It’s interesting how myths and stories change over time as they are retold, with the Legend of King Arthur being a prime example. For centuries, the story was a serious discourse about power, love, betrayal, incest, and good versus evil.
Thanks to a troop of hilarious Brits, that legend has transformed through the past few decades into a farcical story of coconut horses, vorpal rabbits, and a black knight that just won’t admit defeat.
Black Knight: ‘Tis but a scratch!
King Arthur: A scratch? Your arm’s off!
Black Knight: No, it isn’t.
Today, we are going to follow the Arthurian legend down another path, one less whimsical, instead firmly founded in the steel that characterized the original Knights of the Round Table.
The setting for our story may surprise you. Instead of expected England, this story of Arthur is set in France. Yes, France. As it turns out, France contributed more to the legend than obnoxious castle guards.
French Soldier: I’m French. Why do you think I have this outrageous accent, you silly king?
Sir Galahad: What are you doing in England?
Argolf is a French golf company whose goal is to produce the finest premium putters in the market. Their location in northern France connects them to the Arthurian legend, a connection that lives in the precision metal crafting and engineering found in their putters.
Since many of you have never heard of Argolf before today, let’s first take a few minutes to find out a bit more about the company and their philosophies, and then we can check out a few of their putters.
How did Argolf come to be?
The company owner, from France, is an avid golfer. He had been playing with high-end putters, but was looking for an even better putter in the same price range. So he decided to design and make a superior line of putters, drawing on his background in aeronautics. For three generations, his family’s company, Armor Mecca, based in Preslin-Trigavou, in Brittany, France, has been making metal parts for Boeing, Airbus and NASA. He personally designed the putters, which now are sold all over the world.
What makes an Argolf putter unique?
Argolf uses highly pure metals for making its putters, metals that are approved by NASA, Boeing and Airbus. These metals have superior consistency, providing a better chance for golfers to create consistent impact and roll when putting. Every Argolf putter is derived from a solid block of aluminum, stainless steel or, in the exclusive case of the Argolf Graal, titanium. Argolf putters have no inserts, thus enhancing feel and consistency even more. Designed and made in France, Argolf putters are created with some of the most precise machinery in the world.
Can you explain the connection between Argolf and the King Arthur legend?
In old French, “Argolf” means “the golf.” The Argolf factory is based in Brittany, a region in northwest France, not far from southern England. Brittany is where the Arthurian legend arose. In Arthurian times, Brittany was its own kingdom, often considered a British colony, as many of its inhabitants were former Britons. Brittany is the location of the Forest of Borceliande, the setting for many Arthurian stories. Thus the Arthurian legend was an inspiration for naming the Argolf putter models and for telling the Argolf story.
Where does Argolf fit into the USA/European consumer market? i.e. who will buy the Argolf putter?
Argolf putters are for golfers who seek the highest-quality putter available for a price in the range of other fine putters. Three active PGA Tour Champions players currently play with Argolf putters.
Why should a golfer buy your putter instead of another premium putter, such as a Scotty Cameron or a Bettinardi?
Golfers who are serious about giving themselves the best possible opportunity to putt with ease, precision and consistency are discovering Argolf putters. We encourage golfers to do a field test. Putt with other premium putters, then try Argolf to feel and understand the difference. Left-handed Argolf putters also are available.
Where could a golfer in the USA find an Argolf putter to demo? Will availability be expanding in the future?
Argolf putters soon will be available for fitting at many of the top club fitters in the U.S. In the meantime, Argolf will be pleased to direct each individual interested golfer to the closest custom fitter. Call 561-935-6069 and choose Option 2.
Putters of the Round Table
Now that we know a bit more about Argolf, and maybe even a bit more about the legend of King Arthur, let’s take a look at the putters.
It seems appropriate that we start with the king. Right away, you can see the royal design elements in the Arthur, linking its lineage to the perennial Anser heel-toe-weighted design. The relationship to the Anser is evident, but there are some fresh tweaks as well to separate Arthur from the other peasants.
While some might be inclined to dismiss the Arthur as just another Anser copy, if you look at the design and the specs a little closer, you will see a few, potentially significant, differences.
The Arthur deviates from Anser-ness by having shallow heel and toe bumpers, and an absence of cavity milling. The bumper morphology definitely changes the appearance at address, but it doesn’t feel like the change had a negative impact on MOI, at least as it relates to twisting through the swing. The 370g weight of this broadsword likely helps as well. Overall, the Arthur hangs and gates like you would expect from any slight arcing putter.
The double sight line is unique, and I am not sure what my overall take is on having two lines there. Obviously having two lines is something that individuals may be attracted to, or repulsed by. That’s the nature of aesthetics. As one who prefers no alignment lines at all, I was a bit surprised at how having two didn’t bother me that much, and seemingly even promoted more accuracy for me than a single line. I’d need more objective data to truly quantify the double line effect, but it really did seem to have a positive influence on alignment.
