To say that Nike’s original Method putters have been a success on the professional circuits would be an understatement. Indeed, since being introduced in 2009, they have notched major victories at the U.S. Open, British Open and the Masters.
But until recently, if you wanted a taste of the Method magic, you had to fork over $250. With the release of the Nike Method Core putters, however, the Method technology is now available at the more accessible price of $130.
How do the Nike Method Core putters compare to the originals—and to other putters in their price point? Following is PutterZone.com’s Nike Method Core putter review.
As with the original Method models, the calling card of the Method Core putter is Nike’s Polymetal Groove Technology—a combination of polymer grooves that raise the launch angle and secondary metal grooves that ensure quick forward roll.
According to Nike, the Method putters thus achieve a comparable launch angle to a traditional putter, but at a lower loft of two degrees. In Nike’s words, “We’ve found a way to create the desired launch angle with the stability and speed control of a skid-free roll.”
There are, however, some significant differences between the Core Method putters and the originals, accounting for the $120 price difference.
For starters, the Method Core heads are made from cast steel while the original Method putters are precision-milled from stainless steel. Also, on the original Method putters, the polymer grooves are ported through the sole and extruded through the face; on the Method Core putters, however, the grooves are simply encased in a red aluminum insert.
The use of an insert enables Nike to incorporate the Polymetal Groove Technology on a wider assortment of head shapes, and it shows in some of the more unconventional shapes in the Method Core line.
The Method Core line features three blades—the MC-1i, MC-2i, MC-3i—and two mallets, the MC-4i mid mallet and MC-5i full mallet. The lie angle is 71 degrees, the loft is two degrees and the head weight is 342 grams.
The View from PutterZone.com
While the original Nike Method putter is a tough act to follow, I found that the Method Core putter does an admirable job at a more approachable price.
On that note, let’s get the comparisons to the original Nike Method putters out of the way early. In terms of aesthetics and feel, I find the original models to be superior. The Method Core putters are a little more brash and “mass market” in the looks department, and the feel is a bit more muted compared to the delicious plumpness of the original Method putter.
But such comparisons are probably unfair. After all, the $250 putter should be superior to the $130 one, right? Also, some golfers may actually prefer the softer feel and jazzier look of the Method Core putters.
I test drove the Method Core MC-1i blade putter Method Core MC-4i mallet putter, and was particularly drawn to the MC-4i model’s unique shaping and center-shafted, face-balanced design. It’s nice to see Nike offering a zero-offset putter such as the MC-4i, as I believe that such putters are an important option for many golfers.
From the setup view, the MC-4i looks clean and quiet, with just enough girth to add a bit of confidence. The scooped flange and butterfly-like bordering exhibit an elegant design flow. It’s definitely a unique look that manages to stand out from the crowd without being outrageous or noisy.
I found the Method Core to put a nice roll on the ball, per the promise of the Polymetal Groove Technology. That said, there are so many factors that shape the roll of the ball, including dynamic loft at impact, vertical path at impact, playing conditions and individual stroke mechanics. So without access to a putting laboratory with high-speed cameras, it’s always hard for me to say how much a given technology is making a difference on something as nuanced as the transition phase from backspin to topspin.
But I have no reason to doubt Nike’s claim that their technology makes a difference, particularly considering the anecdotal stories I was told by the guys in their tour van.
The overall aesthetic of the Nike Method putters is pretty jazzy, but it’s not over the top. The color palette of red, black, white and silver looks crisp and modern. The stock grip has a soft, tacky feel. And the head cover does the presentation proud with its nuanced touches and magnetic closure. There was a time when Nike regularly stumbled with its putter head covers, but not anymore.
All in all, the Nike Method putter stacks up nicely against other putters in its price point, such as the TaylorMade Rossa Daytona Ghost and the Odyssey White Ice putters.
The Bottom Line
The Nike Method Core putter brings the Method to the masses with several new shapes and an intriguing new insert. Compared to the more impressive but also more expensive original Method putter, the Method Core putter does a yeoman’s job of offering Nike’s tour-proven Polymetal Groove Technology at a more approachable price.