What inspired the new Futura line?
As the name implies, these putters are all about looking toward the future. I think about 60s television and how the future was presented. New shapes, spacecraft and things we’d never seen before. That’s why I refer to the Futura putters as my “wings and things” designs. I’m inspired by my opportunity to think outside the box. As a putter designer, that’s my chance to experiment and be at my most creative.
But, of course, there is a real need for this experimentation. Before we bring new putters to market, I work with the information I receive from our Tour players. A trend we’ve seen is the combination of players who have become more athletic with a focus on strength training—which helps them to develop a mechanical, repeatable putting stroke—and the desire for putters with longer sight lines for alignment, larger heads for stability and, of course, putters that are pleasing to the eye to instill confidence for performance.
Can you tell us about the name, Futura?
To me, it symbolizes the best of the past and present as we move into the future. The design, engineering and materials used in each model embody the future of putter making. Every component is meticulously designed and thought of to manufacture putters that sound, feel and perform at the highest level possible.
As future-focused as the name is, I’ve had the name for over a dozen years. The original Futura putter was released in 2003, which was viewed as an experimental design that then went on to be trusted to several professional titles. The Futura name validates the decades of design performance my team and I bring to the high-tech putter market and celebrates that early innovation standing the test of time. I brought back the name because it was time. The Futura is now.
Your new Futura line encompasses ideas from the GOLO and Futura X families. And, Select has a new model (Newport 3) reminiscent of certain GOLO putters. Tell us how you pared down your putter offerings from three to just two lines?
It really came down to simplifying choices for players. We now have two lines: Select and Futura. Select putters are more for feel players, those who work the ball a bit more and prefer flowing lines and less mechanical setups. Futura putters fit right into that type of approach where the player is working on a more square-to-square putting path.
As I create new putter models and develop new manufacturing techniques, materials and designs, I strive to perfect methods that work. And, sometimes that brings me to the point where it makes sense to combine the best design aspects from a variety of shapes and putter lines, and distill them into a new, cohesive family. That’s what we’ve done with the GOLO and Futura X putter lines. Those ideas are now fully incorporated into the Futura line.
The multi-material concept of using 6061 aircraft grade aluminum with heavier 303 stainless steel has been thoroughly tested and validated as an idea that truly works to craft forgiving, high-MOI (moment of inertia) putters with longer sight lines and bigger shapes that still are sleek and modern. We’ve handled the weight distribution, sizing and design in a way that simply works. As the Futura line shows, we still have smaller, rounded mallets like the 5MB and 5CB. Those incorporate some of the curvier GOLO shapes, and the other Futura models like the 5W, 5S, 6M and 7M extend ideas we offered with the Futura X family, as well as developed from Tour-proven prototypes.
Who are the Futura putters designed for?
Futura putters are for the player looking for more alignment cues and a more technical setup that helps to develop a repeatable stroke. The player who doesn’t want to manipulate the putter during the stroke. The square-to-square approach. Futura putters have been designed to be more forgiving. Meaning, with the perimeter weighting and lighter cores that increase the MOI, off-center strikes still result in straight putts. And, with touring professionals like Jason Dufner and Justin Thomas trusting these putters, I can safely say they are for players at every level of the game.
The new Futura line comprises seven new models: Futura 5CB, 5MB, 5W, 5S, 6M, 6M DB and the Futura 7M. Can you tell us about the models?
Whenever we create a new line, it’s my intention to offer a variety of shapes and setups to give players options. It’s no secret that I'm a car guy. The same goes when the car companies come with a new line. They give you options. The new Futura models are identified by shape and size using a 5, 6 and 7 numbering system. Higher numbers indicate larger putter head sizes. This system of numbering has been a popular way in the automotive world to give people a frame of reference per model.
The Futura 5CB (“Cavity Back”) and Futura 5MB (“Muscle Back”) are elegant, rounded mid-mallets that really melt into the ground at address. They appeal to players who rely more on feel than angular lines. But, they each have features that are consistent with the entire line. Multi-material construction. Perimeter weighting. Sight line on the topline, etc.
Futura 5W and Futura 5S improve upon the popular aspects of the prior generation Futura X5 and Futura X7M models, respectively. The Futura 5W (“W” for “wing”) is a modern wingback mallet with a full wrap-around multi-material face-sole. Enhanced dual-purpose alignment features frame the ball and align to the sweet spot with white flange lines placed parallel to each wing. Futura 5S (“S” for “straight shaft”) features a pop-through “bar back” design that moves weight farther behind the putter face for higher MOI, along with a straight shaft setup inspired by feedback from Tour players who really were looking for this configuration all last season. The 5S is similar in shape to the Futura 7M but in the more compact “5” size.
