With its new Classic BRZ putters, Cleveland Golf aims to enhance its wildly popular Cleveland Classic line, which has earned “best buy” honors from PutterZone.com for the past two years.
The Cleveland BRZ model numbers and shapes are largely the same as the original Classic putters, but they come with two distinct upgrades—the BRZ finish and a copper-infused face insert. At $89 (with a scheduled retail release of March 1), they also cost $20 more than their original Classic counterparts. Word has it that Woody Austin has already put a BRZ putter into play on the PGA Tour.
So are the Cleveland Classic BRZ putters a worthy sequel to the originals? And are they ultimately worth the added $20 investment? Following is PutterZone.com’s Cleveland Classic BRZ putter review.
The Classic BRZ putters are cast from 17-4 stainless steel. The bronze-colored finish is created by a manufacturing process called “physical vapor deposition,” or PVD. Each BRZ putter comes with an oil-treated cloth for cleaning and maintenance.
Oil cloths are typically associated with high-end carbon steel putters bearing “oil can” and black oxide finishes. These finishes are much more sensitive to the elements—such as water and fertilizer—than stainless steel or plated finishes. Rubbing them down with oil adds a protective barrier to rust and corrosion.
Compared to oil can and black oxide finishes on carbon steel, PVD finishes on stainless steel are known to be quite durable, but Cleveland Golf nevertheless feels that the BRZ finish will benefit from regular oiling.
The BRZ insert is crafted from aluminum with a thin layer of copper infused into the surface for a “soft yet responsive” feel.
The Cleveland Classic bronze putter models are the BRZ 1 putter (Anser-style blade), BRZ 2 putter (heel-shafted mallet), BRZ 4.5 putter (slant-neck blade) and BRZ5 (double-bend mallet; a new addition the Classic line). Each comes with three degrees of loft and lie angles of 70 degrees. PutterZone.com tested the BRZ 1 (below; 340-gram head weight) and BRZ 5 (above; 350-gram head weight).
The View from PutterZone.com
Holy cow, the BRZ putters are drop-dead gorgeous. A putter this dazzling for $89? You’ve got to be kidding me.
Words probably don’t do justice to the BRZ finish, but I’ll give it a shot. The head is a luscious chocolate bronze with a stylishly contrasted copper insert. The sole is finely polished, revealing a brighter bronze that complements darker satin accents.
Lastly, the use of black and white paintfill is both synergistic and judicious—the final touches in a deliciously harmonious package. It’s an utterly fresh look that nevertheless manages to exude a sense of maturity and familiarity.
Now, allow me to digress a bit…Back in the day, my father bought me my first “big boy” putter: a manganese bronze PING Anser. I always loved the look of that putter, and how it seemed to age right along with me, the finish darkening over time, vividly reflecting its usage like a trusty old hammer.
The BRZ putter evokes fond memories of that old PING Anser, as it is a bronzed stick that promises to evolve and age in proportion with its usage, as well as its exposure to the elements. In reality, it won’t be nearly so quick to show its wear, but the inclusion of the oil cloth bodes well for some sort of visual weathering, right?
The included cloth isn’t overly oily, but it does put a nice gloss on the finish. I dared to test drive the BRZ putters in the wake of violent storm that left the local greens saturated. Afterward, I dried them off and rubbed them down with the oil cloth, and they still look brand new. I guess I’ll just have to keep punishing them.
In terms of performance, the Classic BRZ putters are essentially the same as their siblings in the main Cleveland Classic line—which is to say they are rock solid. They live up to their “classic” name by offering timeless shapes that deliver abundant poise and playability.
In terms of feel, the BRZ putters seem to be a bit beefier than the original Classic putters. For example, whereas the original Classic 1 boasts a buttery softness on the sweet spot, the Classic BRZ 1 offers a richer, thicker sensation to the hands. One’s preference between the two is strictly personal.
The stock grip on the BRZ putters is the same red grip found on the original Cleveland Classic putters. While the red grip color complements the stainless steel finish on the original Classic putters, it’s not very harmonious with the BRZ finish. I think that a black or even white replacement grip would look righteous with the BRZ putters.
The stock black head cover, too, is the same one that comes with the regular Classic putters. The head cover is fine, but I wish it somehow reflected the BRZ theme in color or name.
However, at the $89 price point, it’s hard for me to complain about the grip or head cover. For the price, Cleveland Golf has over-delivered on quality where it counts: the performance and looks of the putter itself. If they need to cut a few corners on accessories to meet a humble margin at a fantastic price point, that’s fine with me. And, in the end, I believe that the BRZ finish and copper-infused insert fully justify the added $20 compared to the original Classic putters.
The Bottom Line
Cleveland Golf has taken its Classic line to the next level with the BRZ putters, offering a fresh and utterly delicious look to go along with rock-solid performance. When it comes to delivering remarkable value in a putter, Cleveland Golf is still king.