2-PW) Titleist DCI Black “B” w/ True Temper Dynamic Gold X100 (w/sensicore)

*This prototype set was a blank set of the DCI Black “B” but with sole modifications. 

1997, 1998, 1999, 2000: (2,3) Titleist DCI Black (4-PW) Titleist DCI 962B w/ True Temper Dynamic Gold X100 (with sensicore)

*David liked the original prototype version of DG Sensicore X100 that had weight removed from the center of shaft to create better feel and a slightly higher trajectory

24 Feb 2000: David Duval watches the ball after hitting it during the World Match-Play Championships at the La Costa Resort & Spa in Carlsbad, California. Mandatory Credit: Harry How /Allsport

Wedges

1996: (52 @53, 58) Mizuno Pro, (56 @57) Cleveland 588 RTG w/ True Temper Dynamic Gold S400

1997: (53) Cobra “Trusty Rusty”, (57 @58) Cleveland 588 RTG, (58) Titleist Bobka Grind, (57 @58) Cobra Trusty Rusty w/ True Temper Dynamic Gold S400

1998: (53) Cobra “Trusty Rusty”, (57 @58) Cleveland 588 RTGw/ True Temper Dynamic Gold S400

1999: (53) Cobra “Trusty Rusty”, (57 @58) Cleveland 588 RTG w/ True Temper Dynamic Gold S400

2000: (53) Cobra “Trusty Rusty”, (57 @58) Cleveland 588 “Gun Metal” w/ True Temper Dynamic Gold S400

PUTTER

1996: Scotty Cameron Classic Newport 1 35 Inches, 71 Lie, 4 Degrees of Loft, Scotty Cameron Long Slant Neck Laguna Custom (double welded neck)

1997: Odyssey Dual Force Rossie 2, Scotty Cameron Pro Platinum Newport “Beached”  35 Inches, 71 Lie, 4 Degrees of Loft w/ PingMan “Blacked Out” Grip

1998, 1999, 2000: Scotty Cameron Pro Platinum Newport “Beached”  35 Inches, 71 Lie, 4 Degrees of Loft w/ PingMan “Blacked Out” Grip

2001: Nike Golf and The Open Championship

The relationship with Titleist Golf ended quickly and when David showed up to Kapalua with a non-Titleist stand bag the rumor mill went nuts. The story (although super speculative) was that David opted out in the middle of a $4.5 million per year deal with Acushnet, a lawsuit followed, but Davids’s stance was that he had a marquee player clause that allowed him to walk if he wasn’t “marquee” aka highest-paid.

Apparently he had a point, Acushnet had recently inked big deals with Davis Love and Phil Mickelson leading someone on the outside to do the math. However, I’m not an attorney, wasn’t there, and have no clue what the legality of any of it was. Point is, he walked and landed at Nike with a new head-to-toe contract. 

 

DRIVER:

Titleist 975D 7.5 (no line heavier head weight) w/ True Temper EI70 Tour X

Titleist 975E Prototype 8.5 w/ True Temper EI70 Tour X

Nike Titanium w/ True Temper EI-70 II Tour X (pictured below)

Nike Titanium Prototype 7.5 w/ True Temper EI70 Tour X (featured image)

3 WOOD:

Callaway Steelhead Plus 4+ @15 w/ RCH 90 Pro Series Strong

Nike Prototype @14 degrees w/ True Temper EI-70 Tour X

Sonartec/Excedo (SS-03 head) Driving Cavity @14 w/ Fujikura Vista Pro 90X

IRONS:

(2-PW) Titleist 990B w/ True Temper Dynamic Gold X100  (with sensicore)

(2-PW) Nike Prototype “DD” Grind MB w/ True Temper Dynamic Gold X100 (with sensicore)

(2) Titleist DCI Black w/ True Temper Dynamic Gold X100  (with sensicore)

 

WEDGES: 

(53) Cobra “Trusty Rusty”, (57 @58) Cleveland 588 “Gun Metal” w/ True Temper Dynamic Gold S400

(53,58) Nike DD Grind w/ True Temper Dynamic Gold S400

PUTTER: Scotty Cameron Pro Platinum Newport “Beached”  35 Inches, 71 Lie, 4 Degrees of Loft w/ PingMan “Blacked Out” Grip

SPEC TALK

Over the years the one constant was David’s iron and wedge specs. As a shut-faced player he has always favored traditional lofts in his irons. However, a cool thing to note is his lie angles remained constant 59.5 (2-4), 60 (5-9). The running theory here was being a shallow (low hands) and shut faced player, keeping the lie angles at a constant (flatter) lie angle allowed him to feel like his angle of attack could remain the same for each iron. It’s just a feeling but that’s what he did. If the “why of it” is true, it looks like he was doing Bryson things before Bryson did.

