Slotline Golf was the putter industry’s comeback story of the past year, as the venerable brand was successfully resurrected and re-launched under new ownership after falling on hard times.
The new Slotline Golf began with a bang, rolling out three lines of putters totaling more than a dozen models.
Now, Slotline’s second act is being written with the new Slotline SKM Series, which consists of three models: The SSi-691 blade with a plumber’s neck, the similar SSi-692 blade with a slant neck, and the SSi-693 mid mallet with a slant neck. The putters will be released in November at a price of $179.
Does the SKM Series take Slotline to the next level? Following is PutterZone.com’s Slotline SSi-692 putter review, which can double as a Slotline SSi-691 putter review, as the two models are very similar and are differentiated only by their hosels.
The “i” in SSi stands for “insert,” as each Slotline SKM putter features a “tri-milled” 6061 aluminum insert designed to create “a soft feel and true roll.” The insert was inspired by feedback from players on the Champions Tour, where Slotline’s putters have seen considerable action.
The moniker “SKM” is code for “skim,” per the term “skim milled.” Milling is machining process that cuts and sculpts a putter out of a pure block of metal. The milling process is prized for ensuring quality, continuity and consistency in the putter head material, and the term “100 percent milled” is associated with high-end putters (ie: above $200).
Skim-milling is a sort of hybrid approach. The heads of the Slotline SKM putters are initially cast from 304 stainless steel, but are then milled into their final shape for 45 minutes to benefit from the added consistency and detail afforded by the milling process. The final touch is the inclusion of the milled aluminum insert.
Each SKM Series putter also features 15-gram tungsten plugs in the heel and toe of the sole for enhanced MOI. The total head weight is a hefty 360 grams.
This heavier head weight is counterbalanced by the use of a heavier shaft and a stock Winn Midsize grip. According to Slotline Golf, “A traditional putter shaft weighs around 130 grams at 36 inches. The shaft we are using weighs 170 grams, and the Winn Midsize grip weighs around 20 grams more than a small Winn Pistol and or the Golf Pride Tour Classic grip.”
Such counterbalancing is designed to harness the heavier head, allowing the weight to promote a smooth, steady stroke without the wrist flipping that can occur if the head weight feels out of balance.
As with all Slotline putters, the SKM putters feature the “slot and line” alignment system from which the brand gets its name. This feature consists of a notch in the rear topline of the putter that is designed to visually intersect the sightline on the flange to foster proper alignment and a consistent setup.
The loft on each SKM putter is 3 degrees and the lie angle is 71 degrees.
The View from PutterZone.com
The Slotline SSi-692 is truly a beauty to behold, and one of the prettiest insert putters I’ve ever seen. The smoky tin-nickel finish, gold insert, milled ornamentation, and gold, white and black paintfill—it all blends together into one seamless, luxurious-looking package.
If there was one thing that the previous generation of Slotline putters lacked, it was superior feel. Of the Slotline Raider putter, for example, I wrote. “I would have preferred the Raider to send a little more richness to the hands and a little more resonance to the ears when striking the ball.”
Well, you can now add superior feel to the list of Slotline’s achievements, because this putter has it.
When struck well, the Slotline SSi-692 rewards you with a deep, supple bass note in the hands. It’s a pure and seamless sensation, one that will quickly make you forget that this is an “insert” putter. That’s not a knock on the insert concept, but rather a testament to just how well Slotline has harnessed the benefits of its insert within a larger sensation of wholeness.
At one point, I heard myself say “Wow” when playing around with this putter. It was an involuntary, gut-level reaction to what I was feeling. This is the type of putter that makes me want to practice, because the sensation of the sweet spot is so rewarding.
The audio feedback of the SSi-692 putter is pronounced, with a bit of a “pop” that perhaps belies the suppleness of the feel. It’s certainly not the “dead” sound that dogs some in the insert category.
I’m sort of on the fence with the trend toward heavier putter heads, because sometimes it seems they want to get away from me, prompting me to clamp down and take a tighter grip than I would normally like. At the same time, I can understand the appeal of the added weight as a way to contribute smoothness and continuity to the stroke.
In that context, I was surprised at how quickly I adapted to the heavier 360-gram head of this putter. It wasn’t until later that I learned that it had a heavier shaft, which to me explained why the putter felt so natural despite the hefty head weight.
The weightiness of the SSi-692 certainly doesn’t intrude on the eyes, as the putter head is rather slim and svelte, with the extra weight stealthily packed into the tungsten sole plugs. At address, the corners of the head are very sharp, with clean bevels along the heel, toe and flange. The squareness of the lines combined with the slot-and-line visual cue make this a putter that is easy to align.
To some eyes, the SSi-692 might appear slightly closed in optical relation to the slant-neck hosel. If this is the case, you have the option of a plumber’s neck on the similar SSi-691 model.
The tungsten plugs are visible on the sole, adding a high-tech edge to the elegant look of the putter. The plugs look like they could be unscrewed if you had the right tool, but I am told that they are, in fact, fixed in place.
The slip-on head cover and mid-size Winn grip do justice the price point of the putter, and when you consider the total package—including the tungsten weights, aluminum insert and milled details— the Slotline SSi-692 ultimately offers substantial bang for the buck.
The Bottom Line
Slotline has a winner on its hands with the SKM Series putters, which pack a ton of features into a seamlessly beautiful package. The Slotline SSi-692 blade putter boasts superior feel with uncommon richness and resonance, making it a standout in the insert category. This putter will particularly appeal to those who seek the stability of a heavier putter in a classy, traditional package.