Pros: Nike's Method 005 Breathes Better Balance, True Roll, and Better Feel Into A Classic Design.
Cons: This version shows how desperately the old Rossi needed an update.
Reworking The Classics From Newport To Rossi
There is no doubt in my mind that this is the best series of putters Nike has ever come out with. I realize that for many people, that isn't exactly a very high bar to surpass. Nike putters have failed time and again to make it into the bags of their own tour staff, let alone the bags of those who prize Scotty Camerons, Ping Ansers, Odyssey 2-Balls and the like. The Unitized Series was actually fairly promising, as it did indeed conduct the feel of impact directly up the shaft, without interference from a separate hosel and shaft. Sadly, it was kind of clunky looking in all of its different iterations, though at the current closeout pricings--I still recommend it.
The Nike Oz Series was also quite good, but they were most definitely a second tier putter when compared against those self same Scotty Camerons, Odyssey 2-Balls, Rife Micro Grooves, and Yes C-Groove Putters. None the less, I carried an Oz TC-130 in my bag for over 5 years. That's a long time for any club to remain in my bag. Like a lot of Nike's Equipment at that time, it was engineered on sound basic concepts. If you put the shaft in the center, and balance it with tungsten weights way back on the heel and toe, a straight back and straight through pendulum stroke is almost idiot proof. (And believe me--this idiot was grateful.) But alas, it was definitely a mid-capper's club. Something a tour player wouldn't be caught dead using.
As with a lot of Nike's better ideas, these new Method Putters aren't actually so much revolutionary as they are a confluence of already tried technologoies taken to the next step, and perfected after a series of prototypes and demo runs. Polymer poured into a putter is not a new technology. It was actually perfected on the 3rd generation of The Zen Oracle Putter several years ago. Micro-Grooves are not a new idea. In fact Spalding (The old Top Flite Company) had purchased this idea off of Guerin Rife back in the 90's. When Spalding decided to unload Top Flite to Callaway, Mr. Rife reacquired the rights to his "Roll Grooves Technolgy " 10 years after its original introduction, and started his own putter company. Yes' "C" grooves actually back date to roughly the same time. In fact, Harold Swash had started the company on a shoe string, and its original company name back then was "C Groove Putters." Nike has simply taken the idea and updated it to where the groove pattern is not only optimized, but works together with the polymer to create grip, feel, and top spin. The entire face is milled for consistency of feel and sound. Of course, milling isn't exactly a new science either. In fact prototype after prototype was built in order to test one, and only one idea at a time via "The Scientific Method"--thus the name of America's most hyped putter since Carbite's "It takes Brass Balls" campaign. But does it work?
The answer is most definitely--yes. Anyone who reads my golf ball reviews with even the slightest regularity knows that I constantly rate them not only on distance, workability, and spin--but on putter interaction as well. I always write about three things. The Audible Cue, The Tactile Cue, and The Line the ball holds. Nike has built countless protypes addressing these very 3 issues. The Polymer Groove Technololgy not only dampens impact, providing that tour level "Muted Click", but it also provides a very nice tactile cue of a split second of cling. The consistency of "The Interspersed Steel Milled Face" is what helps turn a soft polymer thud into a nice audible click, and add a touch of firmness to the cling. This particular mallet design is just another fine example of what Nike has brought to the table.
Beating Rossi At Their Own Game
This review wasn't too easy to write. After all, a Rossi Dual Force II Brass Putter with Original Black Odyssey Insert rode in my bag for some time. Rossi's were THE MALLET PUTTER at the turn of this century, and odds are, if you didn't play with one yourself, you darn sure knew someone who did. It peppered the tour, both PGA and Champions tour, and it had it's fair share of Nationwide and LPGA players as well. The design was such a success that it acted as ""The Other Shoulder" that worked in tandem with The 2 Ball to help Odyssey build their empire. Even after Callaway acquired Odyssey, Rossi's were rolling off the assembly line in every form and fashion. (I beleive it was after the Callaway Acquisition that they stated being called "Rossie's.) "E" at the end or not, these things were everywhere, and in lots of different shapes and sizes.
When Odyssey decided to experiment with a new "Crimson Insert" it went into the good ol' Rossi line and it was dubbed "The Crimson Series." When Odyssey debated whether or not to revisit the original Black Insert, guess which model got to bring it to the market place for them. When the call went out for mallets of different sizes--mid-mallet, full-mallet, etc.. and mallets of all different hosel configurations 1/2 offset, full offset, double bend, plumber's neck, etc, it was usually one or another form of The Rossi. Until very recently, everytime Odyssey experimented with their insert, White Insert, White Hot Insert, White Hot Steel Insert, you could count on one or another version of a Rossi bringing it to the marketplace for them. It was, indeed, Odyssey's most succesful design behind The 2-Ball. So it surprises me very little, and actually strikes me as ingenious in its own ironic way, that Nike would bring their new technology to the forefront on the back of this model in addition to the other recognizable versions. Alas, poor Rossi, I knew it well.
In all fairness I wanted to run this side by sise with the latest Odyssey Insert I could find. It turned out to be the slightly softer yet older White Hot version that came out before this newer firmer version called White Ice, which is fairly devoid of cling. This older version at least gives The Odyssey Rossi a chance in The Cling Department. It's funny, that this is the one putter that really made my fingers and elbows work to sense the touch of extra cling that The Nike provided over the competition. Oh the Nike won in this departent alright, but oddly enough, this Rossi, a slightly dated model can now be had for less than half the price of The Nike. The Nike definitely has more cling than This Rossi, but not twice as much. It does, however, offer a nice touch of crispness via the interspersed steel, that The Rossi was not equipped to match and therefor could not compete with.
True Line Roll definitely goes to The Nike. The Method wins this contest time and again in all of its iterations against any and all competitors I put it up against. Sadly for The Rossi, the outcome was no different. Rossi's are indeed accurate putters, that's why they are still around, but overspin is just not what they are all about. The Nike Method has grabbed this important function in effective putting and brought it to the forefront. I won't go so far as to say they have perfected overspin and true ball roll, but they have come closer than anyone else so far.
Overall balance also goes to the Nike. Now the Rossi isn't exactly a poorly balanced putter. It is still a highly effective putter, but it is a design whose prime has passed it by. I'm certain if someone were to take this stalwart design into the studio, and scientifically go over each and every facet that would make it more effective, it could be a phenomenal putter once again. Oh yeah--that's what this Nike Method 005 did. Guess what, it is still an extremely effective design, and with the polymetal grooves, and milled face The Rossi Rides Again!