YES! Golf is unveiling several new putters for 2009, but one of them in particular is designed to stand above and apart: the YES! Dawn model.
YES! putters are most famous for their signature C-Groove face technology. The Dawn aspires to take this technology to the next level with intensive craftsmanship, high-end materials and a price to match.
Does the YES! Dawn ($299) live up to its promise? Following is PutterZone.com’s YES Dawn putter review.
The Dawn putter aims not only to be the crown jewel of the YES! portfolio, but to serve some notice as well. In the words of Blair Philip, YES! Golf’s director of research and development, “From the materials to the shape to the finish to the grip, it is the best the industry has to offer in our opinion.”
To achieve their vision for the Dawn model, Philip and his colleagues began with the decision to use forged 303 stainless steel “to give the professionals and connoisseurs out there the sound and feel that they have been demanding.”
The classic Anser-style head shape was chosen for its track record of success. According to Philip, “We then picked the highest quality components in the world to match the quality of the head that was produced. We challenged our manufacturing partners to produce perfect parts every time. The tolerances on these parts are incredibly tight. Every putter must pass multiple inspections to make it to the market. We assemble them here in Colorado, so we know they are perfect every time.”
Philip says that the degree of toe hang was “painstakingly researched and matched to what the best blade user wants.”
He also says that considerable research was invested in determining the ideal combination of putter loft and sole draft, which is the angle of the bottom edge of the face to the rear of the sole. Depending on the loft of a putter, the sole draft can make a putter appear to be (or actually be) open or closed at address. The geometry of the Dawn, however, “allows the putter to sit squarely on the green surface. I will not tell you how we did this, but it took more effort than you might think.”
The ultimate goal, Philip says, was to craft a putter that left no stone unturned in the pursuit of quality and performance.
The proprietary concentric C-Grooves on the Dawn and other YES! putters are positioned at a 20-degree upward slant. According to the company, “Upon contact, these edges grip the ball surface and apply physical forces that simultaneously lift the ball out of its resting position and impart and over-the-top rolling motion.” The idea is to establish immediate true roll for improved accuracy and consistency.
The Dawn is 100 percent CNC milled from a one-piece forging of 303 stainless steel. The stock lie angle is 72 degrees and the loft is 2.5 degrees. The putter is available in lengths from 32 inches to 37 inches. The head weight is 345 grams. The Dawn comes with a stock Iomic brand grip and a head cover with a magnetic closure.
The View from PutterZone.com
At first glance, from afar, the YES! Dawn putter might be mistaken for just another Anser-style putter, the most common genus in the putter ecosystem. But it is much more than that, as I quickly found out.
First off, I was immediately comfortable with the Dawn putter, as if it were designed just for me. That could just be a coincidence, a sort of alchemy of physique and mechanics.
But I suspect that it also has something to do with the more universal qualities of the design and the obviously extreme attention to detail that went into developing the putter. For example, all that talk about matching sole draft to loft might sound like marketing jive, but I can attest that the Dawn walks its talk on that front. This is a putter that truly wants to sit and appear square, which ultimately helped me sink more putts.
The feel of the YES! Dawn putter is magnificent. Pure strikes are rewarded with a thick, juicy resonance in the hands and ears. There is a sort of smooth, glassy quality to the feel as well, as if the ball is literally gliding off the face. This sensual glassiness is something that I have experienced on other YES! putters, so I must attribute it to the unique properties of the C-Grooves.
I can’t testify to the efficacy of the C-Grooves in terms of true roll. I’m not a physicist. I can say that the Dawn rolled the ball very cleanly and consistently. Was it the grooves, the relatively low loft, some other performance factor, or a combination thereof? On the other hand, why ask why?
I’ve been heckling YES! for a few years about its standard black, white and bright yellow horizontally striped grips. I’m told that these grips are actually quite popular (and they’re obviously a great branding mechanism), but I find them to be a bit obnoxious. On that note, I was delighted to discover that the Dawn’s stock Iomic brand grip is a simple black with a small yellow brand logo on the front. Best of all, this grip offers the beautiful feel and texture for which Iomic is renowned.
The look of the Dawn is quiet and purposeful, but with some subtle sexy nuances that give it just the right touch of luxury. The use of mustard yellow-orange paintfill in places is a rather ballsy aesthetic choice, but it actually works quite well with the steel finish. The lines of the putter are sharp in places, giving it a clean, sleek profile.
The Dawn ultimately has an “it” factor that is tough to fully explain or quantify. Whatever “it” is, the Dawn has “it.” This putter is simply a cut above in the way it sets up, in the way it feels, and in the way it performs. It is the putter equivalent of a Porsche in how it handles, and in how all of its parts come together with a vivid sense of beauty and balance.
The Bottom Line
The YES! Dawn putter walks its talk in terms of superior quality and performance. It boasts a rare sense of poise and purposefulness, delivering the ball to the hole with remarkable feel and a consistent roll. The YES! Dawn is ultimately the kind of putter that can earn its way into the bag for years to come, making it well worth its asking price.