Two other notable differences come with the face and the metal. In the land of grooves and deep-milling, the Arthur’s face is smooth. The Arthur is also built from 304L stainless rather than the typical 303 stainless. A few years ago, STX was milling their heads from 304 stainless and if you remember, that stainless was significantly softer than 303, so much so that it tended to gum up the mills more in production.
The 304L stainless in the Arthur also makes for a softer feel, even if the lack of grooves should push the feel more toward firm. It’s an interesting combination.
The final play impression of the Arthur to share is that it’s a cannon. If you can miss short with the Arthur, you are a wizard. This putter is hot. It’s something that you will likely need to dial in before taking it on the course. Dialing in distance shouldn’t be an issue, the feel relative to distance is pretty good, but you will just need to nail down the relationship a bit to hit the hole consistently.
- LOFT: 4°
- LIE: 70°
- OFFSET: FULL SHAFT
- BALANCE / STOKE TYPE: MID-HANG / SLIGHT ARC
- HEAD WEIGHT: 370 GR
- TOTAL WEIGHT: 550 GR
- FACE: NOT GROOVED
- MADE OF STAINLESS STEEL 304L
The Lancelot’s big swooping bumpers tell us that this knight obviously originally hailed from the land of Zing. Like the Arthur though, the Lancelot is more than just another copy.
Though arguably non-functional, the grooves on the bumpers look pretty darn cool and are a nice visual tie-in with the grooves on the face. Yep, unlike the smooth face of the Arthur, the Lancelot’s face is grooved.
These grooves, and the 330g headweight, combine to make a putter that feels very different from the Arthur. If the Arthur is a king’s broadsword, then the Lancelot is a surgeon’s scalpel. The word that I would use to describe putting with the Lancelot is deft. This putter feels much more like a precision instrument. I’m not saying that you need to be more precise to putt with it, just that it feels like a delicate wand instead of a bludgeoning staff. Both can work magic, but in different ways.
The Lancelot actually plays quite well with more of a slight arc rather than the typical strong arc associated with the Zing-style head. It’s a fun head to putt with, and was almost my favorite out of the three.
- LOFT: 4°
- LIE: 70°
- OFFSET: 1/2 SHAFT
- BALANCE / STOKE TYPE: MID-HANG / MEDIUM ARC
- HEAD WEIGHT: 330 GR
- TOTAL WEIGHT: 510 GR
- FACE: GROOVED
- MADE OF STAINLESS STEEL 304L
Whereas Arthur was a noble king, wielding Excalibur to create a better world, his father Uther Pendragon was often characterized as more brutish, relying upon his power and prowess to rule.
Unlike the Lancelot, the Argolf Pendragon is not a precision instrument. If we stay with swords, the Pendragon is a two-handed great sword. You’ll not be fencing with this one, but once you swing it on target, nothing will prevent it from reaching that target.
Though the Pendragon is milled from aluminum rather than steel, don’t think for a second it’s a lightweight. 405g in any metal is beastly, and that mass, coupled with the wide-body mallet design, makes the Pendragon one of the most stable putters that I have ever putted with.
Yep, I just said ever.
I have rolled a ton of putters over the years, and the Pendragon stands out as one of the most stable. You just swing it back, and let it go. The weight and balance really take over, fighting off any petty manipulations that your puny hands may attempt. Once you start it, the swing is going to finish.
Imagine swinging a huge Claymore down over your head. Once that blade is descending, your decisions about how to swing and where the sword is going are over. It’s only stopping when it hits the target.
The lines on the top of the Pendragon make alignment extremely easy, and the weight and balance ensures that you swing that putter back to the same place it was at address.
I’m not saying that it will fix all of your putting woes, but I have no reservation about saying that this mallet is special.
- LOFT: 2°
- LIE: 72°
- OFFSET: NONE
- BALANCE / STOKE TYPE: FACE BALANCED / STRAIGHT
- HEAD WEIGHT: 405 GR
- TOTAL WEIGHT: 712 GR
- MADE OF ALUMINUM 7175
- FACE: C-CLAWS TECHNOLOGY
Sword From The Stone?
No doubt some you you balked immediately when you saw the prices of these putters. I get that, but as we all know, premium goods come with premium price tags. You can drive to the market in a Honda, or a Ferrari, but if you choose the Ferrari, you are going to pay more. Argolf putters are premium putters, and as such they carry the associated cost.
Overall, I am impressed with the quality of the putters and with the design tweaks on the Arthur and Lancelot to make them fresh takes on those classics. The Pendragon is the real standout though. I’d never, ever condone buying a putter without rolling it first, but that Pendragon is close to that level.
It will be interesting to follow the penetration of Argolf into the United States golf market. Hopefully you will get a chance to roll these soon at a local demo day, or even in your local shop.