Equipment & Product Reviews


Shaftlign Putters PDF Print E-mail

 

By Jason Bruno

 

 

Shaftlign Putters, created by Lafayette, Louisiana's own Clay Judice

- golf equipment innovator and admittedly a long suffering golfer

with the Yips. When the USGA's Anchoring Ban was announced it

sacked not only his putting method, but his business as well. Judice

was the inventor of a very successful product a few years ago called

"Belly Putt". The device came as a kit that allowed you to convert

your standard length putter either temporarily or permanently to a

longer length belly putter for a very modest cost. Now, with the

anchoring method being exiled to Azkaban, "Belly Putt" is no more.

However, as any addicted golfer will attest to, the game goes on

and Clay was left searching for a way to save his own golf game.

 

Judice found that alignment especially on the shorter putts may

have been the culprit for his demise on the greens. So he started

by laying a thin pin stripe (like those found on automobiles) down

the shaft and he began using the shaft line as a reference when he

addressed shorter putts. Seeing some immediate success, the idea

progressed into a cutoff piece of shaft that he mounted directly

above the putterhead topline. He painted both the shaft and the

affixed attachment white to create a perpendicular line. At that

point Judice knew he was on to something. Although that particular

version was deemed non-conforming, Clay worked with the design

until it evolved into the model you see here in this review - the CJ1.


 

 

 

Appearance/Objective

 

It's not conventional, but it's really an eye opener when you

see how easy it is to line up square to your target.

 

 

After receiving the Shaftlign we began testing and noticed the

reaction of golfers that see the putter for the first time: "What is

that putter?" Also, "Hmm, that's interesting" are the some of the

typical comments heard. Although unorthodox, It's objective

exceeds the need for putter vanity. Looking down at address you

realize that the singular white perpendicular line is so simple,

that you can't help but think "Wow, why didn't I think of something

so simple as that.

 

Not to be forgotten, and always to be admired for his innovation,

it was Karsten Solheim who first brought out the Ping Anser putter

50 years ago. At the time, he was laughed at by many of the best

players in the game. Today that design is THE Standard of which

every manufacturer copies. I'm not saying the Shaftlign will take

on the same significance as the Anser, but let's just say it gives

us reason to believe that great new ideas in putter design can still

be achieved. As Judice said to me, "Everyone thinks the inventor

is a kook, until his idea takes off."

 

 

 

 

Testing

 

The reason there is not a standard center aiming line on the flange

is that Judice found that using a horizontal line to aim at your target

causes issues. Standing to the side of the ball often confuses the

eyes because of the skewed perspective. I somewhat agreed with

him on this point (but have been a captive of the horizontal line

method for years, so I was still holding out a bit of skeptism on his

theory). Recently I tried an experiment while playing with a friend

in the industry who specializes in marketing innovative golf products.

I played the front nine using a conventional Anser style blade with

the line on the ball as well as the center aiming line of the putter as

I always have. On the front nine my speed was spot on, but missed

almost every 4 to 6 foot putt I had. I was struggling to get set up

comfortably over the ball, which I know means I wasn't sure if I

was aligned correctly. Sounds odd to admit that your struggling with

alignment from inside 6 feet, but painfully, it is what it is.

This indecision created a lack of confidence, so at the turn, I went

to the trunk and grabbed the Shaftlign. It wasn't a make or miss

test, it was about seeing if using a bold perpendicular line would

help regain some confidence standing over the ball. Just simply

knowing that you're aimed where you intend to. My buddy Rick

immediately commented on the tenth green, "whoa, you made a

putter switch, what's that?" After I drained a curling 10 footer on

the eleventh, he said "Let me see that thing!". He commented how

solid it felt but that it was odd in appearance. No argument here,

but concentrating on the solid white verticle line freed me up. I

did lip out a few 12 to 15 footers but made a ton including every

putt inside 8 feet to shoot a back nine 32, and my first sub-70

round in quite sometime. I was convinced, it's one thing to see

the line and roll it good on the practice green, and entirely another

to feel comfortable with game time pressure on the line. I'd be

remiss if I didn't mention how pure the feel of the strike is, every

tester commented just how sweet and solid impact feels and how

smooth the ball rolls off the Shaftlign CJ1.

