Putter Review: Clique Putter
by John Kim
- After a recent round at Cobblestone, I entered the clubhouse complaining to anyone who would listen about my putting. By sheer chance, golf club designer Paul Cunningham was in the pro shop talking to one of the staff about his newest line of putters. After a brief introduction, he guaranteed me his was the finest putter made today. He was willing to bet me any amount of money; he could out-putt me, right then, right now. Considering at the time, I couldn't out-putt my mom, I declined. He assured me I would putt better with his putter than any putter I'd ever tried. I'm usually hesitant to accept such claims, but "what the heck" I thought, it's not like I have anything to lose. We set up a meeting, and to make a long story short, I agreed to purchase one of his putters and review it for this website.
The putter is unusual in that it has a maple birch insert. Mr. Cunningham tells me that this is the secret that allows the exact flex and compression to give the ball the truest topspin roll you can get. It is also precision balanced four different ways. He has a demonstration to show this off where he balances the putter on a swivel, puts a ball on the putter face, and then rotates the putter. Neat, but bottom line, does it help me get the ball in the hole?
Now to be honest, I'm not that bad a putter. My handicap ranges from 4 to 7 and my short game has always been one of my strengths. Some of my friends say I'm a better putter from 15 feet than I am from 5, but I think (or hope) that's a testament to my ability to hit longer putts quite frequently. But I was willing to give the Clique putter a chance to replace my usual Odyssey Rossie II bronze mallet putter; maybe I could finally shave those last strokes off the handicap.
I've long thought the best greens in Atlanta could be found at Towne Lake Hills Golf Club. Fast, undulating, and almost always in superb condition; this would be a great test for the "Clique" putter. Upon arrival, I show off the putter to everyone from the head pro to the starter. A few of them take a few practice strokes and make positive comments. Good initial feedback, but of course, the real test lies ahead.
On the front nine, I have one three putt from about 80 feet. The rest of my putts are pretty solid, I one-putt twice from 10 feet and shoot 38. On the back nine, my putting starts to vary a bit more. I three putt twice from 20 feet, (trying too hard to make birdie) but I hit a clutch 15 footer for par and on the last hole, I hit a 50 foot bomb for par. I shot 78, not bad for the first time using a new putter.
The Good: Paul Cunningham was right, this putter is incredibly unique in its feel and design. The ball does feel good coming off the wood insert, without any significant change to distance control. I'm still not sure how the balance of a putter affects it's roll, but again, he was right - the ball rolls true coming off this blade. I like the weight of the putter and the grip. If you make a good putt, the ball will go where you are aimed.
The Bad: Maybe a bit picky here, but the model he sent me does not have alignment lines on it - instead, it has a dot - that just make it a bit harder to line up for me. He tells me he has models that have the lines. Also, the back of the putter does not have that little scoop that makes it so easy and cool-looking to pick up a ball when your partner tells you to "pick it up". The last item is by design says Mr. Cunningham, he thinks too many golf holes and greens can get damaged by people using putters to retrieve balls. I'm a little concerned about the wood insert, and how easy/hard it is to maintain. Putter covers are needed to protect it while in the bag. He says it is water repellent, and if any damage ever does occur, it can be repaired at minimal cost.
Overall: I've long believed that putting was 95% mental, 3% stroke and 2% equipment. I guess there is some mix in there where you may be more confident if you have more faith in your equipment. If you are a mechanically inclined putter who puts your faith in a solid putting stroke, I'm not sure it makes a huge difference what you putt with. If you are a more "feel"- oriented putter, this putter might just be the one you want to keep in your bag. Yes, I would recommend this putter to any golfer who showed an interest. I think that for the price and performance, you'll be quite happy with your investment. I urge you to give it a try and see for yourself.