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Final Reviews: L.A.B. DF2.1 Putter

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Detailed Ratings

Aesthetics
First Impressions
On-Course
Play it or Trade it?
The Good, the Bad, the In-between
The Numbers
Testers
Equipment Type: Putter
Vendor: L.A.B.

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The one that started it all.  The alien space ship.  The Mega Mind.  Whatever you want to call it, it is officially known as the L.A.B. DF2.1.  According to L.A.B., this is the most stable putter in their lineup.  Their Lie Angle Balance technology is said to eliminate torque for the golfer and when paired with one of their upgraded low torque shafts, it is designed to let the golfer swing free and hole more putts.  It is full-automatic putting. 

Our testers @EasyPutter @Grand Stranded @Samsonite @GolfSpy_CS and @B_R_A_D_Ycompleted the online remote fitting process and ordered their custom DF2.1 putters with all the bells and whistles to get the best putter for their games.  Follow along with our testers' experiences with the DF2.1 in this thread!

First Impressions
Aesthetics
The Numbers
On-Course
The Good, the Bad, the In-between
Play it or Trade it?

The Review {7/15/2022}

L.A.B. Golf - DF 2.1 Putter – Official MGS Forum Review by EasyPutter, Derek Henshaw

Intro

My golf game has never been strong with driver and iron play.  Even chipping and pitching is hit and miss sometimes so putting is what can make par or bogey, possibly birdie if each putt is a one-putt!  My age old Pinemeadow Z-ON M1 has served well and made putting the strongest part of my game.  Perhaps the DF2.1 and its Starship Enterprise look is the way to reduce how many putts per round I get on my card.  I started golf as a game when I was 50 and only months before retiring from the Army.  The PGA Pro at Trails West GC, Fort Leavenworth KS offered golf lessons.  The Post’s Thrift Shop had a bag and clubs, and I was playing golf as often from then on as time would allow.  I saw more of that course than most golfers I’m sure with total strokes per round that made it swing for swing the most inexpensive sport I ever played.  Putting was where my game began, kindled my love of golf in childhood, and it is the part of my game when trees are safe from golf ball impacts.  The Z-ON was the first club I bought years before getting into the rest of my game and it has rolled putts on carpets and practice greens everywhere.  

 

Though highly recommended is the good reading that follows, if rushed don’t miss the photos, videos and Conclusion 👇

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My background- 

I play in the same area I was born and raised in Western NY vicinity of Buffalo.  I have traveled extensively with family and with NY Army National Guard and US Army Reserve duty, through all but 6 US states, all but 3 Canadian provinces, the majority of the UK, and parts of the world most Americans will never visit.  My golf is primarily within miles of home but I do enjoy traveling to other places for golf.  The scorecard is no motivator for me and what number emerges is always a pleasant surprise no matter what it may end up being.  I don’t think that focus is going to change as my motivation to golf is simply a golf obsession. Just as I loved the sound of military equipment in use, I love the sound of golf equipment in use.  I identify as a Hack proudly because I play for the enjoyment of the game, the serenity of the course, and the friendly social aspect that surrounds golf.  I love learning about the equipment, the play of the game, and its etiquette, the intricacy of the rules, and ways to increase the fun and challenges that make golf fun to get more out of time on the course.

 

How I tested-

For this test I needed a measure of how much similar or different my putting would be between the DF2.1 and my Z-ON.  Data collection was a continuation of what I was already doing, using the SwingU app I have been using since 2015 with the Premium subscription for full features.  With it the data for putting is the number of putts per hole I enter as part of my routine leaving the green on the way to the next tee.  I am a numbers guy and enjoy reviewing details and recognizing trends.  The app has over 235 rounds since, as tells me, Thursday May 28, 2015 when at Rosebrook GC in Silver Creek, NY I had 105 for 18-holes with 2.2 putts per hole (PPH).  Last month my average PPH was 1.8 so that is my baseline for this test.  My objective is to assess the putts per hole as the measure of the DF2.1 being better, not as good, or similar to my Z-ON.

 

Comparison of putters-

As this test invariably includes a comparison between my two putters, it is logical to include information for the only other putter I have ever used since my obsession began with golf.  It is my first putter and the one that I honed my putting style using.  To understand what I have been using, I am including the published information by Pinemeadow for model Z-ON M1 and while it is brief, it is similar to that of the L.A.B.Golf DF2.1:

P0UPr5-tJb91yUUl4RJdXEanv_YDkMNFD9OP5xoYG-cu4fVAcomIGHtGlQauXKJSyc7zAaxq7cgTAdwadj_ZJFG2qvIx8iWFP7Wg8tHb9Ecynp7jX7ySErmXt9ZRIUgjzyQl-XGx

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The L.A.B.Golf DF2.1 information is found at this URL: https://labgolf.com/directedforce-21/

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Comparison in a nutshell... the only appreciable differences besides styling of mallet head and shaft is the surface of the putter face.  Both putters focus the mass low and centered for minimal twist/torque and produce a very kindly smooth swing.  Both putters are exceptionally well balanced though the faces lie at different angles when supported at their fulcrum.  The difference in the putter face in my experience is the smooth face of the Z-ON allows for immediate rolling revolution of the golf ball whereas the DF2.1 tends to push the ball forward before allowing it to start rolling can produce a bounce that while following the intended line can cause a shorter distance than my anticipation with forward energy lost to bounce.  Something I would like to see is an option for a smooth face to be able to do a true like-design comparison.  I had considered applying some kind of material to replicate the old putter face but that would be outside the scope of this review and enter a whole new variable worthy of a L.A.B.Golf in-depth study.  (I did note the grooved face worked well when putting in longer grass off the green, something that was next to impossible with the Z-ON smooth face.)

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To maintain consistency I continue to read greens by eye.  The SwingU app debuted a new Green Reading Maps feature (in May 2022 about the same time I placed my order for the DF2.1) that uses colors and arrows to enhance the aerial view of each green for contour features that affect ball roll.  As a rule I avoid electronics when I play golf except for distance to cup and tracking club distance more because I lose sight of a golf ball beyond 150yds in flight than anything, and tracking shots helps me know where to start looking for where it lies.  I have a laser rangefinder mostly to keep from hitting into golfers ahead, and if another golfer asks for a distance of course. 

 

Objective for testing-
The test for me was to determine how the putter performs with my putting style.  I used the DF2.1 exactly the way I used the Z-ON to determine how the test putter plays in similar situations.  To do this I took the Z-ON out of my bag and used the DF2.1 exclusively.  Testing lasted long enough to observe all putting aspects, some video capture of putter in use was done expressly to include for this review for readers to see it in action, otherwise lack of a dedicated camera-guy prevented more candid views on course and on practice greens., review and comparison of performance on same courses played previously, overall putts per hole statistics.

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What would keep this product with me after testing is if I am comfortable with the DF2.1 as much as I have been with the older one and an improved putting performance with lower putts per hole statistics would only help make that decision easier.  I have a great sense of loyalty to my first and only putter that has worked well for me for so long.  I am excited to test this product because putting is my strength and having tried many mallet putters.  The DF2.1 was one I tried at Club Champion last summer that worked well for me on their indoor putting surface.  As someone on a budget, price is a constant limitation so being chosen for this test is for me winning a lottery.

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The club maker’s intent-

L.A.B.Golf started with the concept of Lie Angle Balance which is literally their company name.  The focus is the elimination of yaw (they call it twist) in the putter swing by designing a clubhead with inertia to dampen forces in the Z-axis and balance and engineering a design that when lifted on a frictionless frame would not twist from its initial position behind the golf ball.  By doing just that the tendency of the putter to twist in the grip of the golfer would be eliminated thereby making it possible for any golfer to have a true putting swing to start the golf ball on the path when read correctly that leads to the cup.  My expectations were that the DF2.1 would perform well and that I would adapt to using it as it was intended to lower putts per hole statistics and that I would develop a preference for this putter to my 15+ year old Z-ON that has been with me for my entire golf life.

 

Ordering-

I selected the Directed Force DF2.1 because when I tried the putters at Club Champion I found a large mallet head suited me best.  Further I noticed a long single line across the top of a large mallet head made it easy for me to make a true swing and line.  Followed the virtual fitting instructions on L.A.B.Golf’s online site, I made a 5 second video of my putting stroke with a vertical line of my garage door frame in the background, then measured the putter length (from center bottom face edge to top of grip) and sent both to the prescribed email address.  I received a reply email within 24hours with a recommended shaft angle and length of shaft that I then used for my order trusting their process was dependable.  The lie angle of my Z-ON is 3 degrees so I chose the grip options of the PRESS II 3* grip to maintain consistent putter lie angle.  I selected alignment mark #28 of 36 choices for the longest single line to take advantage of my proportional perception and the large size of the mallet head.  The shaft selected was changed from my first impression to the ACCRA shaft as it was what was recommended by the fitter in the email response as designed specifically for L.A.B.Golf putters.  The colors were all chosen to be visually neutral so the white reference line would stand out while putting, and the black head cover would require least effort to maintain a clean appearance.  

Communication from L.A.B.Golf CEO Sam Hahn began with a voicemail left on my phone while I was unable to answer a call from Oregon in heavy traffic.  It was more than 2 weeks before I had another chance to return the call that ended up with an automated message saying the system could not handle the call and try again another time.  That call will be made at some point, more to follow on that point.

 

My anticipation for (and method of) testing-

The performance of the putter I am hoping for is to make the roll more true to direction and speed, both under my control at the moment of impact of course.  The difference being the torque neutralizing design and the exaggerated length of the alignment line with the all black appearance when compared to the silver with black line of my previous putter that fits in a standard size mallet headcover.  The performance standard I am looking for is to increase the number of 1-putts per 9 and to reduce the number of 3-putts per 9 hole round as compared to my putting statistics previously on the same courses played before. 

 

Testing for consistency on practice greens used 3-ball sets to predetermined targets and on-courses that have recorded statistics on my SwingU Premium app.  I could be faulted for not regularly practicing putting a number of strokes on regular putting surfaces but for me putting is more art than science.  A putter is an implement I use to express the impression I have of the green surface with how I roll a ball from where it lies on a green to where it will drop into the cup, very much as a painter uses a brush and paint to express the impression from painter’s mind to canvas.  When I relax and enter my golf zone my putts are usually within inches of the cup or drop in and I love how that intuition gets expressed.   I have rolled curving putts at great distance around the edge of sculpted greens with my Pinemeadow Z-ON M1 and had them drop into the cup at distances longer than 30 feet.  (Spoiler alert!! I was pleased to see that kind of beauty also happens with the L.A.B.Golf DF2.1 in my hands.)  

 

My goal was to maximize the number of rounds played and putting greens used to first adapt to the DF2.1 and then find out how well I could roll putts to cups on both playing environments.  (More spoiler alert! With 180 holes played and 2 hours of putting green practice, I have made the DF2.1 mine in comfort as well as making its bulky size including its club head cover for uncovering and recovering it whenever it was pulled out of and returned to the golf bag.)

 

Grading

Putting value to the experiences and perceptions of testing.  Number of stars is a qualitative assessment in all cases from my perception.

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First Impressions (5 out of 5 Stars)

Unboxing was done at Niagara Frontier Golf Club located a couple miles east of Old Fort Niagara where the Niagara River empties into Lake Ontario on a day punctuated by heavy downpours that passed before my arrival for what turned out to be a canceled PGA HOPE golf session due to weather.  With several PGA Pros and the VA Rec Therapist coordinator present the event was more special than it would have been at home. 

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The putter with headcover on was sealed in a plastic bag and with rainwater standing in all low places. I could immediately appreciate that had the package been soaked the putter and headcover would have remained dry.  It was well protected for shipment in that sealed plastic bag and pulling out a long ribbon of air pillow packaging it was easy to see how well secured the contents were and it proved to be damage free in every way in spite of minor damage to the box from handling during shipping.

 

At first inspection, the headcover was on and protecting the putter head during shipping.  The cover is made of high quality leather, is lined with a soft padded lining, and a magnet closure on both flaps that straddle the center mounted shaft.  It has good quality embroidered L.A.B.Golf and DIRECTED FORCE that looks appropriate, is proportional, and attracts attention.  The bright parts on the mallet head are on the sides and bottom, 9 silver hex keyed caps that hold titanium dust within the sculpted engineered design where weight is centered to minimize torsional forces and promote a straight swing.  

