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Slotline Raider Putter Review

A blast from the past is back in business as Slotline Golf is set to launch no less than 14 new putters later this month, its first putter offerings since 2001.

Now, as before, Slotline is promoting the benefits of high moment of inertia (MOI), whereby extreme perimeter weighting helps a putter resist twisting on miss-hits, resulting in heightened forgiveness.

Is the new Slotline Golf a worthy sequel to the original? Following is PutterZone.com’s Slotline Raider putter ($199) review.

The Storyline
Slotline Golf was once a giant in the putter industry, ranking only third behind PING and Titleist in total sales in the late 1980s. A decade later, however, the company fell on hard times, and it has been seven years since the last Slotline putters were available. Last year, however, Slotline Golf was acquired by Dynamic Brands, which also owns Bag Boy and AMF Golf. Dynamic Brands quickly set the rebirth of Slotline into motion.

Slotline founder Duke Duclos, an aerospace engineer by trade, was an early champion of MOI long before it was a hip buzzword, even naming his signature putter—the Inertial—after the concept. Duclos was also an early adopter of multi-material putter construction, and his signature “slot and line” alignment system has spawned several imitators and iterations that endure today.

Duclos was inspired by PING founder Karsten Solheim’s groundbreaking perimeter-weighted designs, which naturally elevated a putter’s MOI. As Time Magazine reported during the height of Slotline’s popularity: “Duclos has taken Solheim’s idea a logical step further. In Slotline’s putter, the weight difference between the tips of the club and its center is twice as great as the differential in PING putters.”

The Slotline Raider’s head weighs 340 grams, inclusive of two 83-gram pods (for 166 grams total) inserted into the heel and toe. The head is milled from 6061 aircraft grade aluminum. The loft is three degrees and the lie angle is 71 degrees.

The use of lighter aluminum for the head, combined with heavy tungsten inserted into the heel and toe, allows for an extreme ratio of the total weight to be distributed to the perimeters of the putter for elevated MOI. The Slotline Raider has already racked up a top-20 finish on the Champions Tour.

The View from PutterZone.com
Chad Lehr, Slotline Golf’s product manager, speaks fondly and reverently of Duke Duclos. Many of the new Slotline putters, including the Raider, are updates of the founder’s original designs (others were designed by Lehr). In both words and deeds, it’s clear that Dynamic Brands didn’t acquire Slotline just to capitalize on a familiar brand name. They are clearly intent on advancing the legacy and innovations of Duke Duclos.

So far, so good, as the new Raider delivers on Slotline’s foundational promise of sky-high MOI. This is MOI that you can feel and practically taste. With nearly half of its head weight concentrated in tungsten pods inserted parallel to the putter face at the heel and toe, the Raider remains very true to the line, even on serious miss-hits.

The Raider’s extreme perimeter weighting is accentuated by its unusually large dimensions. The Raider is a full three-quarter inches longer from heel to toe than a PING Anser, and the height of the face from sole to topline rivals that of the Heavy Putter Deep Face series. The Slotline Raider now ranks as the largest among the many blades here at PutterZone.com headquarters.

Despite its girth, the Raider is elegantly rendered, borrowing its core structure from traditional designs but incorporating its own uniquely curvaceous bevels. The black finish is clean and crisp, and the rich gold accents of the sightline, stampings and grip bring a distinctive color complement to the visual ensemble.

Best of all, the Raider exercises restraint in its design flourishes, ensuring that the putter is calm and quiet at address, allowing the eyes to focus on the visual cues of the Slotline alignment system. This system works as designed, promoting a consistent, eyes-over-the-ball setup through the visual merging of the sightline with a notch on the topline.

Personally, I would have preferred the Raider to send a little more richness to the hands and a little more resonance to the ears when striking the ball. The sweet spot of the Raider is fairly pure, just not profound. That said, this isn’t a putter sold on feel. It’s a putter sold on stability and relative balance. Aluminum may lack some profoundness when it comes to feel, but it serves a noble cause here in elevating the MOI to create a uniquely stable putter.

The Bottom Line
The original king of MOI seems poised to reclaim its crown, as Slotline Golf’s new Raider putter delivers on its promise of superior stability. Golfers who need a shot of confidence on the green will take comfort in the oversized head and extreme perimeter weighting of the Raider. The Slotline Raider putter will particularly appeal to golfers who seek the stability associated with larger mallets but prefer to wield a more traditionally styled blade.


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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