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Zero Torque Shootout Part 2: LAB Directed Force vs. Axis 1 Rose


Cactus Jack
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As noted in Part 1, see the link below, I rounded up a handful of "zero torque" putters. My initial testing consisted of hitting a series of 8' putts and simply totaling the makes. While it was a close battle, the Axis 1 Tour took down the LAB Mezz by 5 putts to win the initial shootout. However, I decided to expand the field and purchased a LAB Directed Force and Axis 1 Rose to see how the would fare.

 

Both the DF and Rose DOMINATED the other putters. They absolutely crushed my previous results. I used the same balls, putted on the same line, the entire process was identical. Here are the initial results, and yes the putter names are not included. Can you guess which is which?

 

1211076911_ScreenShot2022-09-18at5_08_27PM.png.4217a2b42bbace2801c7d49f7f25fd24.png

 

Putter 2 not only trounced the original putters, but Putter 2 beat Putter 1 by a solid margin too. These results were so good I decided additional testing was warranted. Rather than hit 8' putts again, this time I looked into strokes gained. For this test I hit a series of balls from 5, 10, and 20 feet. I played 6 balls each round and holed out each shot. There were no gimmies. I then compared the average strokes per round to the population average with the differences being strokes gained. Is this the correct way to calculate strokes gained? Likely not, but it made sense in my head. To take another look at the results I dropped my results into the golfrankingstats.com strokes gained putting calculator. For testing purposes I compared my results to a 0 handicap.

 

Here are the results of the strokes gained assessment:

 

1343149084_ScreenShot2022-09-18at5_04_03PM.png.83a0a84b6190fb91c6088e60c407d397.png

 

 I'm no mathematician, but now we see the script flipped. On a strokes gained basis, at least my hybrid approach, Putter 1 beat Putter 2 by a meaningful margin. Is my view of the data correct? Is there a better way to objectively compare the two putters? Should the 8' make % trump my attempt at strokes gained? Should strokes gained trump 8' make %? Let me know what you think of the data. In the meantime I'll follow up with subjective reviews of each putter, but let me know which Putter you think is 1 and 2, and which data should be used to make a fair comparison. 

 

For those that haven't seen it here is Part 1:

 

 

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1 hour ago, 5hort5tuff said:

Putter 2 is the 2.1.  I can't think of a more forgiving setup for a test like this.

I 100% agree with the above. 

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12 hours ago, Cactus Jack said:

As noted in Part 1, see the link below, I rounded up a handful of "zero torque" putters. My initial testing consisted of hitting a series of 8' putts and simply totaling the makes. While it was a close battle, the Axis 1 Tour took down the LAB Mezz by 5 putts to win the initial shootout. However, I decided to expand the field and purchased a LAB Directed Force and Axis 1 Rose to see how the would fare.

 

Both the DF and Rose DOMINATED the other putters. They absolutely crushed my previous results. I used the same balls, putted on the same line, the entire process was identical. Here are the initial results, and yes the putter names are not included. Can you guess which is which?

 

1211076911_ScreenShot2022-09-18at5_08_27PM.png.4217a2b42bbace2801c7d49f7f25fd24.png

 

Putter 2 not only trounced the original putters, but Putter 2 beat Putter 1 by a solid margin too. These results were so good I decided additional testing was warranted. Rather than hit 8' putts again, this time I looked into strokes gained. For this test I hit a series of balls from 5, 10, and 20 feet. I played 6 balls each round and holed out each shot. There were no gimmies. I then compared the average strokes per round to the population average with the differences being strokes gained. Is this the correct way to calculate strokes gained? Likely not, but it made sense in my head. To take another look at the results I dropped my results into the golfrankingstats.com strokes gained putting calculator. For testing purposes I compared my results to a 0 handicap.

