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Putter Reviews

Review: Cleveland Classic Collection HB 1 Putter

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Pros: The Cleveland Classic HB 1 costs only $99, yet it offers the clean look and soft feel of more expensive putters. It’s available in two finishes, black pearl and the satin chrome.

Cons: No removable weights, but what do you expect for less than $100? The 340-gram head weight is trending on the light side for modern putters, particularly in the the 33- and 34-inch lengths.

Bottom Line: Have you read those stories about a tour pro pulling a putter out of a bucket, putting it in play and playing their best golf? The Cleveland Classic HB 1 is not a bucket putter, but it just might be the one that pulls your game up when you need it. You don’t need to save up for one of these, so if you’re desperate to try something the Classic Collection putters are a great place to start.

Overview

The HB 1 Black Pearl has a plumber’s neck hosel, in contrast to the other cavity-back blades in the line, the slant-neck HB 4.5 model and flare-neck HB 7. Other models in the line include a half-mallet HB 2 (think Phil Mickelson’s putter), the HB 6, which is a more traditional mallet with a double-bend shaft, an HB 3 (think Ping Zing) and the HB 10, a mallet with a plumber’s neck.

The HB 1 comes in three shaft lengths (33, 34 and 35 inches). It comes stock with a 70-degree lie angle and a 3 degrees of loft. The head weighs in at 340 grams and the grip adds an additional 60 grams to overall weight. The HB 1 comes in left and right-handed models. A black head cover (the type that cloaks the head from toe to hosel, and seals with velcro) comes standard.

Performance

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I suspect (but cannot prove) that the Cleveland Classic HB 1 Black Pearl is one of the most solid blocks of metal on the business end of a putter. Try as I might, I could not find a hot spot nor a weak one. Mind you, aberrant toe and heel hits will certainly result in diminished returns, but any strike near the center line will come off with consistency.

In this age of metrics, equipment companies use numbers to differentiate their product lines from the competition. In the case of the HB 1 putter, this involves a curious elaboration of the lie, loft and weight numbers on the sole of the club. Other than drivers and wedges, loft and lie of clubs matters little to not-at-all to the vast majority of golfers.

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Don’t be distracted by the words “face milled” on the heel of the putter face. Face milling is nice, but it is used to cover a cast head. Truly high-end putters are 100 percent milled from a single block of steel. If given a choice between face-milled or not, I’ll gladly take the face milled. If Cleveland offered a 100-percent milled HB 1, I might be even more impressed with the putter. But then again, the manufacturing process would likely drive the price up two or three times its current amount: a huge price to pay for a putter that may or may not feel any better than the HB 1.

Looks and Feel

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One thing that I like about this golf club is the top-to-bottom consistency in color choices. The only things not black or white are the shaft, the shaft label (gold writing) and the word “Golf” on the back of the club face (unseen at address). The grip is primarily black, with a white-piped Cleveland logo near the top. The club head is all black, save for the white alignment line and the word “Cleveland” on the rear of the club face (also unseen at address). This minimalist consistency strikes a chord with me; unlike many of the futuristic mallet putters on the market, the HB 1 Black Pearl offers no visual distractions. Nothing sidetracks the eye from the grip and the putter head. Nothing distracts your eye from the task at hand.

The Winn grip issued standard on the HB 1 Black Pearl is very comfortable. It is soft (but not mushy) and tacky due to its cross-hatched line pattern. Avoiding the slickness of a smooth grip, the Winn grip emulates the milled face of this putter, suggesting that you will hold this club firmly, with great stability. The putter head consists of simple lines. Nothing is obscured by the plumber’s neck hosel and the single white alignment line serves to give the eye something to fix upon, contrasting with the blackness of the club head.

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Perhaps the best adjective to describe the HB 1 club head is soft. There is no clunky feel at the moment of head-ball contact, nor is there a sound of any discernible volume. The gentle click at impact might be likened to the hiccup of Cindy Lou Who during a midnight water scamper; you hear nothing! For those who need some clatter at point of contact, this might prove to be a negative. For those who treasure the empty feeling of a sweet-spot strike, this putter should merit consideration for bag inclusion.

Takeaway

The price point of the Cleveland Classic HB 1 Black Pearl is far beneath the cost of typical tour-model putters. If you like this club as much as I did, it will enjoy a lengthy stay in your bag. What we don’t know is how long the grip will last, keep in mind two things: the softer the grip, the less durable it is. However, since putting involves little of the torque found in the full swing, this Winn grip should wear down much slower.

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My suggestion is the same with all putters: test it out, leave it, test it a second time, leave it. If you still love it the third time out, buy it. A ben franklin is not a casual bill to drop, but it’s money well spent in the case of the HB 1 Black Pearl.