Inspired by my extensive work with Adam Scott, the Futura 6M (“M” for “MOI”) introduces the best MOI-enhancing traits of the original Futura X model in conjunction with design cues expressed in the Futura X7M, combining a pop-through “bar back” design with deep heel-toe weights for the ultimate in forgiveness and resistance to twisting at impact. A new Futura 6M Dual Balance model is also available for those players who need maximum stability in their stroke. Like all Dual Balance models, the Futura 6M DB has a 50-gram heavier head and a 50-gram counterweight in the grip end of the shaft. It’s our answer to not being able to physically anchor a longer putter.
The Futura 7M improves upon the Futura X7M with refined shaping of the back wings, including the stainless steel “bar back” that moves weight behind the putter face for added forgiveness. The 7M is similar in shape to the Futura 5S but in the larger “7” size.
Each Futura model has a milled sight line on the topline. Tell us more about this dual-purpose alignment feature.
The dual-purpose alignment features designed into the Futura putters help to frame the ball, as well as align it with the sweet spot. With the exception of the Futura 5CB and 5MB, each new Futura model incorporates this dual-purpose alignment idea. The first feature is the sight line on the topline. I designed each model with this topline sight line to give the player a definitive alignment aid so that when the putter is set down behind the ball it can be immediately lined up with the putter’s sweet spot.
The second feature built into the Futura 5W, 5S, 6M, 6M DB and 7M is the rail alignment system designed into the back flange. These longer, double lines in the flange, run perpendicular to the face and help the player to frame the ball easily.
Confidence at address is enhanced by the combination of the milled topline sight line, which aligns with the putter’s sweet spot, and the double sight lines in the back flange that frame the ball.
Each new Futura putter employs your multi-material construction using lightweight aluminum and heavier stainless steel. Can you tell us more about this design advantage?
In researching ways to increase putter head size, but keep the weight proper, we have spent years developing our multi-material construction philosophy. By using the lighter aluminum for the face, sole and core, I can distribute heavier weight to the perimeter using stainless steel. Our milling processes are so precise that we are crafting putters that fit together like a fine timepiece. It’s quite amazing what we can now do. With such tight tolerances, I can dream up a shape, then position the metal exactly where I want it, which increases the control of how the putter performs with relation to MOI, sweet spot and overall look and feel.
Using different materials, we also gain the advantage of being able to dial in the finish of each component from colors to texture to fit. Technology has really allowed me to bring the ideas I have in my head to fruition with real products that perform.
Several Tour players are gaming straight-shafted putters. Can you tell us how the Futura 5S offers everyday golfers this setup?
There are always trends in the professional ranks on Tour. Players are experimenting with different designs, putting styles, grip types, longer putters, shorter, heavy, light, mild to wild. It’s truly a great time to be designing putters. And, for over 20 years, I’ve had putter representatives out on Tour servicing the game’s best players. A trend we’re seen from Europe to Japan to the United States is more requests for straight-shafted setups. And, since I don’t make a lot of models in this configuration, we end up cutting necks off and welding spuds to create these one-off prototypes. It got to the point where I needed to satisfy the demand by crafting a specific model with a straight shaft. Enter the Futura 5S.
It’s not a setup for everyone. But, it goes back to providing multiple options when rounding out the models any new line will contain. The 5S shaft goes into the head just behind the center point for players who may position their eyes directly over the ball, or who favor a straight-back-straight-through putting stroke with their hands more level with the ball at address. It’s also nearly face-balanced and we can achieve that without bending the shaft. As they say, different strokes.
It’s this focus on making putters for the best players in the game that drives me to continue to innovate, experiment and push the boundaries of what we offer to all dedicated golfers. And, that’s how the Futura 5S came to be.
What are your thoughts on center-shafted putters that are positioned straight in at the sight line?
I position the shaft the way I do because if you run the shaft directly through the center point of the topline, it interferes with the eyes. The shaft is sitting right next to the ball, and to me, it’s not a pleasing look. So, just back from center allows me to get the clean look I want, nearly face-balanced and doing it all without a single- or double-bend shaft. However, that’s not to say that I haven’t, or won’t, design a truly center-shafted putter. I’ve made several based on Tour player preference.
Learn more about the new Futura line in shops March 17, 2017.