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Machine M2A Converter Putter – Part 1 – The Story and The Putter

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Machine M2A Converter Putter – Part 1 – The Story and The Putter

An Official MyGolfSpy.com Review

http://www.doglegright.com/

 

Did you check out the latest additions to the Machine Putter picture thread?

I think that it is safe to assume that many of you first became familiar with Machine Putters through the frequently updated photo threads that can be found in this, and many other online golf forums. I stumbled across the Machine Putters picture thread right about the same time that I realized that there were other putters available to the consumer that would not likely be found at your local golf shop. I was just becoming aware of the putter making skills of Byron Morgan, Bob Bettinardi, David Mills, and others when I saw this photo.

 

machine.jpg

 

That piece of copper beauty stopped me in my tracks. I can't tell you how many times I looked at that photo, envisioning its copper perfection slowly starting to patina in my bag. I knew that obtaining such a putter would require some fiscal assistance, so I put together this little money making scheme.

 

jar.jpg

 

Regrettably, Oprah never called and the jar has about three dollars in it to this day. Once I recovered from this crushing disappointment, I was left with more than a little curiosity about what Machine Putters was all about.

 

Is there a putter maker who doesn't have an interesting history?

One of the fascinating things that I uncovered during my evolution into a full-fledged putter addict is that learning about the man behind the putters is always just as interesting as learning about the putters themselves. Think about the stories behind such putter crafters as Karsten Solheim, TP Mills, Scotty Cameron, Bruce Sizemore, Byron Morgan, Tad Moore, Bob Bettinardi, and so on. Each one has a fascinating history that would make for a great telling over a shared beverage by the fire.

 

Dave Billings, the founder and artist behind Machine Putters, is no exception. A more thorough biography can be found on the Machine site (HERE) but I will give you a brief summary. Dave grew up in a family where the arts were valued and encouraged. He pursued and studied art in college, working in both bronze and marble. It wasn't until later in life, when the fiscal pressures of life and family emerged, that Dave entered the golf industry.

 

Like many of us, exposure to golf fostered a deep love for the game. Dave's early positions in the golf industry were not in the design arena, but rather in marketing and promotion. A couple of companies and a couple of moves later, Dave was in the golf design business, but he was working on bags not clubs. However, after an ah-ha “putting” moment with his young son, Dave came up with a putter design that, along with some seed money and a sketch of the family dog, would move him into the putter making business. As it says on their site, “Dogleg Right was born”.

 

Can a Machine be Art?

The term “machine” is not one that immediately jumps to mind when I think about art. After a short ponder though, numerous examples of mechanical art come to mind. The first things that came to my mind were the sleek lines of the Porsche 911 (dream ride) and the work of HR Giger (http://www.hrgiger.com/). As art appreciation is often subjective, I'll concede that you may not like the looks of the 911, and Giger's art may even be a bit disconcerting for you to look at. However, I think that even one who doesn't find the 911 or Giger appealing, would agree that the craft and precision behind the art is amazing. The art of “the machine” is visually striking and mechanically precise. In retrospect, Machine Putters is a great name for a putter making company.

 

OK, Enough Readin', Show Me That Machine

 

IMG_2446.jpg

 

Fair enough. The Machine putter that I bring you today is the M2A Converter done in standard 303 stainless steel. Some of you will take one look this putter and say, “Why that's just a copy of Karsten's Anser!” subsequently returning to your porch and yelling at the neighbor kids to stay off your lawn. While you will get no argument from me, or likely Mr. Billings, that the soul of the design is that historic PING, you would be seriously delusional to think that there is not something different and significant in the design of the M2A.

 

IMG_2447.jpg

 

Looking at the putter, it is easy to see the hand of the artist that shaped the design of this putter. Strong lines, both at address and from the non-playing angles, characterize this M2A. What is interesting about the design is that although the overall shape of this putter is rectangular and blocky, there is still a fluid feeling of flow when you look at it and play with it. While this M2A is more of a standard design, you can work with Dave to make your Machine a truly unique work of putting art. Melt the bumpers, peen the surfaces, add a hint of Damascus, and truly uncover the artwork that is buried in the metal.

 

IMG_2448.jpg

 

A bit of further inspection of this “standard” model and one discovers more of Dave's artistic touches. The milling on the face makes a strong visual statement, both in pattern and precision.

 

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Like any machine though, good looks are nice, but the machine has to work. The milling pattern on the face is a great example of the marriage of aesthetics and function. The letters “VMG” on the face stand for Vertical Mill Groove, which is the name for the face's milling pattern.

 

IMG_2369.jpg

 

It is a cool pattern to look at, but its effect on feel is amazing. Although this putter is made of 303 stainless, it has a feel so soft that I would have sworn it was carbon steel. I let multiple people roll a few balls with the M2A, and to a person, they were amazed with the feel of the ball coming off of the face. I am sure that other elements in the overall design help to promote this feel as well. Regardless, this is one of the softest feeling stainless steel putters I have ever rolled balls with.

 

IMG_2445.jpg

 

Also impressive, is the excellent feedback provided by the M2A. The soft feel should in no way be interpreted as dead and unresponsive during the stroke. The ball moves well off of the face and should you deviate away from the center of the face, you will notice the feedback.

 

It Feels Like You are Holding Something Back…

I'll admit it, while I love the precision and the visuals of the M2A, that is not the real reason that I was attracted to this putter. To this point, I have only showed you photos of the putter in what I would call “Anser 2” configuration. I have omitted a feature of the M2A that is kind of a big deal.

