Great golfers are often compared to artists, implying that the game requires more than just technical skill. The same is true for the craftsmen who have dedicated their careers to creating the perfect putter. Commonly referred to as boutique putter shops, companies like Kenny Giannini are quietly making some of the finest flatsticks available. For years my only exposure to high end putters was the plastic cases in Golf Galaxy that guarded the Scotty Camerons. Well folks, I am here to tell you that if you dig a little deeper, there is far cooler stuff to be found.
While the Kenny Giannini company is fairly new, Kenny has been around golf his whole life and has been in the putter business for over 35 years. Mr. Giannini got his first start at the Ben Hogan Company and then continued to perfect his craft at Cleveland and Mizuno. Notably, at Cleveland Golf, Kenny developed one of the first completely milled putters.
Now, Kenny is producing his own line of putters and by producing I do not mean just slapping his name on it. Kenny oversees and is intimately involved in all aspects of the process. There is not a single putter that goes out of the door that Mr. Giannini has not personally touched. Go ask a big “signature putter” designer that same question and you will likely get a whole lot of “uh, um, mmm”.
Starting with the looks, the Kenny Giannini G-50 putter has a fairly standard mallet vibe. You won’t find any over the top bling, but you will find a number of subtle touches that set it apart from the mass produced flatsticks. For example, notice the etching on the face – it not only looks bad-ass but also helps the ball come off of the face straight and true.
Flipping it over, you will see the groove that runs parallel to the face. This is called Slotted Soft Face Technology (SSFT). In laymen’s terms, this helps to balance the putter face and give you forgiveness on off-center putts.
On top of the putter you will find a single alignment aid, which is plenty for me as I am not a huge fan of bells and whistles blaring “hit it here!”. Speaking of toned down bling, in my opinion, high end putters have a certain obligation to add at least a few touches that let you know this putter is not one of a million. While the Kenny Giannini putter is fairly modest, I think the face and logo meet the required “boutique bling” quota.
Now for some nuts and bolts. The G-50 putter is 100% milled out of a single piece of carbon steel, not slapped together by some machine. Nope, this guy is just one of a small number that is produced with a level of craftsmanship not possible in huge golf companies. The G-50 is 370 grams which puts it slightly on the heavy side but something I prefer. Additionally, the G-50 differs from the G-5 as it is offset by 1/4 inch, causing the toe to be a little heavier than the heel, which benefits a modest arched putting stroke.
On the course there was zero break-in period as the putter feels very natural and is easy on the eye. Still, whenever I get a new putter, I like to take out my Putting Alley just to make sure I am finding the sweet spot and getting the ball rolling on a straight line.
A couple of things I noticed (or did not notice). There is minimal impact sound. I prefer not to hear a loud click or ting or, god forbid, twank when I putt. The Giannini putter surely makes a sound but it is so easy on the ear that it goes virtually unnoticed. The other thing (and most important) is that it rolls super easy and true. For me, a mallet is just a better putter. I have more confidence and I can control the head better than a blade. Whether I am lag putting from 40 feet of grinding out 5 foot par putts, I feel like I can make anything and everything. Part of that confidence comes from the fact that the head resists any torque if I mis-hit the ball a touch (which is nice).
Finally, there is the all important headcover. Look, you just dropped good coin, it better come with an equally crafted cover. Truth is, I feel zero obligation to keep stock headcovers on my clubs. Not one of my woods has the company headcover on it. However, the putter is a whole different story. I absolutly prefer to have the stock putter cover, provided that it is 100% awesome. Checking that box is not a problem with Kenny G (I wonder how many people call him that and how much he wants to smack them?). This leather putter cover not only keeps her safe and sound but also tells the world you have a big time putter.
You can check out the whole line of Kenny Giannini Putters on their website.