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The main difference between the L.A.B.Golf DF2.1 and my Pinemeadow Z-ON M1 besides styling is the face of the club which is grooved horizontally on the DF2.1 whereas the Z-ON has a plastic insert to allow for immediate roll on impact.  This will be the biggest concern I have for the DF2.1 as replacement for the Z-ON and why should the DF2.1 displace the Z-ON that neither putter will be without a home.

 

Aesthetics (5 out of 5 Stars) 

The first thing that struck me (and that others have said) upon seeing the DF2.1 is its size.  The cover is easily 50% larger than my Z-ON leather cover and once out of its cover it continues to look big.  The shape however is what really attracts attention and very few men commented on it being unattractive, most thought it looked cool (word most often used).  I did not have the opportunity to find out how women appreciated its shape.

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The graphics and badging are all on the underside of the mallet head keeping a neat appearance and allowing all attention to remain on the alignment line, my choice was one line as long as possible to make any tendency to twist/yaw/torque motion immediately observable when putting.  I selected the black ACCRA shaft to present a neutral appearance, again to make the alignment line stand out and minimize distractions.  Even the labeling on the graphite shaft is positioned to be out of view when putting, something I can believe is intentional with the level of detail in this custom made putter.  The white half of the PRESS II 3* grip was the only part that could have been distracting however I quickly found it being split between white and black was itself aligned vertically became an immediate comfort appearance when preparing to putt knowing everything was aligned correctly at a glance.

The swing blur for me is the ball and the grass as my attention when putting is the top of the putter once the backswing is begun and I do note where backswing changes to foreswing as a measure of energy imparted at ball impact.  The whole appearance was as one colleague used to say, le package totalle, a total package of well designed and engineered golf hardware for one intended purpose and it does attract attention.  A lot of attention and more side conversations while I was putting than things said to me.

 

The sound of the club changes depending on the putt, soft short putts are nearly imperceptible whereas long putts have a sound that is more of a ping than a click.  The feel in the hands is muted to be perceptible without any jarring on putts that require significant ball strike.  I have been trying to compare it to other object sounds but it has its own accoutrement and you will have to try one to know the sound but it is a sound I like and don’t mind hearing at all.  I purposely did some off center hits and those produced a feeling of induced torque which I am not used to having trained myself to make center striking a hallmark of my putts.  The result was no real change of path but as the strike was further from the center the resulting path the ball took was more to that side of the intended line.  I found the mis-hits to be pronounced but as I rarely mis-hit (in like never) I believe this will help other golfers to train themselves as I did to execute center strikes as often as they swing their putter.  There are slight feel and sound differences between hitting well and not hitting well which to me is good feedback to work the errors out of the routine and as such it suggests it would improve a putter’s performance but for me I found my performance was maintained between the Z-ON and the DF2.1. 

 

The Numbers (5 out of 5 stars)

Accuracy of rolling multiple putts on a similar line and distance produced repeatable results.  I found the putter communicates well any variation in stroke strength and how far the ball strike is off centerline.  Minimizing the differences that many would refer to as consistency produced predictable results.  I found it easy to control the distance of the putt and regularly putt just past the hole distance to ensure if the line was right it would drop into the cup.

Stability of stroke during backswing and fore swing is kind, rewarding quiet hands and arms with a roll that is true.  I had many scramble tournament opportunities and other course play that required all distances of putts.  From close in putts to  long putts, and one particular long putt of greater than 30 yards up multiple tiers rising to the cup that stopped at a tap-in lie almost 2ft from the cup, my expectations were realized in the ability to assure three putts were a rarity. Statistics for six 9-hole rounds and two 18-hole rounds (total of ten 9-hole equivalents) combined there were exactly six 3-putts.  and that does not include an 18-hole scramble tournament where my putts included that 30+ yard (>90ft).

[Don't we always miss having a video of our best shots?]

Playability of the DF2.1 proved it a versatile putting tool that was not limited to the green.  Hits from the fringe and short rough were possible and additional practice made distance more predictable than what I had experienced before with the Z-ON and I attribute the horizontal grooves of the DF2.1 face to what makes that ball control possible.  Slopes from straight on to cross slope were manageable and I found more practice remains to predict the degree of offset for the intended path of the ball with relation to the cup position in order to get the ball to cross the edge of the cup so it will fall in as intended.

 

On-Course (4 out of 5 stars)

The first time I used the putter was the same day as the unboxing, first on the putting green and then on the course.  Putts per Hole compared to Past Year Average dropped 22.22% that first round then -5.66%, +1.05%, +1.05%, +1.05%, +1.17%, -5.66%, and 0.00%.  Statistically it appears that expecting a significant drop in Putts per Hole (PPH) each round is not advisable but taken as aggregate value adding and subtracting from Past Year Average PPH there is a significant improvement of -16.77%

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The putter was used mainly on short grass of the greens as well as fringe and approach when a chip or pitch would have been the go-to shot in the past.  Green conditions varied from well watered and freshly close cut to aerated and sandy and dry with heat damage.  Some cleat damaged grass was encountered by less careful golfers who were not mindful of lifting feet before pivoting when getting the ball out of the cup.  I found the putter was effective in all situations as my Z-ON had always been.  What was different that I noticed straight away, and got used to seeing after several outings, was the way the ball when struck would bounce before settling into rolling.  It caused me concern at first as the Z-ON has a plastic face treatment intended to promote immediate ball roll when struck and rarely did I ever have a ball bounce when hit before.

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The size of the PRESS II 3* grip is well accommodated in my Sun Mountain C130 bag putter well though I have had to get used to lifting it carefully as the bottom of the grip interferes with the formed collar of the golf bag providing resistance to pulling it out to putt.  I adapted quickly to the larger circumference of the PRESS II grip and it is possible that it has caused my hands to be quieter in the putter stroke than they have been before.  I find it easier to keep arms quiet and maintain a steady and quiet legs and hips stance throughout an 18-hole round with the DF2.1.

Overall I felt the DF2.1 putter performed well.  I saw a slight improvement of putting stats and I felt confident with the whole process of getting putter ready to putt, sighting and stepping to the ball, and making the putt, a whole routine now well practiced to be second nature so thinking is minimized and the body can be allowed do it's instinctive thing that thinking only messes up.

My impression of the OEM moved from perceiving a high-end club maker with an expensive product to a progressive creator of imaginatively designed and meticulously manufactured custom putter specialist who can produce an individually fitted and built golf tool for the putting artisan to hone his or her skills and innate talent.  Big ideas and words for sure but I have always understood the best way to golf is to make it my own game the way I use the clubs and putting was my first love of the game, and the Pinemeadow Z-ON M1 was my first club bought for my growing desire to make golf my game.  As such I am the artisan and MyGolfSpy is my benefactor making it possible to acquire this amazing putter that I believe will help move my game to a higher level of expertise in the short game.


Going forward I would like to see a technical and engineering exploration of face finish, perhaps taking advantage of the forgiveness of off-center ball striking to provide different kinds of face surfaces for the type of shot being taken.  Thinking maybe 3/4inch or 2cm of horizontal grooves on centerline, same size smooth face towards the heel, and same size polished face towards the toe for instance.  Making three kinds of putting face surface one putter for intentional reaction off the face to match the kind of surface the ball lies on to begin the roll.  

 

I really like the flat finish of the putter and shaft and hope the overall shape of the DF2.1 that is so iconic that it is maintained in the graphics on the ACCRA shaft, the their website, and on all published material to include on the open tab of the L.A.B.Golf site on my computer browser.

 

The Good, the bad, the in-between (4 out of 5 stars)

The fitting process was an interesting activity that required some work to understand, especially at the end of a workday when the brain is ready to do anything except concentrate on one more procedure to ensure success.  I followed the suggestions and got SWMBO to video my putter stance and swing and on review realized I had entered all kinds of variables with extraneous movement meaning it had to be done again.  To assure peace would reign supreme I found I could easily video what I was doing myself with the phone propped on an outdoor chair and reduced the video clip for best swing/stroke by editing to be ready to send it as directed.  The speed of the fitting was okay and highlighted it is an American company in Eugene, Oregon which struck a chord in these times when most things have a foreign manufacture label attached.  The recommendation for angle and length of shaft and follow-on email answering my question about shaft choice made sense and order was placed.  It required lots of patience to wait for 4-6 weeks for receipt of the putter as is advertised on the site but it also speaks of established procedure and process as my putter arrived at 5 weeks and 2 days after ordering, total win for truth in published expectations.  About 2 weeks later I received a voicemail from CEO Sam Hahn addressing me by name and encouraging me to call back for questions or just a good conversation.  I was driving and could not take the call then found it difficult to find an opportunity to make a return call during Monday-Friday work hours for Pacific Timezone from my Eastern Time Zone location.  When I did make my call the system was unable to take the call and the automated message was to try again another time.  I intend to do just that but have not been able to at press time.

I have seen many golfers use the back of their putter to lift a ball and scoop it off the green.  The DF2.1 might look like a bottle opener with a great sloped tail ideally shaped for a golf ball to go for a ride, but the reality is it will go up onto the back of the mallet head... and promptly roll one side or the other off the putter back onto the ground.  Perhaps someone who can bounce a golf ball on a club face can master the balance needed to perform the ball scoop.  But with its aesthetic avant-garde design, the prospect of employing it as a ball scoop makes as much sense as using a Bugatti Chiron to pull a honey wagon. 
 

Play it or Trade it? (5 out of 5 stars)

As I continue to play with the DF2.1 Directed Force Putter I am gaining confidence with it and with my ability to making putts on the line I can see.  I would not hesitate to use this putter in any situation, in any tournament, or in front of any observer or should money be involved.   This putter challenges me to play my best game because I know if it fails to do what I expect it to do then it is me that has the shortcoming.   It is not only a nice to have putter but also a level-up gamer, it communicates to others the intentions of the owner to achieve excellence just as any recognized precision machine or device does.   

I have wrestled with the asking price as to whether or not it is a fair price for the DF2.1 and my conclusion is that custom fitted equipment commands a premium price.  Considering it is entirely from a first world country that has a high standard of living the price is what it should be.   The type of golfer this product would best fit is anyone who claims putting as the strength of their game, someone who prides himself or herself in fewest strokes to the hole, and someone who wants to support their nation’s economy the best way possible, by investing in those who do excellent work and re-invest their earnings to those who invest in them.  

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Conclusion

The L.A.B.Golf DF2.1 is an excellent putter that used properly will produce putts that roll well and true.  The quality is outstanding and the styling is elegant yet simple and striking.  I don’t usually mind people talking when I putt but it is so much easier to focus when hushed conversations in the foursome are about the putter I am using.  The size is not as great as it first appears to be when using it frequently and I have caught myself regarding others putters now as trifling little things.  Confidence is high using the DF2.1 and mine is staying in my golf bag.
 

Final Score (28 out of 30 stars)

Great thanks to MGS and L.A.B. Golf for this opportunity! ⛳ EasyPutter

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Verified Hack, 26 handicap 🙂  Golfing for exercise and peace of mind.

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1231925043_PGAHOPE_H_4Ch30.png.f5b3c2e4a88708f6a6b5d3e143d9cba8.png PGA HOPE Graduate Member     2138091835_StickHackLogo2021(3)20pixelstall.png.47a28d11828bd99f0147b9eee5c17ec4.png "The World's Greatest Golf Club Without The Course" Member #334 

2020 Official Tester - PuttUp mat logo_full_331d238c-3cab-4f84-ac72-d09e86f448c5_300x-25.png.11580987b80d9d26da7f04a31eadac9d.png  2021 Official Tester - Inesis Waterproof Grip Golf Shoes 1398724741_Inesislogo.jpg.34e215e2c1310a7b31d310ab89f4c188.jpg

2022 Official Tester - L.A.B.Putters  1578345221_L.A.B.Golflogo30.jpg.0cb89de95b28f0ebddcff53b59a16f08.jpg

It's all lies I tell you, everywhere the golf ball comes to rest!

Link to review
First Impressions
Aesthetics
The Numbers
On-Course
The Good, the Bad, the In-between
Play it or Trade it?

