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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Who remembers Byron “Barney” Adams? If you don’t Mr. Adams is the entrepreneur who brought you the Tight Lies fairway wood and is the founder of Adams Golf. Over his decorated career in the golf industry Mr. Adams holds several patents on golf products.

Mr. Adams is back with a new company. The founder of Breakthrough Golf Technology is introducing the Stability Shaft. Putter shafts (for the most part) have gone unchanged for decades other than an exception here and there. Putter shafts for the most part have been noting but a steel tube. In a press release (shared below) it goes on to say that the industry has applied the same shafts even though putters (mallet types in particular) have gotten heavier. Essentially, the heavier putter heads that are being produced today means that the shaft is more prone to oscillation and twisting. The result… putts straying off line. The weight of the Stability Shaft is a “beefy” 125 grams while measuring 37″ and features an ultra-stiff flex shaft profile. What does all of this mean? Stability.

I am excited to share with my readers that I will be testing and reviewing this shaft in the near future. I’ve decided to put the shaft to the test by using the heaviest headed mallet that I’ve used to date. Weighing in at a generous 620 grams the MOI MAXX from Lateral Line Putters is my chosen subject. It’s a putter that’s won its way into my bag and gained my trust. So stay tuned as the shaft arrives and the testing commences.

For more details on the new Stability Shaft from Breakthrough Golf Technology please see the press release below. Thanks to Mary Beth Lacy of golf marketing firm Mary Beth Lacy Inc for providing the release.

Dallas, TX – For 50+ years, the putter shaft has not changed; historically it has been a simple steel pipe. Yet head designs for putters have evolved and gotten dramatically heavier.  This has resulted in shafts that are not stable or strong enough to keep these heavier, advanced putter heads from oscillating, twisting and turning. In fact, the strongest part of the putter shaft is under the hands, where it does the least good; the weakest part is near the club head.  Why would any golfer trust their putter to an inadequate steel shaft if they had a better option? After all, golfers use their putter almost twice as much as any other club.

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Photo Credit: beakthrough Golf Technology

 

Introducing the Stability Shaft from Breakthrough Golf Technology. Breakthrough Golf uses scientifically advanced multi-material design with geometries never before used in a putter shafts.  The Stability shaft has a unique look and a more solid feel than a traditional steel putter shaft.

CEO, Barney Adams states, “When I first learned about the product I knew that it could be significant. It’s a step forward in golf equipment technology.  What has been rewarding for me is that the Stability Shaft works better for amateurs. Pros are great putters and while the shaft does help them, it’s the inconsistency of the amateur that it corrects most”.

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Photo Credit: Breakthrough Golf Technology

There are four parts of the Stability shaft that work in concert to greatly improve putting performance. BGT calls this ‘Advanced Materials Integration’™:The performance of the shaft was exhaustively tested with hundreds of putters using state-of-the-art high-speed cameras, robots, SAM Putt Lab, Quintic Ball Roll software and Trackman4. The result was to re-invent the putter shaft from the ground up.

  • Eight layers of high modulus carbon fiber specifically layered, wrapped and widened, with a no-taper design to greatly reduce torque.
  • Through ‘Finite Element Analysis’ a lightweight 22g aluminum insert was developed and precisely located to reinforce flexural rigidity.
  • A 7075-aluminum connector that helps to stiffen and reinforce.  This versatility allows attachment to virtually any tip diameter of any putter, regardless of the bend profile.
  • The stainless-steel tips have extremely consistent wall thicknesses for superior strength and are coated with a smoke PVD finish to add protection from corrosion and rusting.

Designed to improve any golfer’s game. The Stability Shaft delivers the face more squarely at impact for improved accuracy, solid feel and has a lower launch for a predictable roll, resulting in better distance control.

You’ll get a higher ‘Smash Factor’, hit the clubface more consistently and ultimately make more putts. It’s a perfect synergy of technology and materials to improve putting performance.

The Stability Shaft has a MAP price of $199.99 and is available from golf retailers in the US and Canada.

About Breakthrough Golf Technology

In a suburb of Dallas Texas, lies a new golf shaft company born in 2014 but with 100 years of experience. The state of the art facility utilizes the latest technology to develop and bring to market the finest, most precise shafts available.

Founder Barney Adams, who has always had the unique ability to see what is truly missing in Golf equipment decided to focus on the putter shafts since there had been no significant innovation for decades.

A team of award winning engineers was assembled and no shaft company on the planet delivers innovation in golf shafts like Breakthrough Golf Technology.

Until The Next Tee!!

Variety. I think it’s a suitable adjective to describe the vast array of products through the golf industry. Consumers that support the industry have seen products in all shapes, sizes and colors. Whether it’s from a corporate giant or a newcomer to the industry. Often times, when something new and different emerges many discerning golfers won’t look at something “different” because it is simply that. Even if said product can truly help golfers improve their scores. 

Late in 2016, I was contacted by Irlianna Samsara and Holly Geoghegan of Golf Marketing Services to see if I was interested in having a look at one of their clients products. Upon researching the clients website I had to have a closer examination of the product. That product in question was the MOI MAXX Putter from Lateral Line Putters.

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MOI MAXX unveiled.

