2014 Golf’s Most Wanted Blade: Beyond The Numbers
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2014 Golf’s Most Wanted Blade: Beyond The Numbers

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2014 Golf’s Most Wanted Blade: Beyond The Numbers

By Dave Wolfe

On Day 1, we introduced the 2014 blade competitors, and Day 2 saw the crowning of the TaylorMade Ghost Tour Daytona 12 as the 2014 Golf’s Most Wanted Blade.

The TaylorMade Ghost Tour Daytona 12 earned its title based upon its accuracy total, as scored by our field of ten testers. When we totaled up the miss distances for all testers, from all distances, the Daytona 12 was the clear overall winner.

Today we are going to dig a little deeper into how the blades scored from the individual distances, and also into the number of putts that were actually made by the testers. By doing this, we should be able to see how the Daytona 12 was able to capture its victory and also where some of the other putters also excelled, or came up a bit short.

How We Tested

alt-scoring-graphic-mwb-2014

SCORING SYSTEM RECAP

To assess accuracy, we had each tester take five putts at distances of 5, 10, and 20 feet, recording the distance that each putt ended up from the edge of the cup. That means measurements were taken for 15 putts per putter with each tester, totaling 150 putts per putter!

Once the distances from the edge of the cup were adjusted for the five and ten foot putts, the scores from all of the testers were combined to generate a total accuracy score for each putter.  Accuracy was assessed for the group of testers, not the individual testers.

“Golf’s Most Wanted!” Blade Putter should be the most accurate, regardless of the person swinging the stick.

Here is an example of how the final accuracy score is calculated:

EXAMPLE: Accuracy Score Calculation
:: Total Miss Distance (all testers, adjusted for distance)= 1686 inches
:: Average Miss Distance Per Tester (Total/10)= 168.6 inches
:: Percentage of Accuracy Ideal Value (127.5/Average Miss Per Tester x 100)= 76%

Test Group Averages

Overall ranking was based upon the aggregate of all the accuracy values, but as I mentioned before, we also have the scores for the individual distances to go over as well.

First, let’s take a look a the average miss from each distance (per putt):

avg-dist-miss-2

Again, the values in the figure above represent the average missed putt from each distance. While our ten testers do represent a wide range of handicaps, the data shows that these guys know their way around a green, even when you hand them thirty-one different putters to try.

Now we all know that getting the ball close to the hole is not the same as getting the ball into the hole. Yes, it’s true that the 13.1 inch putt that you take to drop the ball in the cup counts the same as the prior one that covered the remainder of the twenty feet. However, it’s also true that if you are consistently rolling your first twenty foot to about a foot away, three putts should be basically non-existent.

The number of made putts from each distance is also worth looking at though, perhaps especially so from the five foot mark. It’s probably OK to leave the ball 2.9 inches from the hole on average, but if you left every five-foot putt 2.9 inches from the hole, you’d likely be looking for a new flatstick.

We definitely need to take a look at the make percentages from each distance. Here are the numbers for the PGA guys:

PGAMAKES

And here are the numbers for our guys:

TESTERMAKES

Again, our guys put up very respectable numbers and showed a freakish level of precision from the twenty foot mark. To be fair, the pros are putting on greens with a bit more speed and slope that our test green, though the greens at Haggin Oaks GC where we tested were in especially nice condition for this trial.

Were there Design Advantages?

Bag and Ball

One of my favorite things to do once the scores are tallied is to look at the rankings and to try and identify any design themes that either helped or hindered putter performance. Most of the time, there is no simple solution. At first pass, and maybe second pass too, nothing really jumps out as a must have or a must avoid putter design element.

This batch of thirty-one putters definitely shared some features. Sight lines are all over the place, with just a couple of exceptions. Most of the putters had similar head weights, and relatively close toe hangs, and as such, neither one of those is likely a win defining component.

One frequent feature of the top scoring putters that I noticed was the black finish. Scroll down quickly through the photos below, and you will see that all but one of the black finished heads are in to top half of the finishers. Does dark color lead to better accuracy? That definitely warrants additional study.

Again, color may not be the key feature though. The top three putters, the TaylorMade Daytona 12, PING Karsten TR Anser 2, and the Byron Morgan 612, are not black in color. But half of the top 10 are black, and only one of the bottom 10 is black, and that one’s design is atypical. Like I just said, we will need to look into the effect of color on accuracy.

Overall, classic heel-toe weighted blade designs (i.e. PING Anser) scored better than the atypical, with one noticeable exception that we will get to in a bit. Smaller/thinner also appears to be an advantageous characteristic as the wider architectures all ended up in the bottom of the set.

Do you see any additional trends in the contestants? Please share your observations, and get a discussion going in the comment section below.

Let’s take a bit of a closer look at the individual putters and see if we can’s shed a bit more light on why they placed where they did.

1st: TaylorMade Ghost Tour Daytona 12

1-TM Daytona12 copy

TaylorMade Ghost Tour Daytona 12

5
Foot

10
Foot

20
Foot

Accuracy vs. Ave

+126%

+21%

+75%

Putts Made vs. Ave

+13%

-7%

+9%

Like last year’s winner, Nike’s Method Core MC01w, TaylorMade’s Ghost Tour Daytona 12 was a bit of a sleeper during the competition. I don’t think that any of our testers would have guessed that it was the winner based upon their individual runs. Many of the individual testers had putters that scored better than the Daytona 12 at specific distances, but the overall accuracy of the group of testers was far and away the best with the Daytona.

In many ways it was like Nike’s win last year. From combined distances, the misses were just better with the Daytona. The Daytona 12 didn’t have the freakish accuracy from 5′ like the Most Wanted PING Ketsch did (96% made), but it did separate itself from the field quite a bit from in close. Only the third place Byron Morgan 612 really gave the Daytona 12 any competition from 5′, and even then it was a 30% margin.