[wrx_buy_now oemlink=”http://www.clevelandgolf.com/US_classic-collection-hb-1-black-pearl-putter__cchb_1_bpputter__viewProd_putters.html” oemtext=”Learn more from Cleveland Golf” amazonlink=”http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00NUS90HS/ref=as_li_qf_sp_asin_il_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=B00NUS90HS&linkCode=as2&tag=golfwrxcom-20&linkId=LL76442OSHW2MNKK”]

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Ronald Montesano writes for GolfWRX.com from western New York. He dabbles in coaching golf and teaching Spanish, in addition to scribbling columns on all aspects of golf, from apparel to architecture, from equipment to travel. Follow Ronald on Twitter at @buffalogolfer.

26 Comments

26 Comments

  1. Mike J

    May 10, 2015 at 4:08 am

    Ron,
    In terms of “apples to apples”, would you say this is Cleveland’s equivalent of a Ping Karsten TR Anser 2? I know their is a 5g different in weight, but wanted your opinion.

    Thanks,
    Mike

  2. X

    Feb 28, 2015 at 4:37 am

    I live in Okinawa, Japan and just picked up this putter in left hand from the used section at 5 Golf Shop for 2,900 yen ($25). I give it 9/10 in condition. There isn’t a scratch on it! This putter feels great on my hands. I currently have an Odyssey in my bag, but I will giving the Cleveland lots of use. GO GET THIS PUTTER!! SACE SOME MONEY!!!

  3. Mark

    Jul 30, 2014 at 11:30 pm

    I got one the other day now when theirs a four mtr putt ppl say its in the cup I haven’t missed too many love this putter all I see is a white line that doesn’t miss and at the cup it goes love it

  4. Pingback: Cleveland Golf's HB1 Putter Big Add to Your Bag? - nextgengolf

  5. Jeff Moline

    Jun 5, 2014 at 1:53 pm

    I’m heading to the golf store after work to pick up the HB 1. Matching it with either the Super Stroke 2.0 or 3.0. Thank you everyone for the great comments and recommendations.

  6. Frank

    May 2, 2014 at 7:20 am

    I am a Ping putter fan, hb1 far exceeded my expectations, I played 2 balls 2 putters. I like the heavier feel of the hb1 and very well balanced, sorry karsten! Hb1 is def a smart buy, ” livin large at half the price”

  7. JO

    Feb 2, 2014 at 12:29 am

    I purchased this putter earlier today at the DC Golf Show! I fell in love with it a few weeks ago at Golfsmith, and I was excited to see it reviewed so favorably on WRX.

    • Ronald Montesano

      Feb 19, 2014 at 10:03 pm

      I just returned from five rounds in Pinehurst and putted nearly lights-out with it. Great roll and perfect feel, which gave me great confidence.

  8. Pingback: Cleveland’s HB1 Putter Big Add to Your Bag? |

  9. Potty Cameron

    Jan 11, 2014 at 12:13 am

    That is a solid looking putter at a fraction of the cost of those overpriced cameron products. Sadly, people will continue to over pay for those camerons while potty cameron runs to the bank!

    • Ronald Montesano

      Jan 11, 2014 at 5:19 pm

      Potty Cameron,

      Thank you for your contribution. The putter feels as solid as it looks. As always, the right putter in the right hands is a dangerous weapon! If you save some money for green fees, bonus time!!

  10. Rob

    Jan 10, 2014 at 11:23 am

    I picked up an HB1 in satin chrome last year for about $80, and it was a pretty good buy. I put a Super Stroke mid-slim 2.0 grip on and it’s a steady putter overall. I agree that there really isn’t a hot spot or weak spot, but just a pretty good feel as long as you don’t heel it too badly.

    This is by no means a Scotty or any other $300+ putter, but it’s not bad on fast greens and a nice addition to the collection.

    • Ronald Montesano

      Jan 10, 2014 at 5:07 pm

      Key word is “collection.” Most golfers have experienced the ups and downs of a particular putter. They’re easy to swap in and out, and some people actually sell their used putters for us to buy. Nice price you got, Rob. Excellent observations.

  11. Ronald Montesano

    Jan 9, 2014 at 4:57 pm

    The voice of the people has spoken! Thanks, LiveWire, for your input. Simple, clean lines and off you go. Well said.

  12. A

    Jan 9, 2014 at 4:24 pm

    Nice long-ish neck. Looks good. Their face milling feels awesome in everything, so this should be great.

    • Ronald Montesano

      Jan 9, 2014 at 4:51 pm

      I like those observations, A. The long neck distances the apparently-small-but-not-really club head from the eyes, giving it a bit more size. It’s in my bag!

  13. CB712

    Jan 9, 2014 at 3:26 pm

    It is a great putter Newport 2 style looks great! Way underrated!

