Few putters can claim two victories in major tournaments before their existence has even been officially acknowledged, but such is the backstory of the new Nike Method putters.
The prototype Method putters have been widely seen on the PGA Tour since early this year, and Lucas Glover and Stewart Cink wielded them in winning, respectively, the U.S. Open and the Open Championship.
But even as they were racking up tour victories, the putters remained cloaked in secrecy. The folks in “The Oven”—Nike’s research and development facility in Texas—might as well have been working at Area 51.
It wasn’t until August that Nike took the official wraps off the putter, revealing its name as well as details about its technological attributes. PutterZone.com had speculated earlier that the putter would be part of Nike’s Victory Red line of clubs, but it turns out that they had a different naming “Method” in mind.
The Nike Method putters will not be available at retail until February 1, 2010 (making this possibly the longest tease in putter history). Limited-edition versions, however, will be available on November 1. The MSRP is $299 on the standard versions, so you can expect a street price of around $249.
At first glance, the Method putter looks pretty simple, with polymer grooves embedded into a steel face. But there is, in fact, a lot going on under the hood of this putter.
The polymer is actually “ported” behind the face, “allowing 30 grams of internal weight to be excavated from the face and body and relocated to the perimeter for higher MOI and added stability.” This solid polymer layer behind the face also aims to dampen vibration upon contact. Meanwhile, the polymer grooves are designed to give way to a secondary steel groove for “controlled forward roll.”
The Nike Method line consists of five models: Nike Method 001 putter (classic blade), Nike Method 002 putter (heel-shafted blade, pictured here), Nike Method 003 putter (heel-shafted mid mallet), Nike Method 004 putter (face-balanced blade), Nike Method 005 putter (face-balanced mid mallet, pictured above).
When it comes to putters, no brand elicits more hand wringing than Nike Golf. The company’s first foray into the ultra-premium putter category, the Nike Unitized line, was met with mixed feedback (PutterZone.com considers the Unitized line underrated). Nike has also taken shots for pushing the visual envelope with its all-green IC putters.
Also, folks like to point out that Nike staffer Tiger Woods uses a Scotty Cameron putter, not a Nike putter, as if Woods having a longtime bond with his Cameron putter somehow reflects poorly on Nike.
But with the Method putters, Nike may have the last laugh. To the naysayers, they can now point to the two major victories this year and simply say, “Scoreboard, baby.”