INTRODUCTION can be found here: 

https://forum.mygolfspy.com/tests/40-lab-df21-putter/?do=findComment&comment=8987

L.A.B. Golf - DF 2.1 Putter – Official MGS Forum Review by Samsonite, Matt Swanson

FIRST IMPRESSIONS (5 out of 5 Stars)

Alright, boys and girls, we have lift-off.  

  While it's still OFFICIALLY *way* too early to name her, I managed to get out to my local putting green after the kids got ready for bed to roll a few and see how she felt.

  In short: I'm pretty blown away by what's happening with this putter.  

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(Just relaxing a little before showing me what she's made of)

I won't bother with the "unboxing" stuff, as it was very basic and has been covered by everyone else, so no need to bore you: it came in a brown box with "Untorque Yourself" on it, it had bubble wrap (though not secured around it as it was with the Mezz that others have posted) in the box, and was secure but not crazy-shrink-wrapped or anything.

The cover material is HEAVY, and well-padded, and feels extremely well-made.  It 100% feels like it will keep the head safe (and sweaty...nice and velvety-feeling inside) no matter what kind of bag-chatter might happen while in my bag. 

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(note the sticker - I know others have shown it, but it genuinely makes me laugh.  If you can't read it, it effectively says "don't be a dummy, DO NOT TOUCH THE SCREWS")

I'm pretty much stunned at how beautiful I find the putter - I know it's part Octopus-head and part Mega-mind (look it up - animated movie with Will Ferrell as the voice), but the quality of the build is certainly not like anything I've ever owned before.  It's spectacular.  

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(What's that?  I look like your putter.  Maybe your putter looks like ME!)

I went with a simple three-dot alignment aid - and I LOVE it. It's simple, clean, and effective - all while not being too "busy" to distract.  In conjunction with the alignment line on the ball, it seems to really work for me. One of the reasons I'm so excited about this putter, is the fact that it sits flush on the ground behind the ball at address - and since it's fit to me specifically, at 65 degrees, it really helps me get into a proper position at address - if I see the heel/toe up off the ground, I need to adjust.  This is something that I've discovered over the last 6 months - I'm not consistent at all, and my stroke definitely suffers for it.  With the DF2.1, while not impossible to mess up, it's certainly harder to get into a bad position.

64849230_DF21TopDown800.jpg.e1edb4c425e2d1d7eee6e3a672965cee.jpg

(Top down view - clean three-dot set-up.  Note the sticker is still attached to the face here)

One of my biggest questions was LAB's patented Press Grip (I went with the recommended 3 degree Press II), but I'm pretty stunned at how well this thing just puts my hands in what feels like absolutely the right position.  I'm coming from a pistol grip, but I LOVE how this feels - it's large, but not off-putting, it's easy to grip lightly while still feeling secure; it's got a tacky feel to it that is weirdly delightful, and even though I know the shaft is leaning and this is putting the putter in a "press", nothing about it feels awkward or leaning - it just feels like my hands are in the right spot. 

As for how it rolls?  It's still early - tonight was literally the first time I've gotten to actually roll any, but LAB isn't making things up when they say this thing nearly swings itself.  The head is SO stable, it really feels like it's on rails - you get it back in place, and just kind of ... let it go.  It's almost like a pinball lever - you pull it back, and it can ONLY go forward - you just determine the speed.  

Now, as I said, it's still early.  I found some great early success, especially in my "problem area" of 5-15 feet - drained a LOT more than I normally do, and left the ones I missed comfortably within 18".  

Getting comfortable with pace will be the next step, as it's not "pull back the same amount and accelerate through at different speeds" like I'd been doing previously for different-length putts.  This, and a lot of this is coming directly from LAB and Sam Hahn's (CEO of LAB) various web appearances (I've been watching everything I can find in prep for getting this thing in-hand), is basically "let gravity do its thing" - so shorter backswing for shorter putts, longer for longer, etc.  Determining where on the 'clock' my hands need to go to for 10', 20', 30', etc, will take some trial and (probably lots of) error.

But I'm in.  I can see this being just an absolute get-out-of-jail, go-directly-to-Samsonite's-bag card, and I can't remember ever feeling like that after one practice session with any club before.  

Now, because I've read up on this, I understand this is most likely the Honeymoon phase, but I'm happy to work through the growing pains so I can see what this thing can really do for my game.  

That's it for now.  I'll keep updating as I get more acquainted with it, and if any particular pain-points arise, I'll add them as well. 

But overall, at first blush, this thing is bit of a modern marvel. As you can clearly see - i'm a fan. 

 

AESTHETICS (5 out of 5 Stars)

I definitely had a lot of preconceived notions of how I thought it would look based on the reactions I’d seen online from other people, from videos about it from YouTubers, etc.  

But honestly, pulling it out of the box, seeing the craftsmanship (superb), and now having used it for 5 weeks – I genuinely find it to be beautiful.  It’s a tool that’s built to do one thing – help you make more putts.  Is it conventional-looking?  Of course not – but they’re purposefully trying to defy convention, so if you expect “the same old”, you might not love it.  

I went with the three-dot alignment aid, which for me is just enough to help find my line (in conjunction with the line on the ball that I use to aim), but not enough to make my eye wander too far away (which is a thing I’ve had happen with “busier” designs).  The black Accra shaft blends seamlessly, and with its matte finish, there’s once again nothing to be distracted by. 

image.png.1647d977bcc28727bb603c4e23d7c186.png

(Look at that bad-boy grip)

The biggest surprise for me has been the Press Grip (3 degree, as recommended by the website and fitter) – I’ve never putted with a large grip, and this one just feels…right. My hands naturally seem to find comfort every time, thumbs aligned down the center (and I know they’re centered thanks to the bisecting black/white line down the front), and there’s no real tendency to over-grip – the large size allows me to lightly grip but still feel in control.  I’m a big fan.  

When I had first been chosen for this testing opportunity, one of my biggest concerns was the "built-in forward press", as I have never been one who presses forward before starting my stroke.  I was also a staunch "ball should be in the middle of your stance" guy (you know, like...umm...those guys who say that kind of thing. I might be making this up.).  So having the forward press built in, as well as the suggestion to play the ball toward the front of my stance seemed crazy to me - and 5 weeks later it's the most natural thing in the world.  So for those of you worried about this aspect, I can firmly attest that if you're willing to take the risk, the rewards are worth it. 

Also a surprise: how few people have stopped to ask about the putter.  To me, it is wholly unique-looking, and I had planned on including these as interview-style inserts, but outside of a few “what’s that?” or “Is that one of them LAB putters?” over the 5 weeks, it’s mostly been unnoticed.  I did, however, make sure to ask any/all of my playing partners (whether friends or strangers) what they thought of the looks, and despite every one saying it was “biiiig” (and it is), not a one was put off by the size/looks.

One thing I wanted to note, was just how balanced the club feels.  I don’t actually think it’s “light”, per se, but as soon as it’s in position behind the ball, it swings nearly by itself.  This could be, in all honesty, because my current mallet is considerably heavier than the aluminum head of the LAB – in a fitting I had many months ago, the fitter remarked that my putter head was definitely on the heavy side, and that I could use a lighter head given my set-up/stroke – but I find the balance of the club to be perfect.

I touched on this in my Initial Impression, and it still holds true, that mis-hits out of the toe have a distinctly aluminum sound – very similar to a baseball bat.  As I like knowing if I got it “solid”, this is not a bad feature to me in the least, as it’s a clear, audible sound that I got it out of the toe – and considering that there has yet to be any real penalty (either line or pace) for hitting it out of the toe, that’s definitely not a bad thing in my book.

As for hitting it clean out of the middle, I have found the sound to be fairly muted and the feel to be pretty exceptional – a very satisfying “thud” to it, letting you know you got it dead-center.  It’s not as “buttery” as, say, a Ping Insert (Ping Tyne 4 is still the softest putter I’ve ever hit), but certainly not as “clicky” as my prior gamer (which was milled) – though to be fair to that putter, I might have been hitting a lot of “toes” ☺ 

 

(Toe, Heel and Center Strikes)

THE NUMBERS (5 out of 5 Stars)

Accuracy - The simplest way to address this component is to say that hit the intended line every time.  Whether the line is RIGHT or not is a different story.  Quick example: my last round played, I just could NOT see that the greens were not moving nearly as much as my brain told me they were.  I would see the slope, line up my ball to my spot 6" out to the right, pull it back and let it go - and the ball would tumble end-over-end...and miss three inches high. With my previous putter, I never knew if I had a) mis-read the putt, b) mis-hit the putt, or c) hit it too hard/soft.  A and C are still in the mix, of course, but B has been effectively eliminated.  This thing rolls it where you intend it to go.

Distance Control - With three genuinely dreadful exceptions - all on putts over 75 feet (clearly my approach game hasn't been KILLING it, ahem, but I digress), I’m genuinely shocked with how consistent my distance control has been with this putter.  Yes, I’ve been putting (pronounced "puh-ting", not "putt-ing") in a LOT of practice with it, but as attested to by my regular playing partners, as well as my average 2nd putt distance (well inside 3’, with most inside 2’), I’ve never ever putted with such consistent speed.

image.png.80bdc36b730206febd04d4c7680a1d55.png

(7 gimmes, two in the cup, from about 12 feet)

Stability of Stroke - Here’s where the LAB really does exactly what the company claims – I genuinely feel like I would have to work REALLY hard to get the face off my desired line.  It’s almost uncanny – pick a line, line the ball up, line the putter behind the ball, and watch the ball roll end-over-end on the desired line.  I’m a true believer in this technology. 

Forgiveness - One of the reasons I chose the DF2.1 vs. the Mezz/B2 are the claims about the forgiveness.  There’s a video where the CEO demonstrates hitting the ball out of the center, the toe and the heel, and all three putts roll effectively the same distance, on the same line.  It felt like a magic trick of editing.  But here’s the thing:  it isn’t.  Hit the ball out of the toe, the ball goes where you had it lined up.  Hit the ball out of the heel?  Same thing.  Hit it dead center – ditto.  For my game, this has been an incredible find, as building consistency is a huge part of what I’m attempting to do to get better, and knowing that my distance/line will be effectively the same no matter where on the face I hit it has really allowed me to focus on my stroke and not attempting to manipulate anything DURING the stroke. 

Playability - One of the last rounds I played I specifically used the putter from off the green as much as I could to get a sense of its usability.  Honestly, this has never been a strength of mine, but knowing that I was going to hit the line I was intending actually made my stroke considerably more confident.  I won’t say it made me BETTER in any measurable way (didn’t hole any, but left myself with inside-3-feet putts 2 times and one other time with about 5’ left), since I don’t really have any stats from my previous putter when playing shots like that, unfortunately, but I can say it made me more confident IN the shot, if that helps at all.  

ON-COURSE (5 out of 5 stars)

In the 13 previous rounds this year I’ve played, I averaged 35.15 putts (high of 39, low of 32).  I’ve now played 5 eighteens with the LAB in play, and I’ve averaged 33.2 putts (two 32s, two 33s and a 36 (this round included TWO putts over 80 feet, both of which I 3-putted (left them so short it was nearly comical)).  I can legitimately say that in my second-to-last round, that number could have very easily been in the 20s, considering that I left 4 putts a TOTAL of 20 inches short (that’s what I get for practicing on fast greens and playing on slow…).  I have zero doubt that I will absolutely card my first round with sub-30 putts very soon, and I’ll be sure to comment on this review when that happens.  Getting the speed down on the practice greens is an absolute must for me, as most of my practice with this putter has been at a significantly faster green complex than most of my local munis.  I don't blame the putter for being short in any way, is ultimately what I'm saying.

One of the things that I wanted to test when I first got the putter was whether or not my consistency with set-up was improved with the LAB.  Because the putter is built to my specs (65 degree lie-angle, 35.25” length), all I have to do is set the putter down behind the ball, on my line, and then step up to the putter.  This was ALWAYS a weakness in my game previously, because I could never tell if the putter was actually flush to the ground (there was a subtle curve on the bottom of the putter head) – so sometimes the toe was up, others the heel up, etc., but I couldn't REALLY tell by looking down at the club.  Now, I know I’m set up over the ball correctly almost without thinking, which – again – allows me to focus solely on the stroke.  It’s freeing in a way that is genuinely exciting (nerdy, I know).

