Sizemore XB-1 Prototype Review

Every putter maker that I’ve talked to in the last 6 months has a story to tell. Most tell the same story in their own way, but the end result is always completely unique. Bruce Sizemore has created a series of putters based on concepts that are certainly his own, and spectacularly executed.

I can gush over a nice putter for hours, so I’ll just jump right in here…

Craftsmanship:

The first thing you’ll notice about any of the Sizemore putters is the unique face milling. There are several schools of thought on different face milling methods, but the Sizemore theory is pretty unique. By making a lot of small ‘circular-ish’ mill marks, the putter face becomes incredibly flat.

The Sizemore press release explains their IND*X milling method like this…

IND*X is a state-of-the-art design, produced by our patented, computer-driven milling process. Aesthetically beautiful, with a stunningly luxurious look and feel, the IND*X face finish is CNC-milled technology “pushed to the edge”. Using an innovative cross-milling process in twenty-seven (27) different directions, the putter face is finished in a geometric pattern with exceptionally fine spacing. This structure enhances the mild and controlled feel of the putter.

The end result is a putter face that looks like it belongs on jewelry rather than a putter. Having the insert in place prior to milling the face adds a very nice touch to the putter. While other manufacturers cut corners by putting a gap between the insert and head, Bruce made sure that the fit was perfect before it went to the mill. You’ll find this level of craftsmanship throughout the putter.


There is a level of class in the XB-1 that you don’t often see in a putter…but that’s something that Bruce strives for. He calls it TCA or Total Club Approach. Bruce’s TCA Requirements include:


- Original designs that have a unique look and feel
- Highest level of craftsmanship and construction
- Tolerances less than 1/1000 of an inch
- Tip-Stiff shaft technology for maximum stability
- IND-X(TM) face finishes guarantee the flattest putting surface
- 3-D optical design for superior alignment
- Creative concepts for revolutionary technologies like AIM(TM)

That seems like a tall order, but when you are striving for excellence and catering to a demanding audience, you’d better have some pretty high standards imposed upon yourself.

Address:

Earlier, I mentioned that there is a lot going on in the cavity, but for a reason. Here is where we learn the reason.

The first time I put the putter down to tap a few in, I immediately noticed what the cavity pockets were for. The large one in the center is a fantastic alignment aid. It doesn’t scream “Hey…Line your putt up with me!” but offers more of a suggestion. The smooth grooves work with the head of the putter to make for an easy way to line your putt, and also distribute the weight of the putter in the right places. None of these things are distracting in the least when you are standing over a 6 of 16 foot putt.

Headcover:

Mark your calendars. This is one of the first times I’ve seen a “non AM&E” headcover that was this nice. My wife’s first comment was “Ooh…I like the one with the boot on it!” (Pointing to the rack at the XB-1)

The materials used compliment the putter head very well. The piping is a neat feature, that isn’t over-done. Protecting the putter is a plush grey fur that was longer than I’ve seen used in other covers. It all comes back to the TCA that Sizemore putters want to be known for.

Grip:

My only issue with this putter is that the grip choice was a little ‘off’…but not for a lack of trying. Keeping in mind that this is just a prototype, they were trying to take a Winn grip and imprint their distinct milling pattern into it. I don’t think Winn understood what they were trying to do because the pattern is printed rather than embossed.

After playing a few holes, the grip got very ‘slick’ and I felt like I always had to wipe it down. I ended up putting the last 5 holes with a glove.

Sizemore rep Scott Penrod tells me that this is why they are already working with a new grip manufacturer on a grip that harmonizes with the rest of the putter’s attributes. They are tireless on making sure that the “whole package” shows the same level of quality.

Feel:
I was sent two putters by Sizemore. Both were identical except that one had an insert, and one did not. I decided to review the insert putter because it isn’t often that you see an insert executed this well. Being used to a soft carbon putter, an insert was a bit of a switch for me. I’ll say this about it…I liked it.

Distance control wasn’t ever an issue. The ball came off the face true every time, and there wasn’t ever a time that the putter felt ‘clacky’ like some insert putters I’ve used in the past. Copper inserts DO change the sound that the putter makes, but depending on the ball that you are using, this may or may not be an issue for you. (I was using the new Srixon Tri-Speed and thought the sound it made was quite nice.)

“Skip to the end” Overall:
Keeping in mind that this is one of the “Prototype” putters, the ones that you start seeing in a few weeks will look a little different. The production models have the new logo in all the right places, and a few other refinements that are the mark of a true craftsman. I don’t see Sizemore Putters ever being the #1 putter in golf…but that is a good thing. What I DO think people will associate with Sizemore is quality.

The Sizemore target market isn’t the everyday Joe with a 32 handicap that’s teeing it up with a 15 pack of “X-Outs” at a local Muni. They are catering to the single digit golfer that is looking for an esoteric putter that he can trust with a 6-footer at his country club.

When you ask someone what the “best car” is, you’ll often hear BMW or Mercedes. While those are both considered to be premium cars, neither stacks up all that well to an Aston Martin or Maserati. I would consider the Sizemore putters to be in the “Aston Martin” category of putters.

If they can make a prototype putter this good…I expect nothing less than perfection from their finished product. The Sizemore literature says “Precision Putting Instruments” because they are.

Discuss Sizemore Putters on the “Sizemore” section of our Putter Community

High-Speed Video Clip

Download this clip: Sizemore_XB1.mov (Quicktime required)
Ratings
Craftsmanship: 10
Feel: 10
Headcover: 10
Grip: 7
Address: 10
Overall: 9.4
Stats
Company: Sizemore Collection
URL: http://www.sizemoregolf.com
MSRP: $349.00
Length: 34-1/2″
Loft: 4-deg
Lie: 71-deg
Head Weight: 350g
Swing Weight: E-7
Material: 12L14 Carbon Head / 110 Annealed (99.9% Pure) Copper Insert
Grip: Winn AVS
Head Cover: Belding
Manufacturing Type: 100% CNC Milled
Made In: USA
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