|Spherical Blade Crescent putter|
It was almost exactly a year ago when I first heard about the S-Blade putter the brainchild of 71-year-old Ivor Thom, a retired design engineer and former captain of Newport Golf Club, when Vale of Glamorgan golfer Ian Smith invested £100,000 to manufacture and market the putter, backed by Ryder Cup Wales 2010.
And with insert faces, belly shafts, moveable weights and back-weighted two-ball-style putters also popular, who's to say that the newly-developed line of spherical blade putters wouldn't be the next big thing?
The concept is intriguing and unique. The face is ever-so-slightly convex - curved both from top to bottom and side to side to give the ball top spin when it's struck just above the equator. The designer also claims it makes the strike more forgiving if mishit.
As Smith says: "When you address the ball an S-Blade, the putter's two curves work in harmony. The vertical curve prevents skidding and creates roll, while the horizontal curve counters manual twitch - that last-second involuntary action that's prone to sending the ball off line. This putter's unique in combining the two."
My initial feedback with this Crescent model is that yes, it certainly rolls nicely off the blade with a ground hugging topspin and I holed some nice 10-footers I didn't expect. But the technology of the putter face tended to distract me and I also missed a bunch of three-footers I should have expected to drain. I couldn't clear my mind of the thought that the face was curved. I needed something to blame and this technology was perfect!
Also partly responsible were recently aerated greens which were a bit slow and bumpy, while any inconsistency encourages me to switch my grip from orthodox to left hand-low, to claw. I've been a claw gripper for three years and I found this grip better suited the shorter shaft and the soft multi-coloured (red/white and blue) handle of the S Blade.
Visual acceptability as you look down at the putter at address also plays a major part in holing putts. If there's too much going on, there's too much to think about and confidence dwindles. Despite its satin finish there is a little glare from the putter but the strong alignment line behind the head helped me focus and read the lines more assertively.
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