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Inside The Tour Van: Nike Putters

On a glorious morning in Pebble Beach during a practice round at the 2011 AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am, PutterZone.com was fortunate to connect with putter representatives from Nike, SeeMore, Never Compromise, Bettinardi, TaylorMade, and Odyssey.

Today we launch a series of related stories from inside the tour vans and around the Pebble Beach practice green, giving you insider access to the hottest new putters on tour.

We begin with a visit to the Nike tour van, known as the “Microwave Oven” in honor of Nike’s research and development facility in Texas, which is known as The Oven.

Inside the van, Rob Burbick was as cool as a cucumber, just as he was when we met him at the U.S. Open in the summer. But he was holding the hot new item in Nike’s putter arsenal—the Method Core putter, the evolutionary and more affordable complement to the original milled Method putters. Paul Casey recently notched a victory with a Method Core putter in Bahrain.

On the original Method putters, polymer is ported through the sole of the putter and extruded along the face to create the distinctive Method groove pattern. On the Method Core putters, however, the polymer grooves are encased in an aluminum insert, which gives Nike more flexibility in the head designs. According to Burbick, most players describe the feel of the Core Method putters as slightly softer compared to the milled Method line.

What hasn’t changed is the Polymetal Groove Technology, which Nike says achieves the “desired launch angle with the stability and speed control of a skid free roll.” According to Burbick, the polymer raises the launch angle while the secondary metal grooves ensure quick forward roll. He said the Method putters achieve a comparable launch angle to a traditional putter with 1 to 1.5 less degrees of loft—in other words, a Method putter with 2.5 degrees of loft will launch a ball similar to a putter with 4 degrees of loft.

The touring professionals who switch to the Method have to acclimate to looking down at a putter with less loft than they’re used to, Burbick says. But he adds that it doesn’t take much convincing after they see the roll off the face.

Click here for PutterZone.com’s Pebble Beach equipment photo gallery, and stay tuned for more putter stories from the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am. You can also follow this series via our AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am thread.

About Sean Weir

Sean Weir is the founder and editor of PutterZone.com, and the author of Putter Perfection, the definitive guide to putter fitting. Profile: Google+

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