Forgiveness. By definition, the term means “the action or process of forgiving or being forgiven.” When it comes to the game of golf and the equipment that we use, this term is most often associated with drivers and iron sets. But what about putters? Could golfers benefit from a little bit of help from the club that we use most often during a round of golf? Lateral Line Putters definitely thinks so.

Before continuing with this review, I would like to thank John Ambrose, the great mind behind Lateral Line putters. In the past, I’ve had the opportunity to work with Mr. Ambrose where I reviewed the original MOI MAXX putter in 2017. That was a putter that garnered praise from me, so when he reached out to me about a new putter that he was releasing there was no way that I could refuse.

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If you look back at that review (MOI MAXX review here) you might recollect a few things. Most notably, however, is the fact that it’s an oversized, overweight mallet putter. That putter measured 6.25″ heel to toe and it’s head weight was a staggering 620 grams.  As far as the man behind the putters himself Mr. Ambrose is a retired Continental/United Airlines pilot, engineer, a USGTF Certified Instructor, a former Director of Instruction and First Tee Coach. While being all of these things Mr. Ambrose is also a Certified Vector Green Reading Instructor. In short, the founder of Lateral Line Putters (Lateral Line was founded in 2007) knows a thing or two about golf and design.

That was then… This is now.

 

The Pre-Shot Routine

When we look at the new EXCEL putter from Lateral Line we first need to look at the specifications. There are some notable changes when it comes to EXCEL. Among these changes is the actual weight of the putter. The EXCEL putter is 30 grams lighter than its predecessor. So instead of the head weight weighing in at a portly 620 grams, it’s now 590 grams. Although the EXCEL putter may be lighter than it’s former iteration the high MOI characteristics remains the same (MOI of 24,000). Also notable, is that the impact area is 3.75″ (the former was 3.5″) which is great from the standpoint of the putter standing up. Thus the base is more stable. The width heel to toe remains 6.25″ while the footprint of the EXCEL (front to back) is 3.75″.

(The EXCEL putter is designed as a “stand-alone” putter for aligning your putts.)

The head itself is constructed from 304 Stainless Steel and features Lateral Line Putters’ patented “Ring Design”. There is a face insert that consists of poured Surlyn (a material commonly used as the cover on golf balls).

The standard length of the EXCEL putter is 33″ which is great for allowing your arms to hang more naturally. Of course, this is dependent on the individual that plays the Excel. The Lie Angle is upright as it sits at 73* although with the XL Grip that’s employed by Lateral Line the putter feels closer to 70*. The XL grip itself is 14″ long and weighs in at 100 grams.

***Lateral Line Putters joined forces with Medicus Golf introducing the EXCEL. Lateral Line wanted to get the EXCEL putter right and they have taken their time to ensure that they have done exactly that.

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The Transition

I was excited to receive the opportunity to test the EXCEL putters because I had the chance to test and review the original. The original was a putter that tested really well but it also needed to have a few changes made to it. I’m always a fan of watching products evolve, however, this time it seemed maybe a little more gratifying. I think because I gave feedback the last time and that feedback was taken to heart.

Upon receiving my package from, Mr. Ambrose I was excited to see what the Excel looked like in hand. Upon opening the parcel I observed the clean black and white headcover with the “MOI MAXX Excel” branding being evident. The red “X” is a nice little accent. The finish of the shaft is a Black PVD finish and I really like how it sort of “melds” the grip, shaft, and head together.

Taking off the putter cover I was immediately impressed by the aesthetics of the head. Instead of a black or white powder-coated head, the top of the head is black with white alignment aids (railroad tracks). Although the footprint is quite large the putter in the address position looks much smaller than its physical size. I also really like the fact that this time around Lateral Line allowed for the contrasting stainless steel and black. In the case of the original, I thought that the head being entirely powder-coated “cheapened” the product. However, those minor aesthetics change really improved the overall “image” of the Excel.

I’ve already alluded to the standard length of the EXCEL putter. At a standard length of 33″ I really liked this putter. In my case, I found that that this length really allowed my arms to hang more freely. The combination of the length at 33″ paired with the weight of the head allows for a smooth stroke on the golf ball. Also, the nature of my arms hanging more freely also allowed my eyes to be aligned over the ball more consistently. Take note, this length may not work for all golfers. My set-up in this configuration was and has been more consistent. The XL Grip effectively eliminates my hands from becoming involved in the putting stroke.

