When it comes to putters, I happen to fall into the category of golfers that loves to discover not only different takes on designs, but also new companies. I had a distinct feeling that when I received word I would be reviewing a putter from a company named Barber Pole Golf that I had found those exact things. With a name like Barber Pole, I don’t think there is any way that you could not be immediately curious.
About the Company
From the Website
Putting Science, Putting Sense
At Barberpole Golf we adopt a best practice approach to deliver truly world class putters.
Our putters incorporate Patented Radius Face technology to help deliver a true roll for each putt. Quintic, an independent lab, have tested and proven that our engineering design, manufacturing technology and quality control delivers the world’s finest true roll putters.
This engineered face is carved into a solid block of brass, eliminating any possible “dead spot” or “air pocket” which can happen with cheaper cast putters. By using 100% CNC Milling technology we guarantee the quality and integrity of each of our putters.
We use only the finest materials to ensure that every time you stand over a putt, you know you can make it.
Barber Pole is definitely a unique name that gets the imagination going. With that said, despite how much the name stands out the putters themselves are relatively normal and very clean designs. The putters are milled out of solid brass and feature a radius roll face. While these are not necessarily anything unique by themselves, combined they provide a beautiful classic material with a science proven design.
Barber Pole is offering four different head-shapes in what they are calling their “Irish Links” series. The name “Irish Links” actually comes from the fact that each design is named after a renowned golf course in Ireland:
Ballybunion – Squared face balanced double bend mallet
Waterville – Rounded face balanced double bend mallet
Lahinch – Classic flow neck blade design with toe-hang
Portrush – Classic plumbers neck blade design with toe-hang
Barber Pole Lahinch Putter:
For this review I selected the Lahinch putter from the design options Barber Pole offers. The main reasons being, to me it is the most classic design of the bunch and flow necks traditionally fit my eye better than double bend or plumber’s neck style putters. The Lahinch came at 350g and at my preferred playing length of 36”.
Despite being a traditionally classic putter design, it is incredibly obvious what stands out most about the looks of the Lahinch – the brass. Once upon a time, brass, along with copper, was an extremely popular material used in many putter designs, but as time has moved on stainless and carbon steel have become the go-to material for the vast majority of companies. Though all four putters in the Barber Pole lineup are milled out of a solid billet of c360 brass, the major difference from classic brass putters is the fact that these are CNC milled. In the past, most of them were actually cast. The CNC milling and the marks left behind are what truly make the looks of the Lahinch stand out and catch the eye. Brass is a beautiful material when utilized correctly and this putter is a definite example of that.
Naturally when hearing the name “Barber Pole” the first things that come to mind are red, white, and blue. Luckily, rather than plastering these colors all over the heads, Barber Pole Golf grasped that the brass should be at the forefront. By doing so they achieved a very classy/clean balance. The Barber Pole logo engraving in the cavity with simple white paint-fill is an understated look that does not take away from the putter’s clean lines at address. Additionally, the sole of the club, while busier compared to the view you get at address, is done in a tactful/clean manner with a balanced layout of the text and images. On the sole the contrasting use of black as the dominant paint-fill with a spattering of red, white, and blue mixed allows the brass to still be the star.
Barber Pole Golf offers two different styles of grips, the “traditional” (red/white barber striped) and the “tour” (red/white/blue with logos). Obviously putter grips are just as personal as the putters themselves for some, but as stock options go these get the job done.
The headcover however, is a bit lacking from what one would expect out of a boutique putter line. Obviously some won’t care for having an actual barber pole on top of their headcover, but the actual stitching is clean and not the real issue; rather it’s the actual design of the cover. The cover has a bit of an awkward shape to it and is essentially a slip-on with a small patch of Velcro at the front rather than the rear, making it a bit cumbersome to get on and off at times. Obviously the headcover is a small gripe, but for a putter in this price range most would expect something a little more substantial.
In the process of reviewing golf clubs, touching on things like feedback can be bit of a blurry and personal area. My focus is on the audible side of things, because to most golfers sound is feel. With that said, the Lahinch threw a bit of a curveball in this area. All of the classic brass putters I have rolled have a very characteristic full and deep pitched sound to them that leads to a softer feel than most other materials, but not the Lahinch. Upon the first stroke I put on a ball with the putter I was surprised with the feedback that I was getting, not that it was a bad thing but rather that it went against what most traditionally recognize a brass putter to feel like. Instead of that deep and full sound, the Lahinch actually gives off much more of a higher pitched click which leads to a much firmer feel that is actually surprisingly similar to that of stainless steel. Again, this is not a bad thing, but it is simply different than expected considering the material.
Certainly another thing to take into consideration when it comes to the feedback is that the decreased amount of putter face that actually contacts the ball due to the radius roll face could certainly have a major impact on the clickiness that is being relayed to the users ears. However, regardless of the tone/pitch, there is enough feedback at impact to know where you are making contact on the putter face (heel, toe, or center) on each and every stroke.
It is easy to focus on aesthetics of all clubs (particularly putters), but the key is how does it roll the ball. In the case of the Lahinch, it does everything claimed pertaining to the roll. Along with using a classic material, Barber Pole Golf has chosen to also incorporate another classic ideology in a roll face which they call their “Radius Face Technology”. Although Barber Pole has assuredly put their own tweaks on the roll face, the basic philosophy behind it remains the same, the rolled face will essentially strike the ball above the equator in the stroke to initiate faster forward roll than a flat milled face/insert will.
Faster forward roll allows for the elimination of the skidding that can hamper the roll that a player will see on today’s smoother greens. Naturally, as with anything in golf there are two sides to this, as via slow motion camera you can see that a roll faced putter will result in faster forward roll, however many consider that different to be so minute that it won’t have that much of an effect for most golfers. In my time with the Lahinch, the ball certainly rolls quickly and true off the face, but still depends on the line and pace that he/she utilizes.
Beyond the initial roll and the technology behind it, the more impressive performance feature of the Lahinch is its overall balance through the stroke. The head itself comes in at 350g, which is much heavier than the traditional brass putters of the past. However, that very weight and its distribution really lends to promoting a smooth and fluid stroke. Also, the use of dual alignment aids (dot on topline and single site-line in cavity) on the Lahinch helps square the ball beautifully.
There is no doubt that Barber Pole Golf has taken a couple very innovative pieces of putter history and melded them together in a very clean and unique package. The Lahinch is an aesthetically pleasing putter that frames the ball well and performs through the stroke. However, it is worth mentioning again that if someone is expecting the classic sound/feel of brass putters of old they will be a bit surprised in the more clicky/firm feedback they receive. The “Irish Links Series” of putters each have an MSRP of $349.00 for the two blade styles and $369.00 for the two mallets, which is certainly a price point that may shock some people. That said, the putter is the most personal in the bag and the nostalgia of the brass will undoubtedly fit many people’s eyes, as it should because it is aesthetically beautiful.
For more information on the Lahinch, as well as the other putters in the Barber Pole Golf “Irish Links Series” of putters, be sure to check out their site at www.barberpolegolf.com.