Slotline Golf is proving to be a real blast from the past, with its putters ranking sixth out of 17 brands in play at the recent Champions Tour’s Principal Charity Classic, just a few putters shy of PING.
Considering that the Slotline brand was on mothballs for the preceding seven years, that’s quite an achievement.
One of the more popular Slotline models on tour is the SS-384 mallet, at least one of which has been in play for the past seven weeks.
At just $99, the SS-384 sounds like a steal. But is it the real deal when put to the test? Following is PutterZone.com’s Slotline SS-384 mallet putter review.
Slotline was a pioneer in the concept of high “moment of inertia,” or MOI, which is today one of the hottest concepts in putter design. High MOI enhances forgiveness by reducing twisting and turning on miss-hits. Slotline’s signature “slot” and “line” alignment system also proved to be ahead of its time, as it continues to be emulated today.
Slotline was a giant in the putter industry in the 1980s, but subsequently fell on hard times. By 2001, its product offerings were nonexistent.
However, under new ownership, Slotline has made a swift and strong comeback this year, with the older tour professionals being particularly receptive to embracing this once-familiar brand. For more on the Slotline story, ready PutterZone.com’s earlier Slotline Raider putter review.
The Slotline 384 features a hollow-body stainless steel construction with an embedded 30 grams of tungsten for extreme backweighting and ultra-high MOI.
As with all new Slotline putters, the SS-384 features a matte black finish and a “tri-milled” pattern, which reduces the contact surface area while ensuring perfect flatness and true loft. It also features “radiused” edges that “reduce snagging during the stroke and provide soft flowing lines at address.”
The SS-384 is face balanced and comes in lengths of 33 to 35 inches. The loft is three degrees, the lie angle is 71 degrees and the head weight is 340 grams. The 300 series putters are the most affordable of the three new Slotline putter families.
The View from PutterZone.com
The Slotline SS-384 sets up beautifully with a crisp, clean profile. In a putter world increasingly filled with loud UFO-style mallets, the SS-384 stands in stark contrast with its graceful ambiance.
The hollow-body construction is the SS-384’s primary performance asset, creating extreme tungsten backweighting for ultra-high MOI. On that front, the SS-384 works as advertised, offering substantial forgiveness on miss-hits, and swinging with a vivid sense of poise and balance.
A collateral effect of this design is a rather unusual acoustic personality, as the hollow chassis of the SS-384 rings like a bell when striking the ball. This resonant sound is reminiscent of an empty Coke bottle being tapped from the bottom.
Such unique feedback was startling at first, as I didn’t see—or hear—it coming. But it grew on me. Different doesn’t mean wrong, it just means different. PutterZone.com HQ is overflowing with putters, but only one putter sounds like this. If you like your putter to sing a bit of a song, you’ll love it. If you like your putter to keep quiet, then it’s probably not the putter for you.
The “slot” and “line” alignment system is perennially effective, as long as the lie angle of 71 degrees is in your mechanical ballpark. With this system, a gold sightline visually intersects a notch on the rear topline of the putter, enabling you to achieve a consistent setup.
A second gold sightline runs along the crown parallel to the face to assist in squaring the putter. Personally, I could do without this secondary visual aid, as it verges on informational overload when combined with the slot and line system. My take is that the leading edge of the putter itself is sufficient for gauging squareness. Still, it’s nothing a black Sharpie pen or black model paint can’t easily remedy.
Lastly, you can’t ask for more than the grip and head cover that come with the Slotline SS-384 mallet, which both outperform the putter’s $99 price point.
The Bottom Line
The SS-384 should be on the short list of any golfer looking for an affordable mallet with classic looks and rock-solid performance. The SS-384’s unique audio feedback will appeal to those who like their putter to play a little music, and the high-MOI design delivers the goods on accuracy and forgiveness.