ClubTest 2021: 21 new game-changing putters tested and reviewed
With the help of GOLF’s research partner True Spec Golf, we asked 40 testers to hit more than 150 different clubs over three days to deliver the most inclusive and in-depth review of new gear in the 30-year history of our ClubTest franchise. Fact: The perfect woods, wedges, putters and irons for you are out there — and working with a custom fitter is the fastest way to find them.
For this installment of ClubTest 2021, our testers thoroughly examined 21 new putters from all the top manufacturers. The purest blades and the most forgiving mallets all add up to the strongest putter market ever. Check out all of the new putters we reviewed below, read the test results, and see photos and videos to help you learn everything you need to know to find the perfect ones for you.
Whichever putter you choose, you can purchase it with one click, or better yet, get custom fit for new clubs by GOLF’s sister company True Spec Golf.
Our take: For Axis1, the goal wasn’t to reinvent the wheel with the Tour-HM but offer a mallet shape to the lineup based on Tour feedback. The putter starts with the same Rose chassis that utilizes a heel counterweight to position the center of gravity directly on the center of the face — and aligned with the axis of the shaft — to keep the face square at impact, improving directional consistency. Tester were impressed with the putter’s stability and how it kept the ball on line, particularly on longer putts from 25 feet. “I have a tendency to rotate the face too much, but this head seems to keep my stroke steady and the ball is scaring the hole more often. The hosel looks a bit unconventional at first glance, but it looks extremely traditional when I address the ball. You can tell a lot of effort went into the design.”
Ben Hogan Precision Milled
Our take: In 2019, Hogan made its grand reintroduction to the putting game with a brand-new line of forged putters — the company’s first flatsticks in almost 15 years. The superstar of that first Hogan line was the M01, a traditional mallet made using a complex forging process. In 2021, Hogan is back with the M02, an updated version of the popular model from two years ago. “Nice solid but not heavy feel,” one tester said. “Frames the ball well in the address position. Picking up the ball is a really nice feature that I didn’t know I needed.” We like the scooper too, particularly when we’re picking up our initial rolls inside gimme range.
Our take: Many putter manufacturers look backward when distributing weight. Cleveland, in its new Frontline, is looking forward, with a front-facing weighting scheme that pulls mass closer to the face for better stability. “The face lends instant feedback and really helps with distance control,” said a tester. Of the streamlined appearance, another tester cheered the putters’ subdued look, saying, “Matte black is a really good look on the eyes.”
Cleveland Huntington Beach Soft
Our take: The HB Soft putters proved popular for their buttery-soft feel, which, for one tester, meant “it was easy to know how the ball would respond off the face with every stroke, no matter how long the putt.” Testers also appreciated the deep face milling: “It makes for a premium, Tour-worthy look and really helps with distance control.”
Cleveland Huntington Beach Soft Premier
Our take: How a putter looks to the eye matters almost as much as how it performs. If it doesn’t look right, it just won’t feel comfortable to putt with. The new Huntington Beach Soft Premier putters feature all that makes stock HB Soft putters so great and coats them with a gray satin PVD finish for reduced glare. Put it this way: They look so soothing and smooth, you can’t help but feel relaxed.
Our take: Mizuno’s commitment to precision clubmaking is evident in the M.Craft putter line, which combine precision forging, CNC milling, traditional stylings, color options and removeable weights. “The balance is great, and the feel is crisp and solid — you know the ball is rolling as it’s supposed to,” said one of our pleased club testers. “I wasn’t sure I’d like the blue color, but it looks really clean.”
Odyssey 2-Ball Ten
Our take: Odyssey’s decision to combine its now-legendary 2-Ball design with its innovative Triple Track alignment system in a new head shape resulted in one of the most popular putters at GOLF’s player testing. “This feels like cheating,” raved one tester. “Get set, aim, fire — that’s it!” The putter also comes with a redesigned Stroke Lab shaft that helps keep putts on line.
Odyssey White Hot OG
Our take: Ask and you shall receive. After years of clamoring for a putter with the iconic White Hot insert, Odyssey delivered in a big way with the OG. One tester summed it up best: “I can’t tell you how happy it makes me that Odyssey brought back the original White Hot insert. I can make the same stroke and know how the ball is going to come off every time.” Two decades after it was first introduced, White Hot remains the standard for putter inserts. No need to mess with success.
Our take: Ping’s new 2021 putters are packed with tech on the face to help golfers roll the ball better, but from address “they’re clean and sharp looking,” as a GOLF tester described. White toplines against black chrome finishes proved to be decipherable alignment aids as well. On the feel scale, Ping’s new face designs registered “marshmallow soft, in a good way,” according to one tester.
