Every year about this time, as the PGA Merchandise Show draws near, we get the question: What is the best new putter?
Of course, it’s a trick question, because there is no such thing as a “best putter.” Putting is personal and individual, so the best putter is simply the one that works best for you and your game (and budget).
On that note, let’s look around the new putter landscape. Heading into 2011, the TaylorMade Daytona Ghost putter ($129) and the Cleveland Classic Black Platinum putter ($79) are both in the running for “best buy” honors.
At the other end of the spectrum, you have the 2011 BB Series putters ($275) by Robert Bettinardi, as well as his new 2011 Bettinardi Studio Stock Series putters ($375; pictured above). The new Cottonwood II ($250) by Piretti Fine Putters is another sweet option in the ultra-premium category. The latest from Scotty Cameron is the California Series ($299).
Meanwhile, PING recently released its Scottsdale line of putters ($129 to $159), and Odyssey is charging forward with its Backstryke, White Ice and Black Series lines. The SeeMore Putter Company recently launched a snazzy new web site, where you get custom options galore on their latest mSeries ($325) and iSeries ($165) putters.
Nike Golf, Yes! Golf, Heavy Putter and Rife Putters have been pretty quiet lately, but we wouldn’t be shocked if they have something up their sleeve. We’ll know more over the next few months, in the run up to the PGA Merchandise Show in January.
All in all, things seem a bit more tentative this year. Slotline Golf has gone quiet, and Nickent is out of business. Scratch Golf seems to have suspended its putter aspirations. Mizuno has released some new putters in Europe, but remains one the sidelines of the U.S. putter market.
There also seems to be a bit of a big brand retreat from the ultra-premium milled putter category. Not long ago, PING, TaylorMade and Mizuno were all rolling out new lines of high-end milled putters. Today, Mizuno’s Bettinardi line is no more, and the PING Redwood putters and TaylorMade Kia Ma putters, while still available, don’t seem terribly active on the production front.
That said, there are no shortage of options out there, and they are only going to increase over the next several months. And somewhere out there is the best putter for you. Stay tuned at PutterZone.com for in-depth reports on all of the new putters for 2011.