Cleveland's Huntington Beach headquarters has been the inspiration behind the name of their main putter range for the last few years, with the Soft Premier range featuring all-new face technology designed to improve your distance control.
I took the flagship model of the collection, the 10.5, out on to the golf course to see whether it lived up to the brand's claims.
The Soft Premier putters come with a grey satin PVD finish, which is said to give them a more premium appearance.
The main piece of innovation added to these putters is the Speed Optimised Face Technology (SOFT) that is designed to normalise the speed of putts across the entire putter face.
At the centre of the face are condensed milling lines, with the frequency decreasing as you go further out from the centre. I recently reviewed the Evnroll ER2V Putter designed by Guerin Rife, and his Sweet Face technology provides something similar too.
The main difference between Cleveland's technology and that of other brands, is that the milling pattern is different for every model in the range to ensure optimised performance for every putter.
This unique CNC milled pattern also increases friction to improve the quality of the roll and provide a softer feel at impact.
Two different Lamkin grips are suggested depending on what type of putting stroke you have - those with more of an arc should lean towards a pistol grip, whilst a straight back and through stroke can be better suited to an oversized grip.
Cleveland HB Soft Premier 10.5 Putter Review
Looks and Feel
The first thing I noticed when I got this putter in my hands was just how heavy the head was - at 365 grams it's not massively different to other mallets but it just felt like all of the weight was right at the bottom of the putter.
This took me by surprise and it did take a little bit of getting used to on the putting green.
The putter design looks stealthy and cool in the black and grey finish, whist it looked great at address with a clean design and clear black alignment line.
It reminded me a little of the Odyssey Toulon Atlanta that we reviewed a couple of years back, albeit at less than half of the price.
The grooves across the face are nicely patterned and also help to frame the ball at address along with the alignment line and the cut-out section on the middle of the head.
I tested this putter with the oversized Lamkin grip, which was a nice size and I could see lots of people liking it as it’ll help take the hands out of the stroke without being too bulky.
I took the putter out on to the golf course as well as spending some time on the putting green to put it through its paces, and I enjoyed using it as the simple design and sturdy feel of the putter made it feel very secure.
It felt like it was going to be hard to twist the head or knock it off line, which was a big confidence boost and I would say that I did hole out well during my round.
As somebody who uses a putter with a milling pattern on the face already, I am a fan of this technology as enjoy the softer, more muted feel at impact.
I found that I got the best performance on shorter putts from 10 feet and in, where both the weight of the head and the stability provided by the shape helped to keep the face really square at impact.
The only downside to this however, is that the extra weight did mean that it took me a while to get the pace control right on the slightly longer putts. I found that my first few putts were a little fiery as I was probably putting a little bit too much into the stroke.
Cleveland HB Soft Premier 10.5 Putter Verdict
Cleveland may be best known for the quality of their wedges and for producing super game-improvement ranges like the Launcher XL , but I was really impressed by the quality and performance of this putter.
It felt nice in the hands and was rock solid in terms of getting the ball starting on line, although it may take you a little bit of practice to get used to the extra weight particularly if you've been previously using a lighter or more compact putter shape.
The whole package is good, complete with a nice quality headcover, and the overall finish of the product more than lives up to the price tag of £139.
Ok, it's not a Toulon or a Scotty Cameron, but its a great option for golfers who want a nice-feeling putter with plenty of technology that doesn't break the bank.
Who Is It Aimed At?
Whilst anyone could use a putter like this, I'd be more inclined to recommend it to mid-to-high handicappers who are looking to gain a little more confidence in their putting, and especially those who are on a budget.
Would I Use It?
I enjoyed the feel off the face and the stability, but the head just felt a bit too heavy for my liking.
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