- The Cleveland Frontline Putter series adds new models.
- Two wide blades and four mid-mallets offer more choices.
- Forward CG technology designed to help keeps putts on line.
- $199.99, available today.
Looking for a moderately priced putter with some interesting technology? You could do a lot worse than the Cleveland Frontline Putter series. That may sound like faint praise but it’s not intended to be.
We live in a world where you can easily drop four bills on a putter. There’s minimal tech but it’s sexy and has a collectible headcover. But we also live in a world where a forged aluminum putter with MIM tungsten and a variable milled face can be had for $199.99. And not for nothing, you get an interesting theory on where the CG should be … for free!
Cleveland’s Frontline Putter series made its debut in September of 2019 with seven models. A year-and-a-half later, reinforcements are coming in the form of six new models. Well, technically, it’s five new models plus a new neck on a sixth.
And none of them has what you’d call traditional MOI.
Cleveland’s Frontline Putter Series: CG > MOI?
We detailed the Cleveland Frontline tech story in 2019 so we’ll spare you another deep dive. The short version is that you should forget everything you may have believed about putter MOI. Typically, high MOI putters are big and the higher the MOI, the deeper the CG has to be. Even for a club moving as slowly as a putter, that rear CG can cause the putter face to move laterally on off-center hits.
It’s a small amount of force but it can be just enough to push or pull your putt off line.
As the name suggests, the Cleveland Frontline putter series moves the CG forward, to the very face of the putter. MOI actually goes down but Cleveland says the stroke becomes more stable and your putts are more likely to stay on line.
“The Frontline story is definitely a little tough for some golfers to understand,” says Cleveland Product Manager Casey Shultz. “Instead of diving deep into the minutiae of azimuth angle and gear effect, we’re just trying to emphasize the fact that moving the weight forward simply helps off-center struck putts go straighter.”
That’s not to suggest Cleveland thinks putter MOI is meaningless.
“It’s just a realization that maximizing MOI alone is not the ideal way to maximize a putter’s forgiveness,” says Shultz. “The CG location has a big impact as well.”
So What’s New?
As mentioned, the Cleveland Frontline putter series is getting six new reinforcements. If you’re a fan of Cleveland’s classic 2.0 rounded mini-mallet head shape with a flow neck, get ready to rejoice. It’s coming back and is joined by the double-wide 8.0 blade in both slant-neck and single-bend style hosels. The 10.5 mini-mallet, a staple of Cleveland’s Huntington Beach SOFT line, also joins the Frontline team in both slant-neck and single-bend hosels.
A third version of the popular Elevado head, this time with a plumber’s neck hosel, is also being added.
“With the original Frontline release, we focused on applying the Frontline technology to shapes where it would shift the CG the most: the large mallets,” says Shultz. “It was a good way to introduce the tech but it left the line without as many options.”
The new additions – all either mid-mallets or oversized blades – provide golfers with more hosel, weight and toe hang options to fit a wider range of stroke types.
For example, the 2.0 flow neck has a severe toe hang and, at a 350-gram head weight, is designed for a strong arc stroke. The 8.0 with a slant neck is 10 grams heavier and a moderate toe-hang. It’s designed for a slight arc stroke. The single-bend 8.0, at 370 grams, is face-balanced for those with a straight stroke.
“Our most popular head shape in the current lineup is the Elevado,” says Shultz. “That’s why we added a plumber’s neck version with a skinnier grip for slight arc strokes.”
Face Tech, Alignment Tech
Compared to the Huntington Beach SOFT line, the Cleveland Frontline putter series is loaded with tech. In addition to 47 grams of Metal Injected Molded Tungsten on the face perimeter, each Frontline has its own unique variable-milled face with Cleveland’s Speed Optimized Face Technology or SOFT.
Variable-face milling is all about speed control. What started with Evnroll is now going universal: a variable-milling pattern designed to equalize ball speed across the face. That means if you hit the ball slightly off-center, say a few millimeters, there’s more material there to contact the ball. As with irons and drivers, that’s done to minimize ball speed loss on those off-center hits. With putters, that means you’re more likely to at least get the ball to the hole.
All Frontline putters, save for one, use Cleveland’s unique 2135 alignment technology. “2135” comes from the exact height of the center axis of a golf ball: 21.35 millimeters. The topline on Frontline putters is exactly – wait for it – 21.35 millimeters off the ground. Cleveland says at that height, you get a perfect look at the sightline even if your eyes aren’t directly over the ball.
The Frontline 4.0 – the one true blade putter in the lineup – has a much taller face than the rest. It’s the only Frontline that does not feature 2135 alignment.
The Price-Value Matrix
The most recent numbers we’ve seen show Cleveland with about a 4.5-percent market share in putters and Cleveland says it has reached its highest share ever. Odyssey, of course, is the industry lead dog with nearly double the market share of Scotty. PING and TaylorMade are right behind. Cleveland stands just ahead of Wilson and just behind Tour Edge.
All three, of course, are at the opposite end of the price-value matrix from Odyssey and friends.
“Golfers are beginning to recognize our putters are the best value on the market,” says Shultz. “We’ve seen a real positive response from all skill levels who want a more affordable option in the putter space.”
Cleveland’s bellwether is the Huntington Beach SOFT line, with pricing from $129 to $159. The Cleveland Frontline putter series has more technology but also faces more competition at its $199 price point. That said, Frontline accounts for roughly 25 percent of Cleveland’s putter sales.
Cleveland Frontline Putter Series: Options, Availability
Let’s get this out of the way: Of all the new Frontline models, exactly none of them is available for lefties, at least for now. In fact, other than the 4.0 blade and the single-bend hosel Elevado, the entire lineup is right-handed only.
The new Frontline 2.0 flow-neck, 8.0 slant-neck, 10.5 slant-neck and Elevado plumber’s neck putters all come standard with a Frontline-branded Lamkin SINKFit Skinny pistol grip. It’s a standard-sized, 65 -gram grip designed for slight to strong arc strokes.
The 8.0 single-bend and 10.5 single-bend come with the 122-gram Lamkin SINKFit oversized pistol grip designed for straight strokes.
The entire line comes in 33-, 34- and 35-inch options with three-degrees of loft and a 70-degree lie angle standard. You can order specific grips, lofts and lie angles through Cleveland’s custom order department.
The Cleveland Frontline putter series retails for $199.99. The new models are in stores today.
For more information, visit clevelandgolf.com.