What pushed the score of the Daytona 12 past its peers (and the PING Ketsch) was the continued accuracy at ten and twenty feet. It was the best at 5′ and at 20′. That sounds like something that should be Most Wanted!

Most of the testers thought that the Daytona 12 initially felt light, but then later commented on how it felt overall very balanced. The weights of the head, the shaft, and the grip all merged very well together.

More than one tester was critical of the Ghost color scheme, but after rolling putts, they warmed to it. “I’m not a fan of its looks, but man does it help the ball to find the hole.” was echoed by more than one tester. Maybe the testers are finally beginning to see the disconnect between liking how a putter looks and how well it rolls the ball.

2nd: PING Karsten TR Anser 2

2-PINGAnser2 copy

PING Karsten TR Anser 2

5
Foot

10
Foot

20
Foot

Accuracy vs. Ave

+59%

+31%

+39%

Putts Made vs. Ave

-1%

+5%

-1%

After PING’s TR groove dominance of the 2014 Most Wanted Mallet competition, I definitely expected a strong showing from the blades. It seems fitting that an Anser 2 should come in second for some reason.

The Anser 2 was definitely not the cream of the crop in terms of makes, but when you look at the accuracy scores it becomes very apparent that the TR grooves are doing their job controlling distance. Remember, the +% value for accuracy equates to being that much closer to the hole than the average for the group.

The PING Karsten TR Anser 2 was able to put the ball close from all distances.

3rd: Byron Morgan 612

3-ByronMorgan612 copy

Byron Morgan 612

5
Foot

10
Foot

20
Foot

Accuracy vs. Ave

+93%

+18%

+19%

Putts Made vs. Ave

+5%

-5%

+5%

Byron Morgan scores our first third place repeat in the Most Wanted! Blade competition. Last year, Byron’s 006 placed third. This year, the 612 model shares similar honors. There are some design differences between last year’s 006 and this year’s 612, but what remains the same in all of Byron’s putters is the craft of the man himself.

The 612 doesn’t have any fancy new groove technology, though the face looks like it was hand-milled by Byron himself. There’s not even a line for aiming, just a dot on the topline. It’s hard to pin down exactly why Byron’s putters are so amazing and beloved. Way out west, snuggled in between the surging HB surf and the coyotes, Byron has found a way to infuse magic in the metal.

If you love putters, and have not had a chance to roll one of Byron’s putters, you are missing out. Seriously missing out.

4th: PING Scottsdale TR Anser T

4-PINGAnserT copy

PING Scottsdale TR Anser T

5
Foot

10
Foot

20
Foot

Accuracy vs. Ave

+19%

+17%

+24%

Putts Made vs. Ave

+1%

-1%

-3%

I am actually a little disappointed with the Anser T coming in 4th. You see, this is the putter that the PING engineers came up with at the same time as the Nome TR and the Ketsch. Those are pretty successful siblings to live up to, and to be fair, the Anser T did very well.

The Anser T shares the alignment scheme with the Ketsch and the Nome. The engineers added a little bridge to the cavity so that the sight line could go from the rear of the putter all the way to the front edge. This gives the Anser T mallet-like alignment and blade-like performance.

The TR grooves also provided above accuracy at all distances, though one could likely argue that the full-face grooves in the Karsten TR line provide even better distance control.

5th:  Cleveland Golf Classic Collection HB 1 Black Pearl

5-Cleveland1 copy

Cleveland Golf Classic Collection HB Black Pearl 1

5
Foot

10
Foot

20
Foot

Accuracy vs. Ave

+39%

+0%

+31%

Putts Made vs. Ave

+7%

+7%

+7%

The Cleveland Classic 1 rounds out the top five, and in doing so brings up a very interesting fact about this year’s top five. While there are some very pricy putters in the competition, four of the top five putters cost well under $200. In fact, they are under $150. This little Cleveland gem will probably run you about a hundred bucks, or less.

The putter snob will look down his nose at the Classic 1 and it’s cast body/skim-milled face design. Let’s be honest, it’s not the most expensive to make. But it does look pretty good, and if actually playing golf matters to you, the Classic 1 does a great job of getting the ball to the hole.

I’ll let one of the tester quotes tell the story on this one:

Now this is what a putter should feel like.

6th: Scotty Cameron Select Newport 2

6-CameronNP2

Scotty Cameron Select Newport 2

5
Foot

10
Foot

20
Foot

Accuracy vs. Ave

+26%

+31%

+4.5%

Putts Made vs. Ave

-7%

-5%

-7%

For any other putter, 6th would have been a solid placement in the competition. However, as I mentioned the other day, a Cameron putter is expected to come in first, and any other position is unacceptable. That is a tough standard to live up to for anyone.

The Select Newport 2 is a great putter. It’s way better than the one we had in last year’s test. It sort of goes against what we are seeing this year, but I think that the return to silver from last year’s black-paint-on-black-body design was a good move. Last year, the Newport 2 came in 17th; this year it was 6th.

6th is still not 1st, but maybe the Cameron crew will be happy with a unofficial award for Most Improved Blade.

7th: Piretti Potenza 2

7-Piretti

Piretti Potenza 2

5
Foot

10
Foot

20
Foot

Accuracy vs. Ave

+9%

+38%

+0%

Putts Made vs. Ave

-3%

+17%

+5%

This Piretti has one of the best looking black finishes that I have ever seen. It doesn’t show up that well in the photographs, but there is a whole bunch of color in the corners of the cavity. It’s a beauty.

