Gear: Cleveland HB Soft Milled putters
Price: $199.99 each with steel shaft, $249.99 with UST Mamiya All-In graphite/steel shaft
Specs: Stainless steel with CNC-milled faces
Available: November 18
Who It’s For: Golfers who want the look and feel of classic milled putters but at a more budget-friendly price.
The Skinny: Instead of milling the entire head, which is costly, Cleveland has milled the faces of the HB Soft Milled putters to enhance feel and create a more-precise hitting area while also offering a more-stable shaft option.
The Deep Dive: Many of the highest-quality putters on the market are milled from a single piece of stainless steel. This process involves a computer controlling a fast-spinning bit as it passes back and forth, shaving tiny pieces of metal off the block. The process often takes hours, but the benefit is a putter head made as precisely as possible. The downside is milled putters usually cost $350 or more, putting them out of reach for many golfers.
For several years, Cleveland has been offering tried-and-true putter designs at prices that most golfers can afford. With the release of the new HB Soft Milled putter family, the brand is trying to bring the high quality of milling to the masses.
The grooves in the HB Soft Milled putters are designed to improve distance control. (David Dusek/Golfweek)
There are 10 different head shapes in the HB Soft Milled family, and each head is cast, which involves pouring melted metal into molds to create the clubhead. However, the back and front of each head are then milled. This blend of casting and milling reduces waste and costs but elevates precision.
All 10 putters feature Cleveland’s Speed Optimized Face Technology (SOFT), a milling design added to the hitting area of each club. The circular milling pattern is designed to normalize ball speed over a more extensive portion of the hitting area, with densely-packed grooves in the center and grooves that are farther apart in the heel and toe areas. Each pattern is slightly different on each head, based on the stroke type each putter is designed for (slight arc or straight).
While custom fitters can give the HB Soft Milled putters any grip you like, Cleveland offers the clubs with different grips based on the swing type each club is optimized for. Heel-toe weighted blades like the 1, 4 and 8P, along with the 5, 10.5 and 11S mallets, are ideal for slight-arc strokes, so Cleveland gave them Golf Pride PRO ONLY Red Star grips that have a pistol-shaped grip designed to help turn the putter over through the putting stroke. The 8P blade, 10.5C, 11 and 14 mallets are better suited for golfers who make a straight stroke, so Cleveland gave them Golf Pride PRO ONLY Green Star grips that are ovular-shaped to help quiet the player’s hands.
The Cleveland HB Soft Milled 10.5 putter. (David Dusek/Golfweek)
Finally, Cleveland offers all the HB Soft Milled putters with a steel shaft and an optional graphite and steel shaft designed by UST Mamiya. The All-In shaft is 26 percent stiffer to reduce flex and increase stability. According to UST Mamiya, golfers using it see up to 10 percent more consistency in face angle at impact.