Club tested: Thomas Golf AT12 Putter – Traditional Length
Club specs: Hand – Right; Length – 33”; Grip – Standard Size
(Note: Like most Thomas Golf putters, the AT12 is available in traditional length, mid-length and long versions. The company offers an oversize putter grip as well.)
Price as tested: $115 (regularly $230)
About Thomas Golf products: All equipment made by Thomas Golf features the company’s patented Shot Accuracy Technology, an alignment indicator on the top of the club which helps assure precise aim. The company offers free custom fitting of all clubs (including putters) on its website and sells its products exclusively online.
Club notes: The AT12 is a blade-style putter with a head weight of 390 grams, heavier than the standard of 300-350g. The added weight is intended to reduce hand and wrist action during the stroke while making the putter more stable at impact. In fact, heavier putters are often recommended for golfers who struggle from short distances.
The putter has no hosel and its black head features a red, CNC-milled aluminum insert or “striking plate.” Thomas Golf offers a 12-month warranty on all materials and workmanship.
The tested model was custom-made at 33”, or two inches shorter than standard. Thomas Golf offers free customization to any length.
At address: This wand is a sight for sore eyes, especially if your eyes are sore from catching glare off the putter head. The AT12’s rich black finish doesn’t reflect sunlight and provides focus-boosting contrast with the white, two-level alignment guide.
Speaking of the alignment guide, it works like a charm. By simply lining up the single stripe on the putter’s rear cavity portion with the two lines on the top edge, you set the face square to the target line while ensuring the bottom of the blade lies flat on the green surface. That way, neither the toe nor heel are lifted off the ground, eliminating the potential for pushing or pulling putts based on your setup. The red insert frames the ball beautifully to add an extra dose of confidence.
Color aside, the AT12 has a somewhat austere appearance that will appeal to some players, though probably not to everyone. The no-hosel design is quite straightforward and free from distracting angles, but looks a bit different from the most common putter styles (e.g. “plumber’s neck” models).
The stroke: If you’ve got a sound, smooth, pendulum-type stroke, the AT12 won’t feel much different from a standard-weight putter. However, if you tend to get handsy or jab at short putts, it can make a big difference. The extra 40-90 grams force you to engage the big muscles (upper arms, shoulders) a little bit more, encouraging a more fluid, back-and-through motion.
In short, the AT12 is an excellent choice for golfers who battle the dreaded “yips.”
Also, we had no problem controlling fast, downhill putts – a common complaint with some heavier putters – though the AT12 is probably best suited to average-speed greens.
At impact: Sound and feel are very personal matters. Some golfers prefer a soft sensation on contact, while others (including our reviewer) like a solid “plink.” The aluminum striking plate puts the AT12 in the “plink” category. Highly satisfactory, at least in our book.
Roll of the ball: Another rap on heavy-headed putters is that they can make distance control a little difficult. Touch-oriented players often feel like they’re bludgeoning the ball with a weighted head. Thankfully, the AT12 is not quite heavy enough to induce this effect. Short putts didn’t slam into the back of the cup or go racing past.
Performance on medium-length and long putts was comparable to other popular putter models.
Playability & forgiveness: The AT12’s extra weight makes it very effective from off the green. In our tests, conducted on Bermuda grass, the head didn’t snag or decelerate in ½” rough.
Putts struck off-center did not appear to lose much distance or veer wide of the intended line.
Bottom line: Thomas Golf’s AT12 strikes a nice balance between standard-weight and super-heavy models. Our tester felt it offered the best of both – the stroke-improving benefits of added heft without the adverse side effect of poor feel. With putters, more than any other club except perhaps the driver, beauty is in the eye of the beholder. We deem the AT12 downright fetching.