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Heavyweight champ

| Golfweek.com |

Look around. You won't see many old putters being used today.

Why? One reason is technology. Modern putters are loaded with technological features that can be summed up in a single word. Stability.

An even bigger reason, though, might not be so obvious. Old putters were light, modern putters are much heavier.

Go ahead, pick up an old putter. Most feel like feathers. The head weight of 40-, 30- and 20-year-old putters - and even many 10-year-old putters - is substantially less than the head weight of today's putters.

Heavier putters are a response to the contemporary putting stroke, which is shorter and more precise than the old handsy style used on yesteryear's slower greens. Lighter putters were well-suited to this handsy stroke, and Sam Snead and Ben Hogan never dreamed of putters like the heavier hot rods available today. Golfers of the 21st century, particularly the influential players on the PGA Tour, demand putters that allow them to use big muscles, not the hands, to putt with a surgical touch.

Heavy is the theme of today's putters.

One man, Stephen Boccieri, took this concept to new heights with the creation of the Heavy Putter, which was introduced to consumers in 2004. Boccieri's putters are so weighty - head weights of about 475 grams compared to the 325- to 365-gram range for most modern putters - that he has created not only his own distinctive feel but also his own putter category.

Boccieri did more than increase the head weight. He supplied additional interchangeable weights that screw into the head. Then he stuck weight in the grip end of the shaft, creating putters with an overall weight almost twice that of conventional putters.

If this sounds uncontrollable, it isn't so. With Boccieri's weighting scheme, the balance point of the Heavy Putter is raised dramatically. This gives the putter a surprisingly docile personality.

Many golfers have strong feelings about Boccieri's putters. Love them or loathe them, these Heavy Putters generate discussions that tend to be very emotional and passionate.

Now, with the introduction of the Deep Face series, the Heavy Putter is likely to attract even more attention. The DF putter includes five new models, all with a minimum advertised price of $169. That's $30 less than the MAP cost of the original Heavy Putter models.

The price reduction was possible because the new putters have no interchangeable weights. The rest of the Heavy Putter philosophy remains in tact, however.

Boccieri is an enthusiastic yet patient promoter of his product. The DF series was introduced in September at the PGA Fall Expo, but Boccieri was talking about this concept years ago. Finally he brought it to life.

Here's what he has done: While increasing the height of the face, he has raised the center of gravity. This means the sweet spot is aligned with the equator of the golf ball. As a result, Boccieri believes most golfers will experience better roll and more consistent distance control.

"I always wanted to create a high CG putter," Boccieri said. "With the original Heavy Putter, though, I didn't want to incorporate too many things at once. So I waited."

The five new models include three mallets and two blades. According to Boccieri, consumers had been asking for traditional-looking models, and three of these five answer such a request.

More Deep Face models will follow. "We've got a really wide selection now," Boccieri said. "We've always been known for our progressive designs. Now we've balanced the line. We've got enough different looks to appeal to anybody."

Boccieri also is selling a limited edition of a putter named the C2-DF (www.heavyputter.com). Only 500 of the putters are being offered at a price of $399.

"I'm still excited about all the Heavy Putters," Boccieri said. "The original was my dream putter. Now I'm still living the dream."

That's Heavy, man.

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