Hireko recently debuted the new Acer SHM-2 (Simple Harmonic Motion) mallet putter and we have already have received a lot of interest and questions.
Having developed the putter as well as played and tested it with fellow golfers for several months now, I would like to give you some advice when it comes to fitting.
First of all, there are a number of ways the Acer SHM-2 putter can be assembled and it doesn’t have to be counterbalanced or made longer like the video shows.
- It could be assembled as a conventional length putter for those that prefer a head heavy feel.
- It could be assembled at standard length with a counterweight.
- It could be assembled longer without counterweighting.
- It could be assembled longer with counterweighting.
OK, you may say any putter could be assembled in any of those 4 manners and you would be correct. However, for a putter to work in unison with counterweighting, we feel it is best to use a head that is heavier than the norm. The Acer SHM-2 tips the scales at 385 grams compared to 340-350 grams for your average putter head. When we were in the design phase of this model, it was primarily for options #3 and 4 as an alternative to the upcoming anchoring ban. As you already know, putting is all about preferences, so we are glad to offer such a versatile putter.
How we tested it
Our testing of the SHM-2 mallet putter started with the 44” Apollo Double Bend putter shaft to create the longer assembly length. This shaft fits over the post (or tang) and creates a face balanced design as well as an offset. We made the putter 38” long or what is 3” or perhaps 4” longer than a conventional length putter (depending on your standard), yet 3 or 4 inches shorter than a belly putter. We outfitted the putter with the new Winn Excel 15” Pistol putter grip, which is the grip length seen on many new counterweighted putters to hit the market.
Could you use belly putter grips instead? I am afraid at this length belly putter grips are going to be too long for the parallel butt section of this shaft and would require building up making tape so there would not be a gap at the mouth and look unprofessional. Even with the 15” Winn grip, you may have to build up the shaft with tape if going under 37” in length. Secondly, the 15” Winn grip is relatively heavy to act as a counterbalance as well. Some of the shorter belly putter grips (17” in length) tend to be lighter. If you decide to go to a shorter or conventional putter length, you could use a shorter compound double putter or single bend shaft (if you didn’t want the offset) with a standard length putter grip.
To fit players efficiently I wanted to use the Tour Lock Pro weights so I cut a hole in the butt end of the grip with the grip modifier. These would range anywhere from 16 to 100 grams for the testing along with no weight as all. I interchanged different weights and altered back and forth without the weight and observed patterns on putting from short range (@ 15 feet) and long range (@ 30 feet).
Observing the shot pattern
After observing not only where my shots were going, but with fellow golfers as well, what was most interesting was where misses fell. I feel overall that with counterweight, the clustering of shots improved. With no weight at all or the very light counterweight either had the putts miss short and occasionally long or generally less consistent.
Contrary to what you might think, as the weights increased, the misses started going longer than the hole. That is not a bad thing if you are always short of the hole – remember, never up, never in. However, they wouldn’t take the right breaks and fall in like some of the lighter weight did. This can be explained by the golfer releasing the putter as the balance point moves closer to the player’s hands.
Green speed played an important role in what weight seemed optimal for each golfer’s stroke. The 60g weight down to the 40g weights had the highest frequency of putts holed. After that, the putter with no counterbalance other than the weight of the grip was preferred. This is why it is important to fit the player on an individual basis and why I like the Tour Lock Pro system so well.
Putting is such an individualized endeavor and the reason why you see putters in all sorts of styles, length, weights, grips, etc. The versatility of the Acer SHM-2 will be sure to help a lot of golfers but use an open mind whether you are trying it yourself or fitting a player. One player I tested was a devout standard length, blade-style putter. He wasn’t particularly fond of mallet designs or longer lengths. I had him putt first with his gamer to get a feel for the green and then handed him the SMH-2 putter with a 60g counterweight. As soon as he tried it the first time, the putt holed out. After several more putts either making or nearly missing from 30 feet he asked when this putter would be available for sale.
Acer SHM-2 Mallet Putter – Custom Assembled
Acer SHM-2 Mallet Putter (RH) – Clubhead
If you read through golf periodicals, forums and blogs, you will soon see there is so much emphasis of late that has been put on low spin for more distance. Why?
Spin is necessary to create lift to the ball. This is the reason why there is a whole science devoted to the golf ball’s material, construction and dimple geometry. Even in clubhead design, the location of the center of gravity of the head helps to control how high one hits the ball along with the rate of spin.
We can all relate to the fact a lower center of gravity or a head with a higher concentration of mass positioned low will yield a higher ball flight with all else equal. However, ask the average consumer about moving weight back away from the face or forward to the face and they will have a blank expression on their face as to what will happen.
For each and every golfer, there is an optimal launch angle and amount of spin that produces the best overall distance. You might have heard the phrase “high launch / low spin for greater distance”. Where that concept most likely derived from was the long drive circuit or the professional players, both of whom have high swing speeds and often swing on an upward angle to generate a higher launch angle. I won’t argue that most golfers are better off with a higher launch, but does that mean low spin is good for everyone too?
There is an old idiom that says “Too much of a good thing…” For instance, excessive spin can cause the ball to drop what seems like straight from the sky and with very little roll. This is also referred to as “ballooning” the ball. Guess what, with too little spin and that will rob a player of valuable carry distance.
It was finally time once and for all to find out first hand in the hands of ordinary golfers if that was the case. Several months ago our foundry began to make up a driver with a linear adjustable moveable weight. Sorry, I am not going to share any photos even though you are not likely to see it available from Hireko in the future. It was made in the most popular loft today (10.5º).
This head had the ability shift approximately 9 grams off weight in a span of 3” from front-to-back and yet maintain the same vertical center of gravity. It came as no surprise that with the weight the furthest back, the launch angle and subsequent spin was the highest using a Trackman launch monitor to gather results (example of one golfer is shown). By moving the weight to the most forward position we showed about 1 degree lower launch angle and 200-300 rpm reduction in spin. Why this occurs is the shaft will show less bending forward prior to impact in order to align itself with the center of gravity of the head (less dynamic loft).
As a result, carry distance and ball speed decreased with the weight in the forward position and that caused on average a loss of 2-3 yards – all this just from moving a mere 9 grams forward. This is why we are glad we did not jump on the forward CG bandwagon as the vast majority of our customers do not fall into the high swing speed category where it may benefit. Plus there is no need to loft up which will only increase the amount of spin anyway.
Limited edition Team USA and Team Europe versions in celebration of 2012 Ryder Cup! S400 and X100 flexes. Taper tip, constant weight design, matched in +/- 0.5 gram sets (3-PW). Extra #2 iron and wedge shafts available.
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