    • Ronald Montesano

      Jan 9, 2014 at 4:52 pm

      I’d like to swing the chrome model, to see if its head looks larger than the black one. I suspect its appearance would confirm that supposition.

  14. Merty Huckle

    Jan 9, 2014 at 2:15 pm

    sightline only? No thanks.

  15. Joel

    Jan 9, 2014 at 12:27 pm

    I got the pretty similar black belly the other day to cut down for a “near belly” counterbalance thing, and just received my never compromise gambler flush the other day and I couldn’t be happier with both of them. Cleveland putters deserve way more credit then they often get, especially at the price they offer them.

    • Ronald Montesano

      Jan 9, 2014 at 4:54 pm

      Interesting tactic to employ, Joel. Keep us posted on how the cut-down works out. Agreed: can’t beat the price.

  16. LiveWire

    Jan 9, 2014 at 12:10 pm

    Love this putter. I have 2 Cleveland putters, and 1 Sub 30. The craftsmanship, weight, and design of the classic is great. I’m not one for flashy or spaceship looking designs as I believe they detract from my putting. A design like this is perfect for admiring results not fancy milling or paint work.

    • Ronald Montesano

      Jan 10, 2014 at 5:06 pm

      The voice of the people has spoken! Thanks, LiveWire, for your input. Simple, clean lines and off you go. Well said.

    • Shep

      Mar 3, 2014 at 12:26 am

      I totally agree with you. I went and tried the cleveland smart square putter but I found myself focusing too much on the squares. I then tried the hb1 chrome. I liked it alot. I was more accurate and more focused on making contact with the ball.

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Putter Reviews

WRX Spotlight Review: T Squared TS-713i Standard Series putter

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Product:  T Squared TS-713i Standard Series Putter

About T Squared: T Squared Putters is a small putter manufacturer just south of Buffalo, New York. The company was founded by Tony Tuber who created his first prototype putters, after hours, in his father’s machine shop. Since then Tony and his father have been creating high-quality putters in the same facility that creates high precision instruments for the medical field. They pride themselves on creating the highest quality, most precise putter they can offer. They offer a few different head shapes from small traditional blades to high MOI mallets and even a custom program to get exactly what you want.

The Ts-713i Standard Series is based on the Ts-713, the first prototype that Tony created. It is a blade-style putter with a slightly longer flange and a unique face insert milled from 6061 aluminum. The body of the Ts713i is milled from a solid block of 303 stainless steel that is produced in the USA and has a Teflon backing between the body and face insert.

This Teflon backing helps give the putter a softer feel at impact and reduce any unwanted vibration. Details are what T Squared is all about and the neck of the putter shows off their milling expertise. The neck is similar to a plumbers neck, built with multiple pieces and offering some cool texture on the section bonded to the head. Another great detail is that all the silver markings on the putter are not filled with paint, they are milled into the head. T Squared finished the head in a sharp matte black and then milled all the markings on the putter for a unique, shiny silver look that really stands out. Ts-713i putters are built for customizing and have a ton of options that you can select if you would like to build something totally unique

On the green, the T Squared TS-713i really performs fantastic. I found the feel at impact very solid without any unwanted vibration. The impact produces a muted click and soft feel that I wasn’t expecting from this aluminum insert and thin face. The deep milling and Teflon coated back to the insert really work together to produce a great, responsive feel that I enjoyed. Deep milling usually makes me a little worried because it can soften the putter too much and lose that feel we all demand.

The TS-713i has no issues and transmits impact feel back to your hands with ease. Mishits are a little louder and harsh, but nothing even close to unpleasant. I have used putters that don’t feel as good on perfectly struck shots as the TS-713i feels on mishit putts. Distance and accuracy on those mishit putts are not as drastic as you would expect with a blade putter. I often just missed the cup by small margins when I struck a putt on the toe or heel of the TS-713i. There aren’t too many blade putters that have shown this level of forgiveness on the green for me.

The “T” alignment aid on the flange of the putter is large and easy to use. Not only do you get a straight line from the face to the back edge for alignment, but the back of the “T” also helps you square the putter up to your target. The Pure grip is not my thing, and it would be great for T Squared to offer a few more options, but that is an easy fix and a very minor criticism.

Overall, the T Squared TS-713i is a great putter from young Tony Tuber that exceeded my expectations. His attention to detail, precision milling, and take on a classic head shape offer golfers something different without sacrificing any performance. If you are looking for a great feeling putter that is made in the USA, you should take a look at T Squared and see what they can make for you.

