The most important club in the bag other than one’s brain, is the putter. 40-50% of all the strokes a golfer records on the course are with the putter. Putting is certainly the strength of my game. I rely on my putting big time to make up for other deficiencies in my game. Having the right putter setup is crucial. If any part of the setup is off even slightly, putts will be missed. Without the right weight and grip size/shape, the strength of my game would be neutralized. I don’t roll with the jumbo grips because they reduce the feel for me, and I don’t have a problem with breaking my wrists.
I’ve found the perfect grip for my putting, the Golf Pride Tour SNSR Contour (there’s a straight model as well). It’s a mid-sized grip with a taper which fits great in my hands. The taper is known as a pistol shape.
The grip is made from a proprietary rubber which feels soft and comfortable in the hands, and translates the feel of impact from the head to my hands. This is called “feedback.” Feedback is extremely important for any club, but putting is especially crucial because there is so much touch and feel involved.
On The Course
I’ve had this grip on my putter since before my trip to Scotland this past summer. It has been a fantastic grip and I’ve putted very well with it. Last week I had a round with 22 putts, starting off with eight 1-putts in a row. I’ve found the SNSR to be perfect in call conditions, from slow to fast greens and even with the Texas wedge (my best wedge). It was tremendous on the hard links ground of Scotland, even from 50-70 yards out in the fairway!
When the original grip on my Dornoch Putters Mad Dog 1 finally wore out, I went through several grips. That special putter has a handmade milled aluminum head, and it provides a ton of feel and feedback. I needed a grip that can compliment that amazing putter and the Golf Pride SNSR Contour is a perfect match.
Wilson 8802 Putter – click to zoom
(In the voice of Tom Hanks) Wiiilllson!!!
The Wilson 8802 putter has been at the center of numerous major championships and great victories on many professional tours. The 8802 design has been seen in use by the likes of Arnold Palmer, Ben Crenshaw, Greg Norman, and Phil Mickelson. The Wilson 8802 is one of the all-time greats. It has stood the test of time and today is still a great putting choice. Let’s take a look at the Wilson 8802 putter.
The 8802 is a heel-shafted blade putter. In english, the shaft is attached to the end of a thin putter head. This is perhaps one of the most popular designs in the history of putters. There’s a reason it is so popular, it works.
The head is milled from 304 stainless steel, a fairly soft metal. The softness produces great feel and feedback for the player, and helps the player control distance.
To perform well on modern greens and modern green speeds, the head weighs in at 335 grams.
The face of the 8802 features some precise milling patterns which are designed to produce a true and straight roll. See photo below:
Milled face on the 8802 Putter – click to zoom
Standing over this putter the player is not distracted by busy and complex designs, nutty shapes, or fancy graphic art. The look is as clean as clean could be.
The slightly matted silver finish is easy on the eyes and does not produce annoying glare which more shiny putters can produce on sunny days.
The soft 304 metal helps the putter produce a nice feel, which gives the player great feedback. Off-center putts still roll well and true, but the putter’s feedback will let the player know the shot was not on the center of the face. Center-face putts are butter.
On The Course
I’m normally a heel-toe weighted, center-shafted or center-axis-shafted putter player. So I figured the balance and weighting of this blade putter would be problematic for me. Not the case. Somehow, despite being a heel-shafted blade, the balance of the putter is fantastic. I never had an issue with keeping the face square at impact.
The face milling helps roll the ball pure and right on line. There were never any surprises with regards to the roll or the line.
In its simplicity, there’s no alignment line on the top of the putter to indicate the sweet spot and line up the ball. There’s an element of doubt when I line up as I’m not 100% sure I’m lined up on the right spot.
The putter is only available in 35″ versions, right handed. Sorry lefties or short people! I’m not tall and I have long arms, so 34″ putters or even shorter is good for me. Because the 8802 is 35 inches I have to choke down quite a bit to perform my natural stroke.
Wilson 8802 Putter
One of my pet peeves is head covers. At least 18 times per golf round the player will interact with the putter cover. The last thing I want is a crappy cover which does not protect the most important stick in my bag. Even worse is when that cover is hard to use.
The included head cover for the Wilson Golf 8802 Putter is very sharp looking and does its job well. The putter is well padded and protected from dings. The soft metal in the putter makes it even more susceptible to such dings and dents from other clubs in the bag.
The cover seals via Velcro, which I’m not a big fan of. Velcro wears out over time. A better solution would be a magnetic seal. Even better would be a design which uses no magnets or Velcro.
The reasonably priced $179 Wilson Staff 8802 Putter is the most expensive putter in Wilson Golf’s lineup and for good reason. It is a fantastic putter with great feel and performance. The 8802 design is a proven winner through decades of victories by some of the world’s greatest putters.
I don’t switch putters very often. In fact, the last time I switched was because my old putter was stolen. I’ve switched and I’m very happy with my new putter by Grant Mackay of Dornoch Putters. This thing is amazing.
I missed the DHL guy a couple of times. I didn’t know what he was delivering. On the 3rd day he finally caught me and handed me a golf club box. The problem was that the top 1/3 of the box was gone and there was the handle of a golf club sticking out about 1.5 feet. I looked at the return address and this thing had come clear from Scotland. I asked the DHL guy about the condition of the box and he said “this is the way it was when it got to me.” Surprisingly the putter had survived a trip from Scotland to Utah with half the box gone and/or destroyed.
