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Argolf offers 'legendary' families of putters

Kiel ChristiansonBy Kiel Christianson,
Senior Writer
Argolf - Arthur putter
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The Arthur putter by Argolf represents the zenith of French golf club craftsmanship. (Courtesy of Argolf)

What comes to mind when you hear the names King Arthur, Merlin, and Lancelot? The Arthurian tales of yore, of course, complete with Round Table and Holy Grail (and maybe the classic and hysterical Monty Python movie).

But golf? Does golf come to mind?

Well, it should. The French putter manufacturer Argolf offers three families of putters christened with names drawn from Arthurian legend. In medieval times, people believed that names imparted certain characteristics to those who bore them. And since golf is played largely on a 6-inch course between your ears, perhaps invoking such magical, mystical, mythical names will imbue your putting stroke with some of the same qualities.

Argolf's three putter families are Stainless Steel (Arthur, Merlin, and Lancelot, $485 each), Aluminum (Morgane ($336), Uther ($377), and Pendragon ($418)), and Titanium (Graal, $1,487) -- okay, so this is a small and exclusive family).

The Stainless Steel family consists of flanged blade/Anser-style putters, the Aluminum family of mallet putters, and the Titanium of a half-mallet. Granted, they are all pretty pricey, but one must consider that they are crafted individually in France and delivered to their final destinations by flocks of African swallows.

Playing the Argolf Arthur putter

The Argolf Arthur appealed to me straight out of the box, as it reminded me of a sound I often make on the greens: "Arg!!!"

The traditional Anser-style, offset head with a plumber-neck is heel-toe weighted, and the midsize grip option I had chosen on the ordering Web site (see below) fit perfectly into the palms of my hands. The face is smooth, without any CNC milling, which is relatively rare among today's boutique putters. In all ways, the Arthur evokes old-world, old-school craftsmanship, right down to the plush faux-leather headcover.

I took the Arthur with me on a quick trip to the legendary links of Northern Ireland to battle with the likes of Castlerock, Royal Portrush and Royal County Down. These fescue greens require confidence and a firm stroke to keep balls on line all the way to the cup, especially in the rough, windy conditions of March.

Overall, the Arthur performed in a kingly manner, as I rolled in a half-dozen or more long putts at both Castlerock and Royal County Down. (The greens at Royal Portrush stymied me nearly completely, though.) From heel to toe, the Arthur felt solid, and I noticed little to no decline in performance between contact in the center of the putter face and contact out toward either end. Some players might find this consistency confusing, as it is difficult to tell the difference between perfect and less-than-perfect contact. Others, though, will find it comforting. With practice, I began to feel some slight variance in the subtle tactile feedback, though.

Perhaps the only weakness in performance I could discern was on putts from off of the greens. On these, it seemed that the lack of face milling combined with a long, hard swing sent the ball skidding a bit at first, which often caused it to bounce on the longer fairway turf at the start of its journey.

Argolf's Arthur putter: The verdict

If your quest is the Holy Grail of confident putting, Argolf offers families of putters fit for a king, knight, and wizard. The prices may be princely, but the craftsmanship is second to none.

And wouldn't it be worth it to sink the winning putt on the 18th green, and turn to your opponent and say, "Now go away, or I shall taunt you a second time!"

For more information, visit www.birdietown.com.

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Kiel Christianson has lived, worked, traveled and golfed extensively on three continents. As senior writer and equipment editor for WorldGolf.com, he has reviewed courses, resorts, and golf academies from California to Ireland, including his home course, Lake of the Woods G.C. in Mahomet, Ill. Read his golf blog here and follow him on Twitter @GolfWriterKiel.

 
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