When it comes to golf club design, I’m a traditionalist. I’ve always been drawn to classic club designs — my dad’s clubs were Wilson Staffs (WS persimmon woods, DynaPowered irons, WS blade putter) and I have a set of 1976 Wilson Staff Muscle Back irons in my collection. I played Spalding clubs growing up, all with the classic lines of traditional club design. I switched to Nike clubs in 2004 (see my current set makeup here) after a long time playing Taylor Made and Adams Golf woods with a few different iron set makeups including Tommy Armour (845 and 855), and Mizuno (MP-14) irons, Cleveland wedges and a wide variety of classic putter designs.
That’s where this post is headed — putter designs (in later blog posts I’ll address iron, fairway metal and driver designs). Nike Golf has done a good job keeping a traditional look and feel to their club designs – especially their players’ irons – while still incorporating cutting-edge technology. However there is one product line I wish they would infuse a little more tradition into – their putter line.
Lately there’s been quite a lot of buzz about Nike’s prototype putter, which many of Nike Golf’s athletes are currently playing (you can read more about it here). At the time of this writing the flagship putter design is the IC Series, with it’s matching black head and shaft finishes, and visual alignment system on the top of the putter head. It is a cutting edge design no doubt, focusing the player’s vision on the alignment lines and reducing glare and distraction from other areas of the club. They are still offering the Ignite, Unitized and Oz lines, which incorporate a few variations of traditional designs (Tiempo, Retro, Ignite 1 to name a few), but are dominated by non-traditional shapes and borderline space-age looking head designs (the Unitized Arrow for example).
A hope I’ve had for a while now is that more of Nike’s putter designs will reflect classic designs from the past. The heel/toe weighted designs (Ping Anser style) have been successful for Nike Golf, and I think a heel-shafted model (Wilson 8802 style) and possibly a center-shafted blade-style model (a la the old Titleist bullseye) would be well received by both tour players (many of whom have a strong sense of the history of golf club design) and weekend golfers alike. Perhaps we’ll see more traditional designs in Nike’s next line of putters (possibly named Victory Red?) that is sure to be based on their current protoype models.
If you had a say, what would you like to see Nike Golf incorporate into their putter lines in the future? Let us know with your comment below.