 

This putter can also look like this:

 

IMG_2433.jpg

 

Or like this:

 

IMG_2441.jpg

 

Or even like this:

 

IMG_2423.jpg

 

You see, those screws on the bumpers and the additional one on the sole are not included for purely cosmetic reasons. They do look cool, but what they really are about is the second part of this putter's name, the M2A Converter.

 

IMG_2412.jpg

 

The “amazing”, “that's cool”, “I need to have one” feature about this putter is that you can easily change the necks and backs on the putter to reconfigure it into totally different designs. Again, that guy on the porch is yelling, “I like my putter as it is and I don't want it changin' none!” I am not that guy. My pulse rate goes up a few ticks just thinking about swapping out the parts and making a totally new putter to go play with. At the tame end, you can switch out the machined weights to change the swing weight of your putter. At the more drastic end, you can swap necks and see if you putt better with a plumbers or a double bend neck. There are literally hundreds of combinations of components and metals that you can assemble.

 

IMG_2421.jpg

 

IMG_2408.jpg

 

Along with the plumbers neck and standard back, my box from Machine also included a double bend hosel, a center shafted modular hosel, a FatBack flange, and a Tongue flange. To do the math for you, that makes nine different possible configurations. Fasten your seatbelt, here come the photos…

 

Modular Center Shaft Hosel

IMG_2364.jpg

 

IMG_2371.jpg

 

IMG_2372.jpg

 

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IMG_2410.jpg

 

IMG_2416.jpg

 

IMG_2417.jpg

 

IMG_2421.jpg

 

IMG_2424.jpg

 

Double Bend Hosel

IMG_2430.jpg

 

IMG_2429.jpg

 

IMG_2436.jpg

 

IMG_2437.jpg

 

IMG_2441.jpg

 

IMG_2442.jpg

 

Plumbers Neck

IMG_2446.jpg

 

IMG_2431.jpg

 

IMG_2432.jpg

 

IMG_2433.jpg

 

IMG_2434.jpg

 

So How Do You Switch the Components

Take a peek at this video.

 

As you observed, changing the backs and the necks just requires a quick turn of the screws. It is worth noting that the way that the parts fit together is nothing short of amazing. The precision of the Machine is apparent when you slide on the back flange or set the neck. The parts fit together perfectly. I don't use the word perfect lightly either. You don't have to force the parts together, and yet they fit snug enough together that the screws are almost not necessary. Very impressive.

 

The ability for the putter addict to swap out components may make the M2A Converter one of the best value purchases that he or she will ever make. Now you can purchase a new neck or flange and curb that compulsion to buy a new putter. Right now I am thinking about how cool a copper spacer would look next to the FatBack flange. Maybe paired with a copper longneck plumbers hosel. Ah dreams of putter pornography…

 

Wrap-up of Part One and What's Next in Part Two

It is with no reservation that I write that the Machine M2A Converter is one of the nicest putters that I have ever had the pleasure to hold. Even if one could not swap out components, I would still laud Dave Billings' craftsmanship and artistry and would include this putter in any conversation about what putter someone should consider when looking for a new flatstick. The fact that you can swap out the components and in doing so change your putter into one that is completely different puts the M2A into a category by itself.

 

Part Two of this review will focus upon the effect that changing the components has on the performance of the putter (and the person holding it). I will be using the iPING app for the iPhone to see how changing the necks and backs changes the scored parameters of my putting stroke. After collecting the data, we will see if the configuration that gives me the most consistent results in the app is the one that performs the best on the course.

 

But until then, go check out the Machine Putters Picture Thread and see what kind of Machine you would build.

 

 

 

Fun Bonus: Video Production

Here is the set-up that I used to film the video :)

IMG_0612.jpg

 

IMG_0613.jpg

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Very nice review and excellent photography (#jealousy).

 

I'll be very interested to see the iPING results. I've messed around trying to test this idea myself, but not enough to learn anything.

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Very cool write up Dave. Machine putters have always been one of those I ooooh over and then think it's a bit of a standard players league. Perhaps not so eh?

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Very cool write up Dave. Machine putters have always been one of those I ooooh over and then think it's a bit of a standard players league. Perhaps not so eh?

I think that you can come up with some very non-standard designs here. Some configuration should meet your eye and stroke.

Plus, the prices are right in line with the other non-custom putters that you would find in the big golf shops.

I forgot to add it in the review, but here is the link to the pricing.

http://www.doglegright.com/order.html

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Great job documenting this all! Looks like a GREAT putter.

 

I'm assuming you don't get ALL of the options when you order, rather you order one option? (am I just being lazy and I should visit their site to see?)

 

I've been trying out another company's putter that does some similar stuff, but not quite to the same level.

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Great job documenting this all! Looks like a GREAT putter.

 

I'm assuming you don't get ALL of the options when you order, rather you order one option? (am I just being lazy and I should visit their site to see?)

 

I've been trying out another company's putter that does some similar stuff, but not quite to the same level.

 

Hopefully Dave won't mind, but I'll jump in and answer since I'm fairly familiar with Machine:

 

You can get all those options when you order, but it's not standard. They have a huge menu of different putters and attachments, and you can order whatever you want.

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Hopefully Dave won't mind, but I'll jump in and answer since I'm fairly familiar with Machine:

 

You can get all those options when you order, but it's not standard. They have a huge menu of different putters and attachments, and you can order whatever you want.

You are right. Check post #4 for the link to the options and price list. :)

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