In addition to the possible black color advantage, this Piretti could have separated itself from the pack a bit based upon its heavier head weight. While most of the other blades came in around the typical 350g head, the Potenza 2 was 365g.

Could adjusting head weight really have that much influence on accuracy? Sounds like we have another lab test to explore.

8th: Cleveland Golf Classic Collection HB 4.5 Black Pearl

8-Cleveland4.5

Cleveland Golf Classic Collection HB Black Pearl 4.5

5
Foot

10
Foot

20
Foot

Accuracy vs. Ave

+24%

+25%

-2%

Putts Made vs. Ave

+1%

+7%

+1%

Well look at that, another Cleveland Classic in the Top 10. This time it’s the 4.5. Though there is a little bumper morphology difference between the Classic 1 and the Classic 4.5, the real difference comes in the neck. The 4.5 has a slant neck, as compared to the more traditional plumbers neck on the model 1.

Fifth to eighth could just a matter of the slant neck playing a little less familiar than the plumbers. It’s tough to tell, and really the margin between the two was not huge. Both are solid putters.

If you are looking for a budget putter, that can drain balls on the course, look no further than the Cleveland Classic line. You need to click on the blue button below and get one now. Just skip your mocha for a week and you’ll cover the cost.

8th: Guerin Design GR1.1

8-GuerinProto

Guerin Design Putters Prototype

5
Foot

10
Foot

20
Foot

Accuracy vs. Ave

+45%

+27%

-7%

Putts Made vs. Ave

+1%

+7%

-7%

When you click on the link to the Guerin Design page, you are in for a treat. Since I’m here to help, click this About Guerin link and tell me what you learned. How cool is that? Did you just learn something about the pedigree of Guerin Putters?

When I was initially communicating with Guerin about the competition, he was very curious about how we tested, also asking about the greens we test on. From that information, he put together a putter for the competition.

I have taken my 370g head that is for 33″ and put it on a 34″ shaft.  This specs at E-1.  While slightly heavy the extra weight in the head will make it more forgiving on mishits and therefore more accurate.
Guerin R.

How cool is that. The man is on it. I feel that this bodes very well for the future of Guerin Design. He’s going to make some pretty solid putters, perhaps even better than the amazing ones he made in the past.

10th: Gauge Design Hex Milled

10-Gauge HexMill

Gauge Design Hex Milled Prototype

5
Foot

10
Foot

20
Foot

Accuracy vs. Ave

-8%

-5%

+37%

Putts Made vs. Ave

-17%

-5%

+5%

There must be something in the water down in Southern California that promotes putter making. There just has to be some reason that Carlsbad, CA is the HQ location for so many golf companies. Gauge Design, powered by the putter visions of David Whitlam, is another Carlsbad company making excellent golf gear. Their Year of the Dragon putter is still one of my all time favorites.

This putter has a bunch of cool aesthetic elements. The new GD Milled face pattern is visually striking and puts a nice roll on the ball. My favorite visual feature of David Whitlam’s blades is always how the top of the neck runs parallel to the putter’s body rather than with the shaft, as it does with all other manufacturers. The hex shape of the neck is added cool.

I know I am only talking aesthetics with this one, but that’s just because, one, the aesthetics are cool, and two, the numbers for performance are right there to see.

10th: Nike MOD-90

10-NikeMOD90

NIKE Method MOD-90

5
Foot

10
Foot

20
Foot

Accuracy vs. Ave

+27%

+9%

+4%

Putts Made vs. Ave

-5%

-7%

-9%

I was surprised with the performance of the Nike MOD-90. It’s not that I thought it was a bad putter and going to do poorly. I knew better than that having rolled the MOD models back when they released, with the MOD 90 really standing out as the “it” model of the class. To that point, Golfspy Tim took mine and still hasn’t given it back.

Instead, I was surprised at how quickly the testers adjusted and warmed to the non-Anser shape of the MOD-90. The MOD-90 is Nike’s modernized version of the old bullseye putter. It’s got polymetal grooves and extra weights at the tips. When I introduced the Nike Method Modern Classics back in the Club Report Article I was surprised, then really impressed with the feel of the line, the MOD-90 in particular.

Testers gave the MOD-90 a bit of a quizzical look when they first picked it up, then they just rolled solid putt after putt with it.

I agree with Tony that Nike is making huge improvements in their equipment. The MOD-90 really represents something new, yet classic, and it shows that NIke Golf is stepping up their game with golf equipment.

12th: Gauge Design SP-I Joseph

12-Gauge SPI

Gauge Design SP-I Joseph

5
Foot

10
Foot

20
Foot

Accuracy vs. Ave

+43%

+5%

+1%

Putts Made vs. Ave

+3%

+3%

-3%

When the putters from Gauge Design hit my house, I fully expected the SP-I Joseph to be the higher scoring of the two. This model has the aluminum cavity insert that provides a striking contrast for alignment, and also allows weight to be moved to the edges, boosting the putter’s MOI.

I do think that the alignment is better with the SP-I Joseph as compared to the Hex Milled, especially when you look at the up close data. For some reason though, the Hex Milled came alive at 20 feet, and the SP-I Joseph was just average at that length.

Both scored very well though. If you are unfamiliar with Gauge Design/Whitlam Golf, you should probably take care of that. They’ve got some pretty sweet looking wedges too.

13th: James Ingles/Scratch Golf Handmade Prototype

13-JamesIngles

James Ingles/Scratch Golf Handmade Prototype

5
Foot

10
Foot

20
Foot

Accuracy vs. Ave

-11%

+26%

+4%

Putts Made vs. Ave

-11%

+1%

-3%

I think that this putter from Scratch Golf and James Ingles may be the first handmade putter that has been entered into a Most Wanted! competition. This putter is a prototype for a production run that may or may not happen in the future. How cool is that? It’s super cool, unless you want to get one today, I suppose.

