Never Compromise putters were first unveiled in 1997 and made an immediate splash with their quality, attitude and distinctive black-gray-black alignment visuals. The company was acquired by Cleveland Golf in 2003, which later re-launched Never Compromise as a “top-tier putter brand.” Evidence of Never Compromise’s fresh outlook now abounds in the form of several exciting new putters, specifically the Never Compromise Milled Series putters and Never Compromise Exchange Series putters. Vijay Singh, Boo Weekley and Michael Putnam are among the PGA Tour professionals currently using Exchange Series putters, which boast cutting-edge weighting technology for dozens of personal tuning options. PutterZone.com recently spoke with Never Compromise’s Business Unit Leader Adam Sheldon to learn more about the latest putters from Never Compromise—and what the company has on tap. Following is our exclusive interview:
What is the thread that binds all Never Compromise putters, in terms technology, performance and/or overall brand vision?
We focus on technology and craftsmanship, and we strive to develop high technology designs with new generation materials, using state-of-the-art manufacturing processes. Never Compromise truly means “do not compromise” your with your equipment. The original three-piece component concept that launched the Never Compromise brand back in 1997 still exists in today’s product. In fact, our latest Exchange Series has up to 18 different components in one head, allowing not only for extreme perimeter weighting, as in the early Never Compromise designs, but also customization to suit players’ tendencies in their stroke. All of our designs take into consideration the value of MOI (editor’s note: moment of inertia), which was the theory behind most of the company’s earlier designs. Another great attribute is our trademark black-gray-black color scheme, which we believe is one of the simplest yet most effective alignment aids in the business.
Milled putters are proliferating in the marketplace. Can you explain how a milled putter, by nature, benefits the average golfer—and also what specifically sets your Milled Series putters apart from other milled putters?
The milling process itself ensures outstanding part-to-part accuracy, repeatability and consistency. This really allows us to control head weight and other critical dimensions such as loft, lie, sole draft and face flatness—all the real important aspects of a putter.
Our Milled Series putters are among the few forged putters in the market. They are made from Japanese carbon steel, so they have a uniquely responsive soft feel due to the material and its grain structure. They are 100-percent milled and then hand polished, which allows us to achieve a rich looking finish but still maintain the character of a machined product. They also feature a tungsten weight in the toe on most models to help compensate for the weight in the hosel, which, in turn, helps promote a visually balanced putter from address while centering the sweet spot on the sightline.
Your Exchange Series putters offer four separate ports that can be mixed or matched with three separate pairs of interchangeable weights. How did you first come up with the concept—and was it a challenge to go from original concept to functional reality?
It is commonly known that there is no single putting condition, surface or stroke in the game today. In fact, it is safe to say that everybody is different and different players have different tendencies.
If you look at the professional tours, most of the players have putters weighted to suit their preference. They also change their equipment regularly to suit the course conditions—the main reason being that they can adjust their putter, not their stroke, when they play fast or slow greens. We wanted to offer this same customization to our customers but also allow them multiple configurations to combat some of the common tendencies in the putting stroke.
The design challenge was to try and do all of this in one putter, and this is where the weight ports came about. The main challenge was to offer a big enough weight range but also maintain the increments needed to satisfy a wide range of players and conditions. The only way to do this was to use multiple weight ports in the design.
We found that, by positioning the weight ports in the heel and the toe of the putter, we could now move weight from the heel into the toe and vice versa. This, in turn, would help correct some common inconsistencies in the putting stroke. By offering the 5 gram, 10 gram and 15 gram weights, we could also cover a huge range of head weights.
The blade designs maintain classic shapes utilizing a cavity-back design to maximize MOI, whereas the mallet models were designed using low density materials allowing us to add two extra weight ports, allowing for even more customization and increased MOI.
Aesthetically speaking, the Exchange Series putters are a bit flashier than previous Never Compromise putters, with a color coding theme and gleaming polished sole plates. Did that just sort of happen in the development process, or did you set out to make a cosmetic statement from the start?
With the Exchange Series being our most advanced putter to date, we wanted to grab people’s attention and not hide the technology. This is really what inspired the new designs. When we went through the conceptual stage of the development, we could see that this was a product that we could be really creative with, and I think that the concept itself opened the doors to some design freedom and fueled creativity. We were extremely happy with the finished product and it has been very popular on the PGA Tour and in stores.
Never Compromise has close relationships with several top PGA Tour professionals. How much influence do they have in the development of your retail putter lines, such as the Milled Series and Exchange Series?
We constantly get feedback from all of our tour players. Vijay was a big influence in the design of the Milled Series putters, and there are many more players who give us great input when we test our prototypes out on tour.
What can we expect next from Never Compromise?
We are constantly making new prototypes which incorporate new technology that can help the golfer perform better. Another main focus for Never Compromise is how we can offer the customer something different than all the other putters in the marketplace.
We currently have a number of different prototypes being tested so keep your eyes peeled for something new and innovative from Never Compromise in the near future.
Thank you, Adam. For more information, visit www.nevercompromise.com and www.exchangeputters.com.