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TaylorMade Kia Ma Putter Review

PutterZone.com is proud to publish the first, and currently only, official review of the new TaylorMade Rossa TP by Kia Ma putters.

Until now, these putters have only been seen in the hands of PGA Tour pros, with a retail release slated for later this month.

The Rossa TP by Kia Ma line represents TaylorMade’s first entry into the ultra-premium milled putter market. Are these new putters ($299) worthy of their elite aspirations? Following is PutterZone.com’s TaylorMade Rossa TP by Kia Ma putter review.

The Storyline
Kia Ma is a native of Vietnam who endured a 17-month immigration to the United States in 1980 before rapidly ascending the ranks of American putter design, ultimately joining TaylorMade six years ago. He is the mind behind TaylorMade’s popular Spider and other putters. However, until now, Kia Ma’s own putters have been reserved for TaylorMade’s tour staff professionals, such as Sergio Garcia.

According to TaylorMade, Rossa TP by Kia Ma putters are designed “to appeal to the golf purist who loves classic design and flawless execution.”

The Rossa TP by Kia Ma line marks TaylorMade’s inaugural foray into the increasingly crowded $200+ milled putter market. This category, once the province of Scotty Cameron, T.P. Mills and a handful of other designers, has recently expanded to include familiar names such as PING, Nike and Odyssey.

In addition to the Monaco, the Rossa TP by Kia Ma line includes four other models: the Daytona and Imola blades, and the Monte Carlo and Maranello mallets. Each is milled from soft 1020 carbon steel. The three blades feature six tungsten “micro” weights embedded behind the heel and toe to move the center of gravity down and back for enhanced stability.

The Monaco comes in 34- and 35-inch lengths with a head weight of 345 grams. The stock lie angle is 70 degrees, and can be customized two degrees in either direction. The loft is 3.5 degrees. The plumber’s neck hosel features full shaft offset.

The View from PutterZone.com
Wow, the Monaco is a stunner—sleek and racy with a dollop of bling. On looks alone, this putter is going to drop some jaws and open some wallets.

The black finish seamlessly transitions from gloss on the sole, semi-gloss on the face and matte along the crown for glare reduction. The rear vertical surfaces are milled with vertical striping, a sexy design effect that exudes a sense of luxury. The tungsten sole weights feature circular mill marks and a chrome finish that gives the putter a bejeweled effect. The Rossa logo in the cavity adds just the right dash of red to the ensemble.

Yet for all of its flash, this putter is pure substance from above. At address, all you see is smooth black with a single white sight dot on the crown. Graceful curves and a thin topline bring an added sense of performance-focused purpose. The overall effect is quiet, confident and poised.

The Monaco borrows from the softtail design popularized by T.P. Mills, an underrated look that I personally love. The top of the face ascends upward toward a gently snubbed toe, yet from above the shape is fully curvaceous and symmetrical.

In terms of feel, the Rossa TP Monaco by Kia Ma is the putter equivalent of a classical cello, striking the purest note between treble and bass in both the hands and ears. The sweet spot is plump yet firm, resulting in feedback that is both sensual and meaningful.

The Rossa TP Monaco by Kia Ma is ultimately a putter that vividly communicates exactly what you—and it—are doing. Such informative nuance puts the $299 price tag into perspective. This is the kind of putter with which you can develop a lasting relationship spanning years, if not decades. This is a putter capable of inspiring true love.

With a 345-gram head at 35 inches long, the Monaco has a bit of heft. It’s just enough weight that you notice it at first, but not so much that you end up thinking about it. This subtle weightiness will help many golfers keep their stroke smooth and steady without compromising the light touch required for feel-oriented putting.

The included head cover is sturdy and stylish, with exquisite embroidery and a magnetic closure. My sample putter did not come with the stock retail grip, so I really can’t comment on that part of the putter.

My only quibble is that the sole of the putter (as well as the head cover) features no less than four logos—a Kia Ma logo (which is actually very cool), the TP flag logo, the Rossa word logo and the TaylorMade word logo. It’s as if we’re dealing with four brands in one putter. Personally, I believe that high-end putters should show a bit more restraint when it comes to visual marketing. Thankfully, this issue is confined to the sole of the putter. On the business ends of the putter—the top and face—it looks very classy and quiet, as noted earlier.

The Bottom Line
TaylorMade loaded the bases and designer Kia Ma knocked it out of the park with the Rossa TP Monaco, making it a worthy and welcome addition to the elite putter ranks. The Monaco boasts supermodel looks with quality and performance to match, making it the kind of putter that will stay in the bag for many years to come.

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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