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This putt would have been missed on the low side. Initially, the alignment looked good from the address position.

Like it’s predecessor, the genius behind this putter is the fact that it will stand up by itself. This way, golfers who use the EXCEL putter can better align their putts. The “railroad tracks” employed by Lateral Line lets golfers know if their set-up is square not to mention that it will also let golfers know if their putt is aligned too high above the hole or too low. The difference between my putting using EXCEL’s “stand-alone” capabilities and not using them was astonishing. The reality is that when I used this feature as it was intended to results are significantly better. Especially on putts inside of ten feet. If my face was closed or open by a fraction the putt attempt was a guaranteed miss.

While there is an insert in the face of the EXCEL putter I would suggest that the feel is firm. However, the sound is more muted and with a soft-covered golf ball, the feel is very good. The feel/acoustics of the EXCEL putter is improved from the original. I might be a little picky but I would love to see a softer insert.

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A look at the Surlyn insert.

Forgiveness is not only important in metal woods and irons. Forgiveness can be just as important with putters as well. Is there a more forgiving putter in the golf industry than the EXCEL? Maybe, but if there is one I haven’t found nor tested it. Heel and/or toe strikes feel nearly identical to a strike off of the generous impact area. The stability of the head is second to none. It’s for reason that you can make the stroke without looking at the golf ball. As Mr. Ambrose explained here in a conversation with him.

“The idea of not staring at the ball during the stroke has great effects on performance. It not only improves on overall performance (either looking at the distance on the long ones, or the putter face on short putts) but places you in a present moment situation which takes those sub-conscious in stroke corrections out of the stroke.” –  John Ambrose of Lateral Line Putters

I worked on this putting methodology a couple of years back with Mr. Ambrose after the 2018 PGA Merchandise Show. It was at Orange Tree Resort where I first met Mr. Ambrose. Although the technique felt foreign and trusting it can feel awkward the method really works. In fact, it was my distance-control that really improved.

 

The Finish

In my opinion, the EXCEL putter from Lateral Line putters is a golf product that could help golfers lower their scores. Especially, if you employ its capabilities as they were intended. The EXCEL putter is an improvement over the original MOI MAXX that was released a few years. It looks better and it feels better. Is it perfect? The answer is no but my criticisms could be viewed as being “too diva”. Honestly, if you would like to make more putts have an open mind and find an EXCEL putter to try out. If you do find one, try putting while looking at the hole.

Are there negatives to the EXCEL putter? Some may find the overall footprint a little “off-putting” and some golfers may find the features “gimmicky”. However, does it really matter what your playing partners think if you’re rolling in putts?

For more information on the EXCEL putter please click on the link here.

 

Until The Next Tee!!

#SeeUOnTheNextTee #FightAndGrind

 

 

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It’s my favorite time of the year. While it saddens me that the death of summer is nearly here (and with it the 2019 golf season will see its untimely demise in due time) it also means one thing. It’s football season baby!!

Not that crappy, boring “smashmouth football” that is the NFL. No sir (or ma’am) we’re talking about the NCAA. The pomp, the pageantry, the student bodies, and the marching bands. Football, the way that it was meant to be played. I’m not the only excited by this. So is STITCH Golf.

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As a University of Florida Gators guy… It pains me to post a pic of anything ‘Bama.

The fabricator of premium golf bags, headcovers, travel bags and more launches a new range of products. Collegiate Putter Covers. Now you can support your alma mater or favorite university in style. For more details, please see the press release as shared by Stuart Goldstein from RG Narrative. Go Gators!!

Until The Next Tee!!

#SeeUOnTheNextTee #FightAndGrind

 

Arrive in Style™

 

(APEX, NC, August 12, 2019) —STITCH Golf is pleased to announce the launch of its
officially licensed line of NCAA collegiate putter headcovers to meet the needs of today’s serious golfer and serious fan.

“Our new collegiate putter headcovers enable golfers the opportunity to proudly support their favorite school or alma mater in style,” stated Brad King, CEO of STITCH. “These eye-catching putter covers are sure to grab the attention of your golf buddies while providing the most important club in your bag with exceptional protection.”

Using STITCH’s classic and timeless designs, these blade putter headcovers come in
premium leather with the university’s logo beautifully embroidered throughout the cover. University headcovers currently available include: Alabama, Auburn, Clemson, Georgia, Georgia Tech, Kansas, Kansas State, Kentucky, LSU, Michigan State, Mississippi, NC State, Oklahoma, SMU, Texas A&M, UNC, South Carolina, Virginia, Vanderbilt, and Wake Forest.