 

 

 

 

Specs/Price

 

The Shaftlign has a CNC milled 304 stainless head that weighs a

hefty 356 grams. The CJ1 comes standard with 70 degree lie angle,

and 2.5 degrees of loft. Available in right or left hand in lengths of

33" to 35". Currently there are two versions of the CJ1 available:

100% milled model that's featured here is $249, and a cast model

which is face milled but has the same specs is $199.

 

 

 

 

 

The stock grip on the Shaftlign wasn't our favorite, like most

golfers, we replaced it with one of our own preference - Clay

does offer a midsize model from PURE Grips that would be

much preferred.

 

 

 

 

 

Judice refers to the his CJ1 creation as an inline style (not a

centershaft design), sort of a hybrid between the classic Bullseye

and the SeeMore putter made popular by Payne Stewart and Zach

Johnson.

 

 

 

 

Summary

 

Overall the Shaftlign more than exceeded any expectations, the

perpendicular (or vertical) line method is something that every

golfer should try out, it makes too much sense. If the appearance

isn't as conventional as you prefer, Clay expects to have a few

new models coming out in the near future and has a few famous

major winners now on the Champions Tour currently testing

Shaftlign models.

 

 

For more information on Shaftlign: http://shaftlign.com/

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 



 
Flat Cat Golf - Square Your Face PDF Print E-mail

 

By Jason Bruno

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Flat Cat Golf is a fresh face in the golf grip marketplace, specifically

putter grips. The recent trend of oversize grips on putters has caught

fire with companies like SuperStroke leading the way. Flat Cat has

taken the oversize concept to another level with a stylish rectangular

form. Flat Cat's motto: "Square Your Face" . . . is ground in the idea

that the grip, hand and clubface all share the same position at address

and impact.

 


 

The folks at Flat Cat sent us over their putter grip kit to test. Having four

choices makes it much easier to choose the desired size/weight/feel that

suits your game.


 

 

 

Function & Style:

 

Technically, the focus of every putt is to square the face of the putter

relative to the intended line of play with the proper amount of force in

order to achieve the correct pace for the golf ball to be holed out.

In simpler terms, proper aim, square impact = sinking more putts.

 

 

 

 

 

A close friend of mine constantly is chanting "form follows function" -

well this image perfectly illustrates the harmony of the putterface and

grip. It's a symbiotic relationship. The rectangular shape (with rounded

corners) is a different look and feel to what your hands are used to for

sure, but you'll be surprised how nicely the Flat Cat sits in the palm of

your hands and influences soft grip pressure throughout the stroke. I'm

a big fan of the white/lime green graphics, and you have to admit the

grip cap is a cool touch.

 

 

 

 

 

The Standard size Flat Cat shown here is similar in size to a Super

Stroke 2.0.

 

 

 

 

GRIP SPECS:

 

The size of each model is displayed along the seam on the back

of each grip. The two extremes are SLIM & BIG BOY (shown above).


 

 

 

Slim 45 grams 1.09H x .92W

 

Standard 68 grams 1.37H x 1.02W

 

Fat 85 grams 1.50H x 1.14W

 

Big Boy 104 grams1.68H x 1.26W

 

 

(all models are 12.2" in length)


 

 

 

At address the look from down the line is anything but busy, a nice

simple contrast of white surface bordered by the green edge. Note

the cross-hatch design for ease of alignment (Big Boy model shown).

 

 

 

 

 

Testing:

 

Through extensive testing I found that the STANDARD model was

the perfect combination of size and weight for my big mitts. Although

the orientation and shape of Flat Cat grips is unlike any other on the

market today, the material makeup is similar to what other oversized

grips like SuperStroke are made of (light weight foam base with a soft

synthetic sleeve overlay). There is a bit of a muted sensation at impact

that comes standard on all of these oversized non-rubber type grips,

a small incidental byproduct that pales in significance when you start

sinking putts.

 

 

At 12.2" in length any of the Flat Cat models will accommodate whatever

grip method you choose to putt with.

 

 

 

 

PRICE/GUARANTEE:

Flat Cat Putter Grips retail for $27.95 and believe it or not they

offer a 30 day money back guarantee - just return the grip if

you feel it hasn't helped improve your putting. Ever heard of a

GRIP company backing up their claims with a guarantee? Now

that's confidence in their product. If you're looking for a simple

solution to your putting woes, the answer may be as simple as

a Flat Cat . . .

