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In Review: Wilson Staff 8862 Putter

When Arnold Palmer won the British Open successively in 1961 and 1962, he did it with what’s today considered one of the most acclaimed putters in the history of modern golf: the Wilson 8802 flanged blade.

Now, Wilson Staff is paying tribute to the legacy of its original 8802 with the new 8862 model putter ($89), which is one of five models in the company’s recently released 88 Series. Is the 8862 a fitting tribute to the original? Following is PutterZone.com’s review of the Wilson Staff 8862 putter.

The Storyline
The original Wilson 8802 stands as a testament to the power of simplicity when placed in capable hands, such as those of Arnold Palmer and Ben Crenshaw.

The 8802 was designed by Wilson’s renowned clubmaker Robert Mandrella and was released in 1950 at a suggested retail price of $10. The 8802 putter proved to be a masterpiece of both aesthetics and functionality. Palmer was the first, but not the last, professional golfer to make the putter famous. Indeed, Crenshaw used his trusty 8802 to win the 1984 Masters and still puts it into play today.

Not surprisingly, the classic 8802 design continues to be imitated and tweaked. For example, you can see a lot of the 8802 in the Odyssey White Hot XG 9 putter used by Phil Mickelson and other pros on the PGA Tour. Meanwhile, the original 8802 putters are now hot collectibles that command top dollar.

Wilson Staff’s new 8862 is an update of the original. The most notable new feature is its anodized aluminum face insert. The honeycomb-style face pattern of the insert is designed to improve contact and promote truer ball roll.

The View from PutterZone.com
Standing over the 8862 putter was initially a bit of a shock to my system. I’ve recently stalked the greens with the massive MacGregor Response DCT, the aptly named Heavy Putter and the futuristic Odyssey Marxman, to name a few. The 8862 is a mere waif in comparison.

I was therefore surprised by how quickly I adapted to the 8862 putter. It’s sort of like stripping your car of its radio, power steering, air conditioning and cruise control—and realizing that you can still get to your destination just fine. Hot? Roll down the window? Sharp turn? Lean into the steering wheel. Now you’re really driving.

The same could be said for putting in this age of SUV-style putters. You may not be ready to give up the bells and whistles of the postmodern putter, but you might be surprised at how fun it is to take spin with a little roadster like the 8862. Sometimes getting back to the basics can be a revelation.

The 8862 feels firm on contact. The audio feedback is pleasantly crisp. A short black sightline aids alignment, and the overall shape of the putter is very charming, which is a given, considering its role model. The Wilson Staff 8862 ultimately offers nice playability. I might prefer a little more subtlety and suppleness in the overall feel of the putter, but that’s a lot to ask for less than $100.

The polished sole of the putter is stamped with the Wilson Staff logo, which I find to be very cool. The rest of the putter head has a brushed finish, which helps minimize glare. The aluminum face insert is dark red, echoing the red-and-black theme of the brand itself.

This latter touch, in my opinion, is the putter’s lone aesthetic miscalculation. The red insert just looks a bit jarring amid the putter’s otherwise elegant ensemble. The putter’s relatively high loft—four degrees—compounds the issue, as the red hue is all the more visually assertive when you address the ball. This isn’t a deal breaker, however, but rather just a quibble.

The Bottom Line
The Wilson Staff 8862 putter is a sleek throwback that conjures memories of a simpler, but no less spectacular, era in golf. It also holds its own today. For $89, the 8862 definitely delivers a nice package of playability and style. There is no shortage of available putters made in the original 8802 mold, but if you want one at a great price from the company that created a classic, then the Wilson Staff 8862 is an excellent choice.

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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