Blade putters may look cool, but sometimes it takes a mallet to heat up your game on the green. As we head into the summer golf season, here are some top new mallet putters that merit consideration if you’re in the market for a new stick:
PING Nome TR ($300)
The original PING Nome made a big splash when Hunter Mahan used one to turn his putting game around in early 2012. Now the Nome is back under the TR banner along with a new feature: variable-depth grooves on the face. These grooves are deepest in the center of the putter face, and grow shallower toward the perimeter, allowing for improved distance control between center strikes and miss-hits. The Nome TR retains the original Nome’s unique alignment bar feature as well. Sweet: the alignment feature is really solid, and the groove technology is intriguing. Bittersweet: $300 is asking a lot.
Nike Drone 2.0 ($169)
Like the PING Nome, the Drone 2.0 is an extension of an existing franchise. But in this case, the departure from the original is more dramatic. The Nike Drone 2.0 putter design is all about moving the putter’s center of gravity (CG) deeper and lower. According to Nike, most golfers actually hit the ball with the lower part of the face, so this design enables the putter’s CG to connect more consistently with the CG of the ball. This, they say, “stops the putter from driving the ball down and creating backspin on the ball.” Sweet: There’s a strong sense of balance to this putter, and the price is right. Bittersweet: It’s not going to win any beauty contests.
MxV1 Putter ($199)
The defining feature of the MxV1 putter is called Center Strike Technology, which consists of a ball-shaped face that is the exact diameter of a regulation golf ball. In the words of inventor Brian Wittman: “Striking an object’s center of gravity with an object of the same shape is more consistent and more easily achieved than striking an object with an opposing shape.” This is said to achieve true roll with no backspin for increased accuracy. In order to maximize the effect, MxV Golf suggests that you employ a forward press and sweep the putter low through the ball. Sweet: The concept is compelling, and a pure strike produces a sweet roll. Bittersweet: Be prepared to employ the suggested stroke method.
Odyssey Versa #7 ($142)
The Odyssey Versa putters boast an innovative high-contrast alignment system featuring lateral black-and-white lines across the crown of the putter head. Essentially, this creates a sightline that is perpendicular to the target, helping you get the putter face square to your line. Nicknamed “the fang,” the #7 is an original Odyssey mallet design that has made a notable mark in the hands of Luke Donald, among others. Sweet: A compelling new built-in aid for squaring the putter face; high marks for affordability. Bittersweet: For some golfers, the look will just be too alien.