 

 

For more info: http://www.flatcatgolf.com/

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 
Sentio Golf - Sierra 101 Putters PDF Print E-mail

 

By Jason Bruno

A putter with a floating face? Have you ever seen anything like it?

Perhaps you may have seen Sentio putters featured in our "Best New

Products" report from the PGA Show back in January. After the Orlando

unveiling, which received rave reviews from golf gear aficionados, the

Sentio Team knew they were onto something, so they went back to work

to perfect their Sierra 101 line before officially launching the brand just

a few weeks ago.

 

 

 


 

Sentio is the Latin word for feel and that's exactly what this new putter

brand is about. Our first exposure to Sentio Golf and their Sierra putter

line was when we were contacted via email by Sentio President Jim

Varney prior to the 2016 PGA Show in Orlando where they presented

prototypes of a three piece putter head featuring a stainless steel body,

face and a Thermo Plastic Elastomer center (more commonly referred

to as TPE or simply polymer) sandwiched in-between the two stainless

components. In the photo above you can clearly see each polymer and

its "light saber" like color beam. As cool as it looks, it's specialty is all

in its function.

 

 

 

 

 

The Genesis of the Sentio concept

According to Varney (who's not just the Co-Founder of Sentio, he is the

Vice President of Product Insight, a company that specializes in early

stage R&D industrial design and mechanical engineering), most of the

recent putter releases have offered very little from a new technology

standpoint. He expressed his observations: "Everything seemed very

traditionally based and any innovation that was happening was coloration

or alignment graphics. Where is the innovation? Why is this not being

pushed more?" Varney thought. "Let's look at this from the inside out or

as if we've never seen a putter before." Once they examined the entire

landscape of putters out there, they realized that virtually all of the

putters on the market divided consumers into two different factions

- inserts were the solution if you wanted a softer feel. Solid body

putters if you preferred a firmer feel. There were those two camps

and no one crossed over. They came up with the idea of "How can we

provide the player with what they're trying to get to - which is this

middle ground," Varney said. "They want the softer feel but they want

that response at impact. They want to feel AND hear something, not

just that deadness (at impact), and they don't want that harsh feel

that many stainless putters have . . . and that was the genesis for how

we came up with the technology of the insert molding idea."

 

And so the Floating Face was born.

 

 

 

 

 

From the sole view you can see each polymer: Until now, the concept

of innovating variances of feel in a putter was thought to be an elusive

intangible that wasn't feasible to create. The specific paint filled letter

designates the firmness of each polymer S=soft  M=medium  F=firm.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

Sentio's Sierra line features a forged CNC milled 303 stainless steel body

and 304 stainless face. 304 was chosen as the desired material for the

grooved face because of it's sound and how well suited it is to the

manufacturing process.

 

Color coded PURE midsize putter grips are standard equipment on all

Sentio putters.

 

 

 

 

 

Limited Century Edition Tour Prototype

 

The Century Edition is a special limited tour prototype that features a

black/bronze PVD finish. From an aesthetic point of view, I'm partial

to this set up.

 


 

 

The contrasting silver face and black body of the Century Edition is

striking, and creates a bold alignment feature. The simple and clean

look at address inspires confidence.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Limited to only the first 100 putters off the assembly line (001-100),

the Century Edition is the rarest of Sentio models and comes with the

green polymer (soft feel). Check out the engraved number, I ordered

mine with specific digits in mind - #061 (Why 61? It's a long story).

 

 

 

 

 

On the Greens

The grooved milled face provides crisp contact and a consistent

roll out. Forgiving yes, but unlike most insert designs, there is

enough instant feedback to know when you've miss hit a putt.

No surprises here.

 

Of the players that we had test each model, there was no clear

cut choice of one particular feel. Some preferred the buttery green

feel, while others swore that the red or blue was for them. Either

way, there's likely one that you'll prefer.

 

Sentio's Sierra line held up really well in every aspect of roll, and

even with only a 2 degree loft angle. Varney found that with the

tighter turf cut on the greens of today, not nearly as much loft is

needed to get the ball rolling on top of the surface as there was years

ago when putters were designed with upwards of 5 degrees of loft.

