Best Putters Test 2016

Reviewing 22 of the hottest new putters - but which wands grab gold? 

Andy Roberts's picture
By Andy Roberts and Charlie Lemay on Wed, 5 Oct 2016 - 12:10

Looking for a new putter? We have tested 22 of the hottest blades and mallets just for you.

Intrinsic to lower scores, yet too often the bane of our sport, the putter is by far the most used and mistreated club in our bag.

GolfMagic editor Andy Roberts and equipment editor Charlie Lemay (10 handicap) were joined by loyal readers Brian Tracy (7 handicap) and James Morrison (18 handicap) to analyse the putters.

Testers scored each putter independently for looks, feel and performance, before coming together to decide upon the victorious gold winners. 

Some felt immaculate, others inspired confidence, many rolled nice and true. 

Eight of them, though, had it all. Here's our verdict.

Bettinardi BB1F 

Testers instantly appreciated the funky lime green head cover and grip, as well as its brushed steel shaft that visually looks graphite. With the honeycomb design on the face coupled with splashes of green, it was one of the most striking flatsticks in the test. Its simple design and alignment aid makes it easy to get the ball rolling on the correct line. Testers enjoyed how the ball rolled end-over-end straight off the bat, but one thought the feel was a little too explosive off the face, making distance putts hard to judge. By no means a bargain, but quite possibly the best blade you are not considering. 

Bettinardi Inovai 3.0

The head shape frames the ball nicely and the two alignment aids work well. Weighting split opinion, with some saying it was head heavy, while others felt it promoted a smooth, stable stroke. The grip is tacky and that again split opinion. All testers favoured the superb feel off the face, thanks to Bettinardi's Feel Impact Technology, which made judging those 30-foot putts a lot easier. This high MOI putter offers heaps of help on off-centre hits. 

Cleveland Golf TFi 2135 1.0 

Designed with helping golfers align themselves properly to the hole, all testers commented on feeling confident over the ball. Feel off the face divided opinion, however, with two testers revealing it was a little harder than some of the others. Nevertheless, a well balanced putter that promotes a smooth, stable stroke thanks to its high MOI. It's certainly a blade that offers exceptional value for money at £99, but it falls just shy of a gold in terms of overall performance. 

Evnroll ER1

All testers liked the stripped down aesthetic of this putter, which oozes class at address. The alignment line and two dots on the top of the putter helped us find the middle of the face, and on the times we did miss the sweet spot there was a huge amount of forgiveness on offer. The putter’s key feature is the mill pattern on the face which replaces energy loss on poor shots, and it pays dividends. The heavier feel pleased the majority, but its slightly tinny sound at impact divided opeinion. A very forgiving putter, but seems pricey at £249. 

 

Evnroll ER5

For a mallet, the head is on the small side. Everyone enjoyed the weight of it and found it easy to judge distance. Lag putting from 30 feet was particularly strong. Loads of forgiveness on offer, like the ER1, and a similarly enjoyable feel. The sound off the face is once again pingy, but you cannot deny there is superb forgiveness on offer here. 

 

Mizuno MP A309

An extravagant head design that divided opinion. Some testers struggled to line this putter up with much confidence, while others thought the compact boxed alignment framed the ball well. Performance-wise, it performed admirably thanks to a soft feel and balanced weight. Overall, other putters appealed some more given the £100+ price tag. 

Nike Method Converge S1-12 

A number of testers found it hard to adjust to the 38-inch shaft, and did not like having a chunk of grip jutting out the top of their hands. None of the testers had ever used a belly putter before, which is a key target market for this flatstick. It promotes a smooth stroke, though, and is lethal from close range. The majority of testers liked the feel, but one thought it was too harsh and that the alignment aid was a bit off-putting. By all means worth a look, especially if you were a belly or broom user before the anchored ban. 

Nike Method Origin B1-01 & B2-01

Very classy. Both B1-01, inspired and used by Tiger Woods, and B1-02, designed and adopted by Rory McIlroy, proved a huge hit with the testers in the aesthetics stakes. Both look superb over the ball, each with marginal subtle head shape differences to the heel and toe. They were also well balanced, and generated a soft but responsive feel for all. Long putts were rolling either into the cup or inside that gimme 2-foot range. They proved the most forgiving blade putters in the test, thanks to Nike using RZN in between two layers of Milled 304 Stainless Steel. Expensive at more than £200, but well worth the plunge.

Odyssey White Hot RX V-Line Fang

Odyssey's popular Fang design frames the ball nicely and provides superb alignment. Like all the other Odyssey putters in our test, the V-Line Fang proved soft off the face with heaps of feedback. There is also a very smooth, true roll on all putts, no matter the strike, so it's a very forgiving option. One of our favourite mallets in the game today, and good value at just over a ton. 

Odyssey White Hot RX #9

The classic half-moon shape and black and white colour scheme makes this one very easy to line up, but it's a flastick best used by the more capable putter - testers found it was not the most stable through the stroke. Some found it less consistent from close range than the other Odyssey putters in the test. Incredibly soft off the face, however, and it gets the ball rolling straight off the bat.