Since I don’t play in “money matches” yet (I have a lot of poor actor-friends), the only thing I can really say is that I’ve never, ever, felt more confident over a putt.  I don’t ALWAYS think I’m going to make it, but I actually see the road where that’s a reality – no matter the distance, I have a chance.  With every putter I’ve ever used in the past, the goal was to knock it relatively close.  With the DF 2.1, I’m starting to look at long putts (for me, anything over 10’) as legit opportunities.  I knocked in two fifteen-footers my last time out, and just missed another 2 from similar lengths.  I know putting is often a confidence game – and nothing’s ever made me feel more like I have a real shot than this putter.

When I spoke with the CEO during a practice session, I kind of laughed and said “I’ve never tried a product that did every single thing the manufacturer said it would,” and I meant it. I still do.  Do I think this product will work for EVERY. SINGLE. PERSON?  No. Of course not.  And as attested by a few of the testers in this very test, you can see that it's promise may not be realized by everyone.  But for me, this is perfect.  For the first time, I know I’m going to hit my line BEFORE I strike the ball, not just hoping I hit it.  For the first time, I’m not trying to lag 15-footers, I’m actually trying to make them.  For the first time, putting practice is actually fun.  

The crazy part of this to me, is the knowledge (well, belief, but I have faith) that the more I practice, the more comfortable I get with this new putter, the more confident I’m going to become.  

Is confidence over the ball worth the price-tag of $680 that this putter would retail for?  

For me, it’s a resounding, unquestionable YES.

THE GOOD, THE BAD, THE IN-BETWEEN (4 out of 5 stars)

The good:  See above for all the things I found while working with this putter. 

The bad: LAB desperately needs to hire more people in their customer service department.  I’ve said this from the beginning of the process, but it appears that two people handled all twelve fittings, including all back-and-forth emails.  While I’m assuming there are more than just these two fitters working for the company, having a group of well-qualified service-representatives who could answer questions, return phone calls, etc. would free up the actual fitters to focus solely on the fittings. 

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(Methinks they need some more operators standing by)

I’m cognizant of the fact that LAB may have decided to have all of our fittings be done by these two fitters, to ensure that we all had similar experiences, but even then – we didn’t (you can see the other reviews for their individual experiences – some great, some not-so-great).  With no ability to test this putter in a store nearby, it’s a supreme act of faith to put down $450+ on a putter that was fitted via a 5-second clip and with minimal follow-up.  While my particular fitting went great and easily, and I’m happy to report that the putter fits me to a tee (Woof - this analogy's a bit on the nose, no?), waiting 24-48 hours for a response to an email/phone call, and not being able to get a hold of someone when you do need to talk to someone is frustrating at best.  I do genuinely understand that LAB may be inundated with fitting requests (especially considering they’re free to anyone who submits a video), which is why I think a dedicated team of customer-service reps whose only job is answering emails (maybe working in conjunction with the fitter, i.e., “I spoke with Jake and he asked me to let you know that the Accra shaft is highly rated and was designed specifically for LAB putters, etc.”) and phone calls would go a HUGE distance in making the prospect of this kind of purchase much easier to swallow. 

I know that actually speaking with my fitter was a HUGE relief that we got everything right (we spoke about my lie angle (it seemed pretty flat to me, but…only compared to the 70 degrees that my off-the-shelf putter was set at), my shaft selection (I was leaning Accra, which is what he said he played in his Mezz, but that the standard steel shaft was also a great shaft), grip, etc.  Having an actual conversation with someone, even though I wasn’t actually paying for the putter, really calmed my nerves (I didn’t want to waste anyone’s money/time by accidentally getting something that wasn’t right for me), and really made me EXCITED about the putter being built just for me.  

For this, I’m docking a point, but I can also see this being remedied quickly and relatively easily as the company continues to grow.

PLAY IT OR TRADE IT? (5 out of 5 stars)

I genuinely cannot imagine taking this thing out of my bag at this point.  I’ve never felt like I was a confident putter.  I’ve never felt like I could call myself a “decent” putter.  I’ve never felt like putting might be a strength of my game.  But I do now.  My friends starting calling it "Matt's Cheat Stick", and ... it kind of feels like that's super appropriate. 

CONCLUSION

If you struggle with consistent set-up, this putter could be for you.  If you struggle with knowing if you’ve hit your line, this putter could be for you.  If you need a putter with high forgiveness on mis-hits, this putter could be for you.  

It’s definitely the putter for me, for all those reasons and more.

FINAL SCORE (29 out of 30 stars)

 

Just a final note here saying how genuinely thrilled I am at having to have been a part of this process.  Thanks to My Golf Spy, all the moderators, Sam Hahn and everyone at L.A.B. Golf.  This was a huge honor and incredible pleasure.

  • Like 15
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Driver - :cobra-small: King Speedzone, 9 degrees, HZRDS Smoke 65g (two grams lead tape in heel)
3/5 Wood - Warrior Golf (don't ask)
Utility - :cobra-small: King Utility - 2 Iron
Irons (4-PW) - :taylormade-small:- SIM Max, Nippon Modus Tour 105 Stiff
Wedges (52, 56, 60) - Kirkland Signature 
Putter - L.A.B. Directed Force 2.1 - 65*
Ball - Snell MTB Black/Vice Pro Plus

Link to review
First Impressions
Aesthetics
The Numbers
On-Course
The Good, the Bad, the In-between
Play it or Trade it?

L.A.B. Directed Force 2.1 Putter – Official MGS Forum Review by GolfSpy_CS

Full Introduction - click here

First Impressions (4/5 Stars)

I don’t think anything can really prepare you for how massive the Directed Force 2.1 head truly is.  I mean there’s mallet putters and then there’s this thing.  I saw a Mezz.1 in person a week before I got the DF2.1 and it was a fine sized putter.  Very traditional fang-style size.  This DF2.1 is a jumbo jet!

LAB 3.jpeg 

I rolled a few putts on the carpet and it sets up and feels good.  I did not notice any issues with the forward ball position setup as I already tend towards forward ball position.  Overall, the first impressions are positive.  If you sole it correctly for the lie angle it’s built for and hold it with light grip pressure, the thing just wants to stay square for you. 

LAB 4.jpeg

Aesthetics (3/5 Stars)

You’ll either love or hate the aesthetics of the DF2.1…  Personally, I love and hate it all at the same time, but am growing to love it more and more.  The all black look I went with is clean.  The matte black finish on the head and LA Golf shaft are just what I want them to be.  No glare and mean looking.  I also really like the long white line I chose for the alignment marker. 

LAB 1.jpeg

The size of the DF2.1, as mentioned earlier, could be a huge turnoff to some people.  I was just putting with it on TrackMan’s putting analysis and our rep told me that larger mallets sometimes interfere with the TrackMan camera accurately picking up the ball on putts! LOL.  He said, “Yeah this one might be an issue…” 

The more I’ve putted with it, the more I view the massiveness as a positive though.  It just inspires confidence.  I know I miss toe side with putters, but with this thing, it doesn’t really matter.

The Numbers (5/5 stars)

Usually I'm all about data.  I taught a graduate statistics course at my last university for crying out loud.  But I wanted to keep this review on my experience.  My stroke is not your stroke.  My woes are not your woes.  At the end of the day, you've got to like the way your club/putter looks, trust that it will perform, and what works for someone else doesn't mean it will work for you.  If it gives you more confidence, that’s a good thing right?  Here’s what I can say.  In my experience, I’ve never putted better.  My playing partners have noticed as well.  I know that if I pick the right line and speed, I’ve got nothing else to think about or focus on.  With other my other putters (of which there are many), I would miss putts low side and wonder if I pulled them (often I did).  Now I don’t think about it.  I can evaluate if I over/under read break or speed.

Totally awesome putting video:

I have made more putts from inside of 10ft and over 15ft since using the L.A.B. than ever in my golfing career.  My lag putting has improved as well.  I don’t know how else to say it, this thing just drains putts.  There were several putting practice sessions that come to mind.  I wrote about these in the comments section, but one time I literally made 10 putts in a row from 10+ feet.  Then I drained one from 25ft just for good measure.  In other sessions I’m making tour-average percentages from 4-6ft (which never happened before).  L.A.B.’s slogan of “You’re a better putter than you think” rings true for me.  They also say on the DF 2.1 page, “Every putt is now makeable.”  I truly do believe that now.

As far as the actual stats go, my 3 putts are down, my make rate from inside of 10ft is up, and my confidence (while unquantifiable) is also way up.   This thing is staying in the bag.  Here is a quick screenshot of the consistency of this putter from my short TrackMan putting session today.  You’ll notice all of these launch directions were inside of 1* (our TrackMan rep said he’s pretty sure most PGA Tour players are inside of 1* either direction consistently).  If you can do that, you'll hit your line over and over.  You'll probably ask why these putts aren't consecutively numbered 1-10 or something.  The TrackMan rep and I were taking turns so I deleted his putts. 

TRACKMAN STATS.jpg

On-Course (5/5 stars)

This thing just makes putts.  Again, I don’t know how else to describe it.  I feel very confident over the ball.  Pick the line, speed, and just let it flow.  As I said in the ‘Numbers’ category, my 3 putts are down, my make rate inside of 10ft is up, and more importantly, my 5 footers after a missed green and a short game save chip/pitch shot are up.  These are very valuable to keeping my scores where I want them.   I’ve also made more putts over 25ft during actual rounds of golf than I ever have before.  The ball just seems to be on a string connected to the cup. 

The Good, the bad, the in-between (5/5 stars)

One thing I really appreciated during this process was Sam Han, the CEO reaching out to us as testers for a phone call.  We ended up having close to a one hour phone call about the putter, golf, and life.  Sam is very passionate about the company, the products, and the game.  That was icing on the cake for me.

People also take notice of this putter.  When you take it out to practice or for a round of golf, people are very interested.  Once they see you start rolling in putts, they really get interested!

Another thing I really like is that this is the first putter that ever sits flat for me naturally. And it should!  It’s built to my lie angle specifically.  All my other putters are always way toe up because of my low hands at address.  

I didn’t really like the idea of the online fitting at first.  But after talking with the CEO, it makes sense.  Get comfortable, they build you a awesome putter, go make more putts.  Simple. 

Play it or Trade it (5/5 stars)

This should come as no surprise, but this thing is staying in the bag for the foreseeable future (check my updated signature).  I honestly don’t think any of my current putters could hold a candle to it.  There is no reason to make putting any harder than it has to be.  L.A.B. gets my vote.

LAB 2.jpeg

Conclusion

TL;DR:  This thing just makes putts.  I have supreme confidence whenever I step on the green.  Before, I dreaded putting practice, putting during a round of golf, and only when I was inside of 1ft did I feel like I knew the putts were going to fall.  Now, I feel like any putt is legitimately makeable.  Inside of 10ft is no longer a weakness for me.  Putting is finally fun! (never thought I’d say that)

Final Score (27/30 stars)

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Instagram:  @tony_rosselli_

:SuperSpeed:Training

Pre training max driver speed: 124mph

Current: 130mph

WITB:

Driver: :ping-small:G400 LST 8.5* (BROKEN!!) with HZRDUS SMOKE 6.5 70g 

Woods: :taylormade-small: 2007 Burner TP 3 wood and 5 wood

Irons:  :srixon-small: Z765 4-PW (1 degree flat) with KBS $-130 shafts

Wedges:  :vokey-small: SM7 50/12/F, 54/10/S and 58/12/D

Putter:  L.A.B. Directed Force 2.1

Ball:  :titelist-small: ProV1

 

Link to review
First Impressions
Aesthetics
The Numbers
On-Course
The Good, the Bad, the In-between
Play it or Trade it?

My Introduction
https://forum.mygolfspy.com/tests/40-lab-df21-putter/?do=findComment&comment=9053

First Impressions
https://forum.mygolfspy.com/tests/40-lab-df21-putter/?do=findComment&comment=9647

 

image.jpeg.3a2c8320e226133ae676009a463c672f.jpeg Looks like an old-fashioned bottle opener to me. image.jpeg.19b504250d0e3765a65ad36f21047b10.jpeg

Aesthetics and Reactions from other golfers

"It’s Big" - Response of 80% of People Who I Showed it to

I knew that someone had read about this putter whenever they echoed the words, “looks like a branding iron.
Yes, it is big. Although, I was around when PING irons first came on the scene. When everything else was a blade, they seemed massive. One old boy used to say, “You could dig up potatoes with them things,” meaning they looked like a hoe.

