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Clubs: Scotty Cameron by Titleist Circa 62 Putter Review


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By Donald MacKenzie via TheSandTrap.com

Scotty Cameron pays tribute to the putters of his youth with the Circa 62 line. How do these old school putters stack up in the present day?





scotty_cameron_circa62_number_three.jpgScotty Cameron's line of Titleist putters occupies a unique niche in the flatstick universe. After joining forces with Titleist in the mid-1990s, Cameron's milled product line essentially created the $250-plus premium putter market. Titleist regularly leads the PGA Tour in putters in play, and Cameron's putters have such a strong reputation - and resale value - that entire businesses are built around buying and selling them.



If you're one of Cameron's crazies, you probably know all about his new Circa 62 line. If you aren't, read on and find out what this new line of milled putters is all about, and what a $299 putter can do for your game.



I've owned dozens of putters over the last 15+ years. I have two staff bags full of putters in my basement, and another five or six (my favorites) vie for my attention in my office. Somehow, I've made it this far without a Scotty Cameron by Titleist working its way into my rotation.



That changed recently when a new Circa 62 No. 3 putter joined the gang. Even though I've used a few high-MOI mallet putters recently, I still prefer a more classic-looking blade. The entire idea behind the Circa 62 line is classicism. Cameron has said the inspiration for the four models in the Circa 62 line was the sleek designs of classic putters he grew up with (1962 being the year Scotty was born).



scotty_cameron_circa62_oilcloth.jpgscotty_cameron_circa62_headcover.jpg

Each of the Circa 62 putters comes with a silicon-treated cloth, a sheet of care instructions and an eye-catching yellow headcover with a ball-mark repair tool.



Cameron detractors, and there are a few, have populated Internet forums with criticism that the Circa 62s are too-close cousins to the original popular milled putters created in that era by TP Mills, much as many previous Camerons have been very similar to Karsten Solheim's Ping designs. There are certainly similarities between the Circa 62s and TP Mills putters - the gracefully swooping flanges, the squared corners of the toe area, the circular sight dot - but it isn't as if Cameron is the first one to incorporate Mills' design cues, and Scotty has added some touches of his own. The Circa 62 putters also have visual similarities to the Cameron Studio Style putters that were dropped from his product lineup this year, thanks mainly to the gun blue finish.



Design

Each of the Circa 62 putters is entirely milled from soft carbon steel. The hosel and blade are milled from the same block of steel, meaning there's no welding involved in the making of the putter. Most putters that are made using investment casting techniques have hosels that are welded to the blade, which can lead to inconsistencies in weight and feel from putter to putter.



scotty_cameron_circa62_angles.jpg

The Circa 62 No. 3 putter has crisp, sleek lines and a simple white circle on the top line. Note that the shiny finish is prone to reflecting glare.



Carbon steel is prone to rusting, so Cameron has decided to use a black oxide finish on the Circa 62 line. This jet black finish looks great out of the box, but comes with some caveats. First of all, the finish is very reflective. The Circa 62 No. 3 I used definitely gave me a few bursts of unwelcome bright glare when I played in clear conditions. Second, the gun blue finish - like similar black oxide-type finishes - is quite high-maintenance. Each Circa 62 putter comes with a yellow cloth treated with silicon, along with instructions to wipe down the putter after every use. That's because the gun blue finish doesn't do much to protect the carbon steel from rusting, and the silicon on the cloth helps restore the protective barrier.



The first round I played with my Circa 62 was in drizzly conditions at a seaside course. When I got back to my hotel about 30 minutes after finishing play, I remembered to wipe down the putter - and it already had small brown dots forming on the sole and hosel. These mostly disappeared after using the silicon cloth, and I've been a bit more diligent about keeping the putter dry. But if you're the kind of player who prefers to leave your clubs alone between rounds, beware that you may end up with a rusty putter sooner than later. I know people who actually love taking care of their gun blue Camerons, and others who stay away from them for this very reason.



Models 1-3 of the Circa 62 line are blades that share the same general design cues. They all have high toe areas to help golfers line up the blade better and avoid pulling putts, as well as a "draft sole" design that helps the putter sit squarely at address. These design choices made the Circa 62 No. 3 very easy to line up for me, and very comfortable to use on the green or from the fringe.



scotty_cameron_circa62_lineup.jpg

The Circa 62 family includes the No. 5 mallet and three blade-style putters. No word on why there's no No. 4 model.



The Circa 62 No. 5 is a distinctive mallet model. It has an interesting concave sole to go with the high-toe design of the other putters in the family. I didn't get the chance to try this model, but mallet-lovers take note.



Aesthetics

The Circa 62s are very minimalist-looking putters. At address, the only thing that stands out is the tiny white sight circle on the top of the putter behind the sweet spot - no complicated series of lines or shapes. I think it's great. In a putter market where every new design seems to be more overboard than the last, the Circa 62s are understated and sleek.



An interesting thing about the Circa 62s is that the Titleist name is nearly hidden on every model. Most Cameron designs have the Titleist name in the cavity on the back of the blade or on the heel area of the putter face. Not so on the Circa 62s. Each putter has "SCOTTY CAMERON" stamped on the face and filled with white paint, while the word "CAMERON" is on the rear of the putter. The Titleist logo only appears on the sole of each putter, and on the butt end of the grip.



scotty_cameron_circa62_grips.jpg

A hand-stitched leather grip comes standard on each Circa 62 putter.