Lateral Line Putters is the creation of former commercial pilot and Jefferson, Ohio native John Ambrose who I was fortunate enough to meet this past January (more on that in a bit). Mr. Ambrose is the innovator and President of Lateral Line Putters which was formed in 2007. Since the birth of the brand they have seen growth in both product development and exposure. Lateral Line Putters has seen over half of its customer base through referrals from other customers. Moreover, Mr. Ambrose has great support with his company through his wife Robyn who has run businesses over the past 20 years. Lateral Line Putters is proud of the fact that they offer the consumer a wide range of customization options. When coming up with the design of L2 putters Mr. Ambrose fell back on his applied use and knowledge of physics. The knowledge that Mr. Ambrose possesses about putting is quite significant. This was something that I would quickly learn when I met up with him and Holly G after the PGA Show at Orange Tree Golf Club (Orlando). Not only is he a USGTF Certified Instructor, a former Director of Instruction and First Tee Coach but he is a Certified Vector Green Reading Instructor.

Now that I’ve given some background and insight on the man and mind behind L2 putters let’s take a look at the model that I tested. There is a lot to consider when you look at the ideology and specifications that surround the MOI MAXX putter. The first thing that we look at is its numbers. When you place this putter into your hands right away you notice the heft. Using the chassis of a mallet putter the MOI MAXX putter measures in at 6.25″ (from Heel to Toe) and a head weight of 620 grams. The putter is center-shafted which allows for unprecedented face balance and combined with the head weight of the putter this allows the golfer to have a stroke more akin to that of an actual pendulum. This is also a by-product of the weight which also takes out the hands from the stroke. Another special feature of the MOI MAXX putter from L2 Putters is the 200 gram 16″ grip. The MOI MAXX putter also has a unique capability in that it can stand by itself. Using the rails seen in the address position golfers can line up their spot from behind the putter and adjust to hit the right spot (assuming you read the green right). If it’s windy out and the putter falls over coincidentally moving the ball don’t worry…. the new Rules of Golf has you covered (replace the ball without penalty). The rails also have another feature thrown into them and this is absolutely crucial. By using the rails, golfers can correctly align themselves to the ball. In other words your shoulders, hips and knees are correctly stacked over the ball.

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Ride the rails.. right to better alignment and into the hole.

When it came to the actual unboxing of my L2 MOI MAXX putter I won’t soon forget it. I opened up the box and removed the simple black and white headcover. I was actually astonished by the size and had concerns about looking down at it. Considering the average heel to toe on a putter is roughly 5″ the extra inch and a quarter was noticeable. Moreover looking at the design I was worried about the acoustics and how that would translate to feel. So photography complete I took my MOI MAXX into “The Dungeon” to roll some putts on my Big Moss. So I placed the first ball down and left the putter to stand alone while lining up the putt. Feeling pretty confident that I had lined up properly I struck my first putt. It was short as I was unsure of the initial head weight. However, the acoustics weren’t a “clank” like I thought that it would be. So I repeated my routine… dropping a second ball and lining up the putt from behind. I actually corrected my initial line by slightly twisting the putter to the left and put a stroke on it. In the hole. So I would drop another ball and go towards a different hole from a different length…in it went. Now I’m really intrigued and I heard myself state “the sonuvagun works” (have to keep it G-rated). I made stroke after stroke and putts were simply falling. Consequently, I would make a few putts without lining up the putt from behind and my line was off. It’s no wonder why I frequently lip-out a putt or miss on the high side.

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Without the correction… it’s missing on the low side.

My time in the basement with the MOI MAXX putter revealed a few things to me. First it found a glaring error in my eye and secondly it found and corrected a fault in my stroke. From time to time I fall victim to not being set-up square and the rails fixed this problem. You never know when you’re going to get bonus golf in the winter here in Niagara Falls (on the good side). But when there is no snow and the weather is unseasonably warm you get out and play. So off I went to St. David’s Golf Course on New Year’s Day and I would play nine holes in pretty chilly weather (35*F). I was on the first green going for birdie with the MOI MAXX putter in hand. So, I went through the routine and lined up the putt. Making a slight correction of the line and birdied my first hole of 2017. A nice start. I would actually birdie my first two holes of the year and I really look at the MOI MAXX as the root cause. My putting continued to be very good for the duration of the round en route to an opening 33 for 2017. My confidence in this putter was confirmed. Post-round I made a video stating that maybe due to the outside temperatures the putter proved to be more “tinky” than I had initially thought. But this isn’t meant to be construed as intrusive.

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Improved model used on March 1st.

In a conversation with Mr. Ambrose I had brought this up and John took it to heart. Not in a bad way like you might assume but he took it as a challenge. Mr. Ambrose isn’t one to sit back on his laurels and just believe that his putter is great the way that it is. Instead, he looks to improve even more. So when we got together that day at Orange Tree Golf Club he had a newer updated version with him for me to try. With one little addition to his design Mr. Ambrose addressed and fixed the acoustics issue. The updated version of the MOI MAXX was more muted, has an additional alignment aid (this one horizontal) and also featured a larger grip. This felt even better in my hands and any semblance of getting “handsy” with the stroke became null and void. We spent a lot of time together that morning and he also showed me a couple of cool features. About halfway back the sole slopes upwards. He showed me that to maximize immediate forward roll sole the MOI MAXX using the slope. This adds loft and imparts immediate forward roll. Also, due to the nature of the MOI MAXX and it’s resistance to twisting this is the most forgiving putter on the market. The weighting on the heel and toe saw putts purposely struck off of the heel and toe result in putts that felt like they were off of the sweet spot (the sweet spot is 3.5″)Truth be told, I left Florida with an entirely new putting stroke methodology.

Folks, have an open mind. If you’re in the market for a product that will help your game and lower your scores then look no further than L2 Putters and its MOI MAXX model. Maybe “size does matter” after all. I have long been “pro-heavy” and the MOI MAXX simply reinforces that belief further and simply holes more putts. For more information on the MOI MAXX and more please visit the the Lateral Line Putters website.

Until The Next Tee!