We are going to take a look at two new Sacks Parente putters: the Series 66 and the Series 18.
Sacks Parente is using the same playbook a year later, producing modern interpretations of classic Anser and 8802 heads – a tall order. As our sometimes vitriolic comment section demonstrates, gaining public acceptance of such interpretative ambitions is not easy.
In some ways, innovating in the putter field is like writing a haiku. Unlike other poems where you can wax pentameter, the haiku has a very narrow syllabic window to work within. Historically, putter producers who too closely follow the established shape guidelines evoke cries of mimicry. Putter makers must walk the balance of being creative with their spins while still following the 5/7/5 constraints of the Anser poetry. Consumers want putters that look familiar. But not too familiar.
So, yes, the Sacks Parente Series 66 and Series 18 putters are modern versions of classic putters. That is obvious as soon as you look at them.
However, what you can’t pick up at first glance is whether they have done enough to separate these from the other interpretations. Has Sacks Parente included enough must have innovation in these putters so they will have staying power in the golf market or will these suffer the same fate as other forgotten flat sticks?
What is ULBP?
The ULBP patented system creates a natural putter release, squaring the head at impact and releasing the putter head, even in high stress situations. It takes away the need to steer your putter or fight it while you try to force it to release.
Sacks Parente designs are all about ULBP. As we reported last summer, ULBP stands for Ultra Low Balance Point. Sacks Parente has manufactured these putters and their other putters so that the balance point is much closer to the head than traditional putters.
Take a look at this photo where I compare the two Sacks Parente models to a well-used Wilson Tour Blade and a Bettinardi QB5 shafted with a Tour Stability Shaft.
As you can see, both the Series 66 and the Series 18 putters balance much closer to the head than the other two putters. This is the intention of the ULBP design. Both heads are a bit heavier than the traditional version of these heads. However, the shafts and grips are extremely light. This design scheme places the vast majority of the putter’s weight near the head and slides the balance point in that direction as well.
Why Should I Care About Balance Point?
The short answer is that it could help you to make more putts. Obviously, that is the claim of every putter maker. I’ve yet to see a company use a “Miss the Short Ones” slogan. My rose-colored view of the industry sees all putter makers wanting golfers to make putts.
So back to why ULBP is significant.
Very simply, the Sacks Parente putters are different. You’ll be hard pressed to find a putter made by another manufacturer that feels like these. Sacks Parente has engineered these to be different and they believe that different is better.
Yes, all manufacturers believe this. They believe their grooves, shapes, weighting and triple tracks are the cutting-edge technologies that separate their putters from the pack. Some of the technologies are significant design changes and others are tweaks. Some of those technologies pan out and some end up getting panned. While the potential panning is still pending, there is no doubt that the Sacks Parente design represents a significant deviation from the design norm.
If the normal putter designs are not getting it done for you, maybe you need to step out of the box.
Sacks Parente Series 66
This putter took more than two years of research, development, robotic testing and five fully functioning versions, prior to a full year of testing by PGA touring professionals, before the final production version was ultimately ready to change your game forever.
Thank you for joining us today. “That’s just a PING Anser” commenter. Yes, the Series 66 is the Sacks Parente version of the iconic Anser. No argument from me or likely Sacks Parente on that point. However, as I mentioned, this is not your typical Anser.
The Series 66 features the ULBP design with the vast majority of the weight residing in the 366.8-gram head. Side note: I have never had a putter arrive at my house with a to 1/10th of a gram head-weight sticker attached. I suppose that if your story is all about weight, you need to dial in that stat.
On the course, you can really feel the difference in the design. The putter swings differently than a traditional Anser. Initially, it feels odd or at least unfamiliar. Once you roll balls though, that oddness does dissipate.
The head of the Series 66 features the multi-material construction found in all Sacks Parente putters. Sacks Parente loads the heel and toe of the putters with tungsten to boost MOI numbers. The blade is a bit longer than a traditional head. For reference, here is how the head compares to my Bettinardi Signature 5 blade.
Super Soft Feel
The most interesting thing about the Series 66 for me was not actually the feeling during the swing. Instead, it was the feeling at impact. The Series 66 may be the softest putter that I have ever rolled. It is crazy soft. Like did I miss-hit that ball soft. The feel surprised me more than the weighting. The softness likely results from combining the grooves, the face-forward center of gravity, with the lack of cavity.
For me, the softness translated to a feedback issue, especially on longer putts. On the green, most putts rolled out to the intended distances, even though I had no clue if they would do so after impact. The Series 66 puts a fine roll on the ball but it is so soft that it was tough for me to believe that I hit a good putt.
I love the look of this putter at address. The wide cavity and top-edge sight line frame the ball nicely at address. You can feel the stability of the putter as well as you stroke it. Should super-soft striking hit your sweet spot, the Series 66 may be worth checking out.
Sacks Parente Series 18
The iconic style that won virtually every major championship in golf has returned with a level of technology and playability never before imagined in a blade putter. The 18 will change your game forever.
One of the first things someone told me when I began playing golf was “never bet money against a guy using an 8802.” Of course, that led me into a gotta putt with an 8802 phase that ultimately proved unsuccessful as 8802s are not easy to putt with.
I’d probably call the Series 18 a homage to the 8802 or an interpretation of the 8802. It has the same general appearance but it does deviate significantly from the pedigree. Below, you can see how the Series 18 compares to my old Wilson Tour Blade.
The Series 18 is definitely longer than the Tour Blade and that is not a bad thing. This alone actually makes it a friendlier putter. It gets even friendlier since, once again, you will find tungsten at the heel and toe ends of the putter. Yep, It’s an 8802 with boosted MOI. That’s a putter design feat if I ever saw one.
The feeling at impact is much firmer than the Series 66. The likely culprit is the fact that this blade is hollow. When you explore it from the bottom, you will see that most of the center has been removed. Not only does this change the feeling at impact but it also improves MOI by increasing perimeter weighting.
Head to head with the Wilson, the Series 18 laid the smack down. Though I have had that Wilson for a decade or more, the new-to-the-bag Series 18 was far more accurate from every possible putting permutation. That’s what happens as technologies improve, I suppose. I’d love to drive a 1966 Mustang occasionally but I’d rather have the technologically superior 2020 version as a daily driver.
Available For Fittings and Demo
One of the most frustrating things about small putter companies is the inability to try the putters before you buy them. Oftentimes, the only way to try a putter is to shell out the $500 to have one built for you and hope it works out. That is not a solid putter buying plan, by the way, and thankfully it is no longer necessary.
Sacks Parente has announced that they have paired with Club Champion to make Sacks Parente putter fittings widely available. Club Champion will have the different putter heads, shafts and grips, allowing you to really see what the options are during the fitting.