Testers did struggle a bit with this putter up close, I believe due to it’s unique looks. They just didn’t really line it up very well at first. Remember, they shoot the 5′ putts first. Once they had rolled a few, and gotten a feel for the putter, accuracy jumped at 10′ and at 20′. Eight of ten testers said that they would have no problem bagging this putter for a round.

I’ve got a pair of (sadly non-conforming) Scratch wedges that I still play from time to time, and I too would have no problem bringing the Scratch club count up to three. James Ingles makes a very special, and in this case one of a kind putter.

14th: Bellum Winmore 747

14-BW747

Bellum Winmore 747

5
Foot

10
Foot

20
Foot

Accuracy vs. Ave

+22%

-8%

+7%

Putts Made vs. Ave

+1%

-5%

+1%

Keeping with the prototype trend, Bellum Winmore entered one of the first 747 heads that they produced. The 747 has quite a touch of PING Zing in its genes, but there is more there as well. There is a more pronounced toe bumper bulge with the 747 compared to a classic Zing. Imagine if a Zing and an Odyssey #9 had a baby. That baby would be the 747, and would likely be named Karsten Mickelson.

Even with the pronounced toe hang of the 747, testers had little trouble controlling their putts. A common theme with this one was that they would like to see how they putt with it if they had a little more time to practice with it.

15th: Axis1 Joey-C

15-Axis1JoeyC

Axis1 Joey-C

5
Foot

10
Foot

20
Foot

Accuracy vs. Ave

+19%

+0%

+1%

Putts Made vs. Ave

+5%

+3%

+7%

The Joey-C once again reenforced the the idea that you don’t have to like how a putter looks to putt well with it. There is no way to sugar coat it, the testers didn’t like the looks of this putter, scoring an average of 3.8/10 for looks. However, when you jump to Feel and Alignment scores, the averages jump to 7 and 6.5, respectively.

So, most said the Joey-C felt good, and was easy to line up. Combine that with solid accuracy and make numbers and you have a putter worth looking into. The large metal bulge at the heel was too much for some to overcome though, and I did have one tester who seemed to prefer hitting balls off that part of the head rather than the copper insert. Different strokes, I suppose.

16th: P&SI EGOS

16-P&SI

P&SI EGOS

5
Foot

10
Foot

20
Foot

Accuracy vs. Ave

+24%

+0%

-3%

Putts Made vs. Ave

+11%

+1%

+3%

While the P&SI-EGOS put up solid accuracy numbers, especially from up close, there is more to the story of this one. The name of the company as well as the name of the putter are abbreviations that when decoded, give you a little more information about what the putter is all about.

P&SI: Putting & Surveying Instrument

EGOS: Expert Greenreading Operating System

The P&SI-EGOS putter is really a combination of putter design and green reading. The traditional-Anser design of the P&SI-EGOS has been modified by removing most of the material from the top of the heel and mounting a hosel that allows the putter to hang completely vertical when held below the grip with two fingers.

Why is hanging vertical important? Well that gets into the second part of the putter: green reading. True vertical hang allows the golfer to make accurate measurements of slope and read using the P&SI-EGOS plumb-bobbing process. Many golfers try to read this way, but according to the folk at P&SI-EGOS putters, they are not successful because the other putters are not balanced.

What did the testers think? Well, one loved the putter and actually took it home to try it on his home course. Last I heard, he was doing well with it. Others were a bit put off by the neck position. If you look back at the address photo from the Meet the Contestants post, you will see that the neck and shaft sit well behind the face at address. Visually it was tough for them to get used to.

We really don’t have any data on the green reading ability of the P&SI-EGOS, as all of our putts for testing are dead straight (i.e. flat greens). Perhaps down the road we can compare some reads from different systems and see how they compare.

17th: Edel Golf E-3

17-EdelE3

Edel Golf E-3

5
Foot

10
Foot

20
Foot

Accuracy vs. Ave

-21%

+7%

+11%

Putts Made vs. Ave

-9%

-3%

-3%

Torque-balanced. That’s the key to the Edel Golf E-3. What is torque-balance? Basically, what you see with the E-3 and other torque-balanced putters (tested Axis1 models) is that the toe hang is straight up (12:00 “hang”). This design enables the toe of the putter to stay along the perimeter of the stroke path during putting. In other words, the head doesn’t twist/open and close. This allows the putter to return to the same address position that you started from with no wrist manipulation.

Testers took a bit to get used to this concept, but overall, they definitely warmed to the E-3. They also liked the feel that the pixel insert put on the ball. Multiple testers commented as to how much they liked the feel of the putter, and preferred the Edel method of achieving torque-balance to that of Axis1. Like the Bellum Winmore 747, the general consensus was that the E-3 was a putter that they could really dial in on the course.

18th: Bettinardi BB1

18-BettiBB1-CB

Bettinardi BB1

5
Foot

10
Foot

20
Foot

Accuracy vs. Ave

-29%

+14%

+7%

Putts Made vs. Ave

-9%

+3%

-7%

Last year, the Bettinardi BB1 came in almost at the bottom of the Most Wanted! pool. The real problem with the 2013 BB1 that the testers ran into was the inability to control distance. They were blasting 5′ putts past the hole by feet, not inches. It was not pretty.

Testers who rolled the BB1 last year were shocked at how much better the 2014 BB1 rolled the ball. As you can see from the data above, the struggle was still from 5′, but this BB1 did a much better job than it’s predecessor. Though I don’t have any basis for the belief, I believe that it is easier to work on that 5′ accuracy than it is to improve accuracy at distance. 5′ touch could be something that comes with a bit of repetition and familiarity.

