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The Low-Torque Putter Revolution

L.A.B. Golf wasn’t the first company to realize that torque is bad for putting. Before we came along, there were other companies working on putters that reduced torque to help golfers putt more consistently. Raise your hand if you remember the Positive Putter and the Plop!

Yes, it’s been a long time coming for Low-Torque putters. And it’s been the combined efforts of a lot of people that has laid the foundation for what we’re calling the Low-Torque Putter Revolution. 

This Revolution is about making putting more fun through science. It’s the same radical thinking that led Karsten Solheim to launch his “Anser” putter in 1966. Back then, people made fun of the way Solheim’s putter looked and told him no real golfer would ever use it. Today, it’s considered a work of art. Nearly every putter company has created its own version of the Anser. 

The radicals of 2020 include L.A.B. Golf, Edel, Axis1, and Odyssey. These companies are on my list because they’ve all taken the low-torque plunge and continue to develop low-torque putters. What’s different about L.A.B. Golf is that unlike the other low-torque putters, L.A.B. Golf putters don’t just minimize putter head torque. They eliminate it. And golfers can feel this difference.

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard a version of this story about the DF 2.1 from a customer: “The first time I saw it, I thought, ‘I would never use that.’ And now I think it’s the most beautiful putter I’ve ever seen.” 

Yes, making a few more 5-footers really does change the way golfers see things.

Why I’m Writing This

As the CEO of L.A.B. Golf, I am certainly not without bias. But my reason for joining the company was based on my deep conviction that every golfer should be using a L.A.B. Golf putter. The damn thing basically stays square by itself. How can that not be better?

For golfers who can’t use a L.A.B. Golf putter, for whatever reason, I wanted to share my favorite low-torque putters on the market. I realize that it’s strange for the CEO of a company to recommend products that are made by his competitors. The reason why I don’t mind doing this is my belief that low-torque putters are the future of the industry. The look on a golfer’s face when he or she finds out that 5-footers don’t have to be so scary? There’s nothing more important for having fun on the course. 

The golf industry is easily big enough for all the low-torque putter companies out there. I believe we’re stronger together than we are apart. Plus, people love choices. This is America. So whether you buy a L.A.B. Golf putter or something else, you’re supporting all of us.

But seriously… buy a L.A.B. OK?

My List

Below are the pros and cons of L.A.B. Golf putters, as well as my favorite low-torque putters. Each includes a video of a test we performed with each putter using “The Revealer,” a device we developed that allows a putter to hang freely so we can see how a putter head wants to move during the stroke. And before we get into the list, there’s one last thing you should know about torque. 

While we know torque has a negative effect on putting, we still don’t exactly understand what amount of torque affects a golfer’s stroke. Does 0.25 foot pounds make a difference? Does 2.5 foot pounds? We’re exploring this science deeply, and one day we’ll be able to provide a definite answer. 

L.A.B. Golf’s stance today on this is simple; if you can totally remove a variable from putting, you should do it. And that’s why our putters are zero torque.  

L.A.B. Golf’s Zero-Torque Putters

L.A.B. Golf DF 2.1

Price: DF 2.1 Stock $399, DF 2.1 Custom Starts At $549

Overview

Directed Force 2.1, or DF 2.1, is the putter that started it all for L.A.B. Golf. It was developed by our founder Bill Presse IV to fix his own inconsistent putting so could cash more checks on the mini tours. Through a lot of trial and error, he discovered that putter head torque was holding him back, and he figured out how to remove it with the technology that we now use in each of our putters: Lie Angle Balance, or L.A.B. for short.

To accomplish Lie Angle Balance in each of our putters, we need to be incredibly precise. That’s why all L.A.B. Golf putter heads are first forged and then 100% CNC milled. They’re also 100% made in the USA. They’re built by hand and balanced by hand one at a time by our craftsmen in our facility in Eugene, Ore.

Pros

  • Zero-Torque Design: L.A.B. Technology removes torque from the putter head.
  • Extreme Forgiveness: If you do happen to catch a putt off-center with the DF 2.1, it won’t really affect the results. 
  • Lie Angle Flexibility: Options range from 63-79.5 degrees. 
  • Maximum Customization: DF 2.1 Custom is available in four colors and has 36 different alignment marking options. We also offer multiple custom shafts and Press grip options. 
  • Available in Armlock, Broomstick Models: We believe everyone should have access to a torque-free putter. 