David Duval Iron/Wedge Specs

Loft/Lie/Length/SW

  • 2-17/59.5/40.25/D5
  • 3-20.5/59.5/39 1/6/D4
  • 4-24/59.5/38 9/16/D4
  • 5-27/60/38 1/16/D4
  • 6-30.5/60/ 37 9/16/D4
  • 7-35/60/37 1/16/D4
  • 8-39/60/36 9/16/D4
  • 9-43/60/36 5/16/D4
  • P-47/61/36/ 1/16/D5
  • GW-53/62/35 5/8/D4
  • LW-58/62/35 9/16/D6

Whew…since this prolific run, David transitioned into some interesting projects with smaller companies like Scratch, B.I.G Golf (AKA Bio-engineered in Germany), back to the mainstream with Nike, and most currently Cobra Golf.

I hope you all enjoyed this walk down memory lane with me, Duval is not only fascinating from a career standpoint but digging into the equipment of DD has been quite the experience.

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“Why can’t I hit my new irons to a consistent distance?” – GolfWRXers have their say

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In our forums, our members have been discussing irons and how to hit your numbers consistently. WRXer ‘Hubb1e’, who is a 15 handicap, is having issues and says:

“I recently upgraded from 20 year old Taylor Made 360 irons to a set of custom-built Callaway Apex 19 Forged irons. Old irons were traditional cavity back. New irons are categorized as players distance irons. Both have the same fit.

My new 3 iron will go 230 yards or 130 yards and not even make it far enough to reach the fairway. My new 7 iron will typically go 160 yards but will often will fly 175 yards or drop out of the air at 120 yards. I can’t control the distances of my new irons, and I spent a fortune custom fitting them to my swing. Why is this happening? This was never an issue with my old irons. A bad hit would go 10-20% shorter, but I never had balls fly over the green or completely fall out of the air. What is going on with my new equipment?”

Our members offer up their solutions 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.

  • ThreeBoxers: “Strike quality is your answer. Tech or no tech, irons will not have 50-yard distance discrepancies. Not super familiar with the Apex irons, but they’re pretty forgiving no? You might lose 10 yards on toe or heel strikes but 40, 50? You’re probably hitting it heavy. If they have a beveled edge, it may mask the feeling of hitting it fat a bit, but not the result. My Mizunos have a pretty aggressive front edge grind which helps a ton on heavy shots. It’s the difference between landing 15 yards short and 50 yards short. +1 on using foot spray to check impact.”
  • extrastiff: “It also would not hurt to check your swing speed. Even strike being terrible that’s a large discrepancy. Maybe your last build had a weight that helped you get consistent swing speed.”
  • WristySwing: “I would say inconsistent strike is the biggest issue. Now that can mean a couple of things. It could mean you, as in the person swinging, are not hitting the ball properly because of inconsistent delivery. The other option is the fit is bad, and it is causing you to be extremely inconsistent because you cannot feel the head. It might be a little bit of column A and column B. However, I would lean more towards column A in this scenario because even a horrifically misfit set someone could get used to it eventually and not have 100 yards of discrepancy in carry shot to shot. I’ve seen people who are playing 50g ladies flex irons with fat wide soles who are very shallow and swing a 6i 92mph still not have 100 yards of carry flux with their sets. If your miss is toe-side 9/10x that is because you are coming too far from the inside. When you get too stuck on the inside you typically stall and throw your arms at it. When you break your wrists (flip)/throw your arms at it you get a very inconsistent low point average that often manifests in extremely fat or thin strikes….typically fat since your squat and rotate is out of sync with your release. As others have said, get some impact tape/foot powder spray and see where you are actually making contact. Then if you can get on a video lesson and see what the issue is. As of right now, we can all only assume what is going on. If your low point control is good, you don’t get stuck, and you are hitting it in the middle of the head — then fit comes into question.”
  • larryd3: “I”d be on the phone to my fitter and setting up a time to go back in and see what’s going on with the irons. You shouldn’t be getting those types of results with a properly fit set of irons. When I got my fitting earlier this year at TrueSpec, the fitter, after watching me hit a bunch with my current irons, focused on increasing the spin on my irons, not on distance but on consistency. So far, they seem to be working well when I put a decent swing on them.”
  • fastnhappy: “One possibility that wouldn’t necessarily show up indoors is sole design and turf interaction. You may have a real problem with the newer clubs because of a sole design that doesn’t work for your swing. That’s hard to tell when hitting inside off a mat. If so, you’d see major distance inconsistency because of strike. The feedback I’ve seen on the players distance irons is exactly what you’re describing… difficult to control distance.”

Entire Thread: “Why can’t I hit my new irons to a consistent distance?”

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