 

Here are the results of the strokes gained assessment:

 

1343149084_ScreenShot2022-09-18at5_04_03PM.png.83a0a84b6190fb91c6088e60c407d397.png

 

 I'm no mathematician, but now we see the script flipped. On a strokes gained basis, at least my hybrid approach, Putter 1 beat Putter 2 by a meaningful margin. Is my view of the data correct? Is there a better way to objectively compare the two putters? Should the 8' make % trump my attempt at strokes gained? Should strokes gained trump 8' make %? Let me know what you think of the data. In the meantime I'll follow up with subjective reviews of each putter, but let me know which Putter you think is 1 and 2, and which data should be used to make a fair comparison. 

 

For those that haven't seen it here is Part 1:

 

 

Great stuff man! Thanks for sharing. I bet Putter 1 ended up being the Axis like I said in the other thread. 

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In good faith, I can't keep the two of you in suspense any longer 🙂 . 

 

Putter 1 = Directed Force

 

Putter 2 = Axis 1 Rose

 

Observations are to come later tonight, but in the meantime, based on the data, which putter would you game? The Axis 1 was untouchable from 8', while the DF won my multi-distance attempt to determine strokes gained. Which putter would go in your bag?  

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Before I do more testing I thought I’d share a few thoughts:

 

Summay:

 

Directed Force: The DF is the Ping driver of putters. Easily one of the most stable putters I have ever rolled. Fantastic overall balance. Gets the ball in the hole with little to no user intervention. 
 

Axis 1: The Rose could be named “Freight Train.” The putter feels like it glides in rails and delivers the goods without issue. Rolls the ball pure and the perfectly aligned CG produces an unbelievably great feel which only Axis 1 putters patented technology can produce. 
 

Looks:

 

Directed Force: Discount this putter on looks to your own detriment. Had I passed it off, my data suggested I would have passed on better scores. However, if you think the head is too large I would strongly encourage you to test out different sight line options. My putter has a small T which focuses my eyes on the ball. I don’t even notice the rest of the putter. I actually like the stock sight line but it does emphasize the size of the face. Beyond the size the putter is well made and has a wonderful high quality expensive looking matte finish. In my opinion the matte finish helps further reduce the size. 
 

Axis 1: If you like a fang style putter you will enjoy the Rose. The milling and finish are top notch. The satin finish reminds me of a classic Pro Platinum Scotty. The black rear section provides wonderful contrast which really helps frame the ball. The rear section is well constructed too. The material is some sort of composite and attached to the face of the putter with precision. I realize folks will immediately question the heal design. In my opinion after 30 seconds the heal disappears entirely. Honestly, while the tech is exciting it’s a non factor in terms of visuals. 
 

Sound/Feel:

 

Directed Force: In my hands the sound and feel meet expectations of an aluminum mallet. This is not a blade putter and doesn’t pretend to be. The feel is smooth, yet firm, and produces a nice “tock” off the club face. Everything feels stable and solid. The putter is perfectly balanced and flows torque free throughout the stroke. Both sound and feel fluctuate a bit depending on the distance, but in all instances the putter feels…stable. 
 

Axis 1: You need to roll an Axis 1 to really appreciate the technology. These are the only putters where the COG is directly in the middle of the face. Striking the COG feels like a flushed 7 iron. I can’t describe it, but you’ll know what I mean after a few rolls. The sound is interesting. On pure strikes it sounds…we’ll pure. On massive miss hits I did hear a bit of a plasticky clack. The sound was never offensive, and only noticeable because 99% of the other strikes sound so good. Overall, classy is how I’d describe the Axis 1. 
 

Performance:

 

Directed Force: The stats speak for themselves. The Directed force is a force to be reckoned with. One short coming with the DF is the inability to dial in loft. Instead you need to rely on the Press Grip. I could hear, and in some instances see, the suboptimal loft for my stroke impacting roll. I could hear skidding for the first several inches and on a few occasions the ball bounced on longer putts. The ineffienct roll made distance control tricky at times. Having spent a lot of time on Quintic I know the roll is not as efficient as my other putters which I can perfectly dial in. With that said, we don’t play golf on computers and in the real world the DF got the ball in the hole better than most putters I’ve used in the past. Really, the DF is fantastic and I’m not picking here. 
 