I tested the putter out on the practice green a few days later and shot some pictures of it, as I do for all my reviews. I wasn’t quite done testing it on the practice green, not confident enough to try it on the course yet. The next day I forgot to put my regular putter back in the bag and found out the Dornoch Putter was in play when I arrived at the 1st green in my Thursday money game. Uh oh. That could be expensive.
As it turned out, it was expensive… for my opponents. I putted so well that day, that the putter hasn’t left my bag since.
Putter Week 2010 continues…
I mentioned some crazy putters were coming during this year’s Putter Week. This crazy putter (pictured right) is the Bob Burns “Roll In” putter. If you like to experiment with your putting, your equipment, club configurations and have ADD, you’re going to want this putter.
Bob Burns Roll In – Features
The Roll In has a 350 gram aluminum mallet head with SEVEN weight ports. The putter comes with 12, count ’em, TWELVE weights and a tool to install or remove them. The weights vary from 2-10 grams. If you can’t find the perfect head balance and weighting with this putter, you might want to take up bowling or basket weaving.
Behind the milled face is a “T” shaped sight line to help you align your putts. Speaking of the face, tiny grooves are milled into the face to get the ball rolling correctly.
The shaft, available in lengths from 32-37 inches, is a center mount.
Traditionalists may not dig the looks of the Roll In. Behind the face in the mallet section is quite busy. Personally I don’t get distracted by the weights, ports and the rest. Heck, if my putter had a monkey on the back banging a pair of cymbals in his hands and kicking a bass drum with his feet I wouldn’t care, as long as I made putts.
With heavy weights installed and the jumbo grip, a smooth pendulum motion with the shoulders and arms occurs naturally for me. It is difficult to break the wrists or do any sudden movements which might take the putter off line.
My Roll In has a super jumbo grip. The super jumbo grip is massively bigger than a standard grip and four times the weight. If you have wrist breaking problems or other jerky issues with your putting stroke, this grip and the extra weight it adds higher up in the shaft will probably help.
Other than the jumbo grip pictured above, there are 16 other grip options for the Roll In.
This $125 putter is fun. It combines the art of putting with a set of Tinker Toys. All joking about it aside, it is a surprisingly good feeling putter. The weighting and balance are very nice and promote a smooth, pendulum like stroke. The adjustable weights allow for fine tuning by even the most detail oriented players.
Bob Burns web site.
Bob Burns HOG Image Gallery.
I get many odd golf equipment submissions for review. Many of these submissions may have new designs or technologies, but their true usefulness isn’t all that great. When I initially opened the box with the Axis 1 Putter inside, I thought I’d received yet another not-so-useful piece of gear. I was wrong.
Axis 1 Overview
The Axis 1 Putter is obviously a departure from normal putter design. The Axis putter is precisely designed to put the absolute center of the club’s weighting on the sweet spot. This is done primarily by moving the weight of the putter’s heel forward of the club face.
When I pick up any new putter the first thing I do is see if the putter “wants” to stay square to the target line. My moderately unscientific way of determining that is to place the putter in my address position, then lighten my grip so that the putter head is free to move. I support the shaft just enough to keep it from falling to the ground.
If the putter head moves off line then I know the “default” position the putter wants to be in is not square. If the putter head stays square when I loosen my grip, then the putter wants to be square. I figure if I’m putting and off a little with my stroke, a putter which tends to stay square will help during those times.
The Axis 1 wants to be square.
I was just messing around with the Axis and discovered something I’ve never noticed on any other putter. Sometimes you’ll spin the a club in your hands for fun when you are bored. If you do that with any standard putter, it becomes very obvious that the balance of the putter is off center. When you spin it, the putter throws its weight from side to side and the whole club shakes back and forth.
When I spin the Axis 1 putter in my hands the putter is perfectly balanced. There is absolutely no weight shift at all, no shaking or moving from side to side. In other words there’s exactly the same amount of weight on either side of the shaft, and the shaft itself is perfectly centered with the face. It is hard to explain and I hope you get the idea.
Looks and Feel
The initial look of the Axis 1 is hard to get used to. It just doesn’t look like a standard putter or anything you’d be used to visually. But when you get over that initial impression, the putter itself is very beautiful.
The feel of the putter was what won me over instantly, before I even knew about the whole Axis balance concept.
There are a couple of stainless steel counter weights in the head of the putter which allow you to tweak the weighting. There’s one weight in the toe and one in the heel.
Trust me, no tweaking of the weights is needed.
The face of the Axis 1 is milled like many putter faces these days. The milled grooves start the putt out on a great roll, rather than starting the ball out skidding. This makes the putts roll more true and straight.
For extra added feel (and beauty), there is a copper insert in the club face (pictured).
The Axis doesn’t just have an every day shaft either. There are stiffening grooves and a vibration dampening core, making the putter feel very solid.
Winn AVS Grip
I’m a Winn grip fan and the Axis does include a Winn grip. No need to switch grips for me since the Winn AVS grip the Axis comes with is super soft and silky.
Pricing and Availability
There are two Axis putter models to date. The Axis 1 “Eagle” is the model I have and the one in my images here and in the Axis 1 Gallery. The Eagle retails for $325, with a street price around $299.
There’s a limited edition Axis 1 Putter called the Collector’s Series. 100 special putters from Axis are engraved and signed. Retail on the Collector’s Series is $400.
From what I’ve been able to gather, the Axis 1 series is currently available in right hand only. No lefties just yet.
I’ve enjoyed using the Axis on the course. Many of my opponents comment on how odd it looks. As soon as they see my putts dropping and they have to fish into their wallets to pay their losing bets at the end of the round, they’re much more interested in the Axis.