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“Like all STITCH products, these collegiate headcovers are designed and engineered to help golfers look their best,” continued King. “By focusing on details and premium components we were able to create unparalleled headcovers for the die-hard fan”. Additional features of the collegiate headcovers include:
 Premium leather
 Plush inner lining
 Magnetic closure
 Water & stain resistant
 Fits most blade putters

Stitch Collegiate Putter Covers are available at http://www.stitchgolf.com and retail for $78.

 

About STITCH
Founded in 2011 as a headcover company, STITCH is known for designing and creating products with precise attention to detail, all the way down to the last stitch.

Based in Apex, North Carolina, STITCH gives a unique experience, whether it’s the high quality leather used in our headcovers, the durable waterproof fabrics in our bags and gear or the fashionable color schemes seen in our apparel.

STITCH products are designed to be effortlessly fashionable, allowing you to create a stylish, comfortable and color-coordinated look-on and off the course. Designed with details that perform, our line of golf bags and gear, travel bags and apparel combine function and fashion with three themes in mind: DRESS YOUR GAME™, ARRIVE IN STYLE™ and FROM WORK TO PLAY™. STITCH products are available at leading golf, country clubs and select retailers around the world and at http://www.stitchgolf.com

COMBINING PROVEN SPEEDFOAM™ TECHNOLOGY WITH REFINED SHAPING, NEXT GENERATION OF COMPANY’S MOST POPULAR PLAYERS DISTANCE IRONS REACH NEW LEVELS OF PERFORMANCE

CARLSBAD, CALIF. (August 12, 2019) – Following the resounding global success of the irons that catapulted the model to among the best-selling in company history, TaylorMade Golf, an industry leader in product innovation, technology and performance, announced today the second generation of the P·790 irons. Like its P700 series siblings, the P·790 irons are a meticulously crafted set combining performance, feel and aesthetics.

By way of its forged face and soft, hollow body construction with SpeedFoam™ and the debut of the Thru-Slot Speed Pocket, speed and forgiveness were the key performance attributes that helped the first-generation P·790 rise to the upper heights of the players distance category.

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MAKING THE BEST BETTER

To improve on an iron as successful as the original P·790, engineers faced the challenge of taking everything learned from its design, refining and emphasizing many of the unique design elements that made it so successful without drastically changing its DNA. The result is a forged iron that continues to deliver remarkable distance and playability combined with exceptional feel in a medium-compact head design with a refined topline, more compact blade length and reduced offset preferred by discerning players.

 

PERFORMANCE

The original P·790 was – and still is – widely considered one of the highest-performing irons in the industry. The all-new 2019 P·790 features a 7% thinner face designed to produce a faster COR and for the first time includes Progressive Inverted Cone Technology (PICT) designed to improved accuracy throughout the set, minimizing the right tendency often found in the long irons. The thinner face also maintains sound and feel but enhances feedback regardless of where the ball is struck on the face.

 

Behind the face of the new P·790 is one of TaylorMade’s most advanced technologies to date: SpeedFoam, a proprietary construction which serves a dual purpose of generating ball speed as well as the management of sound and feel. Injected into the clubhead, SpeedFoam provides the face support and damping properties that make the performance of the P·790 unlike any other iron in the TaylorMade family.

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Inside the P·790, a larger mass of tungsten – 15% more than first generation P·790 – has been reshaped to deliver a deeper centre of gravity. This was accomplished through the mass savings in the thinner face as well as by removing mass in the iron frame (high toe area) and repositioning it by way of the larger, low profile tungsten design. The new tungsten design helps to lower the CG and increase the launch angle of the new 2019 model.

 

SHAPING

The product creation team implemented some refined shaping changes to the new generation P·790 in the continued pursuit of the perfect players distance iron shape. Working from the ground up, the designers tweaked the sole radius for less propensity to dig. The long irons (6-3i) have progressively less offset and the blade length was shaved down slightly in the scoring irons (7-AW) for more compact players iron proportions. Finally, the topline shaping was refined by increasing the face height in the toe for a cleaner progression through the set. The result is a visually appealing shape proportion preferred by better players without being visually intimidating for those who appreciate the forgiving nature of the P·790 design.

