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Putter Reviews

The Big Review – Yes! Golf Donna Putter

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Winners of two majors and countless US and European PGA titles, Yes! Golf putters are a common sight in the bags of both professionals and amateurs.

As well as being one of the acknowledged inventors of grooved faces on putters, Yes! were also one of the first putter manufacturers to make heavier putters available to retail. A grooved face on a putter stops the ball skidding and bouncing in the first few feet after impact, a common cause of misses even on for putts that are struck on line, while the heavier head promotes a smoother and more consistent putting stroke.

Yes! Golf’s proprietary C-grooves get the ball rolling faster by simultaneously lifting the ball out of its resting place and imparting top spin. Normally a putter would need 4 or more degrees of loft to lift the ball out of the dent that it makes on the green and this loft produces a small but significant amount of backspin. While this sounds a little implausible, you need to understand that when a stationary golf ball is hit, it takes a little distance before it is rolling across the surface of the green. During this time, the ball will catch any imperfections on the green and move offline then when the ball is rolling normally as it is able to roll over the top of any tiny obstacles.

With the C-grooves, the ball is forced upwards even on a flat strike due to the grooves having a 20 degree upward slant. This means that Yes! putters can have much less loft on them than you would normally see, typically around 2 to 3 degrees. While this might seem like so much technical guff, the proof of the effectiveness of grooves can be seen on the putting green and by the fact that other manufacturers like TaylorMade and Gel are also putting grooves on the faces of their putters.

Prior to hybrid designs like the Donna, golfers were forced to choose between the easier to align (and consequently more accurate) anser style putter and the more forgiving and normally higher MOI mallet putter. The Donna is designed to be the best of both worlds, combining the styling of an anser with the high MOI of a mallet.

The Donna is not only a hybrid in terms of its design but also in the materials used in its creation, as the face is made from aircraft grade aluminium and the body from 304 stainless steel. With the 355 gram head weight, it is this combination of a light face and a heavy back that gives the Donna its high MOI.

Appearance

With the curved double bend shaft and the ‘Titanium Carbon’ finish it looks very good and the grooves have been anodized to increase resistance to wear and corrosion. The depth from front to back of the putter is a little disconcerting at first, especially if you have been used to a normal cavity back anser style putter, but it soon becomes more than acceptable to the eye. The double bend shaft makes the head sit very nicely and the headcover is also a top quality piece of kit with the magnetic closer being both easy and secure.

Technical Specifications

Toe hang: Face balanced
Loft: 2.5 degrees
Weight: 355g
Offset: Full shaft
Lie: 72 degrees (+2 or -2 lies available)
Right and Left handed
Shaft length: 32-37 inches
Finish: Titanium Carbon with Anodized Grooves
Grip: Winn
RRP: $300/£185

Feel

The aluminium face is a little more muted than you find with stainless or carbon steel putters, and the sweetspot is also a little lower on the face than typically found presumably due to the the extreme weighting being so low and far back in the head. More than any other putter we have tried at Bag Chatter, there is a surprising difference in feedback when using premium balls and budget balls. More than just a sound issue where a budget ball is ‘clickier’ than a premium one, feedback from harder balls is much reduced. Presumably this is due to the amount of time the ball spends on the grooves on the face, so if you are thinking of trying this putter out make sure that you do so with the balls that you normally play with. Irrespective of what ball you use the Donna gives a very good level of feedback on both centered and off centre putts but it really comes alive with premium balls in a way that it doesn’t with budget ones. The Yes! branded Winn grip is also top notch.

Performance

Accuracy and Easy of Alignment

The combination of the heavier head, the high MOI and the C-groove technology make it almost cheating on straight putts. It’s as close as you’re going to get to putting on rails. Six, eight, ten or even twelve foot putts can be repeatably jammed in the cup with impressive regularity. As you can see from the image on the right, it’s also very easy to set up due to the blade-like shape. Due to the resistance to twisting off-centre strikes still hold their line and the heavier head means little loss of distance, offering a much better chance of getting the ball in the hole for those times when you don’t hit the ball as sweetly as you’d like.

Distance Control

One effect of the grooved face is that due to the increased initial rotation of the ball, a putt will often leave the face of the putter more slowly than normal but then continue to roll out as far – if not slightly further – as a normal putt. Suddenly you find yourself replicating those gorgeously smooth ground hugging putts the professionals do with the ball seeming to want to be sucked into the hole. Once you get used to the slower start, distance control is a cinch especially at that dangerous 20-30 foot range where you know you should safely get down in two but that a bad first attempt would leave you struggling to avoid a 3 putt. One note of caution though – at shorter distances you really need to trust the putter to swing through and allow the ball time to come off the face. Because of the increased rollout from an initial slow speed, the tendency is to get a little ‘jabby’ on 3 and 4 footers where you try to poke the ball into the hole. If you are not careful, the heavier head and topspin supplied by the C-grooves will have the ball zipping through any break and leaving you with an uncomfortable putt back. This is nothing to do with any flaw of the putter but more the difference in mechanics with a grooved face/heavier head putter. Once you get used to the initial slow speed and stop worrying that you will commit the cardinal sin of leaving a short putt short, the Donna makes holing out exceptionally easy.

Conclusion

For those with a SBST (Straight Back, Straight Through) putting stroke and even those with a slight arc, the Donna is a superb option as it offers great accuracy and distance control. The C-grooves have a definite effect in getting the ball rolling across the green and the head weight makes for a reassuring smooth stroke. Definitely one to try.

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3 Comments

  1. Eric

    Nov 20, 2008 at 10:47 pm

    My head pro told me to try his new “Donna” putter from Yes! His was cut to 31″ so I really had to bend over it uncomfortably, BUT THIS THING FELT GREAT. Good enough that I went to the Yes! store and picked one up. It seemed to have great distance control, and isn’t that what’s important?

    I’m gaming it tomorrow so we’ll see if it makes a permanent home in the bag. I am an arc putter so we’ll see how this heavy face-balanced putter works in that style..

  2. Scott

    Sep 19, 2008 at 6:59 pm

    I absolutely concur with your review assessment! BEAUTIFUL fit and finish, a solid feel, and a putt that tracks like it’s on rails!

    I also noticed that the ball seems to roll farther on a similar stroke to my Callaway Tour Blue 3, which takes some getting used to, but the incredible feel and tracking provided by this putter makes it my NEW favorite!

  3. Gabe

    Aug 13, 2008 at 5:58 pm

    Just bought this putter and I love it! Seriously, try any of the Yes! model putters and you will see a difference immediately. Great company.

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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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