It wasn’t long after Nike Golf’s Method putter began appearing in the bags of Nike Athletes in late 2008 that it began racking up wins. Paul Casey won twice with it before the 2009 Masters, and later that year it captured two majors in a row when Lucas Glover won with it at the U.S. Open at Bethpage and Stewart Cink won the Open Championship at Turnberry using the Method putter. Since then it has racked up several more victories including this year’s Masters, where Charl Schwartzel won with his Method 004.
Nike Golf established the Method putter in the premium putter market by introducing its Polymetal Groove Technology, which produces a fast forward roll at impact. The difference in roll is really noticeable, and I talked about this in detail in my product review of the Method putter. In March of this year Nike Golf released another version of the Method putter, the Method Core, which incorporates Nike’s Polymetal Groove Technology into an insert. This allows the putter to produce the same great roll on the ball at a little more than half the price of the original Method (milled version) — about $250 for the Method milled and about $130 for the Method Core.
But is the Method Core as good as the Method Milled? What are the differences? I will attempt to let you know in this product review of the Method Core. Shortly after its release, Nike Golf sent me the Method Core 3i to test and review, and since then I have bought the Method Core 1i. I own the Method Milled 001 and 003 models, and have played several rounds with all four putters (all four putter models can be seen in the photo gallery below), so I can give you a good idea of what I think of the Method Core and how it compares with the original Method milled version. And if you want to read what Alan Numsuwan thought of the Method Core 4i, you can read his review here.
FIRST IMPRESSION: DESIGN/APPEARANCE
The first thing I noticed when I unboxed the Method Core was the new Nickel plating on the putter head. I really like the darker look of the Nickel finish, it’s a great contrast to the lighter silver head of the original Method Milled (the Method Core’s head is cast, the original Method is precision milled stainless steel). The Polymetal Groove Technology is incorporated into the face using an insert that is comprised of an anodized red aluminum faceplate backed by white polymer. The red aluminum with the white polymer lines look great with the darker head color.
The lines on the Method Core are softer than on the original Method milled version, with more curves and rounded corners incorporated into the design. There are five models in the Method Core line (five models also in the original Method line), and as I mentioned above I have the Method 001 and 003 models. Both are blade style, heel-toe weighted designs, the 001 has a thinner blade and features a slant neck, the 003 has a deeper flange and features a plumber’s neck. The 001 has a sightline on top of the blade, the 003 has the sightline on the flange. Both models feature a Method Core stepped shaft by True Temper (the Method shaft is stepless) and the Method Core Pistol Grip by Golf Pride, which is tackier than the Method’s Golf Pride Method Tour Tradition grip, which has a more “velvety” feel.
FIRST IMPRESSION: PERFORMANCE
The first thing I noticed when I rolled my first few putts with the Method Core was how similarly it rolled the ball to the original Method. The roll was immediate, and the ball noticeably hugged the green on its way to the hole. The roll really is different with the Method putter line (both the Method Core and the original Method) — the ball comes off the face and almost immediately starts rolling, without skidding or hopping.
The Method Core’s weighting feels similar to the original Method, and it feels really solid when you strike the ball. There is a slight difference in feel between the two putters that is difficult to describe, but I make an attempt in the “Feel” section below. I had a lot of confidence with the Method Core right out of the box, it was easy to control the distance of my putts because of the fast forward roll off the face, I felt like I could lag it close from long distance and pretty much make everything from close range. Short putts were no worry with this putter.
The feel is slightly different between the original Method milled version and the Method Core — neither is better or worse, just different. Both produce the same fast forward roll, but there is a very slight difference in feel between the two putters. The best way I can describe it is the directly-injected polymer of the original Method milled version feels more fully integrated into the entire head of the putter than the Method Core ‘s insert. With the original Method you are striking the actual face of the putter that has the groove lines machined out of it, and then filled with the polymer. The Method Core has the area for the insert machined out of the face, and the 2-piece insert is put in its place — so you are striking the insert, not the actual face of the putter, which gives a slightly different type of feel and feedback. I don’t prefer the feel of one more than the other, they’re just a little different from each other, but I felt I should mention it. Both putters feel very solid and the difference is very slight and hard to describe, so I suggest trying both to feel the difference and decide which you model you like best.
The Method Core yielded the same, fast, green-hugging forward roll that I experienced with the original Method. The ball comes off the face and starts rolling almost immediately, and tracks straight and true on its line. I saw no difference in roll off the face between the Method and Method Core, both give the same benefits from the Polymetal Groove Technology in the face.
The weighting feels similar between the Method Core and the original Method. The Method milled features tungsten weights in the heel and toe that create the perimeter weighting. The Method Core does not have these weights, but gets its perimeter weighting from a slightly larger putter head, and the redistribution of the weight removed from the center of the face (to make the cavity for the insert) to the heel and toe of the putter head. The weighting of the Method Core and the original Method felt similar to me.
I was able to easily control the distance of my putts with the Method Core, which is one of the primary benefits of the forward roll produced by the Polymetal grooves. The more consistent forward roll makes it easier to more consistently roll my putts the same distance. That control increased my confidence, and more of my putts started finding the bottom of the cup.
Because of the more consistent roll produced by the Method Core, I was able to keep my putts on line more consistently, and hit my targets more often. Whether that is a certain point on the line of a breaking putt or the back of the hole itself, I was able to be more accurate with this putter because of the way I could control the roll of my putts more consistently.
The Method Core is a great looking putter that gives all of the benefits of the original Method milled putter for a little more than half the price. It gives the same roll, but feels slightly different than the original Method milled, so I suggest trying both putters to see which one you like better. The head designs also vary between the two lines, so that may also influence your decision on which model you go with. You can’t go wrong with either the original Method milled or the new Method Core in my opinion, but if you want to see the benefits of Nike’s Polymetal Groove Technology help your putting game, and you want to save a few bucks in the process, the Method Core may be the putter for you.
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.