March 21, 2016
By Jonathan Wall, PGATOUR.COM
- The new face has double the number of polymetal grooves as the previous Method. (Nike Golf)
Nike Golf's low-durometer polymetal groove technology has been around since 2009 when the design was first added to the face of a Method prototype that was used by Lucas Glover to win the U.S. Open at Bethpage Black.
Over the years, the Swoosh has found was to improve upon the design and the materials, replacing polymetal with RZN — a lightweight, polymer resin that's been used in a number of products from the golf ball core to the sole and crown of the Vapor Flex 440 driver.
In search of a way to integrate RZN into the face of a classic-looking blade, David Franklin, Nike Golf 's master modelmaker, started working with engineers at The Oven, along with Rory McIlroy and Tiger Woods, to come up with a putter that "minimized distractions" on the putting green.
The finished product was Nike's Method Origin — a blade model that comes in two head shapes (B1-01 and B2-01) and has been in McIlroy's possession (B1-01) since the 2015 TOUR Championship presented by Coca-Cola.
During the design process, McIlroy pushed Nike's design team to create a putter that had a more efficient roll off the face. Through a completely reengineered polymetal groove design, Franklin and his team were able to create a face that offers full-length grooves that are linear from heel to toe. The design allows the putter to provide a more consistent, efficient and faster forward roll.
“When I first tested it in Dubai in January 2015, I realized the long putts kept rolling just a little bit more," McIlroy said. "It just kept rolling and rolling, which was awesome. Then I tested again at Sage Valley in April 2015 and loved it. From that point I kept asking, 'When can I get this in the bag?' I added it in September 2015 and it has been in the bag ever since.”
The new face has double the number of polymetal grooves as the previous Method, which allows the face to grab the ball, creating earlier forward roll and a softer feel.
“I love the new grooves,” McIlroy said. “The roll was perfect and I felt like the contact was so much softer than my previous putter; it got the ball rolling so much quicker.”
Improving the feel of the putter is a new three-piece design that's comprised of the face, a secondary mass on the back and a RZN layer compressed in the middle. The RZN layer plays a role on off-center strikes (heel or toe) where distance control and energy are an issue.
“The response is incremental across the face. A hit on the center of the face elicits a dampening effect,” Franklin said. “The more off-center the hit, the more the RZN compresses and the more energy is returned to the ball. The response is similar to our Compression Channel and improves consistency across the face.”
Since the putter debuted late last year, it has recorded four worldwide wins. One of the two models is currently in the bag of McIlroy (B2-01), Schwartzel (B1-01), Russell Henley (B2-01), Scott Pinckney (B1-01), Ryan Ruffels (B1-01) and Nick Watney (B2-01).
Nike's Method Origin will be available April 22 and retails for $349.
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