Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Product Review: Axis1 Umbra

The history of golf club design is rich with unique styles. Some worked, like cavity-back irons and oversized drivers, while others were complete and utter failures. Remember the Orizaba Power Pod drivers of the mid 1980s or Cleveland Golf’s VAS irons? A sucker is born every minute and many buy golf equipment.

One trip to the PGA Merchandise show and you’ll see countless other offerings that will barely see the light of day ... and certainly won’t help your golf game (a dimple-free golf ball?).

If you’ve become tainted and believe true innovation is no longer a part of the game, perhaps you should seek out an Axis1 putter and find the nearest putting green.

Founded in 2006 by acclaimed industrial designer Luis Pedraza (he designed the Spaceball - a 3-Dimensional computer mouse which was used to control the Mars Rover Expedition), Axis1 is a breath of fresh air and a company to keep an eye on.

An expert in user observation and ergonomics, Pedraza saw a critical flaw in contemporary putter design: that all major putters on the market today are actually out of balance. Axis1 offers the first 100 percent perfectly balanced putters in the game. Because Axis1 putters are perfectly balanced, they don't naturally open-up, resulting in more on-line putts and lower scores.

How was this accomplished? By pushing the weight forward with a patented heel counterweight that, for the first time, places the center of gravity right on the center of the striking face and perfectly aligned with the axis of the shaft.

Impressive talk, but Axis1 backed it up by sending American Golfer the “modern mallet” Umbra to test and share results with you, the reader. Axis1 also makes the Eagle - a “classic” blade style.

Before striking a putt or even making a practice stroke, you can feel the difference. The balance is amazingly noticeable the moment you hold the Umbra.

As for appearance, this putter looks more like a piece of artwork than a utilitarian club. Make no mistake, however, the Umbra is all business - form perfectly meshing with function.

The “wing” on top, which gives the look of a mallet without the bulky, clunkiness of others in this category, provides an excellent visual aid for starting your putt on the correct line.

For many, changing putters is a move that takes a great deal of thought and consideration. Before you make the switch, I recommend you conduct the Axis1 test on your current putter.

1. Grab your putter and address a golf ball;
2. Remove your right hand (if a righty) and softly support the club halfway down the shaft with an opened hand;
3. Gently release the pressure of your left hand;
4. See what happens.

The club face automatically opens up, which results in trouble; pushed putts, off-line putts and ultimately higher scores. The Umbra stays square, on-line.

The Axis1 Umbra and Eagle are available in 33, 34 and 35 inches and retail for $299. In March, Axis1 enters the belly market with a 41- and 43-inch Umbra, which will sell for $349.

Bottom line: American Golfer endorses the Axis1 Umbra because it works. Replace your current putter with the Umbra and expect to make more 10-foot putts and lag closer than ever before on long-distance opportunities.

Axis1 Umbra Specs
* 350 grams
* Modern mallet
* CNC milled face for soft yet solid feel
* 17-4PH Stainless Steel with black ion plating for enhanced durability
* Stainless Steel shaft with vibration dampening core
* Stainless Steel counterweight screws for perfect final balance calibration
* Premium Winn Standard grip for more feel
* Individually balanced

Contact: AmericanGolferBlog@gmail.com

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