Kronos Golf has come a long way since we first encountered them as a newborn putter brand in Las Vegas, with its young founders sharing prototypes from the trunk of their rental car during the 2012 PGA Expo.
Today, Kronos Golf remains a small artisan outfit, but wind is gathering in its sails. Kronos is now led by co-founder Philip Lapuz, who has made particular headway into the Japanese market, which is a known hotbed of cultish golf equipment.
One of Kronos Golf’s latest creations is the D’Arcy putter ($650), crafted in collaboration with Linksoul. The D’Arcy putter is a throwback blade, eschewing the tech-heavy talk of most contemporary putters in favor of something more high minded: “Rarely do art, history, and technology combine to create a truely unique take on a classic putter, paying homage to a head style that won major championships in a bygone era.”
Does the Kronos D’Arcy putter live up to its lofty aspirations (and equally lofty price)? Following is PutterZone’s Kronos D’Arcy putter review.
The D’Arcy is nod to the toe-down blade putters of yesteryear—the Calamity Jane in the hands of Bobby Jones, the Wilson 8802 made famous by Arnold Palmer, and most specifically, Bobby Locke model putter named after the four-time British Open champion.
The story behind the D’Arcy spans generations, sparked by a moment of unforeseen generosity and motivated by a spirit of remembrance.
It begins back in the day, in the early 1970s, when a young South African golf professional named Peter Beames lost his left eye in a swimming accident in Australia. When Beames returned home to South Africa, he was surprised to get a phone call from Arthur D’Arcy “Bobby” Locke, who was already a legend at the time, having won his first British Open in 1949.
Beames suspected it was a prank, because he thought that a British Open champion “was not the sort of person to call a player such as me with no standing.” But it wasn’t a prank, it was Locke graciously stepping up to refer Beames to an expert eye surgeon. Beames continues, “After I got through all of that, I found at my locker two clubs—a wedge, and a beautiful Bobby Locke putter.” They were a gift from the legend.
It’s worth mentioning that today Beames is the “resident guru” of the golf lifestyle company known as Linksoul.
Fast forward to a few years ago, when Kronos co-founder Philip Lapuz was playing a round of golf with his friend John Ashworth, of golf attire fame, most recently under the banner of Linksoul. You can see where this is headed…
Lapuz told Ashworth that he planned to make a classic blade putter, and Ashworth told him about Beames’ Locke putter, and challenged him to use it as his inspiration. Lapuz took possession of the Locke putter and played golf with it for three months. “The sweet spot was almost where you have to shank it so I knew I had to change that,” Lapuz says. “I flared out the toe a bit and bored deeper in to the neck. Actually, I wanted to make the neck shorter, but John was completely against it because he said it was sexy! I ask him what sexy has to do with putting and golf and he said everything. If you stand over a putt and have no confidence then the ball is not going in the hole. And confidence comes from liking the look of your putter.”
Lapuz deconstructed the Locke putter and rebuilt it in his mind, developing an advanced version that became the D’Arcy.
Beames himself describes the D’Arcy as “a nothing putter today, there are no bells and whistles.” He doesn’t mean that literally, of course. He’s simply drawing a contrast between the tech-stuffed putters of today, and the lean, elegant flatsticks of yesteryear.
And while the D’Arcy may be an anachronism from a fundamental standpoint, there are plenty of modern qualities under the hood.
For starters, the putter is precision milled from a single piece of stainless steel. The face features a milled “compass scored” diamond groove pattern, which is designed to achieve precise face uniformity. The head is connected to a stepless shaft by an aluminum lathed ferrule. The grip is made from kangaroo leather.
The stock loft is three degrees, with a lie angle of 71 degrees. The head weight is 365 grams. The balance is full toe hang at 6 o’clock.
