The ability to call the guy that’s making your putter for you is a luxury that most people aren’t accustomed to. With George, it’s an easy process that involves calling him on the phone and saying “Here’s what I’m looking for.” As with most of the ‘Lesser Known’ putter makers, this is the process. It was this way with Karsten Solheim, TP Mills, and Scotty Cameron when they were new on the scene. What a wonderful tradition.

I’m not saying that George Palombi is the next Karsten Solheim, but he is doing what others dream about. Making putters for people. I’m a fan of “Anser-Style” heads, so George sent me one if his “Palombi 389” models. Let’s take a look at what you get for your money when you pick up the phone and tell George what you want in a putter

Craftsmanship:
The first think I noticed was the tasteful amount of mill chatter. Sometimes, the manufacturers go a little overboard on the mill marks. The phrase “If a little is good, a lot is better” doesn’t apply to mill marks. It can easily be overdone. George found a nice balance between showing that this is a milled putter, but not stuffing it down your throat.

Shaping an “Anser-Like” head is something of an art in it’s self. I’ve seen it done VERY poorly on mass-production putters from major companies. It seems like it would be easy to pay respect to one of the most profound innovations of our time, yet people routinely drop the ball and over-do it. The Palombi 389 is an outstanding example of an homage that he made his own. It’s a tasteful design, that doesn’t distract from the purpose of the putter. Putting a ball in the hole.

The only things that bother me about the craftsmanship are the following.

#1 – The word “Palombi” and the engravings on the bottom of the putter look like they were designed on a Commodore 64. I think it’s probably a stock font in the CNC machine. George said he is going to be hand-stamping things from here on out.

#2 – The weld that connects the neck to the head is a little sloppy. After talking to George, I learned that this particular head was one of his ‘extras’ and that he didn’t think I’d be reviewing it. It IS stamped “101 of 100” so I can’t take too many points off for that. Initally, he sent it to me as kind of a joke, so I think if I told him I was going to be reviewing it in front of the world, he’d have done a better job welding the neck on.

All of that being said, I still think this is a fantastic putter with great craftsmanship.


Headcover:
The standard for handmade and custom putters seems to be the AM&E putter headcover…and for good reason. There are few others that have been able to duplicate the success of these covers because of the simplistic approach that they take. No magnets, beads, snaps or gimmicks. Just a well padded cover, fuzzy insides, and a thick piece of Velcro to keep the putter in place. AM&E makes it easy for putter manufacturers, or anyone else for that matter, to place an order for a custom cover. George’s are pretty simple,just having his signature on a yellow nylon cover. I don’t see this being a collectors item at any point, but I like the protection it offers.

Grip:
This particular putter came with a Winn Heritage Y2K grip, that I completely hated. When I asked George about it, he chuckled and said “I think that’s the only grip I had when I was making that putter for you.” He wasn’t offended that I replaced it with a Blacked-Out Ping Man grip that I had. MUCH easier for me to use at that point. George says that generally, he uses whatever the customer wants. So really, I’m not going to take any points away for the grip.

Material:
George used a Carbon steel, coated with a plumb-brown/Oil-Can finish. The finish was a LOT darker when I got the putter 6mos ago. It’s been in my basement for a few months sitting on my rack with a collection of other neglected putters. If it bothered me, a trip back to George for a touch-up is in order. I really like it with the current patina, so I’ll keep it the way it is. The carbon steel is soft, and feels like it would be a nice for distance control.

Address:
At address, I immediately noticed how FLAT the topline is. I could see that being a problem on a day with a lot of sunlight. The putter appears to be thick and strong. This is what I look for in a putter that I want to believe in. The look of a putter at address is WAY more important than the stamps in the cavity, or on the bumpers. This is what you are looking at when faced with a double-break 12 footer. I feel this is a putter that a LOT of people could trust.

Feel:
I’m not a fan of sound slots,but this one works for me. Normally, they seem a little ‘tingey’ for my taste. If I were to order this putter, I’d have had it made without the slot. The putter had a real nice balance to it. I didn’t need a sight-dot to find the sweet spot. It was right where it needed to be. Off-center hits didn’t feel any different than the ones I hit square on.

“Skip to the end” Overall:
If I were on a quest for the ultimate putter, I’d put George Palombi on my short list of people to call. Is this the perfect putter? No. Is it a hell of a gamer for someone that doesn’t want to spend $2,000+ on a tour putter from one of the “Big Three?” Without question!

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Ratings
Craftsmanship: 8
Feel: 8
Headcover: 8
Grip: ?
Address: 8
Overall: 8
Stats
MSRP: $500.00
Length: 34″
Head Weight: 330g
Swing Weight: D-2
Material: Carbon Steel
Grip: Any
Manufacturing Type: CNC Milled
Made In: USA