Our take: Not every putterface is made to be soft. Some golfers prefer a firmer feel with more feedback. Ping’s Heppler putters are made for those golfers. “I like this firmer feel so I know where I’ve hit it on the face,” said one GOLF tester. “And the copper with the black provides nice contrast.”
Our take: Can a putter do all the work? That’s how the Blackjack felt in our testers’ hands, thanks to its bi-material construction, high MOI and tremendous balance. The aesthetics killed, to boot. As one tester put it, “This putter looks mean as hell. Better yet, it keeps putts on line even when I missed the sweet spot.”
Our take: High-MOI putters appear to be trending again, with several models designed to make even the yippiest of strokes as smooth as a grandfather clock. The Closer from PXG may not look like one, but it has an MOI so high that testers struggled to miss with it — a testament to an ingenious design that places the CG toward the back. And it’s not all performance here — it delivers a buttery-soft feel time and again.
TaylorMade Spider EX
Our take: TaylorMade has a new face insert (PureRoll2) for its 2021 Spider EX, and it didn’t take long for our testers to notice it. “The insert on this one delivers,” one tester said. “It just has a great feel.” Credit the insert’s wider and deeper grooves, which improve roll and launch over the original. “The ball goes where it’s supposed to. I’m not used to this kind of consistency!”
TaylorMade Spider FCG
Our take: The T-shaped white sight lines on the crown of TaylorMade’s Spider FCG (forward center of gravity) head proved practical for our GOLF testers. “The white stripes really help you set things up at address,” one tester commented. Players also found the aged copper Pure Roll inserts, which weigh 25 grams, to provide a consistent roll and soft feel.
TaylorMade Spider SR
Our take: The 2021 Spider lineup boasts some unconventional head designs. This one’s a bit more traditional. “The SR has more of a classic look that I’m used to,” one tester said. As with the other new Spiders, testers praised the easy-to-align contrasting colors, soft feel and forgiveness.
TaylorMade Spider S
Our take: The Spider S’s unique construction not only boosts stability, our testers found it to improve alignment too. “The open section helps frame the ball at address as well as any putter I tested today,” one tester said. Being that our crew hit dozens of putters during our ClubTest, those are big words, but hey, TaylorMade indeed calls the Spider S its most forgiving putter.
TaylorMade Spider X
Our take: If you’re wondering why TaylorMade’s Spider X putters have been red hot on Tour over the last few years (to say nothing of the marketplace), one of GOLF’s testers may have cleared it up: “These are like putting with the autopilot switch on!” With heads jam-packed with forgiveness and alignment features, TaylorMade’s color-contrasted Spider X mallets easily deliver on their promise of stability and foolproof aiming.
Titleist Scotty Cameron Phantom X
Our take: We’ve seen Tour players gravitate to high-MOI models perhaps more now than ever, and Scotty Cameron has decided to double down on the category with the release of new models in the popular Phantom X putter series. Said an ecstatic tester, “These are the best-looking putters in the bunch that I’ve tried. I love the feel and the different alignment options. The black and yellow pops!”
Titleist Scotty Cameron Special Select
Our take: The Special Select putters set the standard for what many premium putter lines strive to be — the perfect marriage of classic looks, shape, feel and renowned craftsmanship. It’s no wonder they’re so often relied on by the world’s best players. Cameron is a name you can trust.
Tour Edge Exotics Wingman
Our take: The Tour Edge Exotics Wingman putter has a carbon fiber sole plate, “lock-on” alignment technology, a micro-groove face and interchangeable weights on the soles of its “wings,” hence the name. Yeah, yeah, yeah. Great tech, no doubt. But tell it to me straight, how does it putt? “Smooth,” said one tester. Science. And smooth.
Wilson Staff Infinite Buckingham
Our take: Midwesterners, rejoice! In an homage to Wilson’s company headquarters in Chicago, the brand’s Infinite putter line is named after notable local landmarks and neighborhoods. But even if you aren’t a Second City resident, you’ll appreciate the line’s other attributes, including the putters’ slick dark matte finish, which serves to reduce glare and accentuate sightlines, and counter-balanced technology, which one tester acknowledged “did the job and tightened up my consistency.”
Our take: These putters feel right at home in the premium putter arena, considering all of XXIO’s clubs are luxury products known for their exquisite craftsmanship, technology and high performance. Our testers were enthused to have tried one, saying that the putter “felt soft coming off the face while remaining incredibly stable.” Furthermore, each putter (there are two models) feels incredibly balanced and comfortable in the hands.