- The new Tommy Armour Impact 2021 line includes revised No. 1 and No. 3 models and a new No. 2 wide.
- All putters feature new contrasting visuals and a new softer insert.
- Putters are available now with an MSRP of $149.99.
In 2021, Tommy Armour is updating its Impact putter line. In most situations, a big box sporting goods retailer updating a house putter line would not be a big deal. However, the original Tommy Armour Impact putter line proved to be anything but a dismissible batch of budget putters.
Sure, the “budget” moniker was appropriate as the original Impact line had a MSRP of $99 with coupon codes potentially dropping that further. Cheap is nice but cheap and effective is fantastic for potential putter purchasers.
When the Tommy Armour Impact No. 3 won the Most Wanted Mallet title in 2018, we all took notice. When it did it again in 2019, we knew this putter was special. Since then, the Impact No. 3 has generated a bit of a cult-like following. Those who game the No. 3 take great pleasure in knowing that their $99 putter crushes the competition at the cash register and on the course.
Ultimately, that is why the 2021 Impact update is a big deal. Now the question becomes: Can Tommy Armour keep the magic of the No. 3 intact and perhaps even imbue the No. 3’s magic into the other models?
Let’s take a look at the new features and models in the 2021 line.
2021 Tommy Armor Impact: Dual Alignment
The most obvious changes we see in the 2021 Tommy Armour Impact putters are at address. The original putters were all black with a single gold sight line in the cavity. The 2021 Impact putters feature two-tone visuals with the front being black and the rear silver. A topline dot joins the cavity line to complete the alignment scheme.
Overall, this presents a more complicated visual at address but the contrasting body colors and dot/line pairing could be just what some need for correct alignment.
2021 Tommy Armor Impact: Two-Piece Premium Face Insert
The second significant change in the Impact line involves the face insert. The surface is still milled 6061 aluminum but the backing material behind the aluminum is new. While the previous Impact line featured an elastomer backing, the new model inserts are backed by Nitrile-Butadiene Rubber. This new backing material is 25-percent thicker than the previous elastomer backing and is intended to provide a softer feel at impact.
2021 Tommy Armor Impact: Three Head Shapes
The Tommy Armour Impact No. 1 continues as the classic Anser-style blade in the line. Featuring the recognizable plumber’s neck hosel, this will be the model most readily approachable for folks new to Tommy Armour putters. Its moderate toe hang should work well with typical moderately arcing strokes.
Gone is the No. 2 of old. The previous compact mallet No. 2 is now a widebody blade No. 2. Though it’s lost all of the roundness, this No. 2 Wide has retained the double-bend shaft of its predecessor. Because of this, it is able to look like a blade but swing more like a mallet. It has a bit of toe hang, suiting it for a slightly arcing stroke.
The overall shape of the 2021 Tommy Armour Impact No. 3 is the same as the previous version. It’s the insert and the optics at address that have changed. The No. 3 is once again face-balanced and features the MOI-promoting fang design of the original model. A counterbalanced version of the No. 3 will also be an option.
The Impact of the Changes
I bet many of you are asking the same question: Why change anything if the Impact No. 3 was a back-to-back Most Wanted winner? There are two ways to answer that question. The cynical response would be that “new sells.” Consumers gravitate to the new and shiny. Releasing the same putter year after year is probably not the best growth marketing strategy.
In contrast, the idealist would argue that the putter folks at Tommy Armour believed they could improve on the original. Obviously, this line of thought is not unique to putters. It is the natural and necessary progression for any product. How many of you are still using a first-generation iPhone? How many of you were upset when Apple removed the headphone jack? I remember people being how-dare-you! upset about that change. Those changes are how products progress and we, as consumers, get nicer things. Turns out I don’t really miss that jack and I’ll not be swapping my iPhone 12 for my old iPhone 3 any time soon.
Looking at the 2021 Most Wanted Blade data, we can make a case for the new Impact design elements working very well for the No. 2 Wide. The No. 2 Wide scored second overall in the Most Wanted Blade test, delivering cohort-leading accuracy from five feet. Obviously, the new optics and insert had a hand in that.
Improving the No. 3
Unfortunately, when we look at the No. 3’s performance in the 2021 Most Wanted Mallet test, we see a significant decline in scoring compared to 2018/2019, especially from 10 feet. In this case, the performance of the new optics and insert did not surpass that of the originals. Perhaps the contrasting finish was less effective on the larger head of the No. 3 compared to the No. 2 Wide. Regardless, the performance dropped.
Complicating the story a bit, the change in the Impact No. 1 did not result in a measurable performance change.
So, with the change in insert tech and aesthetics, one model thrives, one declines and the third remains unchanged. Remember that scenario the next time that you want to become a putter designer. It’s not a cake gig. Moving forward, the putter boffins at Tommy Armour will need to unpack this data to see how they can build on the success of the No. 2 Wide part of the design and figure out why it was not as effective with the other two heads. It’s a business of incremental gains.
2021 Tommy Armour Impact: Pricing and Availability
The 2021 Tommy Armour Impact putters are available now at both Golf Galaxy and DICK’S. The price has increased from $99 to $149.99 but remember to always look out for sales and coupon codes so you can snatch one for less. Though more expensive than before, these are still some of the least expensive putters in the corral.
While No. 3’s loving legions may justifiably bemoan the new Impact iteration, I believe they should look at this new line with overall optimism. The fact that there is a new Impact line is encouraging. That means Tommy Armour is striving to make better putters. Maybe this No. 3 design misses but the No. 2 Wide hits hard. By processing these results, the Tommy Armour team should be able to make future Impact lines even better.
For more information about these new Impact putters, visit Golf Galaxy online or in person.