18th: Bettinardi BB1-CB

18-BettiBB1

Bettinardi BB1-CB

5
Foot

10
Foot

20
Foot

Accuracy vs. Ave

-34%

+5%

+17%

Putts Made vs. Ave

-3%

-3%

+1%

The Bettinardi BB1-CB is the heavier, counterbalanced version of the standard BB1. My hope was that there would be a huge, obvious difference between the standard and counterbalanced version so that the standard vs. counterbalanced argument could be finally solved. Obviously, this involved not being tied for 18th…

Some testers were better with the CB; others with the standard. We are going to go back through the data for the Bettinardi counterbalanced putters that have been in this test, and also the mallet test, to see if we can’t come up with some pros and cons of switching to the counterbalanced version.

20th: Bettinardi Signature 7

20-BettiSig7

Bettinardi Signature 7

5
Foot

10
Foot

20
Foot

Accuracy vs. Ave

-15%

+4%

-1%

Putts Made vs. Ave

-3%

-7%

-3%

When one putts, all components of the putter come into the process. That is why it is so difficult to pin down the key aspect that makes a putter rise above the rest, or sink into the sea of average. Testers loved, and I mean loved, the looks of the Bettinardi Signature putters. They raved about the looks of the two heads and even about how the ball felt coming off of the faces. What they universally disliked though was the leather grips.

It’s hard to get past an issue with the part of the putter that actually makes contact with your body. While some complained about the shape and underlying construction of the grip, it was really an issue of the grip’s slick texture. Testers felt that they needed to grab the grip as hard as possible, lest it slip and spin in their hands. Without any prompting from me, every tester independently complained about the feel of the grip and how it had a negative impact on their putting. I may need to slap my go to Iomic jumbo grip on this one and see what happens.

20th: TaylorMade Spider Blade 12

20-TM SpiderBlade12

TyalorMade SpiderBlade 12

5
Foot

10
Foot

20
Foot

Accuracy vs. Ave

+24%

-9%

-5%

Putts Made vs. Ave

+9%

+1%

-9%

It’s interesting that the very similar Daytona 12 would score so much higher than the TaylorMade Spider Blade 12. I see two primary differences between the two TaylorMade putters.

First of all, we have the difference in weighting. The Spider Blade is a counterbalanced putter, where as the Ghost Tour is not. This difference in weighting leads to a difference in feel during the swing. Counterbalanced putters may require some additional practice green time to get used to the weighting. This would explain the differences in accuracy at distance between the two putters.

At first, I also thought the weighting difference was responsible for the up close differences too. The Spider Blade did a nice job hitting the hole compared to the average, but was crushed by the Daytona 12. If you look at the two putters from address, you see a subtle alignment variation that I think is responsible for the variation.

The Spider Blade bumpers are black and white, where as the white color on the Daytona extends from face to the back edge. This means that only the cavity portion on the Daytona is black. It’s a very different look at address, and I think that the Daytona scheme makes aiming the putter easier.

22nd: Boccieri Golf Heavy Putter K4-M

22-Heavy

Boccieri Golf Heavy Putter   K4-M

5
Foot

10
Foot

20
Foot

Accuracy vs. Ave

-18%

+11%

-5%

Putts Made vs. Ave

-9%

+7%

-9%

The Heavy Putter performed great for the few testers who had used one before, but was a tough mistress for those who were inexperienced with its heft. I know that I have said this with both of the other counterbalanced putters, but I think that the non-traditional weighting requires some time for a golfer to fine tune feel.

A few of the guys said that this putter felt like a weighted training club. That speaks to the unfamiliar weight sensation. With use, I know they would acclimate, and likely feel more comfortable with the heavier composition.

23rd: Low Tide Fin

23-LowTideFin

Low Tide Fin

5
Foot

10
Foot

20
Foot

Accuracy vs. Ave

+42%

-18%

-7%

Putts Made vs. Ave

+9%

-19%

-1%

The Low Tide Fin was amazing from 5′. Testers really liked how it performed (and looked). Then something got a little looser from distance.

I’m not totally sure what happened, but I have a theory. In close, exact fit to stroke is not as critical to accuracy, as the putting stroke is shorter. One of the testers claimed that 5′ putts are all mental, with the putter being almost immaterial. I don’t totally agree with that assessment, but I do think that the pairing compatibility between the putter and the golfer becomes more critical as the putt and thus the length of the swing gets longer.

24th: Bettinardi Signature 8

24-BettiSig8

Bettinardi Signature 8

5
Foot

10
Foot

20
Foot

Accuracy vs. Ave

+11%

-11%

-8%

Putts Made vs. Ave

-1%

-5%

+1%

So I already mentioned the grip issue with the Sig 7. It was the same for the Sig 8. Near universal like for the head, and near universal concern about the grip slipping. The slant neck was also a bit distracting for one or two of the guys.

24th: SeeMore PTM2

24-SeeMorePTM2

SeeMore PTM2

5
Foot

10
Foot

20
Foot

Accuracy vs. Ave

+18%

-10%

-10%

Putts Made vs. Ave

+3%

-7%

-5%

Had you asked me how the PTM2 was doing when we were testing, I would have expected it to be toward the top of the class. Once the numbers were all complied, I was surprised that it finished so low. It was solid in close, but not so solid from distance.

Testers did prefer the straight shaft in the PTM2 as compared to the bent whistle shaft in the PTM2w version. Again, we had multiple positive comments about the feel of the putter, but the accuracy numbers just were not there.

