Shaftlign Putters PDF Print E-mail
 

By Jason Bruno

 

 

Shaftlign Putters, created by Lafayette, Louisiana’s own Clay Judice

– golf equipment innovator and admittedly a long suffering golfer

with the Yips. When the USGA’s Anchoring Ban was announced it

sacked not only his putting method, but his business as well. Judice

was the inventor of a very successful product a few years ago called

“Belly Putt”. The device came as a kit that allowed you to convert

your standard length putter either temporarily or permanently to a

longer length belly putter for a very modest cost. Now, with the

anchoring method being exiled to Azkaban, “Belly Putt” is no more.

However, as any addicted golfer will attest to, the game goes on

and Clay was left searching for a way to save his own golf game.

 

Judice found that alignment especially on the shorter putts may

have been the culprit for his demise on the greens. So he started

by laying a thin pin stripe (like those found on automobiles) down

the shaft and he began using the shaft line as a reference when he

addressed shorter putts. Seeing some immediate success, the idea

progressed into a cutoff piece of shaft that he mounted directly

above the putterhead topline. He painted both the shaft and the

affixed attachment white to create a perpendicular line. At that

point Judice knew he was on to something. Although that particular

version was deemed non-conforming, Clay worked with the design

until it evolved into the model you see here in this review – the CJ1.

  

Appearance/Objective

 

It’s not conventional, but it’s really an eye opener when you

see how easy it is to line up square to your target.

 

 

After receiving the Shaftlign we began testing and noticed the

reaction of golfers that see the putter for the first time: “What is

that putter?” Also, “Hmm, that’s interesting” are the some of the

typical comments heard. Although unorthodox, It’s objective

exceeds the need for putter vanity. Looking down at address you

realize that the singular white perpendicular line is so simple,

that you can’t help but think “Wow, why didn’t I think of something

so simple as that.

 

Not to be forgotten, and always to be admired for his innovation,

it was Karsten Solheim who first brought out the Ping Anser putter

50 years ago. At the time, he was laughed at by many of the best

players in the game. Today that design is THE Standard of which

every manufacturer copies. I’m not saying the Shaftlign will take

on the same significance as the Anser, but let’s just say it gives

us reason to believe that great new ideas in putter design can still

be achieved. As Judice said to me, “Everyone thinks the inventor

is a kook, until his idea takes off.”

 

  

Testing

 

The reason there is not a standard center aiming line on the flange

is that Judice found that using a horizontal line to aim at your target

causes issues. Standing to the side of the ball often confuses the

eyes because of the skewed perspective. I somewhat agreed with

him on this point (but have been a captive of the horizontal line

method for years, so I was still holding out a bit of skeptism on his

theory). Recently I tried an experiment while playing with a friend

in the industry who specializes in marketing innovative golf products.

I played the front nine using a conventional Anser style blade with

the line on the ball as well as the center aiming line of the putter as

I always have. On the front nine my speed was spot on, but missed

almost every 4 to 6 foot putt I had. I was struggling to get set up

comfortably over the ball, which I know means I wasn’t sure if I

was aligned correctly. Sounds odd to admit that your struggling with

alignment from inside 6 feet, but painfully, it is what it is.

This indecision created a lack of confidence, so at the turn, I went

to the trunk and grabbed the Shaftlign. It wasn’t a make or miss

test, it was about seeing if using a bold perpendicular line would

help regain some confidence standing over the ball. Just simply

knowing that you’re aimed where you intend to. My buddy Rick

immediately commented on the tenth green, “whoa, you made a

putter switch, what’s that?” After I drained a curling 10 footer on

the eleventh, he said “Let me see that thing!”. He commented how

solid it felt but that it was odd in appearance. No argument here,

but concentrating on the solid white verticle line freed me up. I

did lip out a few 12 to 15 footers but made a ton including every

putt inside 8 feet to shoot a back nine 32, and my first sub-70

round in quite sometime. I was convinced, it’s one thing to see

the line and roll it good on the practice green, and entirely another

to feel comfortable with game time pressure on the line. I’d be

remiss if I didn’t mention how pure the feel of the strike is, every

tester commented just how sweet and solid impact feels and how

smooth the ball rolls off the Shaftlign CJ1.

 

  

Specs/Price

 

The Shaftlign has a CNC milled 304 stainless head that weighs a

hefty 356 grams. The CJ1 comes standard with 70 degree lie angle,

and 2.5 degrees of loft. Available in right or left hand in lengths of

33″ to 35″. Currently there are two versions of the CJ1 available:

100% milled model that’s featured here is $249, and a cast model

which is face milled but has the same specs is $199.

 

  

 

The stock grip on the Shaftlign wasn’t our favorite, like most

golfers, we replaced it with one of our own preference – Clay

does offer a midsize model from PURE Grips that would be

much preferred.

 

 

 

Judice refers to the his CJ1 creation as an inline style (not a

centershaft design), sort of a hybrid between the classic Bullseye

and the SeeMore putter made popular by Payne Stewart and Zach

Johnson.

 

 

Summary

 

Overall the Shaftlign more than exceeded any expectations, the

perpendicular (or vertical) line method is something that every

golfer should try out, it makes too much sense. If the appearance

isn’t as conventional as you prefer, Clay expects to have a few

new models coming out in the near future and has a few famous

major winners now on the Champions Tour currently testing

Shaftlign models.

  

 

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