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Equipment

WRX Spotlight: Toulon Design San Diego Stroke Lab putter

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Product: Toulon Design San Diego Stroke Lab putter

Pitch: From Odyssey/Toulon: “The Odyssey Toulon San Diego Stroke Lab Putter is our take on on another classic putter. It’s an expertly crafted, premium milled blade, with our multi-material Stroke Lab Shaft, deep diamond milled cross hatch grooves, and a new Charcoal Smoke finish.”

Our take on the Toulon Design San Diego Stroke Lab putter

Toulon is the line of all milled putters from Odyssey, originally started by club designer Sean Toulon and his sons. Toulon putters have always featured their Deep Diamond Mill face, adjustable sole weight, and brazed (instead of welded) necks. That combination has created a great putter line that has become popular on tour as well as us amateur players. For 2019, there are some new head shapes, Charcoal Smoke Finish, Deep Diamond Milling across the whole face, and the Stroke Lab putter shaft.

I got my hands on the Toulon San Diego, a more squared-off blade shape, for this review. The shape, milling, and finish on the San Diego are great and really show off what a high quality piece it is. The biggest change visually is the full Deep Diamond Mill face, making the view from address more uniform. The face used to have the milling only in the center of the face and to some that was a distracting look while others liked the way it framed the ball. The new finish also looks great. I always have liked darker finishes and this looks high end while still reducing glare in the brightest conditions.

The Stroke Lab shaft goes well with the finish on the San Diego and the head cover is a plush synthetic leather that feels like it will hold up for years of use.

On the green the San Diego SL has a crisp sound and feel. If you like a little more click to your putter, then the San Diego SL will be right what you are looking for. And don’t take that as a negative thing, that crisp feel gives great feedback on face contact. You know exactly where the putter face and ball met by the sound and feel. The Deep Diamond Mill gets the ball rolling quickly on line with very minimal hop and skid, providing very consistent and repeatable distance control.

This is blade, so shots off the toe to tend to stray from your intended line a bit, the face does seem like it wants to rotate open a bit. Heel strikes defiantly stay online better, but tend to lose more steam and net get the roll out you might expect. The simple alignment line on the flange of the putter is easy to align, even for a guy who has been using mallets for years.

Like I have said before, I think there is something to the Stroke Lab tech, the lighter shaft and weight in the butt of the shaft do affect tempo for me; I noticed a slight calming of my backstroke and stroke through the ball.

Overall, the San Diego is a great putter for those who like a little firmer feel and more audible click on their putter. It is very responsive and putts a great roll on the ball. This isn’t a cheap putter ($450) and the fit and finish let you know that you are getting what you paid for.

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Putter Reviews

WRX Spotlight Review: Miura MGP-NM1 Putter

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Product: Miura MGP-NM1 putter

Pitch: Limited to 300 pieces, the Miura MGP-NM1 is Miura’s first 303 stainless steel putter. Its appearance is in keeping with the bolder designs of the Miura Giken family.

Our take on the Miura MGP-NM1 putter

Miura Giken has become the brand where Miura can push some limits and try out designs and technology not really fit for the standard Miura line. And if doing something new and different is what Miura Giken is about, then the MGP-NM1 fits like a glove. When most people think of Miura, they think forged carbon steel and traditional, old school shapes. The MGP-NM1 is a long ways from that, being milled from 303 stainless steel, having adjustable weights and milled stepped pockets in the sole.

If you love mill marks, then the MBG-NM1 will fulfill all our needs because the head is covered with them. I really liked the top line where the mill marks go front to back but then get much finer around the alignment line. If you look close the milling is still there, but just much finer. It works great along with the alignment lines on the “fangs.” The MGP-NM1 is a great size: large enough to give you confidence that a mishit will stay online, but not too big to be distracting. Like most putters with this (Odyssey No. 7)  shape, it frames the ball really well and looks great to my eye. The way the shaft goes into the head is for sure unique, it is straight from address but does drop down into the head.

I will get my one con on this putter out of the way early: the way the shaft goes into the head from address. I love the shape of the head, but the way the shaft enters the head makes it harder for me to line up. At address you can see the the top line of the putter on both sides of the shaft and for some that might be helpful, but it took me a long time to get comfortable with my alignment. Also, the head cover isn’t up to standard for a putter in this price range.

But the good of this putter really outweighs that bad. The putter  feels and sounds great, much like the Miura KM-009 reviewed previously. Feel is very solid with, to me, the perfect amount of click on impact. There might be just a slight bit of vibration on contact, but very minimal and will probably vary with the ball you play. Contact on the toe and heel really stay on target well; you can tell this mallet has a fairly high MOI. Like any responsive putter should do, this really provides good feedback on mishits. Toe and heel shots are not punished as much as you would think, the ball still rolls out well with minimal distance loss. That solid, soft Miura feel really does come through with this putter.

Overall, I think the Miura Giken MGP-NM1 is a really great way for a mallet user to put a Miura putter into the bag.

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