Scotty Cameron needs no introduction. His name is synonymous with success on the PGA Tour. One of his putters has helped engineer some of golf’s most epic moments in the hands of Tiger Woods. He has a cult-like following, and some people treat his putters and assorted tchotchkes like investments, akin to rare wines and Google stock.
According to stats tallied by one PutterZone.com reader, Cameron putters have won 11 PGA Tour tournaments to date in 2010, two less than Odyssey and nearly double the next brand. And if Woods was playing like normal, Cameron putters would no doubt be leading the victory parade once again.
Cameron’s latest offering is the Scotty Cameron California line by Titleist ($299), which aims to bring a modern twist to traditional putter designs. Do these putters live up to their considerable billing, not to mention their lofty asking price?
Following is PutterZone.com’s Scotty Cameron California putter review, specifically the Monterey model.
In the words of Titleist-Cameron, “Scotty Cameron’s latest putter line—California—embodies all of the unique attributes that make his fine milled putters instruments of putting art: high-quality, precision-milled stainless steel; refined, masterful design aesthetics; Tour-proven, customizable specifications; smart, interchangeable weighting; and classic accessories to match.”
The Cameron California line consists of four models named after some of Cameron’s favorite towns: Monterey, Sonoma, Coronado and Del Mar.
The California putter heads are precision milled from 303 stainless steel “for a soft sound and feel that promotes precise distance control.” A “high-toe profile” aids alignment and eliminates tendency to raise the toe at address. A “misted honey-dipped finish” provides non-glare appearance “that will remind players of a golden California evening as the sun dips into the Pacific.” Attentive sole drafting aims to keep the putter square in the playing position for proper alignment.
The stock head weights are 360, 350 and 340 grams for lengths of 33, 34 and 35 inches respectively. The putters come with Select Weighting Technology, whereby interchangeable weights in the heel and toe can be swapped out for swingweight customization.
The View from PutterZone.com
To say that Scotty Cameron is over-hyped might be an understatement. His head covers routinely fetch more than $100. Some folks would have you believe that every Scotty Cameron putter is dipped in unicorn tears during a solar eclipse.
I am not one of them. Maybe I’ve seen too many Bettinardi, SeeMore and other putters to declare any putter designer “The One.” A lot of folks seem to have a vested interest in being Cameron boosters. That said, others seem to have a peculiar urge to bash the man. As for me, I just watch the scrum from the sidelines, amused but largely ambivalent.
So what do I think of the Scotty Cameron California putters? Well, I think they’re pretty sweet.
The thing that immediately stands out with the Monterey putter (and other California putters) is the obvious maturity of the presentation. It just looks the part of a $300 putter bearing the biggest name in the industry. The attentive shaping, the breezy graphics, the distinctively tasteful finish…Everything comes together into one harmoniously masterful package. Call him a “copycat” all you want, but the dude knows design.
I’m biased, as I have lived in two of the four places commemorated in the California line, but I love the whole Golden State motif of these putters. Without hitting you over the thematic head, they subtly evoke the wine, water and sunshine for which California is renowned.
If I’m playing devil’s advocate, however, it all verges on being too slick. Cameron left the garage a long time ago, at least when it comes to his retail lines. There’s no grit in these California putters. They are not an indie film. They are a big-budget Hollywood production. They are dazzling and masterfully edited, but some will find them to be over-produced.
Is that too harsh? Probably. It’s sort of like complaining that a supermodel doesn’t have gapped teeth or a mole on her face. But beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and those who desire an artisan ambiance in their putter may want to look elsewhere.
With its crank-neck hosel, raised toe profile and snubbed nose, the Scotty Cameron Monterey putter is a bit of an Anser-Softtail hybrid. The toe hangs at approximately 4 o’clock, favoring a natural arcing stroke. It presents a graceful and balanced picture at setup.
As expected, the Monterey putter excels in matters of handling and feel. This is a player’s blade: lean and clean and all business once it’s in motion. The sweet spot is invitingly plump, with a nice underlying firmness for vivid feedback. Some golfers will crave a little more softness, but others will love the substance of the feel.
The Monterey putter won’t babysit you. It demands that you be at the top of your game. If you miss the mark ever so slightly toward the toe or heel, or high or low, it sends a clear message. In other words, the feedback is pure and unfiltered.
The stock Cameron grip by Golf Pride feels great in my hands, and the California series head cover is a joy to behold with its colorful and playful embroidery. I’m not crazy about the Velcro closure, however—a magnetic closure would better befit the price point of the putter.
All in all, however, the Cameron California putters do justice to their asking price. Are they expensive? Yes. Can you question the intrinsic value of high-priced putters? Of course. But it’s hard to imagine anyone feeling cheated after buying a Cameron California putter.
The Bottom Line
Scotty Cameron is held to the highest standards of luxury and performance, and he meets these standards with the California putters. The Monterey model excels in matters of looks, handling and feel. The Cameron hype is a little out of control, and some may resist his putters on that basis alone. But there’s no denying the obvious quality at the heart of the Scotty Cameron California line.