As we head into the twilight of the 2011 golf season, Never Compromise has launched its third quartet of putters over the past nine months, punctuating what has proven to be an epic year of rebirth for the brand.
Indeed, the new Never Compromise Connoisseur Limited putters ($299) follow the Gambler Limited and Dinero Limited putters as Never Compromise’s latest entry into the high-end milled putter market, and like their predecessors, they offer a playful presentation along with a promise of elite performance.
Is Never Compromise spinning its wheels or moving the ball downfield with its new Connoisseur putters? Following is PutterZone.com’s Never Compromise Connoisseur putter review.
With its Gambler and Dinero putters, Never Compromise ushered in a new era for a brand that had been quasi-dormant over the preceding years. Along the way, the putters have earned widespread accolades as well as considerable success on the PGA Tour.
The Gambler putters boasted the aesthetic ambiance of a Vegas cardroom, while the Dinero putters doubled down with their money-driven iconography. Now come the Connoisseur putters, which borrow from the world of fine cigars in both name and style.
Like the Gambler and Dinero putters, the Connoisseur putters are forged from 303 stainless steel prior to being precision milled and hand polished. According to Never Compromise, “The forging process produces greater consistency and quality in the metal, which ultimately enhances feel.”
The Connoisseur line is composed of four models: the Portofino heel-toe weighted blade; the Robusto classic blade; the Culebra Zing-style blade; and the Perfecto mallet.
The putters come with a stock lie angle of 70 degrees and a loft of three degrees, but Never Compromise offers a full suite of putter fitting and paintfill options with its cutting-edge “My Custom Putter” putter fitting platform. The Connoisseur putters will be added to this platform within the next few weeks.
The View from PutterZone.com
The quality of the Connoisseur putters is a bit of a foregone conclusion, given that they are made with the same methods and materials as the earlier putters that have earned high praise from myself and many others. In fact, it would be easy to view the Connoisseur, Dinero and Gambler putters not as separate lines, but rather as siblings of the same putter family.
With the Connoisseur putters, however, Never Compromise may have aesthetically outdone its predecessors, which is saying something.
The cigar motif is smoking-hot, with a striking paintfill color scheme of baby blue, black and red with accents of white and gold. The accompanying head cover is a rich tobacco brown color with a new Never Compromise badge insignia, which evokes the imagery often seen on cigar boxes.
Each model also boasts its own individual graphical flourishes. For example, the Perfecto is emblazoned with the words “Specially Blended,” while the Portofino is “Extra Rare.”
The Perfecto (350 gram head) model introduces an entirely new design to the Never Compromise mallet family, with a crank-neck hosel and one-quarter toe hang. The Perfecto has a clean, linear front-end look at setup. It offers a thick, resonant feel as well as a distinct metallic “ting” sound at contact. With it’s classy looks, offset hosel and slight toe hang, this is the kind of putter that can convert a blade user over the mallet side of the aisle.
The Culebra blade (340 grams) happily goes out on a limb, blending a classic Zing-style head with a minimal-offset hosel. It’s a rare combination that is going to make some golfers very happy. The head is similar to that of the Gambler Boat model, but the topline is slightly thicker and the flange is accordingly thinner.
Of the four models, my heart aches most for the Robusto classic blade (pictured at top). What a beauty. I suspect that it’s going to grown wings and fly off the shelves once people get their eyes on it. Alas, the Robusto doesn’t love me as much as I love it. I tend to struggle with controlling old-school lightweight blades like this one (the head weight is a mere 310 grams). Your own ability to control this type of putter is something you might want to consider before you heed the Robusto’s siren song.
Not surprisingly, in the end, I gravitated most to the Portofino heel-toe weighted blade (340 grams), which is similar to the Gambler Royal that I favor. A nice improvement over the Royal, in my opinion, is the inclusion of a sight dot on the crown instead of the more common sightline along the flange. The corners of the Portofino are also more slightly rounded for a softer visual presentation at setup.
The feel of the Portofino and Culebra are similar to earlier Never Compromise editions, with a beautiful balance of plumpness and resonance. The Perfecto has the added “ting” as noted above, while the feel of the Robusto is naturally a bit less substantial, owing to its thin profile and smaller mass.
My nitpicks with the Connoisseur putters are the same that I’ve had with Never Compromise’s earlier offerings. I feel that the Winn grip and Velcro closure (instead of magnetic) on the head cover miss the mark for high-end putters that are billed as limited editions. The Winn grip is fine, but it’s just feels a bit pedestrian compared to the rest of the putter. Then again, Never Compromise redeems itself by offering a wide range of custom grip options, including grips from Winn, Lamkin and Iomic.
The Bottom Line
Never Compromise hits the trifecta with its Connoisseur putters, adding an exclamation point to its earlier Gambler and Dinero offerings. The aesthetics of the Connoisseur putters are utterly charming, while the feel and performance meet the high standards set by their predecessors. In matters of style, quality and customization, Never Compromise continues to keep the bar raised in the high-end milled putter market.