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|Nike Golf's Method Midnight 008: a half-mallet with exceptional feel. (Courtesy of Nike Golf)|
It took Nike Golf a few years to find a unique voice when it came to its now world-class line of clubs. A turning point for the company's drivers and irons came with the introduction of the Sumo line and, later, the Tour-proven VR line.
When it came to putters, though, the roll-out of the flagship Method line came comparatively more, well, methodically.
It took a while for Nike Golf to get its highest-profile staff player, Tiger Woods, to adopt the company's first Method putter. This is understandable, though: When you're arguably the best putterer on the planet (as Tiger was at the time), it's sort of hard to change horses in mid-green, so to speak.
Nevertheless, Nike Golf's new flatsticks rather quickly gained a devoted following among other professionals.
And it wasn't too long before the newest generation of Method putter, the Method Midnight line, began conjuring major wins as if they were half putter, half magic wand.
Nike Golf athletes Lucas Glover and Stewart Cink both used the Method Midnight 006 head shape to win the 2009 U.S. Open and Open Championship, respectively, and Michelle Wie's first LPGA victory came with the Method Midnight 007 head shape.
Now the newest Nike Golf Method Midnight putters ($270) have hit the shelves, promising similar if less newsworthy performance for amateurs.
We took the Method Midnight 006 -- a traditional flanged blade with impressive heel-toe weighting -- and the 008 -- a smart-looking half-mallet -- out to the course to see how they performed in the less rarified air of amateur golf.
What sets the Method Midnight apart from its contemporaries is a sort of alchemy; the proprietary polymetal groove technology melds the forgiveness of a polymer insert and the solid feel and feedback of metal into a single putter face. Add to that CNC milling and the deep grooves that are the hallmark of the polymetal face, and you get consistent forward roll almost immediately at impact.
On the course, I can honestly say the sweetness of the feel on center-struck putts with the Method Midnight models is not surpassed by any putter I have tested in recent memory. (And there have been many, many putters.) Off-center contact certainly feels different, but speed and directionality are not affected dramatically.
What I quickly noticed, though, was the weighting of the Method Midnight models. They are neither face-balanced nor heel-balanced. Instead, they're sort of 2/3 heel-balanced. This balance scheme appears to be ideal for "gate-style" putting strokes, in which the toe opens slightly on the backswing and closes slightly on the through swing.
For golfers (like me) who putt with more of a square stroke (so-called "square-to-square"), the Method Midnight can feel a little off -- causing some misses to the right (open-toed) or left (over-compensating), but only on less than pure strokes.
One aspect of the Method Midnight putters I really like is the stock grips. In the past, I have quibbled with the comfort of the stock Nike Golf woods and irons grips, but the gracefully arched semi-pistol grips of the Method Midnight line fit into my palm as comfortably as a trusty finishing hammer. (You carpenters out there will understand that simile.)
The feel of the Method Midnight 006 and 008 is something special: mystical, magical, alchemical.
The polymetal groove technology gets the ball rolling early and feels like nothing else on the market. It will appeal both to players who want the soft feel of a polymer insert and to those who want the crisp feedback of metal.
The semi-heel balance of the putter head is ideal for traditional gate-style putting strokes that open a bit and then close a bit after impact. No wonder some of the best players in the world have won some of the biggest tournaments in golf with these distinct, unique Nike Golf putters.
For more information, visit www.nikegolf.com.
July 2, 2012
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, Illinois. Read his golf blog here.
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