New Putters
    © Callaway Golf

    “Drive for show, putt for dough” is one of the oldest clichés in golf.

    But, just because it’s a cliché, doesn’t mean it’s not true. Most golf teachers agree, the key to good putting, besides a solid stroke that doesn’t get short and quick under pressure, is finding a piece of equipment that feels good in your hands and comfortable going back and through the golf ball. While technology has made driving the ball and iron play easier over the years, oftentimes golfers will find putters that feel comfortable and work well and stick with them for decades. That may explain why companies don’t always roll out a new line of putters every season. Ben Crenshaw, one of the finest putters of his or any generation, used an old Wilson 8802 putter (the putter even had its own name – “Little Ben”) for decades. Why? Because it worked. It’s not about reinventing the wheel here, it’s about finding something that is comfortable and well-matched to your stroke.

    Odyssey has dominated the retail putter market for more than a decade with some estimates stating they sell 4 out of every 10 putters to recreational golfers. Odyssey rolled out a new line of putters in October 2015 curiously called “The Works Tank Cruiser” line. These putters should retail under $200 now a few months after their debut.

    The Works Tank Cruiser incorporated Odyssey’s Fusion RX insert and versa technology into an adjustable counterweight system.

    Odyssey’s new line includes four different models:

  • Odyssey Works Tank Cruiser #1
  • Odyssey Works Tank Cruiser V-Line
  • Odyssey Works Tank Cruiser #1 Wide
  • Odyssey Works Tank Cruiser 2-Ball Fang
  • Ping was started by General Electric engineer Karsten Solheim in the mid-1960’s. The original Ping Anser putter collected its first PGA Tour win when Julius Boros won the 1967 Phoenix Open. Solheim introduced heel-toe weighting in his putters to minimize distance variable in off-center hits, an innovation that is used in almost every putter produced today.
    Ping updated it’s putter line in early 2015 when it unveiled the Cadence TR Putters. The “TR” in the name stands for “true roll.” It is designed to produce the same distance for on-center and off-center strokes.

    The Cadence comes in two different weights with around a 30 gram difference. The Cadence also comes in a variety of different head styles to accommodate different putting strokes. It also comes in a counterbalanced option. It should retail between $169 and $239.

    Ping still offers its Scottsdale TR, Karsten TR and Rhapsody putters.

    The market for high-end putters has been dominated by Scott Cameron (Titleist). Bettinardi Golf, a company started by Robert Bettinardi in 1998, has been creeping up on Scotty Cameron with their own line of impressive, precision-milled putters. Interestingly, Bettinardi worked first for Callaway and then Scotty Cameron and a couple of other companies before striking out on his own. He is generally credited with creating the first one-piece milled putter in the early 1990’s. A part of his secret was utilizing a jeweler’s tool to help create a perfectly flat putter blade – known as a honeycomb-face.

    For 2016, Bettinardi has updated their BB series putters, whch includes two heel-weighted blades (BB1 and BB8), a three-quarter two-hang (BB1F) and a balanced-mallet (BB40). The BB Series putters will retail at $300. For professional golfers and independently-wealth amateurs, custom Bettinardis start around $2,000.