Odyssey Works Versa #1W 

With a similar model wielded by Masters champion Danny Willett, all testers were excited to get to grips with this one. The black and silver colour scheme and Versa alignment once again provided superb confidence over the ball. The elongated head shape was praised by all. Odyssey's Fusion RX insert in this putter is buttery-soft and responsive at the same time. Full marks in the feel stakes and very stable. Well worth a look. 

PING Cadence TR B65

This one provides a smooth, reliable roll with ample forgiveness no matter the strike. The feel was as strong as anything in the test, as expcted for a PING TR putter, and there was a lovely balance about it. Two testers thought the feedback was a little subdued, though. Its unusual head design split opinion; it's essentially a blade-style mid-mallet. Its contrasting white alignment aid went down a treat. A solid offering from PING, especially at little more than £100. 

PING TR 1966 Anser 2

This putter celebrates 50 years since the original Anser was released, and it does its predecessor justice. Design is almost identical to the famous original flatstick, which looks gorgeous at address. Its subtle alignment aid works well and there's a nice feel off the face as expected - it gets the ball rolling straight away. Probably better suited to lower handicap players, but saying that, our 18-handicap was more than confident with it. For us, one of the best feeling and most awe-inspiring blades in the test. Fantastic value at £135. 

 

PING Ketsch

Each tester liked the aesthetics of the Ketsch and thought it framed the golf ball perfectly, coupled with its multiple alignment lines that made it easy to line up. The feel was a little harder than some of the other mallets in the test, but it was by no means off putting. Its beautiful black PVD finish was favoured by all. There was very limited variance between poor strikes as they moved away from the centre of the face, so it also proved very forgiving. The feel of some of the other mallets meant this one fell narrowly shy of a gold. 

 

Scotty Cameron Futura X5 Dual Balance

One of the most forgiving and stable putters in the test, thanks to a heavier head and weight in the butt end of the grip. While oversized putters often suffer in regards to feel, there is no such worry with the Futura X5. A soft but responsive feel left all testers purring, as did the amount of putts they holed. Pricey, but one very easy gold award. 

TaylorMade OS CB Daytona

Split the testers down the middle. While everyone appreciated the traditional blade shape, some thought the head was a little oversized. It felt a little more head heavy than others in the test, and the feel was a little dead at times. The heavy feel certainly helped promote a smooth stroke, though. An understated alignment aid worked well. The marmite putter of the test.  

 

TaylorMade OS Monte Carlo 

A head shape and alignment aid that all testers enjoyed. Three testers commented about a "perfect weighting", although one member though it was a little lighter in the head than ideal and that caused him to lose control. Soft and crisp off the face, and a smooth, true roll on all putts. Slight niggles were some glare at address out in the blazing sun, and its relatively steep price tag. Narrowly shy of a gold. 

TaylorMade OS Spider

Lethal from close range and maintains control from distance, considering its size. Its high MOI - ensuring no twisting of the face at impact - offers lots of forgiveness. A hard but responsive feel went down well with the group. Similar to the Spider Limited but feel is not quite as cultured, and doesn’t frame the ball as well. A great alternative for the mid to high handicap player. 

TaylorMade Spider Limited

Testers simply called this one the “Jason Day”, as it’s the carbon-copy model currently trusted by the Aussie, but not in his all-red design. We all liked the compact feel to this putter, which frames the ball appealingly, as well as the fact it boasts a large, effective alignment line. All testers thought it was beautifully weighted and it felt smooth off the face. By far the best feeling mallet in the test, certainly when struck out the centre. Not as much help on offer compared to the OS Spider, so this one is a better alternative for the more capable putter. The standout putter in the test. 

Wilson Staff Infinite Grant Park 

A simple head design that will appeal to the masses. Five silent alignment aids were excessive for one tester, but the rest of us thought it was effective enough to frame the golf ball. A solid feel off the face, but nothing spectacular. It was easy to judge distances with from long range. At less than £100, this one looks great value for money.

Wilson Staff Infinite Lincoln Park

Quirky head shape went down well, as did the white and black alignment lines. From outside of 30 feet, the group found they could judge distances well thanks to the responsive feel, but it wasn’t the best performer from 10 feet and in. The pretty loud sound at impact detracted some testers. Again, good value though. 

 

Comments

Great fun being involved in this, would urge anyone to get stuck in if they continue as it's quite rare to get such a huge selection of product together to try out on proper greens.

I was quite surprised by the testing as I went in with some knowledge of the products and what I liked in a putter and found throughout the day that this changed. Coming away from it with a different idea of what works for me.

Thanks GM and Jahmoo for a great day!

I was lucky to get the call up for this, as I was in the market for a new putter. My TM Itsy Bitsy Spider was getting on, good many years old and no longer made.

Well until I noticed the TM Jason Day Ltd Addition was up for testing!!!! Was a little excited to say the least:)))

As BTatHome said, rare and good to have the chance to try so many putters at one time, but I did enjoy the thought of the chance.

I could not get on with the Blade putters, being a Mallet owner for most of my Golf life, it was not going to change on test day, I did not give in straight away, I gave nearly everything ago, as to the Blades, but did not enjoy, but some massive surprises, but then maybe not so surprised.

I found the new Thick putter grips good, but again, a couple of hours on a green was not going to change me from a more traditional grip.

Biggest surprise was the Jason Day TM ltd addition was in my top 3, but not my FAVE!

Thanks to GM and BTatHome(good to meet you finally)