Cleveland FrontLine Putters – Radical Weighting In New Line

Image of Cleveland Frontline putter
Frontline putter

The New Cleveland Frontline putter line seeks to solve your directional consistency issues. Up till now the popularity of high-MOI mallets has made it easier than ever to find a putter that improves directional consistency. This is achieved by placing more weight in the back portion of the head. This design improves stability by reducing unnecessary head twisting on off-center hits. The design has worked for numerous manufactures.

“Obviously, a putter can’t move your ball 33% closer to the hole,” says Cleveland Golf Marketing Director Brian Schielke. “But the forward CG technology in Frontline, once you understand it, can help golfers make a 15-foot putt at the same rate as they can make a 10-foot putt.”

A New Technology Route For Cleveland

Cleveland Golf has chosen to go a different route in solving the directional consistency issue by repositioning the center of gravity closer to the face. The New Frontline putters come in four head shapes ( one blade and three mallets) utilizing two MIM (metal-injection-molded) tungsten weights ( 48 grams) in the heel and toe section of the face.

According to Jacob Lambeth, a Cleveland Golf R&D engineer, “We are very excited about Frontline because it is a completely new approach to putter design, By pairing an extreme center of gravity with an improved speed optimized face, we’ve designed a putter that uniquely maximizes directional and speed consistency.”

Face Weighting

Through research, by Cleveland, adding more weight to the front of the face improves overall head twisting. This innovation improves head twist, keeping it square at impact, even on mishits that consistently find the heel and toe.

The benefits of a high MOI putter are the same as a high MOI driver.
Even though putters don’t travel anywhere near as fast as drivers,
off-center hits will still reduce ball speed and change the side angle
at which the ball leaves the putter face. That means you’ll leave putts
short and off-line. Higher MOI can help.

However, to increase MOI, putter heads have to get big, sometimes
really big. And the higher the MOI, the deeper the putter head’s CG has
to be, and this can cause the face to move laterally on off-center hits,
which, ironically, moves putts offline.

“Naturally the club is going to rotate around its CG,” says Dustin
Brekke, Cleveland’s Director of Engineering, Research and Development. “The deeper the CG, a very large force is telling the ball to go forward, but since the CG is deep, there’s also a small amount of force telling the ball to go sideways.” “If you bring all that CG right up to the exact face, there’d be no sideways force at all. But that’s impossible to do.”

How Off Center Strikes Miss Putts

We all know center strikes go where we want them to and at the speed we want them too, but we also know that even the best putters miss-hit putts more often than they’d care to admit. While designing the Frontline series, Cleveland used computer simulations to model CG location and its relationship to sideways force on off-center strikes.

Comparing a forward CG blade to a deep CG mallet, Cleveland found that on a 20-millimeter mishit (about an inch off-center), the blade will be about a half-degree offline, while the mallet will be about two-degrees offline.

Depending on the length of the putt, that difference could put the ball outside the lip of the cup.

Even with a 10-millimeter mishit, you’d be a degree off with a deep CG putter, and only a quarter-degree off with a front loaded putter.

“In that most extreme case, you could do everything right. Your speed’s right, your aim is right, you’re square at impact, but if the only thing you did was miss just a touch off-center – still with a square face – you could miss a five-foot putt off to the right.” – Brian Schielke, Cleveland Golf.

Forged Aluminum Insert & Variable Milling Pattern

By adding a forged aluminum insert with a variable milling pattern Cleveland was also able to retain ball speed. Speed is normalized as a result of grooves that are packed tighter in the center of the face (to reduce speed) and spread out toward the heel and toe. The insert results in putts that are designed to go the same distance regardless of where the ball is struck on the face.

“If you just had forward weighting, you might still lose speed and come up short,” says Brekke. “If you just had Speed Optimized Face Technology, you might have the right distance, but you might miss by a few degrees. We’ve done both – we have the line, and we have the speed, which is what you need to make putts.”

With four head shapes in the line, Cleveland created a unique milling pattern for each model to further optimize insert performance.

2135 Technology

To improve alignment, Cleveland added marks set at 21.35 millimeters — called “2135 technology” — above the sole to match the center point of the ball, making it easier to line up putts regardless of eye position at address.

While the Frontline series is replacing the phased-out, two-year-old
TFi 2135 Satin putter lineup, the 2135 alignment technology isn’t going away.

In the world of alignment lines, dots and other doodads, you do have to give Cleveland innovation props for 2135. The name comes from the height, in millimeters, of the equator of a golf ball.

The idea is to help you position the sight line on the exact center of the ball – which is 21.35 millimeters from the ground – regardless of whether your eyes are behind, over or in front of the ball.

In previous 2135 models, the actual sight line was behind – and below – the actual top line of the putter, which gave the putter a unique appearance at address.

With Frontline, the sight line is right on the top line of the putter, but it’s still at 21.35 millimeters. It’s a cleaner, more traditional look that should satisfy the putter purist.

On the other hand, Cleveland has actually slimmed the face down on the three mallets so that the top line lines up directly with the ball’s
equator. The lone blade in the lineup has a taller, more traditional
face and does not offer the 2135 alignment.

“2135 is an alignment positioning technology to get you started, and
then your distance control and direction control gets you going,” says Schielke. “But if you hit it with a 10-degree open face, then all the technologies in the world aren’t going to help you much.”

Frontline’s three mallets and one blade are distinct enough to fit a large chunk of golfers. The 4.0 blade is a traditional Anser-style, with a 350-gram head weight, a moderate toe hang and plumber’s neck for a slight arc stroke. The mallets are all 370-gram heads and include the fang-toothed Elevado, the rounded Cero and the square, open-backed ISO.

Each mallet is available in two options: face-balanced with a single bend hosel for a straight back-straight through stroke or a moderate toe hang with a slant neck hosel for a slight arc stroke.

Bottom Line

Cleveland is stepping way out there and making some interesting predictions about the Frontline technology. Only time will tell if the average golfer will pick up on it and make the switch to the face weighting. The best I can say is if you are in the market for a new putter by all means give them a shot and try your favorite model.

Frontline series putters are available now on Amazon.

Click on images for current pricing.

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