TaylorMade TP Red Collection Ardmore - £239
TECH: Red heightens contrast against grass, which TaylorMade says helps align the putter squarely. A skim-milled 304 stainless steel head gives a sharp-edged premium look. The Pure Roll aluminium face insert optimises roll.
WHY IT'S WON: Red putters are all the rage, and to make sure there's a model for everyone TaylorMade has introduced a whole family of TP Reds for 2018. The Ardmore's a wide, stretched mallet, but minus the MOI- enhancing fangs you get on the Ardmore 2. Our test pro loved how naturally the Ardmore's lie got him into a position (with high hands) where he could rock his shoulders and putt really consistently. Two long white sightlines make a "T" shape with the putter's face, which keeps setting up really simple and straightforward.
The Ardmore's big, bold and brash, and its painted finish may lack the class of a traditional milled head. But, boy, does it have an air of confidence sat behind the ball. A really good choice if you're in the market for a red putter, but don't want a wacky-shaped MOI model. Two long sightlines really help alignment. The aluminium insert gives decent feedback and roll, and because it's slightly firmer than some, we reckon it would be at home year-round on UK greens.
Bettinardi Queen Bee #9 - £319
TECH: Designed for golfers with more broadly arcing strokes (hence the extra toe-hang), the #9 is a compact to mid-sized mallet with a simple look thanks to the crisp, clean milled edges. The micro honeycomb milling pattern on the face delivers a muted but crisp feel at impact.
WHY IT'S WON: Every last detail has been thoroughly thought through, and all three testers agreed that golfers who have the cash to buy themselves into the Bettinardi stable would surely want to go all out and bag themselves a trademark model (thanks to the distinctive face milling pattern) if they could. We love the honeycomb face pattern, which Bettinardi says (at a microscopic level) gives a more accurately cut face thanks to the mill moving up and down to create the face rather than sweeping across it.
Ultra premium on all levels, it's a putter which, if you're ever lucky enough to own, you'll cherish because its beauty goes well beyond its intended use. For owners of an arcing stroke who are looking for an exceptional mallet to invest in for years to come, the Queen Bee #9 is one of the finest we've come across. Look after it, cherish it and never leave it in a damp cover.
Wilson Staff Infinite South Side - £95
TECH: The grip weighs in at 104g, which moves the balance point closer to the hands, creating a higher moment of inertia and more stable stroke. The clubface is double CNC milled, which Wilson says imparts a more consistent roll.
WHY IT'S WON: At a time when prices in golf are on the rise, the sub-£100 South Side is amazing value. We were fans of Wilson's Infinite models last year (because of the quality head shapes and reasonable price tag) and, thanks to an overhaul which has simplified their look and made them even more appealing, they'll be a big hit this year, too.
We loved how the three white lines on the back of the head highlight alignment and path, while a single stripe on the top edge is really good for helping square the blade to your target. As far as fancy tech goes, the South Side's been paired back to just a CNC milled face which is just about all you need if you're looking for a simple, straightforward and dependable mallet. A brilliantly simple introduction to centre shaft putters and counter balancing, for what is very sensible money. Padraig Harrington can use any putter he wants, but he swears by the South Side, which speaks volumes about how nice a putter Wilson has created for less than £100.
TG Readers’ Choice
TG AWARDS: The shortlist
|Cleveland TFI 2135 Satin Cero||£139|
|EVN Roll ER7||£275|
|Ping Vault 2.0 Piper||£275|
|TaylorMade TP Red Collection Chaska||£239|
|Wilson Staff Infinite South Side||£95|
|Bettinardi Queen Bee #9||£319|