Axis 1: Unlike the DF the Axis 1 rolled the ball very pure. I could not detect any skidding or bouncing. Also, unlike the DF Axis 1 can build the putter to your spec to perfectly dial in both loft and lie. In my opinion this is a huge advantage. You get world class quality, market leading tech, all dialed in for your exact game. While not as stable feeling as the DF, likely due to overall mass, the Rose was extremely stable. However, it was stable in a very unique way. I swear you can hit a shot dead off the toe and while you can feel a bit of twist the ball goes straight with no loss in ball speed. I realize this sounds stupid, but the putter almost feels like it embarks some sort of gear effect. Clank one off the toe for yourself and see, I swear it feels like the ball gets back on line regardless of how bad you strike the putt. Another unique feeling is The putter feels like it glides on rails. Swing back and forth. There is no wobble, not movement off the natural arc, and the face stays dead square the entire time. Try it for yourself. Give a genuine try and I have a feeling you’ll be impressed.

 

Conclusion: Both putters are awesome. Both putters are worthy of your consideration. I plan to do more testing before crowning my personal winner, but either could go in the bag. 
 

Which putter do you guys prefer? Have you compared both head to head? Is there any other testing you’d like me to perform? 
 

 

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13 hours ago, Cactus Jack said:

In good faith, I can't keep the two of you in suspense any longer 🙂 . 

 

Putter 1 = Directed Force

 

Putter 2 = Axis 1 Rose

 

Observations are to come later tonight, but in the meantime, based on the data, which putter would you game? The Axis 1 was untouchable from 8', while the DF won my multi-distance attempt to determine strokes gained. Which putter would go in your bag?  

DF….. because it is already in my bag and not going anywhere. 

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34 minutes ago, Snowman9000 said:

Are you retesting the original group along side the new ones?  If not, you have the human element on different days.


No. My back won’t allow me to hit that many putts in a day. 
 

The human element is huge. I’m no robot and didn’t intend to for this to be anything more than what it is. I did my best to be consistent and hit as many putts as possible to help limit outliers in the data set. 
 

I have hit thousands of putts on my 8’ line and use it as a litmus test for all of my putters. The Rose and DF produced results that blew me away. The SG stuff was an attempt to verify those results and test at a few different distances. Are the detailed results meaningful to others? Probably not, but can be used for directional purposes. 

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Fantastic testing @Cactus Jack, appreciate all the effort and the analysis of the results. Thank you

 

I found this from Sam Hahn @labgolf when he tested the Axis1 Rose using the Revealer and his comment that short slow putts, the putter is torque free but any larger swing it is not as stable - which, IMO, kinda sums up the results you saw in the Strokes Gained vs the 8 footers...

 

 

 

 

 

Having owned a Directed Force and now, as a GolfWRX tester for the Mezz, I think that looks and more importantly - weight of the putter plays a crucial role in the stability of the putter in the short to mid range putts.

 

My DF is "heavy" coming in at E9 and I just, just had LAB changed my Mezz from a D9 to E2.5 has made a substantial improvement in the short to mid range feel department.

 

Curious, what are the swing weights of the putters?

 

By the way, unless I missed this, were you ever fitted into the LAB putters, if so, what are your specs?

 

Thanks and do carry on some more testing 👍

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10 hours ago, SwingBlues said:

Fantastic testing @Cactus Jack, appreciate all the effort and the analysis of the results. Thank you

 

I found this from Sam Hahn @labgolf when he tested the Axis1 Rose using the Revealer and his comment that short slow putts, the putter is torque free but any larger swing it is not as stable - which, IMO, kinda sums up the results you saw in the Strokes Gained vs the 8 footers...