26th: PING Karsten TR Anser 5

26-PINGAnser5

PING Karsten TR Anser 5

5
Foot

10
Foot

20
Foot

Accuracy vs. Ave

-18%

-17%

+9%

Putts Made vs. Ave

-11%

-15%

-3%

You could push me over with a feather on this one. I did not expect that one of the PING TR groove putters would be toward the bottom of the bunch. I guess it’s not all about the grooves.

The long neck gives the Anser 5 a straight path profile as compared to the slight arc path of the Anser 2. This is what I would look to if I was to pick the one most likely thing that separated the two Karsten TR putters. The head length and bumper design are also slightly different between the two models, making it very difficult to single out one thing as being responsible.

All parties involved were surprised at how the Anser 2 could be so precise, and  the Anser 5 so sprinkler-like.

27th: Mantis Golf Mantis B

27-MantisB

Mantis Golf Mantis B

5
Foot

10
Foot

20
Foot

Accuracy vs. Ave

-29%

-1%

-3%

Putts Made vs. Ave

-5%

-3%

+1%

The main comment from the testers about the Mantis B was that they missed the feel of the Mantis Mallet. Though the insert is the same, the differing head geometries really lead to different feels at impact.

Those who had tested both the Mantis Mallet and the Mantis B definitely preferred the mallet, with the sound and feel being the main reason for their preference.

28th: Nike MOD-30

38-NikeMod30

NIKE Method MOD-30

5
Foot

10
Foot

20
Foot

Accuracy vs. Ave

-23%

-11%

-4%

Putts Made vs. Ave

-1%

-3%

+1%

The MOD-30 vs. MOD-90 story is a lot like the Anser 2 vs. Anser 5 story. Though they share a great deal of design pedigree, they are very different in shape. No one would argue that the MOD-30 is more like the traditional Anser design than the MOD-90, but the high toe and other features that Nike modernized really push the head into non-Anser places.

Where the MOD-90 modernization worked with the testers, the MOD-30 did not.

29th: SeeMore PTM2w

29-SeemorePTM2w

SeeMore PTM2w

5
Foot

10
Foot

20
Foot

Accuracy vs. Ave

-25%

+5%

-15%

Putts Made vs. Ave

-7%

+3%

+5%

As I mentioned before, the difference between the PTM2 and the PTM2w is the straight vs. bent shaft. This one change had a huge impact on the 5′ putt accuracy. The best shaft gives the putter some offset at address, whereas the straight does not.

It could be that the SeeMore Rifle Scope Technology works better with the straight shaft. Once you add a bend, the tester may not be as successful at truly hiding the red dot by being square to the putter head. Maybe there is some cheating with the hands or the head to hide the dot. That would explain the accuracy discrepancy.

30th: Axis1 Umbra

30-Axis1Umbra

Axis1 Umbra

5
Foot

10
Foot

20
Foot

Accuracy vs. Ave

-5%

-13%

-16%

Putts Made vs. Ave

+5%

+7%

+1%

The Axis1 Umbra has a lot going on. It’s all there to help, but when placed side by side with the more traditional blades, the Umbra’s features proved distracting. Testers were not huge fans of the tongue-like alignment flange, finding the combination with the heel-buldge overwhelming.

The make percentages are all above average, but overall the testers struggled with figuring out where the ball was going, and how far it was going.

31st: Wilson Staff Vizor Level 2 M1

31-WS Vizor2

Wilson Staff Vizor Level 2 M1

5
Foot

10
Foot

20
Foot

Accuracy vs. Ave

-40%

-12%

-6%

Putts Made vs. Ave

-17%

-5%

-1%

If I was surprised by the Karsten TR Anser 5 finishing low, I was full-on shocked that the Wilson Staff Vizor Level 2 M1 finished dead last. This putter uses the same I-Lock alignment system that helped the M3 model of the putter tie for second in the mallet competition.

The way that the I-Lock helps you line up the ball to the hole should have been especially lethal at close range. Obviously that was not the case. Like the Umbra, having the extra alignment system hanging off the back of the putter was distracting, not helpful. The testers liked how the insert felt, but wanted to take a saw to the I-Lock.

What worked for the Wilson Staff mallets, didn’t work for the blade. For these testers, traditional styling seemed to rule the day.

Conclusion

Congratulations again to the TaylorMade Ghost Tour Daytona 12 for earning the title of “Golf’s Most Wanted!” Blade Putter. Overall, this batch of blades represented the tightest range of putters to date. Our mallet test saw scores from 132-61 for accuracy, with the blade accuracy ranging from 137-72. Though it goes against the conventional wisdom, it would seem like blade putters are, on the whole, more accurate than mallets.

Yes, there were variables between the mallet and blade tests that make such a claim tough to support, but it is still interesting to ponder. Think of it this way. The last place blade, Wilson Staff’s Vizor Level 2 M1 score of 72 would have placed it ahead of ten of the mallets. The tests were run at different times of year, and had a few different testers, so we are comparing apples to giraffes. Even so, it is interesting to think about, and something that we should look into further.

Thanks to all of the testers for their time, Wilson Staff for their balls, Haggin Oaks for their greens, and the participating companies for their participation. I can’t wait to see the contestants for 2015!

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Dave Wolfe

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A putter-obsessed recreational golfer, constantly striving to improve his game while not getting too hung up about it. Golf should be fun, always.

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      Benjie Lewis

      10 years ago

      I have an older model Anser and really when you look at these putters, they are all just some sort of copy of that putter that Karsten made decades ago. You guys can take your fancy putters…I just keep making my 3-5 footers with my “old school” putter. Karsten…a man ahead of his time!

      “It’s not the arrow, it’s the indian.”

