For the past month I have been taking a look at the Puku Golf – FIO Putter. Puku Golf has been making some moves lately, introducing some revolutionary products to the putter market place. Earlier this summer I reviewed a putter with a new insert design (GEL Diamond), a putter with an interesting alignment aid (Seemore m3) and recently completed a review of the Heavy Putter. The Puku FIO Putter is equally as different. This is a good thing. Looking at a million and one renditions of the old Ping Anser putter can get to be quite boring! So on we go…
Everyone has different body shapes, heights, postures and putting styles which can all require different lengths, yet the lengths available ‘off the shelf’ are normally only 33, 34 or 35 inches)
Adjustable length lets you set the length of your putter to exactly what you want. It’s like having your own personal tour fitting van. A subtle change to the length can provide significant benefits to your game by changing your swing mechanics.
There are many different putting styles, hand positions or postures in use on the PGA tour, and each variation can require a different length. Instead of having to buy all these different lengths the Puku putter allows you to try everything with the same putter. Being able to adjust the length allows you to experiment to find what putting method suits you.
As the belly putter touches the body the length becomes even more critical. The biggest problem with belly putters is getting the right length, typically off-the-shelf putters are 41 or 43 inches, but if this doesn’t fit you then what? Being able to adjust the length ensures that you will always get the exact length you need.
- The regular putter anywhere from 31 to 39 inches
- The belly putter anywhere from 31 to 48 inches
Look and Feel
Personally, I think the Puku FIO Putter looks pretty snazzy. The flowing, curved lines on the back of the putter are quite sharp, certainly pleasant to look at. The logo on the bottom of the putter is pretty neat looking as well. The putter grip is a little different, in that it tapers from small at the end to thicker at the bottom of the grip. This is nice in the belly putter configuration, as you don’t want some huge grip stuck into your mid section, though, not sure how I feel about it in the ‘normal’ putter configuration. To each his own though, this is very subjective.
The weight and balance of the putter is spot on. In belly putter configuration the putter is just the right weight. You feel very confident swinging the putter in a pendulum motion. I could imagine it would be difficult to get the hang of swinging a lighter belly putter. In regular putter configuration some of the weight is reduced as you have a slightly smaller grip, but I wonder if it may be a little heavy for some people. I have been using the Heavy Putter recently, so, it feels fine to me, weight wise. Again, very subjective. You’ll have to pick one up yourself to find out how it works for you.
This is a milled putter face, so you expect the putter to feel soft and solid with a good stroke, and more harsh on off center impacts. This is true of this putter. You’ll definitely know when you hit it off the toe or heel from the feel, though the line and distance were still pretty good. Hits on the sweet spot were nice, and you could definitely tell they were on the center, but I felt as if was a little harsh compared to that of the Heavy Putter. It did have a nicer feel to it than an insert putter, like say the TaylorMade Monza Corza I played last season. Just side by side with the Heavy Putter, I’m not sure I’d choose the Puku on feel alone.
Just a little side note here, on the FIO putter the alignment aid is merely a dot on top of the ‘blade’. This is great for helping you line up with the center of the clubface, but if you rely on alignment aids that extend back from the ball (ala two-ball putter, monza corza, heavy putter) this may be difficult. Puko makes an LCY model that has a more traditional ‘line’ alignment, be sure to check that out.
The performance feature that stands out in this putter is the ability to adjust the length. It is extremely simple to slide the grip up or down an inch..half an inch..two inches. You can dial this putter in to your exact needs. Play around with it for a bit on the practice green, take the adjustment tool, and I’m sure you’ll find a spot you feel completely comfortable with. I am pretty sure there is no other putter on the market that offers such utility.
The fact that you can play this in regular or belly putter configuration is also an outstanding feature. Personally, I have never played a belly putter, so this was my first ‘belly’ experience. I am a pretty decent putter, using a somewhat traditional stance and grip. I putt very much by feel, and with the Heavy Putter, my hands are really out of the equation. Switching to the Belly Putter configuration was interesting. I practiced with it quite a bit, and quickly got the hang of sinking 3-6 foot putts. It took a while longer to get the lag putts up close, but in time I started to get a hang for that as well. The pendulum motion really takes the small muscles out of the putter stroke, and if you struggle with jerking the putter head in there on long or short putts, this may be a great option for you. I found my putting stroke to be extremely consistent with this putter in my hand. For the most part I played with this putter in the Belly Putter configuration.
As I mentioned above, the off center hits performed quite well. And on center hits rolled as I expected. I sunk a surprisingly high number of putts. I just had a hard time adjusting to the feel of rolling long putts with this. I am sure it’s just a matter of putting in the practice time with this putting technique, as the putter itself is a wonderful tool. I am just not ready to walk away from the regular putting stance at this point.
If you ever wanted to experiment with a Belly Putter, but also wanted the comfort of being able to switch back to a regular putter, Puku Golf has you covered. The tool to adjust the length is super easy to use, and adjusting the length and experimenting with varying lengths of both the regular and belly putter configuration was certainly an informative exercise for me. I am a pretty tall guy, 6’4, yet I really like to get over a regular style putter, and found myself sliding the FIO’s grip all the way down in the 31-33″ range. I loved that versatility, the ability to tinker at will.
The combo package from Puku Golf prices out at $299, which includes the Belly Putter grip, standard length grip, adjustment tool, head cover and a nice little instructional DVD. If you are not interested in experimenting with the standard length or belly putter length, you can choose the belly putter only, or standard length only options, which come at a $50 discount. Personally, I’d spend the extra $50 to get both grips, and the chance to experiment with your putting stroke. Hey, if you’re going to spend $500 on a driver, that you probably don’t use more than 10-15 times a round, I’m sure you can afford to throw $299 at your putter…which I’m sure you use at least 30 times a round.
You can always have a look on eBay for used Puku putters as well, though I haven’t seen too many of them as of yet.