The View from PutterZone
The view of the D’Arcy at setup is pure bliss. With all of the gargantuan feature-packed putters out there today, one forgets how simple and beautiful a putter can look at address. The D’Arcy’s topline isn’t thin, but it’s sleek, and it’s uninterrupted by any sort of sightline. The flange flares gently into the field of vision, and Kronos smartly kept the flange’s graphical ornamentation subtle, so that it doesn’t shout at you as you’re standing over the ball.
I’ve never been particularly adept with toe-down blade putters, and I’m not alone. Simply put, they can be harder to groove with consistency, which is why you don’t see a lot of them anymore. Golfers are increasingly taught to take their hands and wrists out of the stroke, and to make everything all about the big muscles. A classic blade requires you to question that mindset, and to go with the flow and rely more on feel than form. Along they way, you need to get comfortable with more of a swinging gate stroke.
All that said, the D’Arcy’s 365-gram head weight is considerably heavier than most classic blades, and I find that it helps me stay consistent, making it the most manageable toe-down blade I’ve handled. I naturally putt with an arcing stroke, and I find the D’Arcy to be a lot of fun to putt with. It challenges my more rigid tendencies and loosens me up to explore a more intuitive style of putting.
With the D’Arcy, I find myself setting up with the ball just slightly aft of the topline’s center, toward the heel. That’s where the putter seems most true to me on contact. The feel is thick and solid, with an almost chalky textural sensation through the ball.
The long neck and black aluminum ferrule are design features borrowed from the Locke putter. The black ferrule looks really sharp and adds a true classic aura to the putter. However, some might find it distracting, particularly on the takeaway of the stroke, when the black goes in motion. Eyes on the ball!
Some might find the “Milled for Linksoul” wording on the flange to be a bit confusing, like it’s a putter designed for a company giveaway, similar to when you find a Titleist golf ball with a CNN or Charles Schwab logo on it. But if you’ve been reading the story of Bobby Locke, Peter Beames, John Ashworth and Philip Lapuz, and how it all ties together, then you’ll come to appreciate the spirit of lineage and collaboration behind the wording.
The D’Arcy’s black sewn leather Gripmaster grip is just awesome. It feels supple and luxurious to the touch, and the baseball-like seam along the back provides a nice point of tactile connectivity. The Kronos wordmark is smartly embossed into the lower front of the grip, so that it’s only there if you’re looking for it. The grip is thin, again going against the grain of expanding girth found on the grips of modern putters. Thicker grips are designed to keep the hands out of the stroke, but that’s not how the legends used to roll. According to Beames, Bobby Locke used to say, “Handle, my boy, handle, not grip!” The point is to keep the hands soft and sensitive through the stroke, and a thinner grip like this is a way to help achieve that.
The full-grain leather headcover is another nice touch. The Kronos logo is hot-branded into the leather, and there’s a premium quality to both the leather and the lining. I would love to see a magnetic enclosure in place of the Velcro, however.
Some will scream and shout about the price tag of the D’Arcy. I get that, and I’m not going to recommend that you rush out and get one because it’s going to give you $300 extra worth of sunk putts. But the price ultimately isn’t the point. To my mind, there’s a place for luxury products in golf, just as there is in clothing, timepieces, technology and elsewhere. If you want to own a finely milled putter that will knock the ball in the hole, you have plenty of options in the $250 to $300 range. But if you’re looking for something special, something that will make you smile, something that hardly anyone else has, and that reflects a tremendous amount of artisanal passion, then you might want to take a look at the D’Arcy.
The D’Arcy is ultimately a putter that will appeal to old-soul types. It’s not made for a hurried round of golf in a motorized cart, talking trash with your friends while the next foursome is bearing down on you. It’s for the unhurried round, on foot, when you’re glad to be alive with the breeze and the rustling leaves and the birds circling lazily overhead, and with time to line up your putts and take it all in.
The Bottom Line
The D’Arcy delivers. Kronos Golf has done justice to a classic, and has given us not only something to play with, but also to ponder. Make no mistake, this is a luxury product. But that’s okay. As Peter Beames aptly puts it, this putter is made for “not only the love of detail, but the love of putting.”