And then Big Bertha appeared on the scene. “It’s huge," everyone exclaimed. Not by today’s standards though. So while the Directed Force (DF) is indeed larger, it means to me exactly what PING and Big Bertha meant back then … better performance and an increased margin of error.

"It Sounds Different" - A Youtube Reviewer Mentioned this, too

I couldn’t wait to try this club, so I grabbed 3 random balls and went to the practice green. First ball I hit, the club let out a distinctive ping. I’m old enough to remember the original PING 1A putter and it was named PING because of the ping sound it emitted. (Take a look at the L.A.B. B2 ... it resembles the original PING 1A) Turns out the first ball I tried was a Topflight. The other 2 balls were softer, a Titleist and a Callaway which did not ping near as loudly. So the harder the ball is, the louder the ping. It is a non-issue to me, because I don’t even hear it anymore.

"It’s too Light" - Immediate Response from a Golfer

I had not realized how light this DF configuration was until I picked up my Spider EX. There was a noticeable difference. I bought that Spider cuz I wanted a heavier putter head than my old PING Anser. Maybe it was lucky that I never compared the putters until after I had been using the DF for a week. By then I didn’t care that my old favorite felt heavier. I definitely can see that head weight does not make a difference in performance. I actually think it’s easier to hit the DF 2.1 on really long putts. I thought I wanted that weight for those long putts … but the DF proved me wrong.
By the way, the guy who said it was too light never even hit a putt with it. His loss.

"Is that a L.A.B. Putter" - Response from Several Golfers

While I was on the putting green a guy yelled over from the first tee, “Is that a L.A.B. putter?” Another person caught me on the chipping green, without the putter, asking if I was the guy with the L.A.B. And I also heard a few times that guys had a friend who played one. People have heard about this putter,

"That’s a Lot of Lines" - Response from Several Golfers

I love these lines. I set it down, align it to my target, and feel fully confidant that I’m right.

"The Grip is Fantastic" - Response from Several Golfers

I love this grip ... the soft tackiness and the way it fits my hand. Several other people echoed these sentiments exactly.

"How Can You Putt off the Toe if it’s Not Dead" - A Collegiate Player

As I touted the benefits of the soft feel of the ball leaving the face and the fact that toe hits don't lose momentum, a young college golfer said that he needs to have a dead hit on the toe, so he can putt a fast downhill slopping green. Sounds like something I heard when I was his age.

Off-center putts are so soft I don't really feel them ... and they definitely don't lose momentum. I set this putter up on the line I want, and then think of nothing else except pacing. I don’t care if I miss the center of the face because I know the ball maintains it's momentum wherever I strikes the face. The ball will stay on line and still not lose distance like toe & heel hits on other putters. And that is a confidence builder.

Because this putter does not torque on impact, the entire face stays square to where your hands are. That doesn't mean you can't push or pull it. As long as your hands are locked in, the face will stay square to the line on miss hits ... heel or toe.

 

The Numbers

I was one of the last in the group to receive my putter because of issues delaying my fitting process and also from being away on vacation. So I probably had 2 weeks less with my DF than most of the others. I started playing with it immediately.

I could have set up a putting trial with chalk lines and gates, but I don’t believe quantifying practice tells me anything about playability under pressure. Putting 25 balls down a chalk line with both putters on a flat putting green, doesn't help me on the course when trying to win skins. Besides, the practice green is the only flat green on our course. And at my age fatigue is an issue, too. My back is so bad it starts aching if I practice putting or chipping for more than 10 min. And that fatigue would have affected bulk testing. I have no problem trying out a club under fire. We play small $5-$20 games 3 times a week, so it was no big deal trying the DF out in a skins game. I was so happy with the club, I used it in a tournament after only playing 3 rounds with it. We tied for first, but lost on a coin toss.

I felt like I was fairly good at putting with my Spider. So, here are a few comparisons between it and the DF, so you can see my base and where the DF excelled.

  • I had 9-hole rounds with 5-1 putts using both putters in our men's association ... all over 10 foot putts
  • I've had 15-putt, 9-hole rounds with both putters
  • I had sub 30-putt, 18-hole rounds in skin games with both putters
  • I achieved a 50% reduction in 3-putts with the DF
  • I feel that my lag putts land closer with the DF 

I had been tracking Distance to pin 1st putt / Number of putts / Distance missed, on my score cards, but I gave up and relied on my Arccos Caddie stats instead. So the only stats of mine that I feel are worthy of sharing are from my Arccos data.
I had lost my original Arccos putter sensor and Arccos replaced it for free … many thanks Arccos. I also purchased a second putter sensor so that I could track both putter’s stats separately.

image.jpeg.c77f5c36a35cd218b0ae7af1b65483e6.jpeg

Included in these graphics are the last 100 putts with both my Spider EX, and the last 100 putts with the Directed Force 2.1. As you can see there is a slight improvement in 1-putts. But the huge impact for me was the reduction in 3 putts. Every 3 putt eliminated is a stroke saved. 

I wish I could show y’all a graphic for distance left after the 1st putt. I tracked it manually a few rounds with each putter, but didn’t feel like I saved enough data to make it anything more than anecdotal. Which is unfortunate, because I honestly feel I am leaving my 10’-30’ putts much closer with the DF … less than a foot in a majority of cases. The fact that my 3 putts have been reduced by 50% proves that I am leaving long putts closer.

It’s difficult to quantify confidence in a putter. I had it with my old putter … I’ve got more of it with the Directed Force 2.1.

 

On The Course

Set It and Forget It” is a trademarked phrase by marketing genius Ron Popeil that took on pop culture status in the 90s. His catch phrase has become my putting mantra for the DF 2.1. I set the club on line and I never think about it again, instead concentrating on distance and pace.

I have a random putting flaw where I occasionally pull my hands outside my swing plane. Sometimes, as I take the putter back, the head jumps off my swing path ... I’ve got a bit of nerve damage in my hands. But the point is, I see it when it happens, and that blows my concentration ... instead of focusing on pace, I am thinking about mechanics and it’s not going to be a good stroke. With the DF I don’t worry about controlling the stroke path anymore. I have complete confidence that if miss the center of the face, the ball will still travel on my intended line at the pace I wanted. That has given me freedom to focus on touch. Now when I see the putter move, I ignore it and toss the ball to the hole.

With the margin of error the DF provides me, I can ignore my hand drift when I see it. Sure, I still push an occasional putt. I still roll my hands on occasions, too. I’m not saying the DF eliminates all my problems. I’m saying that for me, it takes my mind off trying to control my swing, too precisely. My Arccos data has shown that using the DF has reduced my 3 putts by 50%, and that's the difference between a 4/3 skin and a 5/4 "also ran".

I may come off looking like an egotistical ass for this next graphic ... but I believe this putter played a huge part in my performance in a recent tournament. I had a Cinderella round ... I’ve included the scorecard ... and as you can see I played out my ass. This is an anomaly folks. Although I must say it stems from the confidence I had standing over every putt. And I am thoroughly convinced that that confidence carried over into my entire game that day. My drives were longer & straighter and I was confident I was going to chip-in a ball before I hit it. Don’t get me wrong, there was a fair amount of luck involved, especially on several approach shots. And hell, if you look close enough you can see that I got too cocky on the 14th, rushed the putt and lipped out an easy 5’ putt for par/birdie. Plus I had 2-3 putts of which I am thoroughly ashamed.

image.jpeg.4b44c04de0fda6e28ba5a2ad4cdb6264.jpeg

Full disclosure: the next round after that tournament was in our Tuesday, senior skins game, and I shot an 85. It consisted of 4-1 putts and 14-2 putts. Two skins and not a 3 putt in the bunch. I'm happy with that.

 

The Good, The Bad, and In Between
Good
This is an anti-torque head with an anti-torque shaft and they work perfectly together. I do not see any degradation in off center putts. 

I love the soft feel of the BGT - Stability Tour Fire shaft. The LA Golf shaft is listed as having an even a softer feel. The soft feel gives me the impression that my putts are effortless as opposed to throwing my heavy headed Spider at the ball on really long putts. 

Don’t confuse soft feel with weak ... soft does not equate to loss of feel ... I do not need to swing harder on long putts. When I putt now, my stroke feels far more intuitive ... like throwing darts. This configuration putts as easily on 35’ putts as it does at 10 footers. The ball comes off the face easily and rolls straight as an arrow.

The alignment lines are fantastic. I love how confident I feel that I am on target.

I can’t think of a single thing to change on this club. People say it’s ugly. I don’t care because I'm putting great with it.

The Bad ... Slightly Unhappy
I was unhappy with the remote fitting process. I screwed it up by submitting a poor fitting video. I would have preferred to try before I buy. That’s my only hang up in this process. I honestly believe that face to face interaction would have been better for me.

I sincerely feel that if it had been possible for me to try this putter out first, and experiment with different lies, maybe I could have had even better results than I got. Seems petty and doesn't mean I'm right. But there will always be that doubt in my head … could it be better? Would I have liked a blade better? 

I tried a myriad of putters before selecting the Spider EX I was using. When I ordered it, I asked for a custom bump to the standard lie by 2°, (assuming standard to be 67°). Turns out my Spider is a 70° standard; 72° as ordered. In the fitting video I sent L.A.B., I can see that I have the toe of the putter in the air. Lots of people putt with the toe in the air ... how was L.A.B. to know I didn't too? Nope, I did not pay enough attention to my setup and I regret it. They came back with a measurement off the video of a 67° lie, (which I have verified on my computer). It was my fault that I didn't get the lie I wanted.

image.jpeg.a961230c3290db424d75137bc935bf8c.jpeg

I thought I was matching the putter I liked. I was wrong. So my unhappiness was caused by me. I regret that I did not match the Spider's lie angle, because like I said, it might have increased my success with the DF. And there's no running to a local fitter, if we had one, to have the lie adjusted ... you can't bend a composite shaft.

So if you order via the remote fitting process, do your homework. Try and determine what you are currently using before submitting your video. Do you want to match your current putter or improve on it? Talk it over with them. They will work with you. One caveat is that it took 2 days to get any of my questions answered. And with a holiday in the mix, a question on Friday didn't get addressed until the following Wednesday. It's only an issue if you are in a time crunch, as I was, needing the putter for my review.

Lie Angle Hack: Hold your putter flat against a tabletop, and using a protractor app on your phone, measure your lie angle.
Due to buttons getting in the way, you are probably going to get a measurement within ±1° ... make certain your table top is 0° too.

image.jpeg.d5139f936dd5f866042ad7bb50aef55b.jpeg

One minor caveat about the grip … I have a cart bag, and the extra width of the grip can interfere with other clubs when bagging or un-bagging them.  

Play it or Trade it
In My Bag - Forever
I actually GOOGLED "Will a New Putter Improve My Putting"

GOOGLE Says:
A change of putter can never compensate for a lack of skill. At best it can make poor putting slightly less bad. 

Hey GOOGLE, WRONG!
When you’ve been playing for a decade or two, you develop bad habits. And bad habits using a putter with no margin for error just makes things worse. A new Directed Force can actually compensate for some bad habits.

Case in point: I showed my Directed Force to Dan, a fellow golfer in our Saturday Morning Skins Game. He has fought an outside-in putting stroke his entire life, which is kind-of similar to my hands drifting off my intended swing path. For both of us, missing the center of the club with our old putters, means our putts will probably be off line and short. The DF does not penalize you on off-center hits, because the head doesn't torque open and you don't lose momentum at impact ... the entire face stays square to the target line. My off-center hits did not affect my putt distances. When I know my putter is square to my target line ... when I can ignore a swing path error, then I am going to be more successful with my pacing, and that means I’ll make more putts. To me the DF is a game improvement putter and it works.

