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|The profile of the Giannini G-5 Mallet putter is curvy and sleek. (Courtesy of Kenny Giannini Putters)|
There are a few big names in the world of golf club design, but for the most part, only equipment wonks know the engineers and artists behind the clubs they play.
One such name is Kenny Giannini. He is well known in the business, thanks to his pioneering work with Cleveland Golf and Mizuno, spanning some 35 years.
Now that he has introduced a line of eponymous putters, however, Giannini and his artistic flatsticks are set to become much more familiar to the general golfing public.
The 2013 G line of Giannini putters is made up of five models: G-1 Slimline, G-2 Chubby, G-3 Slimline II, G-4 No-Neck, and G-5 Mallet. All together, they represent the major "classes" of putters, and all can be customized via an online fitting system or by clubfitting professionals listed on the company W
Kenny Giannini putters represent a level of individualized craftsmanship that is rare in today's putter market. All models are CNC-milled in the U.S., and all are priced at $345. Is that lofty price justified? We took the G-5 Mallet out for a spin to find out.
At 370 grams, the Kenny Giannini G-5 Mallet is more than 10 grams heavier than the rest of the G putters. There are four shafting options, and I chose the heel-shafted, double-bend, face-balanced configuration with a PVD black (gun metal) finish that, once out of the box, glinted with a rainbow iridescence. In short, the artistry of the design instilled me with confidence, not to mention a rush of putter-lust. (Yes, putter-lust. Don't judge.)
Subsequent inspection revealed some interesting cosmetic features, including the red grip (nine colors are available) and offset block font in which "Kenny Giannini" is written on the putter face. Both of these reminded me of Scotty Cameron hallmarks, just as they did the assistant pro at my home course, who thought it was a Cameron putter until I pointed out explicitly that it was not.
The putter head is milled from a single block of steel with no face insert. Instead, the Soft Slotted Face Technology (SSFT), which is a slot cut into the bottom of the putter head behind the face, creates a soft and forgiving feel. The technology is extremely effective; at impact, the G-5 feels as soft as most insert putters, and the feedback is exceptional. Center-struck putts are pure butter, easily distinguishable from off-center contact.
Alignment is intuitive, though it felt like my normal set-up tended to send the ball just a bit to the left. Using a slight forward press fixed this inconsistency, however, and delivered the ball on target with admirable precision.
If you enjoy the finer things in golf, and have the money to spend on a putter that is almost as much a work of art as it is a golf club, then Kenny Giannini putters deserve your full consideration. Sink a few clutch putts with one of them, and you will not soon forget the name Giannini.
For more information, visit kennygianniniputters.com.
January 29, 2014
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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