Win A Mantis

CONGRATULATIONS! – Bob DeCamp (You are the winner of the Mantis Putter)

(Written by Golfspy Dave) Who in their right mind would start a putter company these days?  Seriously, have you seen the multitudes of putters in your local shop lately?  If you haven’t, I’ll let you in on a little secret.  There are a lot of them.  Enlightening, huh?  I’ll let you in on another little nugget of putter knowledge; the vast majority of putters in your local shop are excellent.  I don’t know if I can go so far as to say we are in the Golden Age of Putters, but if there comes a more gilded putter era, it will truly be something special.  The golf consumer has so many great putters to choose from that he or she could almost just grab and go, ala Jim Furyk, and have a great round on the course.

Keeping this competitive marketplace in mind, again I ask why anyone would try to break into the putter business.  Why fight the expensive, uphill battle for exposure and a cut of the putter dollars?  The answer could be very simple.  The fledgling putter company may feel that their putter is simply better than any other putter out there.  They see an open niche in the market, and we all know from our biology classes that utilizing an open niche creates a competitive edge, usually enabling survival.

Mantis Golf is ready to take their shot at the putter market with their new putter.  One look at the putter and you can see that the Mantis putter is unlike any of the others in the market.  Mantis Golf believes that the matte-green finish and minimal alignment markings cause your eye to stay on the ball and not the putter during the stroke. Many of us learned the importance of “keeping your eye on the ball” during our first T-Ball practice.  How else are you going to catch or hit that moving ball? 

But can keeping our eye on the stationary golf ball really help a golfer make more putts?

Mantis Putter Features:

:: Material: 431 Stainless Steel
:: Weight: 350g
:: Toe Hang: Face Balanced
:: Length Tested: 34″
:: Finish: Matte Green
:: Insert: Polyurethane
:: Grip: Custom Winn

BALL USED: Wilson FG Tour

FEEL

2013 may go down as the year that Golfspy Dave gets over his issues with insert putters.  The Odyssey White Hot Pro insert feels great.  Ping has truly nailed it with the Scottsdale TR insert as well.  Add Mantis’ polyurethane insert to that list.  That’s right, drop the Mantis in the same pool as Odyssey and Ping for insert feel.

It’s a soft, yet responsive insert that somehow also delivers a bit of a metallic ring when the ball is struck.  When I visited Odyssey in Carlsbad last winter, I learned just how much chemistry and machinery goes into making their insert, and I came to terms with not truly understanding all of it (any of it?).  How Mantis can make polyurethane ring with a zen-like tone is truly mystifying.  The nice thing for you and me is that we don’t need to understand it to enjoy it.

LOOKS

Well here we go.  Welcome to the most polarizing part of the review. Some of you will like it, some of you will warm to it, and some of you can’t be convinced to roll one ball with that big green thing.  I was a warm to it guy.  When I first saw it, I thought that’s a pretty crazy looking putter.  The Mantis looks like a cross between a turtle shell and the alien ships from Independence Day.

An Anser it is not.  However, the Mantis was not crafted for display; it was made to putt. Once I had it on the green, I started to see what they are talking about with the color scheme.  The matte-green finish takes your eyes away from the camouflaged putter head and instead places them on the ball.  The green and the turtle shape became less and less pronounced the more I used the Mantis.

SET-UP & ALIGNMENT

Many of us remember when Nike tried a green color scheme with their IC putter line.  Nike claimed that the green color of the IC reduced the overall visual footprint of the putter and allowed the golfer to really focus on the alignment lines.  The Mantis takes this concept into similar territory.  However, Mantis is helping you to switch your focus from the putter to the ball.

Having played both the Nike IC 20-20 and the Mantis, I will tell you that there are some serious differences between the two.  The green color is very different.  The Mantis putter’s green is far brighter than the deep olive of the IC.  The Mantis green definitely blends into the turf better than the IC’s did.  Part of that may also be the alignment differences.  Where the Nike IC line had bold white alignment lines, the Mantis has a thin white T-shaped alignment tool.    When addressing the ball, you see the alignment T and the ball far more than the rest of the putter head, which I believe is Mantis’ intention.

FIT FOR STROKE™

Don’t change your stroke. Change your putter.

The (FIT FOR STROKE™) concept was developed by PING, yet another genius fitting system they have developed for golfers. It works hand-in-hand with the iPING Putter App which is highly suggest everyone getting (IT’S FREE!). You might be surprised to find out that the stroke you think you have isn’t the stroke you actually have.

This addition to the MGS reviews will allow you to become a more consistent putter by matching you with models that better fit your stroke type. They will be broken down into three categories: (1) Straight – for face balance putters (2) Slight Arc – for mid toe hang putters (3) Strong Arc – for toe down putters

“Results from hundreds of player and robot tests at PING offer overwhelming scientific support for the effectiveness of fitting for stroke. In recent years more diagnostic tools and testing equipment have become available, and the results prove that a golfer’s consistency improves when their putter balance matches their stroke type. It was interesting to observe that golfers putt more consistently with stroke-appropriate models, but they also show a personal preference for these models, too. Prior to putting with them, golfers are drawn to models that fit their eye, even before they fit their stroke.” says PING.

The Mantis Putter: Straight

PERFORMANCE

As we all learned from the Most Wanted Mallet test, a golfer’s reaction to a putter’s aesthetics does not influence performance.  Remember how the STX xForm3 was the second most accurate putter while simultaneously scoring dead last in aesthetics?  The looks and alignment features definitely do influence accuracy, and that’s why they are there.  However, what doesn’t influence accuracy is your feelings about the aesthetics.  Believe what you want about liking the looks of a putter generating confidence, and that confidence translating to more made putts.  I used to believe that too.  Our data just says otherwise.

Accuracy was measured using the same guidelines as the previous mallet test.  Testers rolled five putts from distances of five, ten, and twenty feet.  The five and ten foot putts scores were adjusted for distance, and then all of the scores from the testers were averaged.  The average score was then scored against the ideal accuracy distance score of 127.5 inches, this ideal accuracy number was determined using all the putters we have reviewed.

Accuracy Score Calculation

:: Total Miss Distance (all testers, adjusted for distance)= 922 inches
:: Average Miss Distance Per Tester (Total/6)= 153.6 inches
:: Percentage of Accuracy Ideal Value (127.5/Average Miss Per Tester x 100)= 83%

An accuracy score of 83 is a solid score for any putter, especially for a company’s first putter.  This score puts the Mantis in the same scoring range as the putters from Bettinardi, Ping, and Odyssey.  That’s pretty solid putter-company company.

Total Accuracy Score = 83%

Summary

Mantis Golf has jumped into the putter arena with a uniquely shaped mallet whose coloration and minimal alignment markings are designed to help you watch the ball, and not the putter.  While I can’t document what the eyes of the testers were focused on during putting, the data supports the idea that Mantis’ design holds performance merit.  If you are interested in purchasing a Mantis, the price is also quite reasonable at $159.99.  I think that many mallet players will love swinging this big green putting machine.

Win A Mantis

Would you like to win a Mantis putter?  Just leave a comment below and you will be entered into the random drawing.  US residents only on this one.