Puku JME Putter Review
While walking the convention center in January at the PGA Merchandise show, I saw a lot of putters that looked like yet another variation of the “Anser” design that Karsten Solheim perfected. There were a few that stood out and the Puku was DEFINITELY one of them.
The conversation started like this…
Puku Rep: Hello Mate! (They are a New Zealand company.)
Mr. Doug: Ok…so how do you pronounce this?
Puku Rep: Puku. (Correctly)
Mr. Doug: PooKoo?
Puku Rep: No…Puku. (Correctly again)
Mr. Doug: Pooku?
Puku rep: No…Puku..like book with a P.
Mr. Doug: Like Book-u?
Puku Rep: Exactly…only with a P.
Mr. Doug: Puku?
Puku rep: PERFECT!
Mr. Doug: I hope the putter isn’t this confusing.
Puku Rep: I think you’ll find it is full of surprises!
Mr. Doug: I really need to pay attention then!
The next 30min were spent showing me the ins-and-outs of the Puku putter. Unlike other putters, it’s not quite as simple as loading it and pulling the trigger. There is a LOT to get to with this putter, so you’ll want to read the whole review before you make a decision on this putter. In the end…you are either going think they are crazy…or crazy like a fox.
One of the first things that I noticed about the Puku JME was that it is a VERY solid feeling putter. This has to do with the materials used, and the engineering that was used to put it all together. The stainless steel head is cast, the face is “double milled”, and then the whole head is electro-plated. The other aspect of the craftsmanship is the grip…but we’ll get to that later.
Here is the one part of this putter that I think they missed the boat. I think 80% of this headcover is very cool…the remaining 20% is pretty bad. Here’s what I like.
#1 – It’s VERY fuzzy inside.
#2 – The ‘suede’ exterior is nice and classy.
Here’s what I don’t like.
#1 – The zipper on the back is pretty ‘cheap’ in my opinion.
#2 – They missed an opportunity to put a pocket in there for the cool stuff the putter comes with.
Because there isn’t a section for ‘stuff’…let’s talk about the 2 ‘Tools’ that this putter comes with. (…maybe there should be.)
Adjustment Tool: This is going to be important. DON’T LOSE IT! You’ll need this little guy if/when you want to adjust the grip. (Again…we’ll get to the grip in a minute.)
Divot Repair Tool: I’ve seen MANY Divot repair tools in my day. This one is the ONLY one that I’d want to take to a knife fight. You could SERIOUSLY hurt someone, or yourself, with this bad-boy. Measuring in at just under 6″ (3.5″ of that is spike) I don’t see anyone having this in their pocket for more than 1-2 holes. I crouched down to read a putt with it in my pocket and about put it through my femoral artery. I have a feeling that this tool won’t spend a lot of time in people’s pockets. I *DO* think that this is one of the best divot tools out there. Bar-none.
Ok, ok…we’ll talk about the grip now. There are a couple of interesting things about this grip.
The first thing you’ll notice is that it is reverse-tapered. (Thin at the top, fat at the bottom.) This is done to help people stop breaking their wrists. It’s quite effective. Even stroking a few putts with it on the carpet, it’s real tough to break your wrists at any point of your stroke.
The second thing you’ll notice is that it’s completely round. This goes towards another part of the putter that we’ll get to in another minute.
The third, and final thing, that you need to know about this grip is that it is fully adjustable! You can, with VERY little effort, change the length of this putter from 31″ to 39″. It’s as simple as inserting the tool into the lock, opening the lock, adjusting the length as desired, and then locking it into position. (I told you not to lose that tool!)
This is one of the cooler aspects of this putter. Now…I know it’s coming, so I’ll head it off at the pass. The swing-weight DOES change with the length of the putter, but the head is already 420g, so you are already WELL over the 350g max that others preach. The weight of the grip off sets some of that.
This putter IS heavier than most, but it doesn’t ever feel like the sledgehammer that you’d think it would be at 420g.
One of the OTHER things that this putter has going on is that it’s centrally balanced. What does that mean? Let me put it this way. If you were to spin this putter in your hand with your eyes closed, you couldn’t tell where the face was…and it’s not even center-shafted. This makes for an interesting alignment routine. Normally, I am ‘feeling’ how the putter is aligned while looking at the hole while walking up to the putt. I found myself (more than once) with the putter pointed the wrong direction when I looked down to set myself up.
Once I figured out which end was up, I found the address very pleasing. There is a very thin sight-dot that offers just enough direction that you know WHERE to hit the ball on the face, but doesn’t shove it down your throat.
The soft look of the finish didn’t ever glare in the sun. I found that it ‘matched’ the ball more than other putters I’ve used in the past. Not that it was a bad thing, but I found myself looking at the putter now and then on the back-stroke. NOT a good thing…but I think it was more me than the putter.
The overall weight of this putter makes it a little tough to have a lot of ‘feel’. As we’ve discussed before, a good part of putter “Feel” is the sound it makes. I think that the sound this putter makes is a little ‘tingey’ for me and the others that tried it. The curious thing is that it sounded a lot SMALLER than the putter really is. When you have a 420g head, and a big thick grip in your hand, you expect more than “tink” when you hit the ball. (I’m not sure WHAT I was expecting…but “tink” wasn’t it.)
“Skip to the end” Overall:
There is a putter out there for everyone. The Puku has a couple of VERY cool innovations…but it may be a bit too many for one putter. The adjustable grip is pretty neat, but that is a “set it and forget it” thing for many. The centrally balanced aspect is VERY neat when you get used to not having ANY toe hang. The reverse-taper grip helps eliminate wrist breaking…which is ALWAYS good.
All together, Puku put an impressive putter together with the JME. If you can find one, it’s worth the effort to play a few rounds with it to see if it’s for you. Plus…you’ll get a free weapon with the included divot tool!
MSRP: (USD) $229 (belly putter $249)
Length: Adjustable from 31″ to 39″ (belly putter 31″ to 48.5″)
Lie: 19 degrees
Head Weight: 420grams
Swing Weight: Variable.
Material: Head: 303 Stainless Steel, Electroplated
Grip: Puku Adjustable, Reverse taper
Manufacturing Type: Cast, Double-Milled Face
Made In: Taiwan & NZ, Assembled in USA