Cleveland Frontline Elite Putters – Key Takeaways

  • Eight new models in Cleveland’s Frontline series
  • Extreme forward CG to reduce twisting on mishits
  • Optional ALL-IN carbon fiber/steel shaft offering
  • $249.99 steel; $299.99 ALL-IN
  • Available Feb 22

The new Cleveland Frontline Elite putters are living proof that a certain age-old adage is, in fact, true: It’s what’s up front that counts.

In this case, what’s up front is a lot of tungsten and a center of gravity that’s so far forward that if it were any farther up front it would be in the next putter.

We’ve known since the Eisenhower Administration that perimeter weighting is very good for putters (thank you, Karsten). And we’ve known since the Spice Girls were a thing that a rear-weighted mallet drove putter MOI sky high.

But it’s only been in the last handful of years that putter companies, particularly Odyssey and Cleveland, have marketed the benefits of forward weighting.

Is a forward-weighted putter for you? Cleveland is giving you plenty of options to find out.

Cleveland Frontline Elite Putters

Cleveland Frontline Elite Putters

Prior to the PING A1 (and later, the Anser), golfers could use any kind of putter they wanted—as long as it was a blade. But Karsten showed the world that perimeter weighting kept the putter from twisting on off-center strikes.

For some golfers, there’s a benefit to moving that weighting, along with the CG, as far forward as possible. And that’s the whole point behind the Cleveland Frontline Elite putters. Mallets naturally allow for perimeter weighting but typically shift the CG backward. A rearward CG is good if you’re a driver. It makes you more forgiving. If you’re a putter, however, it means if the guy holding you mishits the ball ever so slightly, the ball can roll offline, ever so slightly.

Even if the stroke is perfect.

Cleveland Frontline Elite Putters

 

Whether the CG is in back or front, in an off-center strike, the club head will rotate at impact. And the center of that rotation is fixed on the putter’s CG. If the CG is in back, so is the center of rotation. And because the center of rotation is in the rear, the clubhead rotation will be along a larger arc, which can cause the ball to roll off line.

Move that CG forward and the club head will still rotate on the very same mishit. But since the CG is forward, so is the center of rotation. That means the actual rotation is smaller which, in theory, should keep the ball closer to on line.

What does this mean to you? Well, Cleveland did the math …

Cleveland Frontline Elite Putters

 

Front and Center … and Online

Let’s preface this all by noting these tests were conducted by Cleveland. This doesn’t really qualify as “home team always wins” testing. However, since Cleveland also sells non-forward-weighted putters and would be happy to sell you either one.

With that out of the way, Cleveland says its Frontline Elite putters are 38 percent more accurate on mishits. The mano-a-mano test pitted a TaylorMade Spider X against the closest shape in the Frontline Elite lineup, the RHO. Both putters were tested on 20-millimeter off-center strikes.

For reference, that’s about the width of a peanut. That would be a fairly significant miss but, if we’re honest with ourselves, not all that uncommon, either.

Cleveland Frontline Elite Putters

 

Anyway, a 20mm off-center strike with the TaylorMade Spider X would make you miss a putt any longer than 9.2 feet even with perfect aim and a perfect stroke. Except, of course, for the 20mm mishit.

The same 20mm mishit with the Cleveland Frontline Elite RHO? The putt will still drop from nearly 13 feet based on the relative CG location.

Do the math. That’s your 38 percent of improved accuracy.

Cleveland Frontline Elite Putters

Tungsten in Front

Cleveland achieves its Frontline forward CG almost exclusively through tungsten. In fact, the milled face insert of 31 grams worth of Metal Injection Molded (MIM) tungsten. It’s kind of hard to get weight any farther forward than that.

Additionally, the Cleveland Frontline Elite putters feature a pair of sole weights close to the front. The weights are part of Cleveland’s non-custom putter customization. That means Cleveland is customizing Frontline Elite’s putter weighting in advance. You can get Frontline’s anywhere from 33 to 36 inches long, and the shorter the putter, the heavier the sole weights.

Cleveland Frontline Elite Putters

There are counterbalanced weights in the grip that are essentially the same thing, only different. The longer putters get heavier counterbalance weights while the shorter ones get lighter ones.

The tungsten face also includes Cleveland’s signature SOFT face milling. SOFT stands for Speed Optimized Face Technology which also helps with off-center strikes. The milling, which is head-model specific, features more face material off-center and less material on-center. That difference in material striking the surface of the ball normalizes ball speed across the face so an off-center strike will still get to the hole.

Cleveland Frontline Elite Putters

Models and Millimeters

As with last fall’s HB SOFT Milled putter release, the new Frontline Elite lineup features a full array of head shapes for the two most common stroke types.

For slight arc strokers, you get the skinny Anser-style 1.0 blade as well as three mallets with slant necks. The ELEVADO is Cleveland’s fang-style head while the CERO is a unique, rounded mallet. The RHO is Cleveland’s take on the Spider head shape. The slight-arc putters all feature a single thin alignment line.

If you’re a straight stroker, you get face-balanced versions of the mallets along with the thicker Anser-style 8.0 blade. The straight putters have a high-contrast white-on-black alignment aid setup.

Cleveland Frontline Elite Putters

Additionally, all of the Frontline Elite mallets use Cleveland’s patented 2135 alignment technology. Grab yourself a ruler and measure a golf ball. You’ll find the center axis of the golf ball is 21.35 mm off the ground. Not coincidently, the alignment aids on all the mallets are also 21.35 mm off the ground so the alignment aid will line up with the equator of the ball.

Does it help? Probably for some. Cleveland says its research shows you can line the putter up accurately whether your eyes are directly over, ahead or behind the ball.

All In On ALL-IN

As with its HB SOFT Milled line, Cleveland is offering the UST Mamiya ALL-IN shaft as an option. The ALL-IN is a carbon fiber-steel putter shaft designed to provide a stiffer, more stable feel with a lighter-weight shaft.

Again, Cleveland tests these things and they say the ALL-IN is 26 percent stiffer than a stepless steel shaft with a 38-percent higher frequency and 24-percent torque. That translates to 10 percent better face angle consistency when putter meets ball, seven percent better face rotation consistency and six percent better impact location frequency.

Those are numbers. It’s always best to test them yourself.

Cleveland Frontline Elite Putters: Price and Availability

As mentioned, there are eight head shapes and two shaft options with the Cleveland Frontline Elite putters. The standard lengths are 34 and 35 inches although the slant-neck ELEVADO is also available in a 32-inch women’s model. You can custom order a 33- or a 36-inch model if that’s your flavor.

The standard grip options are also stroke-specific. The Lamkin SINKFIT pistol is standard with the straight-stroke models as its size helps keep the hands quiet during the stroke. The slight-arc putters feature the SINKFIT Skinny pistol which allows the hands to turn over during the stroke.

Only the ELEVEADO slant neck (slight arc) and RHO single bend (straight stroke) are available for lefties.

The entire lineup comes in a black PVD finish.

The Cleveland Frontline Elite putters will sell for $249.99 with a stepless steel shaft and $299.99 with a UST-Mamiya ALL-IN shaft.

They hit retail on Feb. 22.

For more information, visit Cleveland’s website.

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