SPECIFICATIONS, PRICING & AVAILABILITY

Available at retail on September 6, the new P·790 irons will be offered in 3-PW, AW equipped with True Temper’s Dynamic Gold 105 VSS steel shafts ($1,599.99 CAD) or UST Mamiya’s Recoil 760/780 ES SmacWrap graphite shafts ($1,799.99 CAD) with Golf Pride Tour Velvet 360 grips. Numerous other custom shaft options are also available.

P·790 UDI

Once again complementing the P·790 irons is the P·790 UDI, a forged driving iron designed with Tour-inspired shaping and incorporating a multitude of proven TaylorMade technologies – including SpeedFoam. Like the other irons in the set, the P·790 UDI is constructed with a soft, 8620 carbon steel body combined with high-strength forged 4140 carbon steel with a wrapped-face construction in a hollow body design.

 

The new P·790 UDI also features an ultra-thin forged face with Inverted Cone Technology for an expanded sweet spot within a slightly smaller face area. Similar to the first generation P·790 UDI, the new, smaller Inverted Cone in the new P·790 UDI allows for reduced face thickness at the edges of the face, thus increasing flexibility from heel to toe and low on the clubface and optimizing ball speed across the entire face. Once again, the Thru-Slot Speed Pocket is engineered to increase ball speeds and forgiveness for exceptional playability for those desiring additional options off the tee or fairway.

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For forgiveness and playability, the new P·790 UDI features the re-engineered internal metal-injection-molded (MIM) tungsten weighting for precise CG placement and higher moment of inertia (MOI).

 

SPECIFICATIONS, PRICING & AVAILABILITY

Available at retail starting September 6 at $299.99 CAD, the new P·790 UDI will be offered in RH only models as a 2-iron (17°) and come equipped with Project X’s popular HZRDUS Smoke Black shaft 90g (S) or 105g (X) flexes – designed for low launch/low spin and gripped with a Golf Pride TV 360. Additionally, the P·790 UDI will be available for custom build with an extensive offering of steel and graphite (.355) options.

 

Additional specifications:

Loft: 17°

Lie: 60°

Offset: 3.2mm

Length: 40” (steel 39.25”)

Swingweight: D2

 

P·790 Ti

Following an exploration of ultra-premium materials and our engineering knowledge, we created a high-performance set of irons in a new, first-of-its-kind iron package. The P·790 Ti; a triumph of engineering and the most premium iron line TaylorMade has ever created.

 

A complement to the P·790, the P·790 Ti was designed from the ground up to be an extreme performance P·790; a game improvement iron loaded with technology packed into an aspirational players’ preferred shape while maintaining the critical ratios between blade length, offset and topline width.

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MULTI-MATERIAL CONSTRUCTION

The body of the P·790 Ti is comprised of a 9-1-1 titanium. Titanium has a high strength to weight ratio, meaning it is both light in weight but also remarkably strong (this is also one of the primary reasons it is used in metalwoods and just this year, the M5 fairway, too). The use of titanium allowed engineers to increase the amount of tungsten (up to 119g – nearly half of the iron head mass) in the sole of the iron for an ultra-low centre of gravity – the lowest CG in any P Series iron. The P·790 Ti was designed to showcase its use of premium materials in a technical, elegant package with the extreme tungsten weighting fully visible across the full backbar of the iron.

 

Due to its titanium construction, the iron features a lighter face and a large sweet spot by way of TaylorMade’s patented Thru-Slot Speed Pocket – the company’s most flexible Speed Pocket™ design to date. The Thru-Slot Speed Pocket expands the flexible area of the face to generate faster ball speeds. The face design also includes the Progressive ICT design and an additional Speed Pocket in the 8i intended for more consistent yardage gapping through the set.

SHAPING VS. GEN 1 P·790

Compared to the original P·790, the P·790 Ti has a slightly longer blade length (2mm), taller face (2mm) and .5mm of increased offset. It also utilizes a slightly wider sole with increased bounce for added forgiveness.

 

SPECIFICATIONS, PRICING & AVAILABILITY

Available at retail on November 8, the new P·790 Ti irons will be offered in 4-PW/AW and come equipped with Nippon 950GH NEO steel shafts ($3,399.99 CAD) or Mitsubishi’s MMT graphite shafts ($3,599.99 CAD) in 75g (S), 65g (R) and 55g (A) flexes, each with Golf Pride Tour Velvet 360 grips. Numerous other custom shaft options are also available.