 

 

 

 

 

Having owned a Directed Force and now, as a GolfWRX tester for the Mezz, I think that looks and more importantly - weight of the putter plays a crucial role in the stability of the putter in the short to mid range putts.

 

My DF is "heavy" coming in at E9 and I just, just had LAB changed my Mezz from a D9 to E2.5 has made a substantial improvement in the short to mid range feel department.

 

Curious, what are the swing weights of the putters?

 

By the way, unless I missed this, were you ever fitted into the LAB putters, if so, what are your specs?

 

Thanks and do carry on some more testing 👍

 

Pure opinion above in that video. No actual testing backs that up. Could be loft related on Axis1 with the longer putts in Cactus Jack's testing. Watch video below. CG placement directly on center of the striking face is going to provide more consistent launch / skid. Minimal ball speed loss and twist on off center hits would also make Axis1 far more consistent on off center hits all proven via robotic testing using Quintic. What do you think all the above would do on longer putts? Consistency.....

 

 

 

 

 

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13 hours ago, SwingBlues said:

Fantastic testing @Cactus Jack, appreciate all the effort and the analysis of the results. Thank you

 

I found this from Sam Hahn @labgolf when he tested the Axis1 Rose using the Revealer and his comment that short slow putts, the putter is torque free but any larger swing it is not as stable - which, IMO, kinda sums up the results you saw in the Strokes Gained vs the 8 footers...

 

 

 

 

 

Having owned a Directed Force and now, as a GolfWRX tester for the Mezz, I think that looks and more importantly - weight of the putter plays a crucial role in the stability of the putter in the short to mid range putts.

 

My DF is "heavy" coming in at E9 and I just, just had LAB changed my Mezz from a D9 to E2.5 has made a substantial improvement in the short to mid range feel department.

 

Curious, what are the swing weights of the putters?

 

By the way, unless I missed this, were you ever fitted into the LAB putters, if so, what are your specs?

 

Thanks and do carry on some more testing 👍

 

Thanks for sharing. Sam nailed it in that Axis 1 is a great putter and has been the industry leader in zero torque putters for a long time. In fairness to Axis 1, I would never stroke a long putt as he demonstrates. In fairness to LAB, no other putter that I'm aware of has anything close to their tech, which is fantastic. 

 

One thing about the DF I've come to appreciate, which folks may overlook, is the consistent setup. I line up face with my lead hand, sole the club, then take my bottom hand grip, and boom, you're in a rock-solid setup position every time. I realize this sounds stupid, but the DF soles in a way that locks in the lie angle. There is no deviation, and the setup is nearly identical from putt to putt. 

 

I do appreciate the stability too. No doubt the monstrous MOI comes through weight similar to a Ping driver. I haven't weighed mine, but no doubt it would be in the E range. I intentionally hit putts off the toe and heel, and in my hands, they feel only marginally worse than a center strike. The sound and feel are slightly different, but there is no twisting, and I haven't noticed any meaningful loss in ball speed. I've found the weight locks in the stroke too. I have a slight out-to-in stroke which with other putters can lead to the head wavering in my back swing to the point of distraction. You know those putts where you're already in motion and can't stop even though you know a mishit is coming...I have lots of those. The DF has dramatically reduced those instances and as has instilled a lot of confidence in my ability to get the ball in the hole. 

 

Yep, my DF is fitted. I play 34", 68* lie, and use the Press 3* grip. I do wish there was a way to more accurately dial in the loft. I've spent a lot of time on Quintic, and loft is the single most important metric for my stroke. I do know the DF is not optimized as I can hear the ball skid unless I strike the ball just right. I'm trying to check my OCD, but it is something in the back of my head. 