 

 


Sentio Putter Specs and Features:

  • 350 gram head weight
  • 2 degrees face loft
  • 72 degrees lie angle
  • Full offset plumber hosel
  • 4:00 toe hang
  • MIM & CNC milled 304 stainless steel face
  • Full CNC billet-milled 303 stainless steel body
  • Satin Silver finish (Black/Bronze PVD on Century Edition)
  • Satin Silver PVD finish on face
  • PURE mid-size grip
  • Headcover

 

 

 

 

The folks at Sentio use absolute precision to insert mold each blade with

their proprietary TPE core (polymer) in a medical-grade clean room. This

process is all completed here in the USA.

 

 

 

 

How to Choose Which Sentio is Right for You

 


Although Sentio is presently offering a 30 day swap out if you would

prefer a different Sierra with softer or firmer polymer, here is a

general guide for choosing the right one for you:

 

Green: Is for players who play most of their golf on surfaces that

are on the fast side and prefer some sound and feedback but a soft

sensation at impact. It is my experience that players that die the ball

into the cup would most likely choose this model.

 

Red: Is generally regarded as the most versatile for all types of

players and varied speeds of greens. An ever so slightly firmer feel

then Green but still much softer then your typical milled face stainless

putter.

 

Blue: For those who prefer a firm feel and a bit more of the click

sound at impact (the feel of a milled putter - but with the technology

of Sentio). Also for players who are a bit more aggressive or those

that play on greens where surfaces are on the slower side.

 

 

 

 

 

In all of the years of testing putters, none has ever replaced the

custom Scotty Studio Select Newport 2 Midslant that has been in

my bag for every golf course review, money game and stroke play

event over the past 8 1/2 years - until now. I estimate that number

at well over a thousand rounds, so safe to say a flatstick has to be

worthy to become "The Gamer".

 

For the past month or so, I've been gaming a Sierra with green feel,

but I admit to liking the red just as much. As mentioned earlier I'm

a bit monogomous when it comes to a blade, so the Sierra I'm gaming

will likely get the nod for a prolonged period.

 

 

 

Summary

Sentio combines a very tasteful blend of the classic Anser style blade,

with technology that stands out from everything else in the world of

putters today. Without the innovation of TPE and the floating face

concept, Sentio would be just another milled putter in the marketplace,

just as a Big Mac would be nothing more than a double cheeseburger

without its "Secret Sauce". The colorful polymer center makes rolling

the rock a virtual euphoria of golf bliss. Sentio is the real deal.

 

 

 

 

 

Sierra 101 - $299  Limited Century Edition - $399

 

 

For more info on everything Sentio:  http://www.sentiogolf.com/

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 



 
Air Force One - Air Foil Fairway Woods PDF Print E-mail

 

 

By Jason Bruno

 

Earlier this year we reviewed the Air Force One DFX Tour Black Driver and came away with

a very favorable impression on both performance and feel. This time around we're testing

the company's new Air Foil Fairway (3 wood).

AFO's dual slot design is the latest performance feature geared towards extreme distance in

a fairway club. The first thing you'll notice is the dual slots on the crown, kind of reminds us

of a really fast exotic sports car.

 

 

I've stated in nearly every 3 wood review - finding one that works both from the tee and

off the deck is quite often the toughest club to find. If you check inside a tour players bag

(and I often do when I'm on the range covering tour events), you are likely to see more

than a few players with a fairway wood that is sometimes 5 or 10 years old. They simply

won't part with an old faithful that works (Henrik Stenson is a prime example - he still

plays an ancient Callaway Diablo Octane model)

 

 

 

 

Dual slots on the top, and on the

sole as well. This stick is built with

two goals in mind: ball speed and

launch.

 

AFO has created a niche in the

market by offering quality golf

clubs at a value to their customers

that few others can make claim to

(Tour Edge would be the other

company that fits that mold). One

way they do this is with a smaller

marketing budget, no sponsored

tour players and excluding the

adjustability features like movable

weights and loft sleeves.

 

 

 

 

 

AFO's Nitrogen Charged technology comes standard on all of their metalwoods.

 

 


 

 

High marks here for overall appearance, the all black look is spot on.

 

 

 

 

 

 

At address it sets up really nice and square, there's not much worse than looking down at

a shot from off the deck and the fairway wood has a shut face angle - especially when

you don't have the option to adjust loft, lie or face angle. No worries here, the AFO looks

and plays the part to perfection.