      Reply

      Pete Ciambrone

      10 years ago

      I value your reviews and use a lot of the info here to help me make my purchases, after both the mallet test and blade test I decided to buy the winners of both tests, ping ketch and TMAG gohst Daytona ( even though I’m not a TMAG fan). I have always used a blade and specifically an anniversary edition Byron Morgan I won here probably 5 or 6 years ago, I first used the Ping Ketch for about 6 rounds and have to say it was just not for me, I could not get used to how big it was even though the ball rolled true I could not make many puts I would normally make, currently I have the TMAG gohst Daytona in the bag (approximately 4 rounds) as hard as this is for me to say ( I’m not a big TMAG fan!) I have been making more puts than I normally would with my Byron Morgan, specifically those longer 10-15 footers I usually don’t make and in addition my distance controle is unreal, I’m usually left with an easy tap in. So bottom line, thank you guys for the reviews as if not for the review I would normally not even consider the TMAG (again as hard as it is for me to say) thanks!

      Reply

      pete

      10 years ago

      Love your equipment testing protocols and the accompanying data. Assume that Odyssey may have refused to supply putters for the test or to be included? Am playing a Tank blade putter and would have been interested to see how their offerings stack-up.

      Reply

      Lou

      10 years ago

      Again, was YES! invited or did they decline? I really like my Bella-12.

      Reply

      Dave S

      10 years ago

      I agree the Nike is “stepping up their game” in terms of equiptment, but this test was probably not the ideal analogy, seeing as a Nike putter WON this thing last year… anything less than that could be considered a decline in quality.

      Nevertheless, great test, and I totally agree with the results. As someone who’s had two Cleveland putters (the BRZ #1 and the Never Compromise Sub 30 type 10), I’d vouch that more $$ does not necessarily mean better performance.

      Cheers!

      Reply

      axis? lol wtf

      10 years ago

      How can axis1 joey be ranked before betties? With the no.1 selling putter not tested I think this “most wanted putters” list must be called “most wanted putters without the no.1 selling putter in golf” and the use of wilson balls

      Reply

      SactoMIke

      10 years ago

      Hi guys,
      Dave, thanks for doing this. It takes a huge investment in time for you to put the all together, with contacting all the companies, hanging out at the putting green with 10 testers, (I was one of them) then compiling the data and writing the reports. It’s a lot of work and it’s appreciated.

      I totally agree with your comment about the disconnect between looks/feel and performance. The TM putter was the very last putter i tested for you. We had had the discussion about whether there was a relationship between the order we tested the putters and the results with you saying that it didn’t seem to have a relationship. After stroking putts for over an hour my back was sore, i was getting tired, (57yo, fat, out of shape old man here guys) and was glad there was only one putter left to test.

      I didn’t like the looks of the putter, it didn’t feel good in my hands, and the feel of the ball coming off the face didn’t feel right either. But my numbers with the putter were astounding. If I remember correctly my total miss distance with 15 putts from all three distances was in the mid 50’s. That’s a total of 55 INCHES of miss in 15 putts. I believe i rolled in all five of the five footers and at least two of the 10 and 20 footers. I didn’t have a put that would have left a “knee knocker” for a second putt.

      Great right? Go out buy one and lower my scores. That would be great if every put I took from now on was flat and from either 5, 10 or 20 feet. And this is where I think the “feel” comes in. if you are standing over a 15′ downhill, left to right breaker feeling comfortable and confident with the putter in your hands is going to make a difference in my not so humble (some would say) opinion. The other part of that equation is being able to actually read the break and feel confident with the read. Sooooooooooo I told you that story to tell you this one.

      I’m the guy who took the PS&I-EGOS putter home with me to give it a try under “real life conditions.” During the test the putter felt very, very good in my hands especially at 20 feet. Easy “3-putt” range for a high handicap golfer like me. Dave had said that the owner of the company, Andy claimed that the putter could be used to accurately read greens and I wanted to find out, given how good the putter felt. This putter is so balanced that the toe stays where you place it when you balance it across your fingers. Straight up, down, 3 o’clock, 9 o’clock it doesn’t matter. Since I putt very close to “straight back – straight through” tiny bit of going back inside on longer putts it could be a reason why it felt so good in my hands.

      Anyway I have been using Aimpoint express read to read my putts and it works, very well in fact. The biggest problem for me is that you read the degree of slope with your feet. Looking at it doesn’t work. How many of us have said after missing a putt badly, “I would have bet money it broke the other way?” I was having a hard time feeling one, two or three degrees of slope with my feet.

      The EGOS putter takes that away. I don’t care if you call it plumb bobbing or not. I don’t care about the math or if there really is math behind it. (There is and its on the site.) I don’t care if it’s voodoo or magic. What I do care about is that it works. Once I roll a few practice putts to “calibrate” and find out what a one, two or three percent read looks like at that days green speed when I take the read I’m ready to go. The third round I played with this putter I broke 80 for the first time ever and would have shot under par on the back side if I had trusted the read instead of my eyes. Yep it was one of those, “no way does it break that direction, wow i guess it did” putts. Was all because of the putter? I don’t think so the rest of my game, especially on the back side was pretty good as well. I routinely keep track of stats like # of putts distance of putts, fairways chips and sand shots and when I sat down and looked at the numbers a couple of things jumped out at me. First, There were a fair number of “one putts” from three or four feet on out. And second I had zero three putts despite have six putts from 20′ to 50′. I almost never have zero three putts unless everything is from inside 20 feet and that doesn’t happen often. So yes it had a lot to do with the putter and green reading system. Thinking back,maybe I should be upset because that single round dropped my handicap from 15.7 to 13.2. ;-)

      When i started gaming the EGOS putter my average putts per green hovered right around two with an average of two, three putts. Since gaming the EGOS my average putts per green is 1.7 with exactly two, three putts over the course of 10 rounds. Yep, that’s TWO is 180 holes of golf.