Dan has been practicing specifically to control his putting swing plane … to a moderate success. It is a habit he picked up / ingrained at the beginning of his golf career, and those are near impossible to eliminate. From the first time he tried my DF was on the 9th green ... he started rolling them in from +10 feet. He was so excited he didn’t give the putter back to me for 10 minutes. Yes, he was still swinging outside in, but what was different this time, was that the putter was not penalizing him for off center hits. The face stayed square because it did not torque and the putts rolled true because the face maintained momentum along its entirety.

If you struggle with your putting swing plane, you need to give L.A.B. putters a try. It could make a big difference.

Trade It - Never
When I announced to my fellow golfers at the club, that I had been selected to review the Directed Force, some of the guys joked that I could trade it for a new driver after the review. I’ll say it right here and now, I wouldn’t trade it for an entire new set of new clubs.

To give you a better idea as to the value / price of my Directed Force configuration, consider this: My custom made Spider EX retailed for close to $500, with a standard shaft. The price for a stock Directed Force 2.1 with the fantastic Press-II 3° grip is $399. To customize it with non-standard length or lie, it starts at $549 and that is just slightly more than the Spider EX. Then there are upgraded shaft options from $100 - $380. The DF 2.1 configuration that I tested has the BGT - Stability Tour Fire shaft ($275) and Alignment markings ($25) for a total of $849.00. I believe it is in the same price range as mass market putters, and worth every penny.

 

Conclusion

I said it before: “I was not in the market for a new putter.” I was curious though. I wanted to see what a torque-less putter was all about. Drive for show — putt for dough hints at a deeper concept here … confidence in your putter is far more important than confidence in your driver. You can always fall back to your 3 wood, but lack of confidence in your putter can be disastrous.

First Impressions: image.jpeg.b97b61827fb95b48260198b357df2ea9.jpeg
I had issues with the remote fitting process ... part of it turned out to be my fault. I believe putters are intuitive weapons, and I want to hold it in my hands before I buy it. That said however, I love this putter. Yes, I initially thought it was big and ugly, but I don't anymore.

Aesthetics: image.jpeg.a9e4aa47853a56078d9dbb12cc0f433d.jpeg
As far as looks go … who cares. I think it must look intimidating to my opponents. Besides, I have won money with it. The grip is fantastic and instills as much confidence as the putter head does. And the shaft not only adds to the non-torque capabilities, it provides a soft, pleasant feel.

The Numbers: image.jpeg.a9e4aa47853a56078d9dbb12cc0f433d.jpeg
My stats show that I’ve reduced 3 putts by as much as 50%, and that’s the difference between a 4/3 skin and a 5/4 no-one-cares. The reduction in 3 putts is proof that I’m leaving my putts closer … I honestly feel like I have more putts stopping within inches then I did with my old putter.

On-Course: image.jpeg.a9e4aa47853a56078d9dbb12cc0f433d.jpeg
Confidence. Lining a putt up is easy for me with these top lines. Fantastic grip makes me feel like my hands are locked in. Linear face momentum from the non-torque head eliminates my worries for an imperfect stroke. Soft feel off the face gives me the the sense that I’m tossing darts.

The Good, the Bad, the In-Between: image.jpeg.9e1465da328d46b7dccf6ad3687dfea7.jpeg
For me, this is a game changing putter. The non-torque head and shaft compensate for my occasional drifting off the swing path and off center hits still track true. And yet, even though this is simply a mental hangup for me, I can’t help but wonder whether this is the perfect L.A.B. model for me.

Someone asked me:
"Are you happy with it."
     "Absolutely."
"Then get over it and move on."
     "Yes, but ..." 

Play it or Trade it: image.jpeg.a9e4aa47853a56078d9dbb12cc0f433d.jpeg
The Directed Force 2.1 is in my bag to stay. The guys at the club keep joking about me trading trade it for a new driver(s) … they think it’s ugly. I just laughed while they were handing me my tournament money. Enough said.

It sounds a little cheesy, but the DF 2.1 lead me to begin thinking “I can do this.” And that powerful thought is a positivity that has seeped into my game overall. I’m enjoying my game more. There's tons of room for improvement, but I'm coming home in a much better mood. My wife is really happy about that.

I'm showing this putter to everyone, whether they have doubts about their putting stroke or not. While the base model DF is about the same price as discounted big name putters out there, custom versions of the DF are priced in line with big name putter customizations. So the next time you are in a golf store, pick one up and give it a try, then think about remote fitting. It might change your game. 

 

image.gif.6920025743d14ef183632c3b80a9ab1e.gif 
I know, it's only a 6 footer. But anything further and y'all would be accusing me of staging it.

 

 

 

 

  • Like 15

:titelist-small: TSi3 #1-3-5 all with Tensi Blue S-flex

:callaway-small: 2019 Apex Pro black 3 & 4H Catalyst 70 or    

:titelist-small: TSi3 #2-3 depending on how I’m playing. Tensi Blue

:callaway-small: 2019 Calloway Apex Pro black, 5-PW, Catalyst 100 - 6.0, Super Stroker Jumbo   

:cobra-small:  2020 RadSpeed OL 4H, 5-GW … won’t get to actually use till warmer weather

:callaway-small: 2019 PM-grind, 56° & 60°, KBS steel, Green Cap

:taylormade-small: Blue Spider EX

:titelist-small: Pro V1X

Link to review
First Impressions
Aesthetics
The Numbers
On-Course
The Good, the Bad, the In-between
Play it or Trade it?

INTRODUCTION

So, here we go! First things first… my name is John, and I’m 67 years old. I moved from Long Island to N. Myrtle Beach about 12 years ago, and live in a community with 4 golf courses, two driving ranges and short game practice areas. We also have 3 practice greens.
Here’s how I would break down my game… driver is solid. I’m longer than most guys in my age group I play with, and I’m pretty accurate. FWs are a struggle. I can hit my 3 wood very well off the tee, but off the turf it’s an adventure. Hybrids on the other hand are a strength. So much so that I recently switched from a set of PXG XP irons I really liked to a set of Launcher XL Halo hybrid style irons. As much as I loved the PXGs, I want as much help as I can possibly get from my iron game, because… my wedge game is that of a +20 cap player. It’s what has always kept me from single digits. My putting on the other hand is the biggest strength of my game, imo. I have total confidence in my ability to not only putt well, but do so in pressure situations. (that might sound like a brag, but I firmly believe that in order to be a good putter, you have to convince yourself you already are… I hope that makes sense?)

I chose the DF2.1 over the Mezz my fitter suggested, because I felt I wanted to experience all the tech L.A.B. has to offer. I also wanted to try a mallet style putter, and this looks like it’s about as extreme a version as there is out there.

I’ve done a lot of research on this putter since being chosen to test it, and the tech behind it makes sense to me. I’m looking forward to not only trying something new, but answering any questions you guys have about the product. 
One last thing… I’ve said this before, and I’m sure every other tester has also, but I’m incredibly grateful to have been chosen for this test. I want to thank MGS, L.A.B., my buddy Rob, and also give a shout out to Tony for his help and patience with us in our private testers thread. 

FIRST IMPRESSION
The box was… big, and when I opened the top of it, I was staring at the biggest putter headcover I’ve ever seen, 😂. The putter itself was packed extremely well, and after I unwrapped it and took off the headcover the head looked huge. Surprisingly though, after rolling a few balls on the carpet  it seemed normal to me.

AESTHETICS

The build of this putter is very high quality. The combination of the DF2.1 head and the BGT Stability Tour shaft is seamless, and I love the way the lettering on the shaft is shadowed in black to match the shaft itself. The one issue I had was the Press 3 grip. The half white half black combo took away from the murdered out look the putter otherwise had. It also felt awkward right from the start. (more on that later).
In summation, my first impression was very good. I purposely chose the putter that would be as far out of my comfort zone as possible, and this was certainly that. I was ready to go on my first adventure with a mallet style putter.

THE NUMBERS

I don’t feel 8 or so rounds of golf are a good base to establish any real reference point as far as seeing any real improvement. First, the style of head and the grip took some time to get used to. I’ve never played a mallet, nor used such an oversized grip. Second, throughout the roughly 3-4 week testing period, the greens I played went from very hard and fast, to aerated, then very wet and slow as we’ve now entered our rainy season.
I will say I’ve become more and more comfortable and dare I say confident after what was a very rocky start.

ON THE COURSE 

I need to preface this by saying I was unable to play for almost two months, and my very first round back, I threw the DF2.1 into the fire. Looking back now, I think that was unfair. Not only was I easing my way back from injury, I was expecting this brand new club to work magic and be the most critical scoring club in my bag right from Day One, when I hadn’t putted at all for so many weeks..
I definitely had issues taking the DF2.1 from the practice green to the course. As soon as I did, the grip went from feeling awkward to unwieldy I also struggled to set the sole flat without altering my stance. In short, I was a basket case. I went from leaving everything short, to hammering them well past the hole. 
After my third round with it, i had what was the worst day putting I can remember having. How bad? I missed the ball completely twice in a row from just off the green on a par 3. Both times I went right over the top of the ball. My playing partners thought I was making practice strokes, and when I told them I had whiffed both times and the strokes counted, they went into hysterics. That my friends, has never happened to me on a full swing, never mind a putt, so yeah, I was at my wits end.

As is often the case with golf though, things change. We can go from the highest of highs to to the lowest of lows very quickly, and never know why (at least I don’t). I wanted to give up and go back to my old putter, but I believe in the tech in this putter. I believe the head is forgiving and I believe in the idea of keeping that head square throughout the stroke, so I had a long talk with myself, and went the other direction.. instead of taking it out of my bag, I played rounds of 9, 18, 18, 9 and 9 in the 5 days after my “fiasco”. I’m starting to stack good days with it now, but most importantly, I’m trying to not over think the grip.
 Our greens roll very fast, and I had to trust the DF2.1 to get my ball to the hole with what feels like a very soft stroke. The grip is beginning to feel more natural, and Ironically, I’m finding myself fidgeting less with my hand position than I think I did with my standard size one. It still doesn’t feel perfect, but I’m starting to see results I can’t deny. I’d love to roll this putter with say, a RoseMark or Super Stroke 1.0… I think either combo would be a weapon for me.

THE GOOD THE BAD THE IN BETWEEN

The Good... I love the fact that I had a small part of designing this putter. Picking our head type, sight line, color, shaft, and even head cover make each of these feel like truly our own.
The Bad… as a lefty, I’m used to having limited selections with all types of equipment, but if I could make one suggestion to the good folks at LAB it would be to upgrade your grip game. For all the options you offer, the lack of choices here really stood out. 
The in between… I honestly can’t think of anything to put here, other than I’ve gone from a really tough start with this putter, to a gradual adjustment to it, and am only now starting to feel a sense of confidence with it. Hopefully this continues, as I really think there’s potentially something special here.

TRADE IT OR KEEP IT

Anyone who has followed this thread knows I’ve been the Debbie Downer of this review process. It frustrated me no end that I was seemingly the only one here who wasn’t immediately in love with their new L.A.B. Putter. It’s been quite the journey, but I’m starting to come around. 
If you asked me a week or two ago, my answer would’ve been Trade, but not now. I’m getting more comfortable with it every day. I have faith in the technology (although I might have to look into whether a grip change is possible and still keep the angle the same). I’m not only becoming comfortable with it, I think I’m on the verge of a breakthrough here. I’m starting to expect to make everything I look at. 😉 
There is not a more personal club than a putter. I always felt I knew right away whether I would like one or not. In the past 15 years, I’ve used a Yes! Tracy for 14, and a Double Wide Odyssey for 1 1/2. To say going to the DF2.1 was a shock to my system is putting it mildly. Those who have read the thread know what I’m talking about…

CONCLUSION

Before I wrap this up, I want to mention the LAB Online Fitting Process, as it was a part of the review. As most of you know by now, we sent in 5 second videos of our stroke, and we were fit to length and lie angle. I’ve already beaten this horse to death in the review thread, so I will just say this… these putters aren’t cheap. I believe they go for $549 stock. You can go very close to $1,000 very easily with custom shafts and such. If I’m going to spend that kind of money on a putter, I want to see and demo each of their models in person. I want to see and be taken step by step through the fit. I want to see and feel the grip options available.
I’m sure Sam and his fitters know what they’re doing, and I’m only speaking for myself here, but I would never buy any putter blind, much less one that in their own words, is so “out of the box”. It just doesn’t make any sense to me. Go to a place where you can roll one of these. Try the shafts, and the grips, then decide. They make a great product, but you should make sure it’s the right one for you.

