I’m always inspired by the putters that result from working directly with the best players in the world. With Special Select, I wanted to get back to the pure-milled shapes and faces that I’ve been crafting for tour players for more than two decades. We’ve brought those designs into the modern era with new setups, necks, faces, grips and weights. Every aspect of every putter has been redone. When it all came together, it was pretty special. -Scotty Cameron
Well, Isn’t That Special?
Quotes from Scotty Cameron are always my favorite part of Cameron putter press releases. Usually, you get a poetic recounting about how the supple surf softly suggested shapes and styles. Sadly, this time the Cameron quote is far more down to business. Scotty Cameron has been making putters for tour players for twenty years, and with his new Special Select line, he used his inspirations from tour putters that he likely made, to make new putters.
But then a couple of sentences later, he takes all of these inspirations, modernizes them, and basically redoes every aspect of the putter. It’s a weird vibe this time. We are going back to the classics, but these will be new, and thus not like the classics. Anyone else feeling stuck in a logic loop?
Anyway, regardless of the release script, when the perennial putter powerhouse that is Scotty Cameron releases a new line of putters, the golfing public, myself included, will want to know what these new putters are all about. With that in mind, let’s dive into the new versions of the Selects, and see if we can’t identify what makes them special.
A Return to the Mill
For me, the big deal with the Special Selects is a return to fully milled stainless-steel construction. While the 2018 Select lines all featured either a 303 stainless or 6061 aircraft aluminum inlay (insert), these putters are fully milled and thus inlay free. This means you no longer will have a vibration-dampening layer behind the face, likely resulting in a dramatically different feel and sound profile in these new Special Selects. On paper, I’d expect that these new putters are going to feel firmer and sound a bit louder than the 2018 models.
This is not a good or bad thing, as golfers prefer both ends of the sonic spectrum when putting.
The sole of the putter has also been changed with a new soft Tri-sole replacing the 2018 four-way balanced sole. I’m curious to see the in-hand differences here, too. Both soles are touted as helping the putter sit better (more square) at address. I found this to be true for the 2018 Laguna. It is an amazingly balanced putter and just sits effortlessly behind the ball. This has not been my experience with true tri-sole putters where resting the putter on one of the three sole angles dramatically changes where my hands want to be at address.
For me, the classic tri-sole variability leads to instability but that may be the exact thing that Scotty is addressing here with the soft part of the descriptor. Perhaps the angles between the three planes of the sole are not as severe as those found in the classic tri-sole, resulting in a softer transition between them.
Another interesting redesign in the Special Select line is the new take on the plumber’s neck. Scotty has shortened the neck and in doing so has increased toe flow. No, this is not the first time that a short plumber’s neck has ever been featured on a putter but it does represent a subtly significant change in the design and, perhaps, playability. Based upon the description, the new neck on the Special Select should give a 2020 Newport 2 a different toe flow than the 2018 Newport 2. To me, that means someone who has played a 2018 Newport 2 may find this new neck does not fit their stroke. The flip side is that some golfers now will fit the new 2020 Newport 2 whereas in the past they would not have.
I can’t wait to roll 2018 and 2020 models head to head to see if this neck change is perceptible, in feel and/or performance.
It’s not a secret that I go bold is beautiful when it comes to putter aesthetics. Even so, I can still appreciate the subtle simplicity of a stainless steel putter done right. I still think the 2018 Scotty Cameron Select putters were some of the best-looking stainless steel putters that Scotty Cameron, or any putter maker, has ever produced. They were clean, classic, and they looked, for lack of a better word, significant.
I’m not quite that enthusiastic about the looks this time around as something about the 2020 Special Selects just feels visually off to me. I know the whole “special” name rubs me the wrong way a bit, but I think that the layout on the sole is done quite well. That looks like a classic Cameron, crown and all.
I think my main gripe is the Milled In USA milling above the cavity, along with the Titleist milling on the neck and edges. It’s not that I don’t appreciate that it is milled in the USA. I do. It’s more so that it looks like an afterthought addition and it just doesn’t fit well in that spot on the putter. It’s muffin-top milling, spilling over the edges a bit, detracting from the overall design. Maybe I’m too picky but I know I will probably not buy one of these because of the cavity milling. Remove that milling and you again have a sleek, classic putter that catches my eye.
But, hey, maybe that’s just my opinion. Let’s take a look at the Special Select models. Camp Cameron has done a great job here of providing a blade or mallet to match the stroke needs of most golfers, providing a great complement to the Phantom X large mallets.
If Everyone is Special…
Perhaps I’ve come across a little harsher than usual with regards to this Cameron release, but I find the Special Selects a bit disappointing. Admittedly, I’m running on first impressions here, basing opinions on photos and reported text. In the past, though, photos and descriptions were enough to make me try and cobble together new Cameron cash. This time, I’m not feeling the compulsion. Maybe that will change when I roll them.
And that is a huge good thing about the 2020 release, as we’ll not have to wait long to give these a roll. These will be in shops near you on January 24 in North America, and March 27 worldwide. Curiosity demands that I’ll be checking them out on the 24th, but at this point, I’m not expecting the $399.99 to be leaving my wallet.