Earlier this year, PGA tour professional Jerry Kelly bought a Cleveland Classic putter off the rack for $69 and promptly won $1.1 million at the Zurich Classic. Talk about a good return on investment.
At PutterZone.com, we weren’t shocked by Kelly’s low-budget choice in putters, as we had already given the Cleveland Classic 1 putter rave reviews for its classy looks, beautiful feel and remarkable value. In fact, we placed the Classic 1 at the top of the “Best Buy” class in our 2009 Power Picks.
Now, a year after the introduction of the inaugural three Classics models, Cleveland is extending the line with the Classic 4 and Classic 4.5 putters ($69). Are these twin putters a worthy sequel to the originals? Following is PutterZone.com’s tandem Cleveland Classic 4 putter review and Cleveland Classic 4.5 putter review.
The new Classic 4 and Classic 4.5 models are both heel-toe weighted blades. They nearly identical, but the 4.5 has a slant neck (pictured here) with half shaft offset, while the 4 has a plumber’s neck with full shaft offset. The lie angle is 70 degrees, the loft is 3 degrees and the head weight is 340 grams.
According to Cleveland Golf, the Cleveland Classic putters are “inspired by the classics but crafted for performance.”
Like the original Classic 1, 2 and 3 models, the new putters are made from 17-4 stainless steel with milled faces and a hand-polished satin finish.
The View from PutterZone.com
What can I say? No surprises here. Like their predecessors, the Cleveland Classic 4 and Cleveland Classic 4.5 putters are a bargain golfer’s dream.
Of the original Classics models, the Classic 4 and Classic 4.5 most resemble the Classic 1 heel-toe blade. The substantive difference with the 4 models is the size of the head, which is slightly larger than that of the Cleveland Classic 1.
Compared to the Classic 1, the corners of the 4 models are also sharper, with crisp bevels along the flange. Aesthetically, the new models feature the same classy poise of the earlier models, but with the addition of new stampings on the bumper, as discussed later in this review.
I also noticed some differences in feel. With the Classic 1, there are moments when it truly feels like a knife slicing through warm butter. With the new Classic 4 and Classic 4.5, the feel is still soft, but a bit more juicy and plump.
So if you like a smaller head with gentle lines and a buttery soft feel, the Cleveland Classic 1 is still your best choice. If you like a larger head with crisp lines and a soft yet plump feel, then you will prefer the 4 or 4.5 model.
As with earlier Cleveland Classics putters, the grip of the 4 models is a bit hard and chalky, but that can easily be remedied with an $8 replacement grip. The head cover is improved this time around—the boring textured black head cover of the earlier models has been replaced with a pleather red cover with the Cleveland Golf icon boldly embroidered in white.
There’s a lot of talk in the putter industry these days about the importance of putter fitting, yet finding the lie angle or loft of a given putter can be like searching for the Dead Sea Scrolls.
Not so with Cleveland Golf—all the crucial specs are not only available on the Cleveland Golf web site, but right on the Classics putters themselves, as the loft, lie angle, head weight and material type are stamped right into the head.
In my earlier review of the Cleveland Classic 1, I commended Cleveland Golf for stamping the loft and lie angle on the putter. The 4 models now boast the addition of the head weight and material type stamped into the bumper. I have one word for that: Bravo!
I’m not saying that every putter should be a billboard of specifications (although I do believe that every putter’s specs should at least be readily available on a manufacturer’s web site). I just think that it’s cool for Cleveland Golf to go all out on this front for a $69 putter.
The Bottom Line
Unlike Hollywood, Cleveland Golf knows how to make a rock-solid sequel, because the Cleveland Classic 4 and Cleveland Classic 4.5 putters pick right up where the earlier models left off. In other words, what we have here is another winner at a magnificent price. Classic, indeed.