TOTAL SCORE

26/30

 

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Driver:       :ping-small: G425 Max 9*(set at 10*) 

Fairway:    :callaway-small: Rogue ST Max 15*

Hybrid:      :callaway-small: Rogue ST Max OS 19* & 21*

Irons:         PXG 0311 Gen3 XP 5-GW (trying to unseat the Halos)

Wedges:    :cleveland-small: CBX 54* & 58*

Putter:       :odyssey-small: White Hot OG Stroke Lab DW 34” 

LURKING…  :cleveland-small: Launcher XL Halo 5-DW and L.A.B. GOLF DF2.1 w/ BGT Stability Tour

  :OnCore: Elixir Yellow 

   :1590477705_SunMountain: 2.5+ Black 

 

 

             

             

 

 

 

 

 

              

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Link to review

211 Comments




I have found LAB's site content (as well as the "subscription emails" as mentioned in the pre-signup comments (see above tab)) to be super informative and well-created.  Excited to be able to put all those tips and tricks into action when the putter arrives - currently my order is "processing", but hopeful that that turns to "shipped" before too long so that I can start this whole process. 

Still working on nicknames for the putter. Ham-n-Eggs (looks a bit like a frying pan) is currently my front-runner, but I may decide to spell it "Ammon Degz," because she's obviously a French lady. 

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Ahoy! 

  This is crazy-exciting! Long-time reader, first-time tester, and couldn't be more thrilled to have been chosen for this particular test, especially as putting is one of those things on my "get better at" list (along with, in no particular order: driving (a golf ball), chipping, talking less, woodworking, driving (a car), swimming, eating one portion, growing hair on my head, growing less hair on my back, and maths).

  As you may have noticed, I'm a bit of a talker, so I'll try to keep things relatively focused 😜 

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  I'm located in the Santa Clarita Valley (about 40 minutes north of Downtown Los Angeles), where I've got a tremendously boring office job where I type a whole lot, but luckily get to do it from home, which is awesome.  I've got two awesome kids, the youngest of whom is legitimately obsessed with golf, which has been super fun to watch grow and attempt to foster.  My oldest mostly just rolls her eyes and says "ugh, golf again?" whenever it's on the TV, so...she might be a tougher sell.  My wife is a pretty extraordinary human, who tolerates my golf obsession as best she can, and tries to encourage me to get out at least once a week to play 18 or get some legit practice in.  She also cooks well.  And is really pretty.  (All true, but also just in case she reads this, I want her feeling great about her tolerance 😘 ). Honestly, though, she's been such a fan of this site, as it's really allowed me to find a lot of like-minded folks who love to talk all things golf.  

 Golf has always been an interest, but I would say only in the last five years or so has it become something that I truly love.  The combination of being outside, in nature, competing against myself (very rarely do I play against someone), and always trying to better myself, along with the rush from hitting THE shot, or sinking a long putt (as rare as that might be), adds up to be my absolute favorite past-time.  In the past year of really trying to get better (as opposed to playing whenever I could but not focusing on anything in particular), I've managed to drop my handicap from 20-ish to 12.0 and break 90 multiple times in the last month (which was my goal for 2022, so now focusing on trying to break 80).  I've managed to limit my 3-putts to only one or two per round lately, which is great, but I threaten the hole on longer putts very infrequently - and that's something I'm specifically trying to better in order to shave some strokes.

  As for this test, I chose the DF 2.1 for a few reasons:

  1. It's bonkers-looking, and I love it.  Go big or nevermind you went really big so no need to continue that idiom.

  2. I've been putting this past year by choosing my point, lining up my ball to said spot, and then focusing only on the spot as I make the stroke - this has HUGELY benefitted my speed-control, but I definitely have some issues with strike consistency.  Because of that, the larger, more-forgiving 2.1 (which LAB calls "fully automatic putting") sounds like exactly the kind of thing that could really benefit my game.,

  3. As mentioned above, I like talking, and there's no greater potential topic for discussion with random folks I play with than a frying-pan on a stick. 😀

  Attached are a few shots of my current putter (Tommy Armour Milled Serrano), which I purchased after seeing how well the Impact No. 3 performed, but wanted a milled face.  It's...alright.  I definitely don't feel confident over any particular putt, and am really looking to up my confidence, especially in those 4-7 footers that I know I should make but so often don't. 

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I'll be attempting to use a combination of "feel" stats as well as "real" stats when testing the DF2.1 - do I feel more confident over the putter?  Can I empirically say I make more putts with the DF vs. the Serrano?  I'll be using Shot Scope for any rounds played, as well as doing actual tests (both on the local putting greens near me as well as my Birdie-ball setup in the garage), so I should have a fairly comprehensive data set, but to be honest - the confidence is the thing I'm REALLY interested in, as I know I've gotten better just by practicing with my current putter, I just don't love how it feels over the ball. 

 If you have any questions or things you'd specifically like me to take a look at within the confines of the test, please feel free to leave a comment below, and I'll do my best to incorporate as much as I can in the coming weeks (as soon as I actually get my hands on that Big Beautiful Freak of a putter 😜 )

 -Matt "Samsonite" Swanson

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Intro-

My golf game has never been strong with driver and iron play.  Even chipping and pitching is hit and miss sometimes so putting is what can make par or bogey, possibly birdie if each putt is a one-putt!  My age old Pinemeadow Z-ON M1 has served well and made putting the strongest part of my game.  Perhaps the DF 2.1 and its Starship Enterprise look is the way to reduce how many putts per round I get on my card.  I started golf as a game when I was 50 and only months before retiring from the Army.  The PGA Pro at Trails West GC, Fort Leavenworth KS offered golf lessons.  The Post’s Thrift Shop had a bag and clubs, and I was playing golf as often from then on as time would allow.  I saw more of that course than most golfers I’m sure with total strokes per round that made it swing for swing the most inexpensive sport I ever played.  Putting was where my game began, kindled my love of golf in childhood, and it is the part of my game when trees are safe from golf ball impacts.  My Pinemeadow Z-ON M1 was the first club I bought years before getting into the rest of my game and it has rolled putts on carpets and practice greens everywhere.  The information that follows comes from PinemeadowGolf.com

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For this test I need to measure how much different my putting is between the L.A.B. DF 2.1 and my Pinemeadow Z-ON M1.  Data collection will be a continuation of what I already do, having used the SwingU app since 2015 with the Premium subscription for full features.  Data for putting is the number of putts per hole I enter in my routine between green and tee.  As a numbers guy, I like details and the app has over 215 rounds for the past 7 years.  It can tell me on Thursday May 28, 2015 at Rosebrook GC in Silver Creek, NY I shot a 105 for 18-holes and had 2.2 putts per hole (PPH).  SwingU shows my last month average PPH as 1.8 so that is my baseline for this test.  My objective is to lower putts per hole and by how much is the measure of effectiveness.

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18 minutes ago, EasyPutter said:

For this test I need to measure how much different my putting is between the L.A.B. DF 2.1 and my Pinemeadow Z-ON M1.  Data collection will be a continuation of what I already do, having used the SwingU app since 2015 with the Premium subscription for full features.  Data for putting is the number of putts per hole I enter in my routine between green and tee.  As a numbers guy, I like details and the app has over 215 rounds for the past 7 years.  It can tell me on Thursday May 28, 2015 at Rosebrook GC in Silver Creek, NY I shot a 105 for 18-holes and had 2.2 putts per hole (PPH).  SwingU shows my last month average PPH as 1.8 so that is my baseline for this test.  My objective is to lower putts per hole and by how much is the measure of effectiveness.

Based on your description, I am assuming you aren’t going to account for putts when hitting a green and when you didn’t hit a green.  Generally average putts when hitting a green is higher then when you miss a green due to proximity to the hole differences.  Have you considered  breaking down you historical numbers based on number of greens hit and give averages for those numbers or at least give us your average GIR number?  

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1 hour ago, cnosil said:

Based on your description, I am assuming you aren’t going to account for putts when hitting a green and when you didn’t hit a green.  Generally average putts when hitting a green is higher then when you miss a green due to proximity to the hole differences.  Have you considered  breaking down you historical numbers based on number of greens hit and give averages for those numbers or at least give us your average GIR number?  

Short answer:  Your assumption is correct.

Long answer:  The key here is GIR which as a hack golfer 🙋‍♂️ is itself a goal to achieve.  It is now 6 weeks since I moved to outside golf with a driver swing using high tee learned in February on simulators and it is awesome to hit drives to a predictable landing zone.  Same thing with an iron swing also developed indoors to the point where each club has a new distance that I am learning.  Historically speaking there isn't anything to break down since my tee shots before February 2022 were fairway hybrid off short tee with second shots always longer, direction improved to play the short grass but reducing power in the swing for control and inconsistent ball contact hurt on the scorecard.  Chipping has always received praise as exceptional and putting has always been a strength, but neither could compensate for how many shots it took to get on so until recently GIR has been meaningless in my game.  As this test is all about the putt I have to work with what I've got.

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49 minutes ago, EasyPutter said:

GIR has been meaningless in my game.  As this test is all about the putt I have to work with what I've got.

Thanks for the clarification and yes it is about the putter.  My question was related to you measurement of putts and with you described improved swing and potentially hitting more greens you putting stats may get worse but the putter may perform work with what you got, but I just wanted to get an understanding of what you will be presenting from a metrics perspective.  

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I put my order in on the 20th of May.  It is still in the ‘processing’ phase.  So officially at 2 weeks today.  Not that I’m expecting a custom built putter should take less time than that.  Just reporting the facts of the experience thus far.  Most of our testers across the three models have received word that their putters have shipped, so we’ll be rolling soon!

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For the time being, I’m trying to think of a creative name for my putter.  Maybe it will hit me when it gets here.  Kind of a “You just know it when you see it” moment.

Anyone have any suggestions?

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1 hour ago, GolfSpy_CS said:

For the time being, I’m trying to think of a creative name for my putter.  Maybe it will hit me when it gets here.  Kind of a “You just know it when you see it” moment.

Anyone have any suggestions?

For some reason I always associate these with Alice in Wonderland.  Looks like a Mad Hatter hat, a Cheshire cat grin, and the Queen of Hearts crown all in one. I would definitely call it Alice.  Besides that funky design, looks like it came straight from Wonderland.

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5 hours ago, GolfSpy_CS said:

For the time being, I’m trying to think of a creative name for my putter.  Maybe it will hit me when it gets here.  Kind of a “You just know it when you see it” moment.

Anyone have any suggestions?

There is soooo many possibilities for the unique design of the DF 2.1, I'm already playing with the idea of it coming from the L.A.B. if you know what I mean! 

3 hours ago, GrumpyGolf said:

For some reason I always associate these with Alice in Wonderland.  Looks like a Mad Hatter hat, a Cheshire cat grin, and the Queen of Hearts crown all in one. I would definitely call it Alice.  Besides that funky design, looks like it came straight from Wonderland.

I like that thinking, has a tie-in to literature and something culturally significant and iconic in itself 👍

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This is so much like a Ground Hog Day movie kind of experience and like Bill Murray waking up in the same moment every day, stepping to the ball on the green every time with one more opportunity to keep my Pinemeadow Z-ON M1 working at its best has me hoping that moment when time will see fit to correct the loop and change the Processing status to Completed will signify that the testing is in fact ON and close at hand figuratively and literally.  

Naming anything is perhaps the most difficult thing for anyone to do as it invokes the highest level of intellect.  Clues for what to name something could be from any relevant aspect such as the company name L.A.B. that might prompt something like Centrifuge, Consistometer, or Homogenizer. 

My tendency is to veer towards using lesser known or used words found in unabridged dictionary or thesaurus.  Words like: Limerance as the state of being infatuated or obsessed, Inhesion as the condition of being inherent in something, Obdurate as a stubbornly refusing to change one's course of action, Perspicacious as the DF 2.1 would seem to have a ready insight into and understanding of things.  I'm leaning towards Groak as to look on silently like a dog does when people are eating hoping to be asked to eat a bit, or perhaps how others are likely to be watching the MGS Tester putting with a DF 2.1 ... and with that I think I have acheived Satisdiction, the condition of having said enough.

