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Nike Ignite Putter 001: In Review

PutterZone.com recently got intimate with the new Nike Ignite 001 model putter, and I’m afraid it was a one-night stand.

Now, I am not a Nike Golf basher. I like a lot of their products, and I admire the company as a force of sports nature. But, unfortunately, the newly released Ignite putter ($90) feels more like a mere line extension than something born of true effort or creativity.

The Storyline
The Ignite 001 blade is one of four Ignite putter models. Here’s what Nike Golf has to say about it on its web site: “Nike Golf’s Ignite putters offer a soft responsive feel with a full-face polymer insert that is 85% lighter than steel. The weight savings realized from the polymer face is redistributed to the heel and toe for more stability in every stroke. Four different putter styles are available to accommodate player preferences.”

Silence…Oh, were you waiting for more? I was, too. But that’s all you get from Nike Golf about their new putter: two sentences about the putter’s features and benefits, and one sentence informing you of other models. At an average retail price of $90 (the company’s stated retail is $109!) for the Ignite putter, that breaks down to $45 per sentence regarding actual features. At least that’s one way you can measure the effort they are investing in earning your business. It might be true that there’s nothing more to say about the putter, in which case it would be true that the putter shouldn’t cost you $90.

I had to search elsewhere for more information. Here’s what I found on one retailer’s site: “Full-ace polymer insert enhances feel and increases the putter head’s MOI (Moment of Inertia) for a truer roll. Each putter face is CNC milled flat to precise tolerances to enhance accuracy and predictability across the clubface. Winn Advanced integration Pistol Grip.” Better, but not great.

The View from PutterZone.com
The Ignite 001 feels insubstantial in the hands. At impact, the response is a bit tinny, with limited feedback. I could forgive this putter’s lack of heft if it offered some measure of ingenuity. I could forgive its lack of craftsmanship if it cost $40 less. Unfortunately, I’m just left wanting. If you’re a fan of cheap putters, then you can do better for cheaper. You can also do a lot better for just a bit more. At close inspection, the finish work of the Ignite 001 appears rough and inexact. The model name 001 sounds lazy, as if it was decided during a quick corporate meeting, and I’m not really feeling the whole burnt orange vibe of the Ignite line, which is incorporated into the grip and head cover. The head cover fits awkwardly over the offset design of the 001, and is not easy to get on or off. This putter does boast a classy and classic profile, with the black polymer insert mirrored by a sleek black swoosh in the cavity. From the neck up, at a distance, the Nike Ignite 001 putter looks relatively slick.

The Bottom Line
Nike seems to have failed the price point test with its Ignite putters. My conclusion is that, in order to make the Ignite putter a smart buy, Nike needed to offer more for a little more, or the same for less. The savvy shopper will discover that, for just $10 more than the Ignite, they can get a Taylor Made Rossa Putter on sale at this very moment. Or, consider the Ping G5 Anser Putter for just $25 more at full retail. I’m not saying that you should write off all Nike Golf putters (their new Unitized putters look pretty intriguing). I am saying, however, that you can do better than the Ignite putter for the price, and that Nike can do a lot better in terms of marketing and defining the Ignite putter’s features and benefits.

About Sean Weir

Sean Weir is the founder and editor of PutterZone.com, and the author of Putter Perfection, the definitive guide to putter fitting. Profile: Google+

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