 

Sam was wrong about fitting Axis 1 putters. Those putters can be adjusted for loft and lie. While it's best to have Axis 1 perform the adjustments you can make small tweaks similar to other putters. This is a huge advantage in my book. Again, spending time on Quintic has proved to me dialing in loft is critical. Lucky for me, the Rose specs are basically spot on at 2.5* of loft and 69* lie angle. As such, the Rose put a phenomenal role on the ball. Compared to the DF the roll is much more efficient with no audible or visual skidding. 

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13 hours ago, SwingBlues said:

Fantastic testing @Cactus Jack, appreciate all the effort and the analysis of the results. Thank you

 

I found this from Sam Hahn @labgolf when he tested the Axis1 Rose using the Revealer and his comment that short slow putts, the putter is torque free but any larger swing it is not as stable - which, IMO, kinda sums up the results you saw in the Strokes Gained vs the 8 footers...

 

 

 

 

 

Having owned a Directed Force and now, as a GolfWRX tester for the Mezz, I think that looks and more importantly - weight of the putter plays a crucial role in the stability of the putter in the short to mid range putts.

 

My DF is "heavy" coming in at E9 and I just, just had LAB changed my Mezz from a D9 to E2.5 has made a substantial improvement in the short to mid range feel department.

 

Curious, what are the swing weights of the putters?

 

By the way, unless I missed this, were you ever fitted into the LAB putters, if so, what are your specs?

 

Thanks and do carry on some more testing 👍

How do you find the mezz compared to the DF? I’ve had a mezz for a couple months now that I was fit for and have been putting lights out with it. Just finished my online fitting for a DF armlock for an experiment. Do you find the DF more stable or pretty similar?

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2 hours ago, PLongGolf said:

 

Pure opinion above in that video. No actual testing backs that up. Could be loft related on Axis1 with the longer putts in Cactus Jack's testing. Watch video below. CG placement directly on center of the striking face is going to provide more consistent launch / skid. Minimal ball speed loss and twist on off center hits would also make Axis1 far more consistent on off center hits all proven via robotic testing using Quintic. What do you think all the above would do on longer putts? Consistency.....

 

 

 

 

 

 

This largely lines up with my experience. In my non-scientific testing, it almost feels like the Rose has a gear effect to bring all toe and heel shots back to center vs. go offline. 

 

The long putts honestly come down to luck in many ways. Dispersion and speed were fine, I just simply dropped more with the DF. Had I run the test 100 times, no doubt the data would normalize, and both putters would be close to even. I just got on a roll with the DF, similar to the roll I got on with Rose during the 8' test. If there was a true performance difference, I think it would be the alignment aid related more than anything. The DF pulled my eyes to the front of the putter, while the Rose pulled my eyes back a bit due to the white lines. Personal preference. The Rose/Axis 1 is a fantastic putter, and one everyone needs to try. 

 

 

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3 minutes ago, Haber said:

How do you find the mezz compared to the DF? I’ve had a mezz for a couple months now that I was fit for and have been putting lights out with it. Just finished my online fitting for a DF armlock for an experiment. Do you find the DF more stable or pretty similar?

 

The Mezz is a good putter, but in my hands, the DF is the clear winner. I found the DF to be much more stable and have better sound and feel. The LAB guys have solved the Mezz sound/feel on recent iterations, and I likely had one of the originals. I have read the DF is LAB's gold standard, and the Mezz was designed to approximate its performance in a more attractive package. However, I'd argue that based upon LAB's design philosophy, they achieved darn near perfection with the DF, and not many other putters will be able to compare fully. 

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I've had the DF, Mezz, Mezz Max and Axis1 Rose putters. To me the Axis1 is the best feeling putter of the bunch (subjective I know) and the best looking (subjective again). If LAB was to ever come out with their models in some other material than aluminum I would definitely give them a try again. Even if it was just an insert or something. I also always had a problem pulling the ball with the LAB putters. To me the Axis1 was the best of both worlds even though I know the tech is legit in the LAB putters. 