Cons

  • It’s Crazy Looking: We know. It’s not everyone’s piece of cake. 
  • Press Grip Only: Golfers should use a Press Grip on standard-length DF 2.1 putters for an ideal setup. Unfortunately, these grips have to be quite large to accommodate the 3 degrees of grip tilt we recommend for DF 2.1. So if you need to use a smaller grip, you’ll want to try a B.2 or another putter on this list. The good news is that golfers can use any grip with DF 2.1 Arm Lock and Broomstick putters. 

L.A.B. Golf B.2

Price: B.2 Stock $399, B.2 Custom Starts At $549

Overview

As we said, some people told us DF 2.1 was not their cup of tea. So we set out to create something clean and elegant. That putter became the B.2. The putter head is 100% Milled from a billet of stainless steel or brass, and like DF 2.1, it’s made in the USA. 

What B.2 users won’t get is the extreme forgiveness of DF 2.1, and this is due to its compact blade-style head. Most B.2 users don’t mind trading a little forgiveness for a shape that inspires them on the greens. They also tend to be better players who don’t miss the center of the putter face that much. 

Pros

  • Zero-Torque Design: L.A.B. Technology removes torque from the putter head.
  • Multiple Custom Options: B.2 Custom is available in two metals (stainless steel and brass) and comes with the choice of four alignment markings and three face finishes. There are multiple custom shafts and grip options.
  • Lie Angle Flexibility: Options range from 63-79.5 degrees. 
  • Use Any Grip: Golfers can use any grip with B.2. 
  • Available in Broomstick Models: L.A.B. Golf wants to be the company that takes care of the entire putting community. We developed a special B.2 Broomstick putter head that’s larger and more forgiving to improve performance. 

Cons

  • Less Forgiving: Golfers will pay a small penalty for off-center hits compared to DF 2.1.
  • It’s Center-Shafted: Visually, it can be awkward. There’s no getting around the fact that B.2 is center shafted, and some people hate looking at center-shafted putters. We don’t blame them. SeeMore putters are a great example. Some people love them; some people can’t stand them. (P.S. Even though the DF 2.1 is technically center shafted, it doesn’t look or play that way). 
  • Industrial And Simple: Again, it’s not the apple of everyone’s eye. It’s up to you to decide if you’ll like a putter that looks and feels like a short, skinny stick of butter.
  • Not Available In Arm Lock: B.2 looks funny as an Arm Lock because of how close the shaft is to the putter face. So while we could make B.2 putters in Arm Lock, we don’t. You’re likely better off using DF 2.1 as an Arm Lock or going another route. 

My Favorite Non-L.A.B. Golf Putters

Edel Torque Balanced

Price: $375

Overview

Edel first launched this concept in a putter known as “The Brick,” which was popularized by The Golf Scientist when he turned pro. Edel has since made the awesome decision to expand the Torque Balanced putter lineup to offer golfers a variety of low-torque putter head shapes. 

Torque Balanced putters have what’s known as a “Toe Up” design, which means the putter head is weighted so that the toe will point straight up when the putter is laid horizontal on a table — the opposite of what will happen with an old 8802. 

In the world of putting, Edel Founder Dave Edel deserves the utmost respect. He’s one of the smartest people in the industry with his most noteworthy work in the science of alignment. We’ve based a lot of our alignment options on Edel’s work, and other putter companies do as well. 

And lastly, we want to give Edel a shoutout for its quality. If you’ve ever been to the PGA Show, you may have seen one of the luxury handmade watches Edel makes. His putters exhibit that level of detail. Edel putters are also made in the USA. 

Pros

  • Low-Torque Design: The Toe-Up design reduces torque.
  • They’re Beautiful. These might be the prettiest low-torque putters.
  • 5 Different Head Shapes: Mallets, blades, and even a few in-betweens. You can also customize the offset amount of each putter. 
  • Wide Range Of Alignment Options: Like single or double lines? You can have either, and you can have them on the top line or back flange. 
  • Very Cool Proprietary Grips: There’s several, and my favorite is the round option. You wouldn’t think it would work, but it does. 
  • Lie Angle Flexibility: Edel lists customization options from 68-72 degrees.

