That's me with putters. Many golfers commit to putters through the good times and bad. Or maybe they keep a putter for five or six years until the magic goes away, and then file for divorce. Not me. I've been a putting playboy. There are almost fifty putters in a back room of my house, each certain that someday, I will realize the error of my ways and use it again.
Not likely. Not since club maker David Butler of Half Moon Bay put a counter-weighted, Anser-style Miura KM-006 in my hands. It's beautiful. It's traditional. It's faithful. It's forgiving. It's clutch. "This is the one," I told my wife.
"Until the next one comes along," she chided.
Sure enough, two months later, Miura Golf offered to let me test their newest putter, the Mallet-style, KM-007. I agreed, and only out of a sense of obligation to you readers.
The timing could not have been worse. The KM-007 showed up while I was in the heat of a club championship. The trusty KM-006 had taken me deep. It was no time to test, dabble, or switch. Not until I squared off against a longish 22 year-old kid with the annoying habit of two-putting for birdies on every par-5.
The only benefit to losing is that it finally allowed me to take a serious look at the KM-007. It was like at first sight. Miura had wanted to expand its line with a mallet design. This one is a beauty finished in satin nickel and chrome. It has an etched face that assures clean contact, and a beautiful bevel carved into the top line. Aside from a white alignment stripe behind the face, the heel-shafted, slightly offset KM-007 bears no markings or logos except on its sole. Nothing distracts you. You see putter and ball. Miura's first mallet is an elegant blend of forging and milling that whispers, "Stroke me." Like many of the company's clubs, this is one for the purists.
The head of the KM-007 weighs 360 grams, heavier than many putters you would find off a rack. Chip Usher of Savannah, Georgia built this particular test club. He set the lie slightly flat at 69.5 degrees, and fitted a 33-inch, 120-gram Nippon shaft that designer Katsuhiro Miura chose specifically for this model, citing its flexibility at the tip. Unlike most others, this shaft fits over a long nub on the hosel, not inside, another subtlety that enhances the 007's feel.
I began with a few strokes on the carpet, and quickly committed to more time on the course. This is a heel-shafted putter, designed for players with quiet hands who rotate their shoulders through an open, squared, closed stroke. No wonder it felt so right. That's my move.
Later, on a slick and demanding practice green, I staged a 36-hole medal match between my trusted KM-006, and the lighter, smaller, KM-007. The KM-006 finished solidly at +3. The KM-007 dropped a couple of bombs, and beat it at +2. I found the KM-007 to be surprisingly soft and intuitive, with a reassuring and confident "click" at impact.
Based on that practice green performance, the KM-007 graduated to a regular game with the boys. Normally, trying a different putter requires a period of adjustment. This new mallet did not. It proved to be as trustworthy as the KM-006, and even dropped a 12-footer for a birdie skin to win on the 18th. It was enough to make a person wonder how, if the KM-007 performed that well the first time, could it do better?
Has the 'Don Draper Syndrome' struck again?
Can't yet say.
At the least, my KM-006 might now have a rival-in-waiting---a sweet-looking little something on the side---a weeknight practice putter leaning seductively against the wall of my office, ready and willing for a quick roll on the carpet and a promotion to weekends.
Thank goodness I'm such a loyal guy.