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2 hours ago, Meanbeav77 said:

I've had the DF, Mezz, Mezz Max and Axis1 Rose putters. To me the Axis1 is the best feeling putter of the bunch (subjective I know) and the best looking (subjective again). If LAB was to ever come out with their models in some other material than aluminum I would definitely give them a try again. Even if it was just an insert or something. I also always had a problem pulling the ball with the LAB putters. To me the Axis1 was the best of both worlds even though I know the tech is legit in the LAB putters. 


I agree on the Rose. It’s a great feeling putter. The milling is fantastic and the overall package provides that tour level crisp sensation. In terms of looks and feel it blows LAB out of the water.

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Quick update on the DF. 

 

I've been a bit underwhelmed by the roll it putts on the ball. I previously mentioned I could hear skipping and in some instance see the ball hopping the first few feet. Not good. 

 

The solution is ball position. When I play the ball way forward in my stance the roll noticeably improves. I'm talking fairway wood forward, and the further forward the better. This results in an upward strike but with nearly 0* effective loft. I spent a long time putting side saddle, and it's basically the same concept. The trail arm performs a similar function too as it feels like a bowling motion or pitching a horseshoe motion..just from the side vs face on. 

 

I'm starting to really enjoy the DF.

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Nice write up.

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On 9/24/2022 at 6:10 PM, Cactus Jack said:

Quick update on the DF. 

 

I've been a bit underwhelmed by the roll it putts on the ball. I previously mentioned I could hear skipping and in some instance see the ball hopping the first few feet. Not good. 

 

The solution is ball position. When I play the ball way forward in my stance the roll noticeably improves. I'm talking fairway wood forward, and the further forward the better. This results in an upward strike but with nearly 0* effective loft. I spent a long time putting side saddle, and it's basically the same concept. The trail arm performs a similar function too as it feels like a bowling motion or pitching a horseshoe motion..just from the side vs face on. 

 

I'm starting to really enjoy the DF.

Well said here CJ! 4th round with the DF broomstick and ball position is EVERYTHING. Man I have never seen a ball roll end over end and hug the ground on a perfect line like it does using the DF. Averaging 28 putts per round over the last three rounds with NO 3 PUTTS. This thing is lethal!! Never won this many skins since using the DF. Loving it! 

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 I think having to modify your presumed best ball position for your stroke, eyes, etc, to make a putter roll better means it’s the wrong putter for you.

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2 hours ago, Snowman9000 said:

 I think having to modify your presumed best ball position for your stroke, eyes, etc, to make a putter roll better means it’s the wrong putter for you.

 

This is why I wish I could adjust the loft. In my hands moving the ball forward was the only way to smooth out the roll. What I don't know is if that's an intentional design characteristic, or just a putter that doesn't work naturally for me. Either way, it's rolling the ball great. 

 

...It's also why the Seemore is about to enter the strokes gained game. That sucker sets up so well, feels great, and rolls the ball perfectly. Now, can I get the ball in the hole more often than the DF? We'll soon find out. 

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3 hours ago, Snowman9000 said:

 I think having to modify your presumed best ball position for your stroke, eyes, etc, to make a putter roll better means it’s the wrong putter for you.

Even if after the modification you are putting better than you do with other putters?   I’ve had to move the ball a little forward with the Mezz and my putting has improved dramatically.  Not sure why having to play around with ball position would make a putter necessarily wrong for someone, provided they see the line as well and their putting is improving.

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55 minutes ago, jomatty said:

Even if after the modification you are putting better than you do with other putters?   I’ve had to move the ball a little forward with the Mezz and my putting has improved dramatically.  Not sure why having to play around with ball position would make a putter necessarily wrong for someone, provided they see the line as well and their putting is improving.


Obviously results trump all.  It sure is a dark art.

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M4 Driver
3 or 4 wood

3,4,5,6, & sometimes 7 hybrids (22,25,28,32 degrees)  Adams
7-GW Maltby STi or TS2 irons, graphite
54 & 58º Wedges
some aggravating putter
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