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5 hours ago, GrumpyGolf said:

For some reason I always associate these with Alice in Wonderland.  Looks like a Mad Hatter hat, a Cheshire cat grin, and the Queen of Hearts crown all in one. I would definitely call it Alice.  Besides that funky design, looks like it came straight from Wonderland.

I could totally see using ’Mad Hatter’.

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Thanks to MGS for the opportunity to review this exciting new concept in putter technology. Like many here I was clicking on MGS’s review offerings, never fully realizing the actual ramifications of being chosen. Now I’ve got to produce a cognitive, semi-literate explanation of why I like or dislike the L.A.B. Directed Force 2.1 putter, to thousands of y'all. The pressure I have placed upon myself is similar to being paired with the +4 handicap golfer (that’s better than scratch), and having to follow him off the tee. When you have to follow a player who smashes their driver 80 yards further than you, all muscle memory disappears ... all mental shot processing gets blurry ... and all I can think is, “don’t be a pussy. KILL it.” And of course thats when I roll it 30 yards.

Being selected has caused me to obsess over my putting ability ... I have been analyzing my misses. The question is: is it the putter or is it operator error? 

4th. ... Miss-reading the speed: a lag putt that rolls 15 feet past the cup. 

3rd. ... Chickening out: afraid my putt is going to end up 15 feet past the cup, and then leaving it 10 feet short. 

2nd. ... Read the break wrong. 

And my #1 miss: ... Hand movement off my putting plane ... which I believe causes a myriad of my misses. This is where I want to see how the DF 2.1 impacts my game. This is where I might be able to see improvement ... and it happens to be the number one selling point of this putter, by the way. It is supposed to be easier to keep square and provide forgiveness on miss hits. I’m genuinely looking forward to using it.

 I spent all winter trying to stop my hands from drifting off line, on my BirdieBall green with tracks I added. And I was happy with those efforts resulting in 28-32 putts per round this Spring.
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I am 65 yrs old and I play 54-72 holes per week at Marietta Country Club in Southeastern Ohio. I've only been playing now for about 3 years because I was forced to take a 14 year hiatus from golf due to severe chronic pain. Cervical, Thoracic, and Lumbar surgeries all traded one pain for a another, more intense pain ... and my knees were bad, too. Eventually, I had one of my knees replaced and suddenly I started wanting to be active again. Pretty soon I pulled out one of my dusty old clubs and started swinging in the backyard. I bought a net, a mat, and that old fire for the game came roaring back. I was an 18 handicapper when I received my test putter.

I wanted to be a PGA Professional when I was 22, back in 1979. I spent a year as an apprentice. Unfortunately, the pay was so bad ($3 hr), I barely survived the season, and then had to find alternate income for the winter months. I started a club repair business, which was making me enough money that I didn’t want to go back to $3 hr. My plan then was to bank a little money for a few years, and then get back into the apprentice program. What I didn’t foresee was falling for a girl and getting married. She was a teacher with summers off, and she did not like the idea of me having an opposite seasonal work schedule. So instead I went back to college and embarked on a career in print design and publishing. I’ve got to add that I had recurring golf nightmares for 10 years after getting out of the industry. They always centered around me sneaking in to play in a golf tournament, being discovered, and then being chased off the golf course by the gallery. 

My game is getting better. My handicap is slowly dropping ... I get it to 16. my back gives me fits, and then it starts creeping up again. My enjoyment for the game is as strong as it ever was. Now I gotta get that other knee done ... and my ankle ... and my trigger fingers. Damn, I'm getting old.

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I think I have problems solved, but font size is off & I can’t find appropriate change.

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1 hour ago, B_R_A_D_Y said:

I think I have problems solved, but font size is off & I can’t find appropriate change.

Looks like the regular font size to me. 

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4 hours ago, B_R_A_D_Y said:

Well ... mine was installed wrong, and when I would used it it electrocuted my nuts ... I can assure you unequivocally that I completely forgot about the pain in my back!

I cannot imagine (...or maybe just don't want to) the pain that must have caused, but that genuinely made me laugh. 

As the two resident basket-cases as a result of getting selected for this test and radically different putter, here's hoping this thing's the grail and solves all of life's problems. Or, you know, a few less knee-knockers 😉

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Had another curve ball thrown at me … how long did it take y’all to receive ur putter once u were notified that it shipped? My vacation plans just got moved up a week, so if it doesn’t ship today, I won’t get it in time, and I’m going to be gone for 2 weeks. Thinking abt having it shipped to where I’m going to be. I emailed them, and got this reply.

Thank you for contacting LAB Golf. We are currently experiencing an extremely high volume of both phone calls and emails so please expect a delay in our response. We are responding to both emails and voicemails in the order in which they are received and will respond as quickly as we are able. 

Thank you for your patience and understanding. We will be in touch soon!

 LAB Golf Customer Service Team 

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I know you haven’t received your putters year, but wanted to put a thought in you mind for you evaluations…. How much does this putter change how you have putted in the past; either from a feel or mechanical perspective.  I have been trying one for the past few months and have my thoughts but wanted you to consider this when evaluating the putter.   Maybe you answer is none and maybe it is a lot.  

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2 minutes ago, cnosil said:

I know you haven’t received your putters year, but wanted to put a thought in you mind for you evaluations…. How much does this putter change how you have putted in the past; either from a feel or mechanical perspective.  I have been trying one for the past few months and have my thoughts but wanted you to consider this when evaluating the putter.   Maybe you answer is none and maybe it is a lot.  

After reading a few comments from Sam Hahn, the L.A.B. CEO, I’m going to go about this test differently then I originally intended to.

There is a pretty big thread on WRX from back when they tested the DF2.1, and Sam was a frequent contributor to it. He suggested not doing a head to head comp against your current putter, as the setup and stroke with the DF needed to be different from that of a “normal” putter.

I’ll admit to feeling some trepidation when I saw that, because as I stated in my intro, I’m very comfortable with my putting, and have been for a long time. I’m willing to give this a thing a fair shake, but I don’t want to have to completely change my approach either, if that makes sense?

I like to read your comments on golf and equipment, and appreciate the time you’ve taken to both answer my questions and offer advice to me over the last couple of years. I noticed your comments about the DF2.1, and I’ll admit they concerned me. If I had spent out of pocket what this putter retails for, I’d expect to see improvement rather quickly, or what’s the point? How much improvement is hard to quantify, but I’ll go with a comment made during a Congressional hearing years ago when talking about regulating the porn industry online. The speaker was asked to define porn. His reply was “I can’t define it, but I know it when I see it.”

As helpful as you’ve been to me, I’ll now try to return the favor here. We’re expecting a lot of feedback and help from both Mr. Hahn and I’d assume others at LAB. Whatever I hear from them or notice on my own, I’ll be happy to share. Any questions or advice you might have, please ask, and share.
I’d love it if you took a more active role (same with @edingc) here sharing your thoughts on the 2.1 with us. The more the merrier, as they say.

 

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15 minutes ago, Grand Stranded said:

After reading a few comments from Sam Hahn, the L.A.B. CEO, I’m going to go about this test differently then I originally intended to.

There is a pretty big thread on WRX from back when they tested the DF2.1, and Sam was a frequent contributor to it. He suggested not doing a head to head comp against your current putter, as the setup and stroke with the DF needed to be different from that of a “normal” putter.

I’ll admit to feeling some trepidation when I saw that, because as I stated in my intro, I’m very comfortable with my putting, and have been for a long time. I’m willing to give this a thing a fair shake, but I don’t want to have to completely change my approach either, if that makes sense?

I like to read your comments on golf and equipment, and appreciate the time you’ve taken to both answer my questions and offer advice to me over the last couple of years. I noticed your comments about the DF2.1, and I’ll admit they concerned me. If I had spent out of pocket what this putter retails for, I’d expect to see improvement rather quickly, or what’s the point? How much improvement is hard to quantify, but I’ll go with a comment made during a Congressional hearing years ago when talking about regulating the porn industry online. The speaker was asked to define porn. His reply was “I can’t define it, but I know it when I see it.”

As helpful as you’ve been to me, I’ll now try to return the favor here. We’re expecting a lot of feedback and help from both Mr. Hahn and I’d assume others at LAB. Whatever I hear from them or notice on my own, I’ll be happy to share. Any questions or advice you might have, please ask, and share.
I’d love it if you took a more active role (same with @edingc) here sharing your thoughts on the 2.1 with us. The more the merrier, as they say.

 

I was thinking the same thing when considering how to go about the DF 2.1 testing, how to compare it to itself and how my putting compares to putting before and not be a direct comparison of putters but instead my own putting and therefore putting ability by results.

When you refer to "your" in the 3rd paragraph and "you've" in the 4th, is that directed to Sam Hahn?  It would be excellent to know they are reading the forum as MGSpies perhaps! 

   It was amusing to see a porn industry tie-in to this thread and I totally didn't see that one coming 😂, but considering the shape of the DF 2.1 mallet head... ooh la la!

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I know they recommend a more forward ball position.  I already putt with the ball more towards my left/lead foot already, so I don’t see this being to big of a change for me. 

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4 minutes ago, EasyPutter said:

I was thinking the same thing when considering how to go about the DF 2.1 testing, how to compare it to itself and how my putting compares to putting before and not be a direct comparison of putters but instead my own putting and therefore putting ability by results.

When you refer to "your" in the 3rd paragraph and "you've" in the 4th, is that directed to Sam Hahn?  It would be excellent to know they are reading the forum as MGSpies perhaps! 

   It was amusing to see a porn industry tie-in to this thread and I totally didn't see that one coming 😂, but considering the shape of the DF 2.1 mallet head... ooh la la!

😂 I’m not going to lie, I thought the same thing about the porn reference as I was typing it out, but for some reason it’s been in my head ever since we were selected, and I began to wonder what I was looking to gain from this. I’m hoping for some type of gain obviously, but it’s hard to quantify exactly what?

As for your other question,… No, I wasn’t referring to Mr. Hahn there, those remarks were directed to @cnosil. I’ve been a fairly regular contributor to mainly 3 threads here on MGS, the what did you buy, what are you thinking of buying, and how did you play. He’s not only a member of the Hit Squad here, he’s someone who seems to take a very measured approach to equipment. When he makes a change like he did to Honda irons, or in this case a DF2.1, I enjoy reading his thoughts on why, and following his progress with them.

I think we’re lucky to have found a place where so many are not only open about their game, but are friendly enough to share there opinions. That said, it’s a very large group of people, and I’ve noticed over the last few years there is a relatively small circle that I interact with and follow more than others. I think that’s normal however. Just like in every other aspect of our lives, most of us try to be friendly with everyone, but it’s normal to gravitate toward a small group.

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6 Comments


Not that this hasn't been stated multiple times, by me, multiple places, but....Good lord I'm excited to get this thing and put(t) it through its paces. 

I'll be spending the days until it arrives attempting to come up with the perfect nickname (that isn't "the putter formerly known as Prince" but DAMN that was a good one).  

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2 hours ago, Samsonite said:

Not that this hasn't been stated multiple times, by me, multiple places, but....Good lord I'm excited to get this thing and put(t) it through its paces. 

I'll be spending the days until it arrives attempting to come up with the perfect nickname (that isn't "the putter formerly known as Prince" but DAMN that was a good one).  

How about "Peanut Putter and Jelly" cause only jelly rolls like that!

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13 minutes ago, GrumpyGolf said:

How about "Peanut Putter and Jelly" cause only jelly rolls like that!

I've entered it into my database. Fair warning, though: all other jellies have also been entered (Various fruits, along with Vaseline and KY, just to cover all the bases). 

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The L.A.B. Golf subscription is for an email sent to your personal email and has some illuminating information such as this in this morning's post:

Maybe you already have a L.A.B. Golf putter. Or maybe you're planning to get one. Either way, there's something really important you need to know about our putters!

In this video, L.A.B. Golf CEO Sam Hahn explains that because L.A.B. putters are onset it helps to play the ball a little more forward in your stance.

This can help get the ball rolling faster (you'll catch it more on the upswing) and also eliminate some of the pushes and pulls that can result from a ball position that is too far back. 

As you'll see in the video, it's really simple to do. 

 

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