Okay, so I admit it, when the box arrived I felt a little bit like the father in “A Christmas Story” when the leg lamp arrives. I‘ve been watching this putter in action on the pro tours for over a year since I first saw Stephen Ames using a prototype of it on TV at the LG Skins game in the fall of 2008. I then learned that Paul Casey had been using the prototype since August 2008. Several other Nike Golf athletes began using the prototype putter on tour including Lucas Glover, Justin Leonard and Stewart Cink. The buzz continued to build as the name was announced and a release date was announced, and when a limited edition release of customized, personalized METHOD putters went on sale on November 2, 2009, the edition of 100 sold out in under 3 hours. Since then Nike Golf fans across the globe have been waiting for the day they could get their hands on one of these putters.
Anticipation becomes reality this Thursday January 28th as the METHOD putter hits the retail market. This weekend you can buy the same putter that Lucas Glover used to win the U.S. Open, Stewart Cink used to win the Open Championship, and Michelle Wie used in The Solheim Cup and to get her first LPGA Tour Victory. This past weekend I was able to take the METHOD putter out for a test drive, and I share my opinions of the putter here.
I headed over to the practice green at my local course Stonecreek Golf Club on both Saturday and Sunday to roll putts using the METHOD. I used three different balls – the Nike One Tour (4-piece), the Nike Crush (2-piece) and the Nike Power Distance Soft (2-piece). I rolled a total of about 100 putts with the METHOD and here was my experience with it:
FIRST IMPRESSION: DESIGN/APPEARANCE
Out of the box the METHOD putter did not disappoint. The putter looks as good in person as it does in all of the photos Nike put out in advance of its release (see below).The METHOD comes in 5 different models/styles — I tested the 001 model, which is an Anser-style heel-toe weighted design. The face is milled and the distinctive groove pattern is filled with black polymer. The sole has the METHOD logo and graphics per the photos, and the area on the back of the face also has the METHOD logo. The back of the heel and toe flanges sport the same diamond facet pattern as the VR STR8-FIT driver surrounded by a red oval paint inlay.
The METHOD has a stepless shaft with a shaft sticker that has the Nike swoosh on one side and the METHOD logo on the other. The grip is a strikingly distinctive red color with the METHOD logo on the flat front side and a grip pattern made up of the face groove pattern design on the curved backside. The headcover is an L-shaped leather cover with METHOD logos top and sides, and a handy magnetic closure that makes it easy to get the headcover on and off.
FIRST IMPRESSION: PERFORMANCE
If there’s one paragraph to read in this review it’s this one — I can’t tell you how great the feel of this putter is, and the difference was clearly evident in the first few putts I rolled with it. The first thing that is distinctive is the firm but soft strike of the ball, due to the polymer insert behind the entire face of the putter. The second is the roll the putter puts on the ball — it immediately gets the ball rolling with topspin and no skid, hop or bump. It really is amazing how the ball hugs the green and tracks towards the hole immediately after leaving the putter face. The third is the weighting of the putter — the weight of the head promotes a smooth pendulum stroke through the ball. I expand on these qualities in the sections below.
The feel of the METHOD putter is truly outstanding. I have two other Nike putters — the Ignite 001, a similar Anser style with a slightly larger head and a full-face polymer insert, and the Unitized Retro, a blade style with a milled face. The METHOD blends the best qualities of these two putters — the softness of the polymer insert with the solid strike of the milled face. Nike achieves the soft feel by filling the channel behind the face with liquid polymer that then fills the grooves in the face. The grooves also contribute to the soft strike because there is less of the face in contact with the surface of the ball. The milled face gives the strike solidity that is in turn softened by the polymer behind the face. The firm and soft qualities work in concert with each other when the putter strikes the ball, and this feel was consistent with the different balls I tested (two 2-piece balls and one 4-piece ball).
This is where the METHOD truly shines. The roll it puts on the ball is impeccable. The ball seems to zip towards the hole, immediately tracking on line as soon as it leaves the face. The grooves on the face seem to grip the cover of the ball, imparting topspin to the ball right away. It was uncanny how consistently it did this for me on the putting green. Each putt seemed to roll the same as the one before, and this made distance control and accuracy easier. The consistent roll the METHOD puts on the ball distinguishes it from any other putter I’ve owned — and take it from me (and my wife), I’ve owned a lot of putters over the years.
The weighting of the METHOD helped me to produce consistent distance control and accuracy. The weight of the head — substantial but not too heavy — promotes a naturally flowing pendulum stroke, critical for effective distance control. The well-balanced heel-toe weighting made it easier to keep the putter head square through impact, and subsequently to get the ball rolling on the intended line.
In my test I rolled a variety of lengths of putts including approximately 40-foot lag putts, 20 footers, 10 footers and putts 5 feet and closer to the hole. I was able to control the distance effectively on most of my putts, better than with either of my current putters. I putted balls in groups of three for each length putt, and the distance between all three balls for each putt length was very consistent — my 3-ball groupings were closer together than I can recall them being in any of my recent practice sessions.
Because the METHOD gets the ball rolling so consistently, and I was able to control my distance effectively, of course my accuracy was better too. I was able to start the ball on line more consistently, and the ball stayed on line more consistently because of better distance control. Good putting is the result of the correct combination of speed and line — the METHOD allowed me to get both the speed right and keep the ball on line more consistently.
The two words that I took away from my test of the METHOD putter were these: Consistency and Confidence. The feel in this putter and the smooth roll it puts on the ball are unmatched in any other putter I’ve ever used. The weighting promotes a smooth pendulum stroke that results in consistent distance control and improved accuracy. Consistent speed and line mean more putts made, and more putts made means increased confidence in your putting game. Confidence is the name of the game in golf, especially in putting.
Another side note — when I was doing the second part of my putting test on the practice green on Sunday, Richard from Michigan was there again (see the Summary of my review of the VR Driver). He asked to try the METHOD putter, and after rolling several putts with it he seemed to really like the feel. Again, Nike Golf might have another METHOD putter convert.
The METHOD is truly a game-changing putter, one I plan to get into my bag as soon as possible and keep there for a long time to come.
Editor’s note: The product reviewed above was supplied by the manufacturer to the reviewer/author free of charge for reviewing purposes only. The reviewer/author was not paid for this review, and the opinions expressed in the review are strictly those of the reviewer/author.