 

 

The Air Foil fairway comes in 43" 15 degree 3 wood & 42.5" 19 degree 5 wood. We tested

the 3 wood both inside on the launch monitor and in the field of play. The numbers across

the board were comparable when we tested vs the industry leading TaylorMade M1 fairway

(set up at 15.5 degrees). Testing each with stock Fujikura shafts, the swing speed (99 mph),

ball speed (143 mph), launch angle (14.2 degrees), and carry (233.1 yds) were nearly

identical. When I installed my aftermarket Diamana D+ Whiteboard in the M1 the numbers

improved: SS - 100 mph, Ball Speed - 146, L.A - 13.8, carry 238.6 (but the M1 with the

upgraded Diamana shaft has a price tag of more than double the cost of the Air Foil).

 

On the course (where a certain lie in the turf can determine outcome) we concentrated on

hitting off the deck. The AFO was atleast as good as the M1 in every phase from the terra

firma. The stock fuji shaft with it's lower kick point made it easy to launch high bombs into

the par 5's. The shallow head design inspired more confidence with every shot struck.

 

 

Air Foil Fairway features:


17-4 Stainless Steel

• Aerodynamic Head Shape

• Nitrogen Powered

• FFT Face Flex Technology

• Nitogen Pressurized Club Heads

• Fujikura Graphite Shaft

• Protective Head Cover

 

 

Air Foil fairway wood retails for $149, or about half the cost of the industry leading models.

Our test model came with the stock Fujikura shaft, but if you want to upgrade to the Fuji

Speeder Pro 63 or Graphite Design G Series it's a $50 upcharge.

 

 

 

 

Bottom Line:

If performance and value are your thing, then Air Force One's new offering is worth a

serious look. The non-adjustable set up of the Air Foil will irk some for sure, but if

you're not hung up on the lack there of, and the stock shaft fits your game (our guess

is that will be 75% of all golfers), then the AFO Air Foil fairway might be exactly

what you've been searching for.

 

For more info: http://afogolf.com/

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 
Swingclick Golf Transition Trainer PDF Print E-mail

 

By: Jason Bruno

 

The Swingclick golf transition trainer is unlike any

other golf training device that we have ever

tested.

Practicing rhythm, tempo and a smoother

transition in your golf swing has always been a

bit of an elusive task - until now. This small

device that straps onto the lead forearm is

equipped with a rod and sliding weight that clicks

when the forearm reaches the correct position at

the top of the backswing then again at impact and

finally at the follow through.


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Swingclick Plus is small enough to fit in any golf bag easily or even into your back pocket.

 

 

 

 

The instructions for how to use the device is illustrated above (from the original Swingclick).

Easy enough but perhaps the biggest challenge for those with medium to fast transitions is

to finish the shoulder turn and have the patience for a fraction of a second to hear the click

before firing all that you've got towards the golf ball.

 

At first, while testing I felt like Hideki Matsuyama or Bob Murphy on valium. Which told

me immediately that I had work to do. I simply couldn't wait that 1/3 of a second to start

the club down. After a few dozen sessions using the Swingclick Plus I have a keen awareness

now of my own proper rhythm - especially in the transition. One of the residual benefits has

been a better ability to shape shots - likely because there is a sharper feel for where the

clubface is at all times relative to my body at the top and on the downswing.

 

 

 

 

 

One of the really cool features of the Swingclick

Plus is the ability to dial the device to any

variable angle to account for different types

of swings. Since the Swingclick primarily works

on the principle of gravity it must always be in a

verticle position relative to wherever the

backswing stops. For example, a wedge shot or

more specifically a 50 yard pitch is a much

shorter backswing position, so the device needs

to start on a slightly different angle (more

horizontal) to account for where the club will

finish at the top in a much shorter backswing.

 

- See the photo right


 


 

 

 

 

The Swingclick Plus includes the same simple steps to better rhythm and tempo on the

back of the package.

 

 

Players like Ernie Els, Hideki Matsuyama and my pal Dirck Storm who have buttery transitions

and syrupy tempo probably will never need such a device, but for the rest of us - thankfully

there is Swingclick.

 

Videos on the Swingclick Plus: http://swingclickgolf.com/swingclick-videos.html

Swingclick Plus retails for $39.95 - For more info: http://swingclickgolf.com/

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 
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