Tell us about the new Concept X putters.
Concept X is a prototype that’s come to life. These putters are for the player who wants the feel and performance of a Tour-proven blade style putter, but wants to benefit from the latest technology to achieve more forgiveness.
What’s unique about our Concept X putters is that they’re fast looking and high-tech. But by making them wider, they’re actually more forgiving. You get a calm feeling like when you play a mallet. So, you get the best of a blade and the best of a mallet in one.
What we came up with has a very elegant, industrial look. At address, after a few putts, the wings almost disappear and it’s like looking down at a blade. I like to say that Concept X is the top level of performance in a putter. Our new four-way sole balancing is designed into these models. The new Nuckle and Joint Neck technology. The enhanced vibration dampening chambers for better sound and feel. It’s all in there.
How did the idea for these designs come about?
We get a lot of input and feedback from touring professionals. Many guys have been looking for a putter that looks like a blade, but plays like a mallet. Those requests got the gears turning a few months ago. So, I got to work. What started off to be a prototype putter that would just go to Tour is now a product we’re bringing to market because I just had to share it. I think we have something special.
What is the significance of the name?
“X” has always been for “Xperimental” when I start making something that’s just an idea. Or, J.A.T. for “Just a Thought”. We call them “concepts,” too. We kicked around names until we came up with something that fit. I liked all sorts of airplane and jet names that captured the fast-looking, speed-focused part of the design. But, when it all boiled down, we chose Concept X because of the true prototype nature of this design. It is an experimental concept, so we give you Concept X.
What can you share about the neck configurations?
We’ve gone to great lengths to craft new neck technology for both Concept X putters. The CX-01 has a Nuckle Neck that not only provides one shaft of offset in a familiar plumbing neck setup, but also frees up weight that is then relocated to the wings. The CX-02’s Joint Neck offers a bit more toe flow for players looking for that performance, while also allowing for more weight to be moved to the putter’s perimeter.
Each neck is configured using a milled stainless steel component connected on each side to sections of hollow shaft. By using the shaft as the neck, we are able to trim weight and redistribute it where we want it—which is out and back into the wings off the putter head. Even the small joint posts that go into each section of the shaft have been bored out so that every bit of material we could do without we eliminated to save weight. This resulted in an extremely strong, light setup that we can still adjust and bend to give a player more of a face balanced setup.
Cutting and adapting the shaft the way we have is a great idea. It keeps it strong. It keeps it light. If we were to take a steel neck in this same configuration, this one would be stronger, but lighter. It’s exactly the performance I was looking for.
If you're saving weight, why not go with aluminum joints?
We've tried different aluminums, and even tried titanium. I’ve made most of my putters with plumbing necks that could be easily and safely adjusted out on Tour. I can’t have them break, so my experimentations with aluminum sometimes ended up in a broken putter neck out on the road. Aluminum is more brittle than stainless steel, so we make certain components with steel so we can bend them and adjust per player preference. It’ll keep me up at night if I knew there was a potential for the neck to break when adjusted. So, we get the strength we need and move the weight around by manipulating these necks using the shaft “tubes” instead of solid “ingots” of stainless steel for the necks. Being malleable enough for adjustment is still a top goal when making new products for Tour or retail.
How did you increase MOI?
We pioneered and then perfected our face-sole technology of mixing lightweight aluminum components—for faces and sole plates—with heavier stainless steel parts to give us more perimeter weighting and higher MOI. We used this research in the development of Concept X, as well. By removing the weight out of the mid-section, face and neck area, I could design the “wings” off the putter head using heavier stainless to really increase MOI. Getting that stability and resistance to twisting is where the feel of a mallet comes in. And after a few putts, the wings seemingly melt into the ground at address. So, you get that look of a blade.
Tell us about the precision tuned sound and feel.
I’ve said for years that sound and feel go hand in hand. And, we’re always looking to optimize both with each putter design. With Concept X, we’ve evolved the sound and feel by separating the face and sole inlays with a small band of stainless steel, which gave us dual-zone vibration dampening chambers integrated into the construction of each putter.
As we tried new things and stretched the limits, we discovered that our connected face and sole setup gave us too much vibration, which wasn’t giving me the sound I wanted. So, I started experimenting and welded a piece of stainless steel between the face and sole to stop the vibration. After messing around in the Studio, I found that when we separated the face from the sole with a band of steel and placed our vibration dampening material in there, it felt fantastic.
The mid-milled aluminum face, anodized in bright dip black, is connected via internal screws that perfectly compress the vibration dampening material for a soft, solid sound and feel. Additionally, the sole zone’s anodized and engraved plate contains vibration dampening material, as well. I think we’ve dialed in the sound and feel so the player gets the best feedback possible.
What is the significance of the Stealth Gray finish?
These days, we can make a putter nearly any color we like. We can anodize the aluminum components in a variety of shades. And, with stainless steel we can keep it silver, go Tour Black or even apply a Chromatic Bronze finish. I envisioned a color that’s elegant, but still industrial. It feels like an airplane part could be this color. We call it Stealth Gray. It’s a gunmetal, gray-colored finish that picks up a few golden tones depending on the light. I like how it knocks down sun glare on bright days, so you never get that blinding sun spot reflection. Plus, it just looks cool. Sounds cool. Stealth Gray goes with our aluminum sole and face inserts that are bright dipped in black. We even matched a new Pistolero gray grip with jet black gloss paintfill to the overall look.
Who is Concept X for?
Concept X is for the player looking to benefit from the cutting edge of putter technology. The weighting, overall shape, neck configurations, sound design, accessories, finish…everything is pushing the bounds of current putter design. In simpler terms, this is a Newport 2 that plays like a mallet. It’s truly the best of both worlds. As technology allows me to push my ideas further, I am now able to deliver proven results based on my experimentation. The player who wants to benefit from all of the technology and design we have at our disposal will enjoy Concept X.