By David Dusek, Golfweek
Paul Casey brought a Nike Method prototype putter to the 2008 WGC-Bridgestone Invitational, marking the first time one of Nike's grooved-faced putters was put into play on the PGA Tour. In February 2010, the Nike Method putters arrived in pro shops, and now the company is extending the putter family to include four Nike Method MOD putters.
MOD is short for Modern Classics, which was the working name of the putter family at Nike Golf's research and development center in Ft. Worth, Texas. The new models will be available in November.
"The goal was to take classic styles that were successful in years past and putting a modern spin on them," said David Franklin, Nike Golf's master model maker. "Most putters were successful in their day for a reason, so we wanted to make them successful again and add more technology to them."
There are four putters that comprise the Method MOD family – MOD 00, MOD 30, MOD 60 and MOD 90 – and all of them should look familiar to golfers. Each number in the name corresponds to the toe-hang of the putter. For example, the MOD 00 is face-balanced so it has no toe hang, but the MOD 60 has 60 degrees of toe hang.
"Traditionally, a guy that wants to have a straight-back and straight-through putting stroke wants a face-balanced putter," Franklin said. "As you get more toe hang, you feel the toe of the putter more and some players want to feel the toe of the putter opening and closing, and traditionally that matches more with an arcing stroke."
Like previous Nike Method putters, the MOD putters are milled from a single block of 303-stainless steel. Once the heads are shaped, a series of grooves are cut into the face, and a deep channel is cut into the sole that extends up and into the head. In all, 35 grams of metal are removed in the process.
A polymer is then injected into the groove in the sole and allowed to seep out of the face grooves. Nike then removes the polymer from the lower-half of each groove, leaving the metal on the bottom portion of each groove exposed.
According to the company, the polymer that remains in the face grooves softens the feel at impact while the exposed metal grabs the golf ball's cover material and helps to get it rolling forward more quickly.
Replacing those 35 grams of stainless steel with 4 grams of polymer creates 31 grams of discretionary weight that Nike then repositions in the heel and toe areas in the form of weight screws to increase forgiveness. The weights, however, are not adjustable. To help golfers find the ideal swing weight, Nike uses different weights for different length putters. The 33- and 34-inch Method MOD putters weigh 360 grams, while the 35-inch putters weigh 345 grams. The MOD putters will retail for $299 each.