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2010 Equipment Odyssey - Putters

TECHNOLOGY CONTINUES APACE AMONG THE LEADING GOLF MANUFACTURERS WITH A COMPREHENSIVE CROP OF EXCITING NEW GEAR IN ALL CATEGORIES. HAVING TRIED MOST OF THEM AT THE PGA MERCHANDISE SHOW IN ORLANDO, DOMINIC PEDLER BRINGS YOU A SELECTION OF THE BEST

PART 1 - IRONS & WEDGES - PART I
PART 2 - IRONS & WEDGES - PART II
PART 3 - DRIVERS & FAIRWAY WOODS - PART I
PART 4 - DRIVERS & FAIRWAY WOODS - PART II
PART 5 - PUTTERS

Ping iN Series putters

Pioneering putter specialists, Ping, continue to push the envelope with regard to face inserts - especially in response to many of the latest golf balls changing toward a softer feel.

The iN series continues Ping's polymer insert legacy but crucially adds a nano-nickel-plated coating around the soft material for a firmer, louder and more responsive feel than the pure polymer of the earlier iSeries.

The iN also takes the company's famed heel and toe weighting to another level by redistributing the weight saved both from the lightweight insert, and from the large 'cutouts ' in the body behind the face, which obviously reduce central mass at a stroke. The Ping iN comes in 10 models, including classic shapes like the Anser V2 and B-60, and also new shapes like the Craz-E, Wack-E and ½Wack-E. £115. www.pingeurope.com

Never Compromise NCX-RAY putters

The hotly anticipated NCX-RAY putters are finally available in Europe, and feature a great example of the new wave of ultra exotic inserts designed to offer a unique feel that dampens and softens the contact while retaining a positive response. In this case it's down to the Suspended Face Technology, consisting of isolated rib sections embedded in a softer composite that limits the surface area that comes into contact with the ball.

he idea is that this promotes a more consistent ball speed across the face, reducing distance dispersion. Furthermore, by using a super-light face material, the designers were able to relocate 25 per cent of the headweight to the extremities to produce maximum MOI for head stability. There's also a smart and highly effective red-and-grey alignment aid to help you set up.

The NCX-RAY comes in four head shapes: a Full Mallet (pictured); a Tau Blade with a plumber's neck, a Sigma Geometry Mallet and a small Beta Mallet. www.nevercompromise.com

Odyssey Black Series Tour Design putters

Having pioneered the whole concept of putter face-insert technology, it's ironic that Odyssey's Tour Series putters have no insert. But that's the evolving nature of the equipment market, with the company reacting to demand from tour pros for more responsive faces given the advent of softer golf balls. For those golfers who want to return to amore decisive 'click' at impact and a firmer feel, this 1025 carbon steel head will deliver.

This does not mean that Odyssey has regressed, as the face has a deep precision- milled pattern that generates consistent impact performance across its surface, resulting in better feel, distance control and a smooth roll.

The face is backed by a thin, urethane damping layer which gives the putter its own individual sound; while the head also features a special tungsten-weighted flange as part of the putter's Advanced Roll Technology, to lower the CG and encourage a truer, quicker roll.

Choose from four, essentially blade models with a variety of flange styles, each finished in a dark, anti-glare sheen created by the fashionable new PVD (Physical Vapor Deposition) coating process £199. www.odysseygolf.com

Titleist Scotty Cameron California Series

Building on the huge success of his Studio Select Series, Scotty Cameron launches his California series, milled from his favourite 303 stainless steel but sporting a delicious, 'honey dipped' anti-glare finish from a special baking process. A draft sole design keeps the putter square in the playing position for proper alignment, while another Cameron trademark - the 'high toe profile' - eliminates the common tendency for golfers to raise the toe at address, causing the putter to aim the left of target.

Choose from four models: the Monterey double-step flanged blade with a plumbing neck; the Coronado thin-flanged blade with a flow neck; the compact Sonoma mallet with a plumbing neck; and the Del Mar mid-mallet with a flow neck. All are fitted with a step less steel shaft for a clean, uninterrupted view of the ball at address, and a black Cameron tour grip that gives a soft, controlled feel.

The distinctive circular heel-and-toe weights are pre-configured to allow the correct headweight for the length of shaft - though these can be factory-adjusted to suit an individual's favoured feel.

Always one for extreme detail, Cameron even has custom colours, such as French Vanilla, to describe the paintwork in the alignment lines. Guide: £238. www.titleist.co.uk

Cleveland BRZ putters

A lavish take on the popular Cleveland Classic line, the BRZ putters are defined firstly by their high-tech insert, consisting of aluminium infused with a thin layer of copper, that seeks to provide the ultimate “soft yet responsive” feel.

The heads themselves are cast from 17-4 stainless steel with the bronze-tinged finish (hence the BRZ) created by the new 'buzz process' known as PVD (Physical Vapor Deposition). This is apparently delivers a finish that is far more durable than the more fragile 'oil can' and black oxide finishes typically used with softer carbon steel, but the BRZ putters come anyway with an oil-treated cloth for the maintenance associated with far more expensive putters.

Available in four models: a Classic plumbers neck, an Anser-style blade; a heel-shafted mallet; a slant-neck blade; and a double-bend mallet. £95. www.clevelandgolf.com

Reproduced with kind permission of Golf International Magazine






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