02/21/2015

Counterbalance. What is it, and how can you use it?

We will venture into all of that and more in today’s review, as I’ve found a putter that may stay in my bag for a very long time– or maybe until my son bashes it enough times on the driveway pavement!

But in all seriousness, this putter’s combination between visual aesthetics and amazing feel have given me added confidence I don’t think I’ve felt before with a putter (although I’ve only been religiously swinging the new toy in my warm, winter-free, basement).

Cleveland golf has again been at the forefront of innovation, this time with a putter called “the Smart Square,” with counterbalanced weighting.

I’ve had the putter for a few weeks now and I must say, this thing is truly a special club.

putting series

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Counterbalance

I want to first dive into the science of the word.

Counterbalancing is adding weight to the putt end of the putter, by the hands. Often times, the putter is elongated to add stability. It’s really that simple.

By breaking the word down, you may have a bit of a better understanding as to what counterbalance putters provide. It counter-balances the putter. Add weight to the head, then counter that weight through some creative balancing. Boom, counterbalanced.

Historically, the weight of a putter has been tinkered with by adapting the head. Adding weight to the head, subtracting weight from the head, adding it to the heel or toe all have an effect on the fashion in which the putter performs. Only recently, has weight been added to some weird places.

Okay, not weird, just untraditional.

Adding weight to the butt end of the putter is far different than adding weight to the butt end of, well, your butt. The former can help your golf game, the latter, will usually hurt it.

People who favored the ban on anchored putters fear the worst when thinking of the wave of counterbalanced putters. Oh no, could this replace belly-putters and wreak havoc on the USGA again??

I think the answer is no. The only reason counterbalancing will be popular is for golfers who enjoy the feeling and if it adds stability to their stroke. For me, this is true. It may not be true of everyone.

For me, the heavy weight of the putter gives me more swinging power through the putting stroke– but obviously with the counter balance, I don’t feel as much weight in the club head. It gives me stability.

Upon conducting some research, I found this article by the people over at My Golf Spy. They ran a test around the counterbalance craze, working to determine if it actually helps people at all. The answer– a conclusive, no. Read the report here. They came to the determination that counterbalanced putters had little-to-no impact, that any reason to favor the technique is personal preference.

That’s good news for the golf manufacturing industry.

The Smart Square Putter

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Now that I’ve covered the topic of counterbalance, it’s time to dive into the features of this putter that make is so darn pretty… 🙂

Look

First, when I look down at the putter I notice two things– the mat black look and the awkward squares. Similar to the look of the old two-ball putters from Odyssey, this putter has that double shape look. It’s squares, though, and I love it.

The outline of the squares are white. White squares=no glare and great contrast. The contrast helps me a lot when looking down. I imagine when the sun comes out, I’ll like it even more.

Screenshot 2015-02-21 09.36.25

True Mallet

Secondly, I like the fact that it looks like a true mallet and not a blade putter with something hanging off the back of it (the model I have). It’s appealing look to me. Some people like the blade look, I like the true mallet with this putter.

Insert

The insert–again, some people like inserts, and others don’t. I love the feel and sound of this one. It sounds very solid. With putters, it’s all about personal preference, and with this putter, I like the solid feel and sound. Go to your nearest golf store and hit it yourself, you’ll know exactly what I’m talking about!

Alignment

At the end of the day, you can have a perfect stroke and if you aren’t aimed in the right spot, you’ll miss every, single, putt. Good read, good stroke, good speed, poor alignment=missed putt, it’s that simple.

With the two squares, even the slightest variance will have major implications on where the putter is aimed. And it’s obvious!

I haven’t seen many putters on the market today that offer this type of alignment. Even after all the counterbalance, the look, the feel, the sound, knowing that it’s aimed where I think it’s aimed is a hugely comforting feature.

Conclusion

I really do love this putter. I’ve been to a lot of PGA Merchandise Shows and a lot of golf conventions. I’ve struck hundreds of different putters, but this might rule the roost.

This may be the best putter I’ve ever touched.

I know it’s not for everyone, but with the featured counterbalance weight and the way it lines up, it’s one of my favorite toys. Now, all I know, is that summer can’t come soon enough so I can use it.

Hopefully, before my sweet, dear, 6-year old son smashes it into the driveway.

Screenshot 2015-02-21 09.36.15