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|Nike Golf's Method MOD 90 putter is a sexy mix of classic design and modern features. (Courtesy of Nike Golf)|
Ah, the good-old days of putter design: glue a thin slab of relatively soft metal on the end of a stick, and -- voila! -- you have a putter.
Recent decades have witnessed a revolutionary evolutionary arc in putters -- shapes, sizes, materials, lengths, etc., etc., etc. Massive winged mallets are even common these days on the august greens of the PGA Tour.
Harder to find, however, are flatsticks that merge modern materials and state-of-the-art engineering innovations with classic looks and performance.
Nike Golf has unveiled a new line of putters that are simultaneously futuristic and traditional, the Method MOD series, which promises to be wildly popular with better players from the PGA Tour on down.
The Nike Golf Method MOD series consists of four models: MOD 00, MOD 30, MOD 60, and MOD 90. The numbers in the names refer to the amount of toe-hang in each. Toe-hang refers to the degree at which the toe hangs down if you balance the putter on your finger, laying it perpendicular across your outstretched digit. So 0-degrees of toe-hang means the putter is face-balanced -- the putter face looks perfectly skyward when balanced.
The MOD names refer to the progressively heavier toes on each model, all the way up to the MOD 90, which hangs almost completely toe-down. This weighting scheme is similar to the classic, still-popular Bulls-Eye putter, i.e., it's the sort of traditional weighting preferred by purists for at least the last couple of centuries.
Generally speaking, putters with high degrees of toe-hang are better suited to "gated" putting strokes that open a bit on the backswing, return to square at impact, and then close a bit on the follow-through. Strokes like this require impeccable timing and feel, and are preferred by most of the best putters on the PGA Tour.
The head of the Method MOD 90 is somewhat crescent shaped, allowing for all sorts of address positions: level, heel-up, and toe-up. The face is CNC milled with the company's patented Polymetal Grooves, and heel-toe weighting stabilizes the face through impact.
The feel imparted by the Method MOD 90 is perhaps the most exquisite I have ever felt in a putter. I swear, in the 1/2,000 of a second the putter face contacts the ball, I could feel precisely where on the face that contact occurred. When the sweetspot of the Method MOD hits the ball, it is one of the purest feelings I've ever experienced on the green.
On the other hand, given the timing required for a pure gated stroke, off-center or mis-timed contact resulted in quite pronounced misses -- a poor stroke on even a two-footer could send the ball six inches wide of the hole.
Nike Golf's Method MOD 90 is a striking reinterpretation of a classic putter design, forged with high-tech materials and artistic design. The arcing blade, with its mini-flange, is ideal for traditionalists who prefer open-to-square-to-closed putting strokes. You will know when you've hit a putt perfectly, as the feel is as pure as it gets.
One issue is price: one has to wonder if any putter is worth a $360 MSRP, or $299 "street price." Sure, you're going to see pros using these MOD putters on various tours very soon. But that's a lot of dough to plunk down just to play the same putter as the pros.
You never can tell, though. I know two guys who still sink boatloads of putts with their old Bulls-Eyes. If the Method MOD fits your game, you might be playing it for another 40 years -- which would make it a solid investment.
The Method MOD series will be available as of Nov. 1, 2013.
For more information, visit www.nikegolf.com.
October 30, 2013
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.
The 2013 G line of Kenny Giannini putters is made up of five models. All are CNC-milled in the U.S., and all cost $345. Is that lofty price justified? Kiel Christianson took the G-5 Mallet out for a test, and let's just say that Giannini and his artistic flatsticks are set to become much more familiar to the general golfing public.
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