Wilson Golf has been a persistent supplier of reasonably priced putters to golfers for some time now. Outside of their slightly more limited 8802 offering, they have provided their infinite series at a sub $100 price point with quality in mind. Fortunately, this trend continues into 2018 with the updated Infinite series. THP got a firsthand look at the South Side mallet shape which will be the primary focus of this review.
In hand, the quality of the product and milling is quite obvious. While some lower price point putters may show some signs of reduced quality in both material and the overall milling around the head, there is little to no bubbling in the shaping or cheap shortcuts. That is a huge win visually, as golfers can take advantage of the value while still maintaining a quality profile overall. The “INFINITE” name is cut into the sole of the head, with the Wilson Staff logo screened onto the toe side for a nice contrast against the black finish, which is also well done. South Side is milled into the head, as is the W/S logo on the face, and “Designed in Chicago, IL, USA” in the cavity. A fascinating idea to reference the location of design rather than the location of construction and assembly.
To frame the ball with the putter at address, the South Side has three lines which run through the flange cavity on the top of the putter. They are not quite the width of the ball, which actually compliments the profile well as the shadowing of the curl in the material is more along the width line. Adding a line on the upper portion of the head that is about the width of a ball really draws the additional alignment elements well to the eye. Overall, it’s a smart presence visually, and while there are quite a few lines, it actually doesn’t look that busy against the black finish. It suits the profile very well.
One of the primary features of the South Side Infinite is the double milled face, which Wilson suggests will promote consistent impact, roll, and distance. As the South Side is a center shafted putter, the potential for head twisting comes from making contact both on the heel and on the toe, elevating the necessity for quality MOI and a pure roll post contact. In the case of the South Side Infinite, the milling offers a very generous presentation of contact quality, indicating a great strike with a pure yet deeper milled audible feedback. Moving towards the toe and the heel changes the sound quality enough to provide great feedback to the golfer, indicating that the contact could be improved. Much of this is promoted by sound (not as sharp or robust), and some from the head twisting as well. At the end of the day, for a milled putter, the feedback is ample to allow the golfer to improve and really get motivated by pure strikes.
Before going into any depth on the poorer strike success, it is important to discuss another major component of the Infinite profile, which is the counterbalance technology. By moving the balance point closer to the hands, Wilson suggests the stroke is going to be smoother with greater control. In our testing experience with the South Side, the head weight was quite obvious when holding the putter higher on the grip, also allowing for really easy lagging with the extra weight. The ‘sweet spot’ for this reviewer was down the grip slightly, with a bit of grip above the hands. This section really promoted a feeling of full connectivity with the profile, allowing the weight above the hands to balance out the weight of the rest of the putter, encouraging a nice balanced stroke at the ball. This profile is obviously going to be at the preference of the individual golfer, but it is quite hard to argue the stroke was not smooth overall, with the full ability to control the pace and tempo. Much of this weight profile is supported by the new 104 gram Wilson Staff grip, which is not only soft yet firm to the touch, but more in the midsize realm to support a lack of rotation in the hands throughout the putting stroke.
While the aesthetics of the head from a visual standpoint has already been addressed, it is appropriate to discuss the South Side shape as a whole in this review, which is one of Wilson’s mallet shapes. As one would assume, this slightly larger-than-blade shape is bound to support some marginal error in the putting stroke, and the additional weighting well behind the face work seamlessly to provide high quality roll for the user. The combination of their new “Ultra Dark PVD” finish with the various lines and curves of the putter head between shape and alignment really frame the ball exceptionally well.
So, who is going to benefit from the Wilson Staff Infinite South Side? It is fair to say that it will be a putter well-liked by those who enjoy the mallet shape in a centralized shaft offering. But even this reviewer, who is more inclined to roll a plumbers neck heel shafted putter, had little to no problems putting a great roll with good results on the South Side. For those who prefer other shapes, Wilson has included six shapes (along with two for women) in the Infinite line for 2018 that are sure to accommodate personal preference, again at a price point that is nothing short of outstanding under $100. Information on the South Side and all the Wilson Staff Infinite putters will be available early in the New Year on www.Wilson.com.