As a fan of the original Slotline putters – those that were grabbed up by more than a million golfers in the 1970’s and 80’s I felt a sense of protectiveness towards the line.
After getting a couple early looks at models courtesy of Canadian distributor Golf Trends and eventually by Chad Lehr, the brain behind the new Slotline designs – I had nothing but a sense of optimism about what these putters could deliver. And after getting a chance to spend a lengthy bit of time with the Slotline SL-782 Mallet – I am sold on the fact that even in a tough marketplace there is still room for the Slotline brand of putters.
Look – First off, the mallet was my choice to test – it is a design I like and I am comfortable with, which makes getting “in touch” with a putter in a compressed review time that much easier.(Click on images for a closer view) While large, this putter is not obtrusive in any way. A simple, dark finish highlighted by a singular alignment guide ensures little distraction as you line up the ball. The clean lines of the clubhouse also helped me ensure proper alignment each time.
I like the traditional gold and black theme, a timeless one that should appeal to many consumers. It also helps to reduce any glare in bright sunlight. And as much as looks don’t matter is regards to how a golf ball rolls – the patterned milling on the clubface has a pretty funky appeal.
The theme is completed with a distinctive grip that often provokes questions from fellow golfers about “what putter is that?” In fact, once they found out that it was a Slotline many regaled me with stories of Slotline putters they or their friends owned over the years and how good they rolled the ball with it. That is a legacy you just can’t buy.
Feel – Feel is very subjective but it is such a key part of how people accept putters. Being highly linked to sound, the materials used play a huge role in how we perceive the “feel” of a putter. The use of fully milled 6061 aircraft grade aluminum is of great benefit here as impact is soft (almost muted with softer balls) – too dull for some but fine for myself. When I handed the putter over to a few golfers on the practice green for a couple rolls most expressed that they did not like the look of a mallet but that the feel was exceptional. Noting that many were using firmer covered golf balls, this plays into the hands of Slotline as they address the greater marketplace.
Performance – Obviously this is even more subjective but I have a couple things I look for in every putter. One is the ability to roll the ball smoothly right from impact which the 782 did admirably. The other is performance on mis-strikes. The Slotline proved very stable, resistant from twisting and provided a consistent feel through a large portion of the striking area. No doubt this is aided by the use of tungsten weighting at several points along the perimeter of the clubhead.
The model I tested had a mid-size grip that seemed a little large for my taste but other options are available. The larger grip likely contributed to me feeling that the putter was lighter than I had expected. I would love to see a customizable version in the future where you can alter the weight to taste.
In the end the success of these putters will come down to one thing – getting it into the hands of golfers. Once they demo it and get a feel for themselves I think a lot of golf bags will have Slotline represented in them once again.