Speaking of the grip, it is a soft leather grip from Australia. It is hand-stitched, and the stitching runs down the bottom of the grip to serve as a raised "reminder" area. A few people who tried out my Circa 62 No. 3 didn't care for this "steering wheel" feel, but I liked it. And if you've never putted with a leather grip, you're missing something.



Other than black and white, the other color to be seen on the Circa 62s is a racing yellow. This color is used on a Circa 62 logo on each putter's sole, as well as on the shaft band. The headcover (and a Cameron fan knows how important the headcover is) looks like leather and is the same yellow color. It comes with couple holes to hold the included milled "pivot tool," though it wasn't a very secure hold in my experience. Some people may also see a bright yellow Cameron head cover as a big "Steal me!" sign. But you should definitely use a headcover of some sort with the Circa 62s to protect the fragile finish and the soft carbon steel.



The Circa 62s look beautiful out of the box. The mill marks give the putters the look of a precision tool, and the finish looks like jewelry. But aside from the post-round silicon treatment that's needed, I also found the finish of the putter to be less than durable. After hitting a ball out of a wet bunker, I decided to putt the ball from where it sat on the fringe. There was wet sand still stuck to the ball, but I couldn't mark and clean the ball since it was just off the green. So I putted the ball to tap-in range, made that putt and left the green. As I put the Circa 62 back in my bag, I noticed that my 15-foot putt from the fringe had left a permanent mark on the putter face, thanks to the sand that was on the ball. I suppose in time I'll see that as "character," but for now I just see it as "that scuff on the face of my putter."



Overall, however, these are simply great-looking putters. Everything about them, from the shape of the head to the mill marks on the face, looks fantastic. I enjoy reaching for this putter on every green, and feeling good about your putter can only help your confidence over the ball.



scotty_cameron_circa62_back.jpg

The high-toe design of the Circa 62 putters is meant to help golfers set up properly to the ball.



Feel and Sound

Carbon steel may be prone to rust and the black oxide finish may be less than durable, but the combination does create smooth feel and sound on the Circa 62 putters. I played multiple rounds with both urethane-covered premium golf balls and a few rounds with harder Surlyn-covered distance balls. The Circa 62 No. 3 felt and sounded great with both. The putter produces a solid, deep "click" at impact that is very pleasing. You also get an immediate sense of feedback, knowing whether you struck the putt flush or a little off-center. The feel is not as soft as putters with elastomer inserts, but the feedback is much better. And thanks to the carbon steel, the feel is better than most cast stainless steel putters.



scotty_cameron_circa62_shaft_band.jpg

The shaft band on the Circa 62 No. 3 shows its specs. The shaft band is not visible at address, as it's on the underside of the shaft.



My only quibble with the feel was that the Circa 62 No. 3 felt a little light in the head to me. And it only comes in a 35" version, so if I wanted to cut it down an inch or two, I'd end up with an even lighter putter (you can't put lead tape on a putter this pretty; that'd be like putting duct tape on a Porsche). But the more I used it, the more comfortable I became with the putter - especially on fast greens.



Performance

In addition to its old school design aesthetic, the Circa 62 line also has a classic performance style. If you're looking for a high-MOI putter that will make up for a shaky putting stroke, you shouldn't be looking at the Circa 62s. These are not high-tech, space-age corrective designs like Cameron's Futura models. The Circa 62s are for people who appreciate a putter that gives them solid feel, reliable distance control and a simple look. Models 1-3 are non-face balanced blades that are ideal for someone with a "swinging gate" stroke, while the No. 5 mallet is face balanced for square-to-square strokes.



scotty_cameron_logo_white.jpgI appreciate high-MOI putters for the way they minimize the loss of distance and accuracy on off-center hits. But I always struggle with distance control with such high-tech implements. The Circa 62 No. 3 was totally intuitive on all kinds of greens. While I didn't exactly drain miles of putts with it, I also left myself a lot of easy tap-ins for second putts thanks to the excellent distance control. I also found the relatively compact design of the putter to perform better on tricky breaking putts than large high-MOI mallets.



Conclusion

For the $299 street price, I was expecting the Circa 62 No. 3 to be my dream putter. While it let me down in some respects (the care regiment required for the black oxide finish), it was a very strong performer that has won the starting spot in my bag with its feel and consistency.



To really be my dream putter, I'd need to make some modifications to the Circa 62 No. 3. First, I'd need for there to be a sturdier finish. Second, I'd want the topline to be misted or similarly treated to cut down on glare on sunny days. Third, I'd want the option of being able to order a shorter length with a heavier head (34" with a 340-gram head would be ideal, and our Editor Erik prefers an even shorter, heavier 33" and 350 grams). Maybe I'm picking nits, but a premium-priced product like the Circa 62 putters is certainly open to scrutiny. Pay more, expect more, I figure.



scotty_cameron_circa62_headcover_putter.jpg

The complete package: The Circa 62 No. 3 with head cover and pivot tool.



A few of those options are available by going through Cameron's Custom Shop (Pro Platinum finish, shaft cut down a half-inch), but that would add even more to the price. And despite my little wish list, the fact is that the Circa 62 No. 3 is a solid putter that looks great. I'm of the belief that 90 percent of putting is confidence (and the other 10 percent is pretty much luck). If you love classic-looking milled blade putters and don't find $299 to be too much for a club you're going to use on every hole, then you're likely to find the Circa 62 line to be worth the price.

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