May 7th, 2012 by Kristofer Anderson
Just like the rest of us, professionals are constantly looking for an edge on greens. Putting is the most important factor in low scores and requires confidence in your equipment. There are so many conflicting ideas regarding fitting and technique, it is often difficult to know if drills and practice are helping or solidifying poor habits. Putter companies have models ranging from the bland to downright strange. Aaron Baddeley is currently playing a putter designed by Yar Golf, a model that may be difficult to look at but certainly has a place in the game. There are dozens of boutique and custom putter manufacturers, some of them are interesting and others fade away rather quickly. Mann Krafted is an Arizona based putter manufacturer that produces milled putters that are completely customized to each customer. Head shape, sight lines, finish, hosel design, length, lie, and everything else are personalized to your specifications. LaMont Mann personally constructs each putter from a steel blank and collects feedback along the way, ensuring the customer receives the perfect putter.
I first spoke with LaMont in early this year about three putters. After several emails and and meeting in person, we finalized the head shape, weights, and hosel designs for the heads. The process took around a week, mostly because I wanted to be sure each model was perfect and I was not leaving anything out. LaMont is extremely helpful and provides guidance and suggestions throughout the process.
The most difficult part of the process was selecting a finish. It is always tempting to try something different on custom projects. LaMont offers various colors, polymer finishes, and traditional black oxide and brushed looks. In the end I went with black oxide. I have always preferred a subdued look and black oxide will wear over time and a raw looking finish will result.
Given that each putter is hand milled and welded, I was expecting a build time of several months. I was shocked when I received an email within in ten days with pictures of the heads for my approval. LaMont does a great job of keeping the customer apprised of the progress. Comparison pics are sent and ideas are shared throughout the process. Of course, the build time will vary with the order log LaMont is currently handling. Part of the appeal of the company is that it is small and each putter is different. Patience is key but the results are worth the wait. From the time I first spoke to LaMont on the phone to having the putters in hand was roughly six weeks, far shorter than the six to eight months at other companies.
I was cautiously optimistic when I picked up the putters, I was not disappointed. While handmade putters will inherently differ slightly from plans, each of them was incredible. Given the prices, $275-$399 for the models ordered, compared to off the shelf models currently offered they are reasonably priced when custom options are considered. They are not cheap, but the end result is well worth the price if you can’t seem to find the perfect putter. Each head combines a solid feel and quality finish with the boutique look. There mill marks on the sole and face, and each putter’s specifications were exactly as ordered. My personal model, a modified Carolina, replaced an Odyssey White Hot #2 that had been in the bag for roughly six years. In all, the overall quality was higher than expected. Each has the unmistakable feel of a high end putter and will surely have a place in our bags for many years to come.