By Kiel Christianson,
Some putters look traditional. Some putters look futuristic. Some putters look sleek. Some putters look ungainly. Rarely do you find a putter that combines "futuristic" design with a "sleek" look, especially if that putter is a mallet.
Leave it to Bruce Sizemore, Jr. - who over the past few years has turned out several lines of putters that look as much like works of art as they do golf clubs - to produce one of these rare beauties.
Sizemore's new Players Series follows up the luxurious Signature Series, using stainless steel as the main material, rather than aluminum/copper. The result is yet another line of putters that makes other golfers stop and stare, even before they see you start to drain one long putt after another.
We tested the Sizemore SM-2 mallet putter ($219), a face-balanced, (nearly) center-shafted mallet with a unique triangular head. Alignment is aided by two stainless rails running perpendicular to the putter face and a long white line running straight back from the center of the face.
The rails and line are part of Sizemore's proprietary Alignment Insert Management (A.I.M.) system, which allows golfers to swap out alignment aids to fit their eyes. There is also a changeable, weighted end-cap at the back point of the triangular head, so both look and feel can be adjusted for individual players and greens. Most putters just let you swap out weights, not alignment aids. The optional A.I.M. and weight kit costs $20 extra.
All this gadgetry won't catch the eyes of envious golfers, though. They will, however, notice the striking appearance, from grip to putter face. On a recent trip to Rochester, Minn., I tested the SM-2, and each time I played with someone new, they commented on it.
Gordy Groesnick, senior club president at Soldiers Memorial Field Golf Course, saw the patented IND-X milled face and said, "Would you look at the milling on that putter? It's like artwork." And indeed it is, with milling running in 27 different directions to produce, according to Sizemore, the flattest putter face on the market.
Leif Erickson, director of golf for the city of Rochester, noticed the shimmering silver grip, which matches the stainless clubhead, and said, "That almost looks like it's see-through. It's really something."
As great as this putter looks, though, the thing that caught my attention was how the straight center shaft fits my eye, along with the almost uncanny distance control I suddenly developed with it. There were some other putters to test during my trip to Minnesota and Wisconsin, but I am rather embarrassed to say that my greed for making putts won out over my professional duty: The other putters never made it out of my trunk.
In five rounds of golf on completely unfamiliar greens, I three putted exactly three times.
The SM-2, like all Sizemore putters, is almost as much a work of art as it is a putter. Alignment is intuitive, and even without adjusting the end-cap weight, the feel is (for me) ideal. Even the white leather magnetic headcover is cool, with a plush gray lining you'd like to have on a pillow or blanket.
Alas, perfection, even for Sizemore, is elusive. Like all of the hand-crafted Sizemore putters, price can be an issue. (Erickson, upon hearing the price, exclaimed, "It's a putter, for Pete's sake!") Also, the SM-2 is designed such that you cannot scoop up the ball off the green with it. (This is actually a big deal for some older golfers.)
Of course, if you make all your putts (as I nearly did during my extended testing), the only balls you'll be picking up will be at the bottom of the cup. And you'll win enough money from your buddies to pay for it, too.
For more information, visit www.sizemoregolf.com.
September 2, 2008
Any opinions expressed above are those of the writer and do not necessarily represent the views of the management. The information in this story was accurate at the time of publication. All contact information, directions and prices should be confirmed directly with the golf course or resort before making reservations and/or travel plans.