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The Scoop on Hot New Putters for 2008

The coming year promises to be red hot with new putters offering an unprecedented array of styles and technologies.

The big “coming out” party will be held at the annual PGA Merchandise Show in Florida on January 19, where all of the major golf equipment companies will unveil their latest treats.

But here at PutterZone.com, we reached out to our industry contacts to get you the early scoop on what’s in store for your putting game in 2008. Here’s what we found out:

Rife Putters is set to unveil its new Two Bar Hybrid putter ($199), which merges elements from the company’s signature Two Bar line and successful Island Series Barbados model: “The most distinct features and performance benefits from both models have been blended into one new spectacular design that is a game improving ‘hybrid’ product in every sense of the word.” A new aluminum-polymer face insert combines the gripping effect of Rife’s RollGroove technology with the responsiveness of polymer for “a whole new level of distance control.” Rife is also releasing a new black version of its Aussie blade under the banner of IBF Tour Series ($189; pictured here), as inspired by “one of the greatest putters to play the game of golf, Ian Baker-Finch.”

PING Golf recently released its new Karsten series putters ($89), which honor company founder Karsten Solheim under the banner of “advancing tradition.” The Karsten putters feature an elastomer cavity insert that “provides enhanced feel while maintaining the solid response of a steel-faced putter.” Additionally, “weight savings from the new cavity shapes were redistributed to the perimeter to increase each putters moment-of-inertia for added forgiveness.” These putters already have a serious “best buy” buzz, complementing the company’s higher end lines while offering classic PING putter shapes (Anser, Zing, etc.) at an unbeatable price.

Boccieri Golf has just started shipping its new Heavy Putter Deep Face (DF) series putters ($169). With a putter face one-quarter inch higher than conventional putters, the DF technology “more closely aligns the equator of the golf ball with the ‘sweet spot’ of the clubface to optimally transfer energy for improved overall putting.” As with the original Heavy Putter line, the DF models weigh nearly twice as much as conventional putters, automatically engaging larger, more stable muscles for a more consistent stroke. The DF line includes a traditional Anser-style blade as well as some uniquely progressive shapes. Additionally, two DF models are made exclusively for women (pictured here). The ladies’ versions have pink accents in the head, grip and head cover. Stay tuned soon for PutterZone.com’s review of the new F3-DF model putter.

Carbite Golf is going back to its roots with its new Polar Balanced X-treme series putters ($119), which honor the original Polar Balanced clubs that launched the company 20 years ago. The new Polar Balanced putters, which will be released in February, feature extreme heel-toe weighting for maximum balance and forgiveness. The weighting is achieved with copper-tungsten inserts in both the sole and face. The new Polar Balanced putters also incorporate a “copper matrix” center insert for a soft, pure feel. The insert is “micro milled” to create “multiple contact points that grip the cover of the ball, imparting positive top spin roll.”

Nike Golf recently unveiled its new IC series putters ($139) for 2008, and is also releasing some new models under its Unitized line of putters ($249). The IC putters are uniquely dark green from head through shaft. The idea is for the putter to blend into the background of the putting green, eliminating “visual noise” and enhancing alignment focus. Nike Golf’s 100-percent milled Unitized putters are distinguished by their seamless construction. The head is laser welded to the shaft and plated as a single unit, with no bonds or joints to interfere with the goal of pure response. Three new models are being added to the Unitized line in 2008—including the Leo blade, which will be reviewed soon at PutterZone.com.

PutterZone.com has confirmed that Profound Putters, whose innovative Dark Ace putter is making a splash on the European tours, is set to release a new Anser-style blade with extraordinarily high MOI in 2008 (likely in May). According to founder Bernt Stellander, this putter is called the Ingenieur, and it’s already in play on the European circuit. Stellander has several other tricks up his sleeve, including a mallet called the Glider with the same 3D alignment system found on the Dark Ace, as well as a new putter grip concept called CompactGripTM. The Dark Ace putter is now available via the Profound Putters web store, and the new putters should follow in the spring.

Mizuno Golf, in partnership with designer Robert Bettinardi, recently released its handsome new line of Mizuno Bettinard Black Carbon series putters ($249). Each Black Carbon putter is precision milled from one piece of pure 11L17 carbon steel and features a “uniquely milled F.I.T. face that reduces the surface area of where the ball makes contact with the putter face by 70 percent, delivering extremely solid feel to every putt.”

F2 Golf recently unveiled two new Hamilton Series putters ($99), the HM1 blade and HM4 mallet. In addition to adjustable heel and toe weights, the Hamilton Series putters feature a MicroDome face insert, which promises a straighter roll. According to F2, “the revolutionary dome textured face insert has more secure contact points touching the dimpled golf ball than a traditional flat face putter to send the ball rolling more accurately on its intended line at impact.” The putters also feature a center white framing alignment guide to aid in seeing a “wider, more focused tracking line to your target.”

GEL Golf, which introduced its first putters earlier this year, will soon debut its Dr. Paul Hurrion Signature Range. The new putters incorporate GEL’s multi-layer grooved aluminum insert technology, but with a larger grooved face than earlier models for added feel and feedback. According to the company, “GEL’s groove and insert technology allows weight to be positioned around the perimeter of the putter head creating a high moment of inertia (MOI) for a truer roll.” The Dr. Paul Hurrion Signature Range will be available following the 2008 PGA Merchandise Show. The price has not yet been disclosed.

Elite Sport Products (ESP) will unveil its new Marquis model putter ($369) at the PGA Merchandise Show. This putter follows in the footsteps of ESP’s Dead On putter, which Jesper Parnevik wielded in a near win earlier this year. The Marquis is a three-piece mallet with ESP’s signature accelerating arrows alignment system, a cavity-back stainless steel heat-treated head and an enhanced True Grip putting surface. Additionally, “heavy, outboard stainless steel weights bring the putters head weight to a smooth stroking 442 grams.” The Marquis is designed, manufactured and assembled in the U.S.A. and will be available in the first quarter of 2008.

And last but not least, PutterZone.com has confirmed that Cleveland Golf will release a new line of milled putters featuring its dual axis alignment technology, which falls under the banner of Visual Performance. The street price of these putters will be under $150. Projected release date is early 2008. No further details are available at this time.

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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