Cons

  • Not Zero Torque: Torque Balanced putters are not torque-free. 
  • Torque Varies By Model: Because of the different head shapes, they are not all perfectly Toe Up. Some of these putters are slightly toe-opened.
  • Hot Off The Heel, Cold Off The Toe: To create Toe-Up balance, significant amounts of putter head mass were redistributed from the toe to the heel of the putter. The common feedback is that putts contacted on the heel of the putter roll out further than putts contacted on the toe.

Axis1 Rose

Price: $449

Overview

Axis1 offers a variety of putters with an unusually shaped heel that is positioned in front of the putter face. It has a counterbalancing effect on the putter head that places the center of gravity (CG) in the exact center of the putter face. The most widely known model is the Axis1 Rose, which is named after the U.S. Open champion that games it. 

One really interesting aspect of the Axis1 Rose design is that it looks a lot like the famed #7 putter from Odyssey. That’s a big deal. Axis1 was able to make a low-torque putter using a design that has become one of the most desired shapes in the industry.

Of the low-torque putters, Axis1 is the winningest. This was earned this hard way. Co-Founder Phil Long deserves big props for being the first person to take low-torque putters inside the ropes on Tour. Telling world-class golfers that they could be putting better takes cojones. Repping a small putter company inside the ropes isn’t just challenging; it’s expensive. And Mr. Long made all of our lives easier by doing it. 

Pros

  • Low-Torque Design: Counter-balanced head design reduces torque. 
  • Conventional Appearance. The unusual heel design isn’t fully visible at address. For most golfers, it will be mostly or fully hidden by the hosel, resulting in a somewhat conventional-looking putter.  
  • Use Any Grip: Golfers can use any grip with an Axis1 putter. 
  • Different Shapes, Colors: While the Rose is definitely the most popular option, Axis1 also offers two different blades and three different mallets. 

Cons

  • Not Zero Torque: While placing the center of gravity in the center of the putter face does reduce torque, it does not eliminate it. 
  • Inconsistent On Off-Center Hits: Like Edel Torque-Balanced putters, the massive shifting of mass into the heel of the putter makes the putter inconsistent when putts are struck in different areas of the face. 
  • The Price: The Axis1 Rose is the most expensive putter on the list at $449, but Axis1 does offer more affordable options such as the Umbra ($229). 

Odyssey Stroke Lab Black Seven Toe Up Putter

Price: $199

Overview

Odyssey first launched this concept as the Backstryke in a few different head shapes. The shaft placement is in the rear of the putter head, which creates an onset putter head (onset means the putter face is ahead of the shaft). 

This putter was most notably used by Tommy “Two Gloves” during his hot streak on the PGA Tour. The latest version of this putter has a new name (Toe Up) but maintains the Backstryke-style construction and onset. 

Pros

  • Low-Torque Design: The way this putter is designed positions the shaft axis very close to the center of mass of the putter head, which is what reduces the torque. 
  • Balanced Weighting: Unlike low-torque putters with heel-heavy designs, the Seven Toe Up has a centered sweetspot and good forgiveness on off-center hits.
  • Sweet Feel: This putter feels delightfully “squishy” at impact, which is influenced by the way the shaft loads/unloads with this shaft placement.
  • The Most Affordable Option: At $199, this is the most affordable option on the list.

Cons

  • Not Zero Torque: Positioning the shaft axis close to the center of mass of the putter head reduces torque, but it does not eliminate it. 
  • Not Adjustable: It’s not possible to adjust the lie angle of this putter.
  • Awkward At Address: Golfers can struggle to adjust to onset, which often causes some right-handed golfers to miss to the right. One way to improve this is with an off-axis grip like the Press Grip, which sets the hands forward at address and over the golf ball, which is where most golfers like them. 

If you have any questions about L.AB. Golf putters or any other low-torque putter on this list, you can get in touch here.

To Better Putting,

Sam Hahn

L.A.B. Golf CEO

If You Build It, Birdies Will Come

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