Which are THE classic putters that have been successful since the game started?
If you're looking for a classy putter to add to your golf bag, the list below of what I feel are classics. They divide pretty much into two groups: museum pieces and classic putters you might still think of using today.
You can then read an independent, hands-on review of each in below by clicking on the links... and find where to buy them at the best price.
True vintage putters divide pretty much into wooden putters and metal putters. For details of the first wooden putters used (known as putting cleeks) which had no man-made materials in them, click here to read an interview with classic club dealer Gavin Bottrell.
The first types of metal putter were made in the early 1900s. These still seem ancient to us today... think: hickory shaft, leather grip, blade designs and stainless steel heads.
Technology is severely lacking in any of these putters, so putting well with them is seriously difficult. You can still buy these new, however, such as Louisville Golf's Calamity Jane. A replica of the putter used by Bobby Jones in winning 13 US and British Amateur and Open championships (then the Majors).
The next in the classic putter looks, Bullseye Putters are not a brand but a classic look design, which were produced by a large number of companies.
Over the years they've been used by many a great putter including: Jack Nicklaus, Nick Faldo, Greg Norman, Corey Pavin, Tom Kite and Mark McNulty.
There are some variations of the classic shape, but the hallmarks are a minimalist curved design with a center shaft, made usually out of brass.
Although the history is not entirely clear, most people believe that the classic Bullseye shape started with the 1946 John Letters Golden Goose putter.
Old-fashioned blade putters are the traditionalists weapons of choice. Jack Nicklaus won almost all his major titles with this style of putter.
The classic blade putter was the Wilson 8802. Click for a review of this blade.
Blade putters are known for great feel and a wonderful feeling of flow through the stroke. This comes from the fact that they are heavily toe weighted putters, so will only really suit an open-square-closed stroke.
Since the popularity of the term "blade putters" has been used to apply to any non-mallet putter, such as the heel-and-toe weighted anser style putters which started to be widely used in the 1960s.
The Ping Anser is the father of at least 30% of putters in use today. The large cavity in the back of the design allows for the majority of the weight of the putter head to be in the heel and toe areas which effectively increases the size of the sweet spot. This means your putter face stays squarer to the target and transfers more energy to the golf ball on mishits.
The original Ping putters were cast ... in other words they were made by pouring molten metal into a mold.
This is a cheaper way of creating putters, but result in harder metal and a more clicky feel. The "ping" sound of early Ping putters is due to the fact that they were cast.
Starting seriously in the 1990s, premium putters - including Anser style putters - were manufactured using CNC milling (where a computer controls a milling machine which carves the putter out of a solid block of metal).
The main advantage of this method is the feel you get with milled putters due to the softness of the metal that can be used.
The most sought-after anser style putters are either early Ping models (click here for a fantastic guide to the classic Pings) and the early, hand milled Scotty Cameron Newport putters which are refinements of the original anser design.
While they might not be there yet, Odyssey's insert putters from the 2000s will, I'm sure, soon become "classic putters". They offer a softer feel than any other putter I've ever tested.
Particularly popular were (and still are) their mallet putter designs such as the iconic Odyssey 2 ball White Hot.
Odyssey's range of putters featuring a black "Stronomic" polymer insert predated the White Hot range, those models with the white-colored insert are the best options to go for.
Even though Odyssey launched a number of variations of insert putters, their White Hot insert is basically the same as it was in the 2000s. Most of the other insert types were less well liked by players and therefore White Hot putters are still great and in plentiful supply either used or new.
on a classic Scotty Cameron putter...
on a classic Ping putter...
on a classic Bullseye putter...
Not in the US? Click here for eBay and Amazon listings for a Bullseye putter in your region
on a classic Wilson blade putter...