      Of course the rest of my game is as inconsistent as ever and I have shot anywhere between 82 and 90. But once I get to the green I’m golden. I don’t believe that I could have taken the TM putter out onto the course and had the same results. I was using a Scotty Cameron Fastback because it felt so good in my hands and putting and it’s obvious from the data I couldn’t putt as well with it as I do with the PS&I-EGOS.

      So in the words of the NRA, you can have my EGOS putter back when you pry it out of my cold dead fingers.

      Reply

      Will Par

      10 years ago

      This is what I’ve been waiting to read. Specifically I wanted to know which putters made the most putts. Make percentages are much more important to me than accuracy. The plain black anser- style Cleveland putters at 340gm seem to lead the pack in putts made from all distances. Hard to beat a classic style putter in a medium weight.

      Reply

      bk51

      10 years ago

      Exactly. I don’t plan on 3 putting often from 10 feet and under so being an inch closer is no big deal, but that’s the distance I’ll have when I’m chipping, so I want to know which putter will help me make the most par saves.

      Reply

      jmiller065

      10 years ago

      Well, interesting post, i do need to make some comments on one thing i read that’s not accurate. I’m not doing this to be a jerk in any way only putting out the information for people to make up their own minds.

      “Most of the putters had similar head weights, and relatively close toe hangs”. i couldn’t disagree more with the toe hang part of that statement. Just to give some examples in the list above that DO NOT have “relatively the same toe hang”:
      Bettinardi Signature 7 = Face Balanced (0* toe hang)
      Bettinardi Signature 8 = 1/2 toe hang (45* toe hang)
      Bellum Winmore 747 = 3/4 to Full (75* to 90* toe hang)

      Toe hang is a rough way to tell how much arc the putter requires. Face Balanced requires the smallest, and the Full Hang requires the largest. You have to fit the amount of toe hang to the players stroke. Offset comes into play in fitting as well in that Full Shaft Offset and No Offset do not do the same things.

      I do find it interesting that a 3/4 shaft offset and 40* toe hang putter performed the best out of them all. I could venture a guess at how most the testers putted from a technical stand point.

      Reply

      Dave Wolfe

      10 years ago

      Thanks jerk :)

      Seriously though, the key word there was “most”. I totally agree that toe hang and offset come into play, and that some of the putters had extreme hang in both directions. Don’t forget that the MOD 90 has deep hang too.

      “Most” of the set are around the 4:00-5:00 hang range. Next time around, I’ll include the specifics for each model. It is definitely worth discussing.

      Reply

      Kenny B

      10 years ago

      I know the majority of folks buying equipment don’t really have a clue about what they need or what fits them, but probably most of the readers of MGS do know. I know what fits me. I like blades, but I putt better with face-balanced putters. I would prefer to see the next putter test with putters separated by toe-hang vs face-balanced with only testers who use each type testing the type they use. This would eliminate some of the unfamiliarity with putters that don’t fit a tester’s stroke. I would be willing to bet that the data would show improvement for both putter types. The caveat would be that you have to know what putting stroke you have in order to select the “best” putter.

      Andy W

      10 years ago

      Dave,
      Great analysis on all putters including my dog-in-the-hunt, the P&SI-EGOS. This shaft located “inset” versus the traditional “offset” may take getting use to for some golfers, but not all. And certainly taking ONLY 15-putts in earnest is not enough to get comfortable for some. But holing putts from the P&SI-EGOS’s guarantee of an expert greenread that one never had a chance to make before due to misreads, well, that will make the putter “feel&fit” just right real fast…

      My contention is the P&SI-EGOS has nothing to do with plumb-bobbing, which nobody can explain what that is in terms of reading a green. Did I say NOBODY. There is no Math behind plumb-bobbing, so why be compared or associated with voodoo?

      The P&SI-EGOS not only shows you How it Works (greenreads), but Why it Works, and the Math is there to scrutinize for all who own one.

      Reply

      Sen

      10 years ago

      AWESOME data! I love you guys for doing this.

      Seeing as there are not “beyond the numbers” in last year’s blade test, how do you see this year’s winner compared to last year’s Dave?

      Reply

      Dave Wolfe

      10 years ago

      The Daytona was similar to the Nike winner. Solid scores from all distances. Somewhat under the tester radar as well. They didn’t realize just how well they were putting with either.

      Reply

      Sen

      10 years ago

      Don’t think anyone expected it! I was thinking maybe this year’s Nike’s gonna do well again. Would you say there are enough improvement in numbers to warrant an upgrade from last year’s winner?

      Josh

      10 years ago

      Hi. I’m wondering why you guys use the Wilson Staff balls for the test? Why not use Titleist Pro V which I’m guessing more than half of the testers probably use on a consistent basis?

      Reply

      Dave Wolfe

      10 years ago

      As long as the same ball is used for all testers, it removes a variable from the test. The Wilson FG Tour is an excellent ball, and our testers really liked how it felt on the green.

      If we actually used a ball that some testers used all of the time, and others did not, that would create a potential bias. Using a solid performing ball that the testers were unfamiliar with actually improves the design.

      Reply

      golfer4life

      10 years ago

      Tried the TM Daytona 12 again and still not finding the same results. I know its been mention that feel should have little to no result in how a putter performs. I know for myself that once a putter doesn’t have the feel I’m use to or looking for, I start having distance control problems. I believe this is caused by playing the same general style/feeling putters for so long. I generally don’t have alignment problems, so most of it comes down to distance control. Weight of the head and swing weight have a important impact for me also.
      Thinking maybe the CB putters should have been left out of this test or have their own category, as it seemed to make a pretty significant impact with some testers.
      Great test with interesting results.

      Reply

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