Over a year ago, I received a Directed Force 2.1 putter by L.A.B. Golf for review. In full disclosure, I received a custom putter in exchange for a review on GolfGuide.com. L.A.B. Golf sent the putter with no talking points or guidance for the review. How refreshing, I could putz around with the putter and give my honest feedback. Time slipped away from me and I failed to write my initial review. Well, it has been over a year and it is time I right the ship.
This article is titled as an “Honest Review” because many product reviews are just product overviews touching on the positive marketing attributes of the product. As I proofread this post, I realize the article is pretty rosy. Largely because the putter is that good. The proof is in the pudding, the DF 2.1 is my everyday gamer and has been for the last 15 months.
How I Heard About The Directed Force Putter
I am stretching my aging memory, but I believe I saw a Facebook ad for the putter. The putter caught my eye due to it’s unusual shape. What caught my true attention was the Facebook comments. Every golfer who used the putter posted glowing reviews. I dove a little deeper and watched all the videos pertaining to how every putter has torque with exception of their line of putters.
Now, I am a golfer who is streaky with putters. My office resembles a mini-museum filled with putters of varying shapes and styles. I game a putter for a few weeks and the minute it gets cold, it gets benched. Club Champion zeroed in on my specs but I am always searching, always tinkering. So the curiosity killed the cat. I was sold, I needed one!
The Fitting Process
L.A.B Golf performs a video fitting to dial in the perfect putter. The process was simple, I took a video of my putting stance. I used a mini tripod with my iPhone to capture my putter swing with a wall corner as a backdrop. The corner establishes a baseline of 90 degrees and the lie angle of my shaft can be calculated for a perfect fit. As an FYI, traditional putters off the rack are 69/70 degrees. My fitting, revealed that I was slightly more upright and 71 is the perfect shaft angle for my putter.
After receiving my lie angle, I custom order my putter. I selected the head color, shaft, grip, sight line and head cover design. They say the waiting is the hardest part. Thankfully the putter arrived within two weeks.
When I received the putter, I was taken a back. The head was bigger and bolder than I anticipated. For god sakes, it looked like a branding iron. I slowed down my enthusiasm. To avoid any embarrassment, I decided to first test drive the putter in my office.
A few years back, I converted my conference room into a full chipping and putting bay. The nervy three foot putt is my favorite practice routine. My record previously with any of my putters was 33 in a row. I typically putt 5 balls, fill the hole and repeat.
On first address the Directed Force putter fit like a glove. I took one practice putt and the love affair started. The OG Grip presses 3 degrees forward and it felt amazing. I decided to rip the band-aid off and put it immediately to the test. How many in a row can I make?
Within a few minutes, I rattled off 50 straight makes. My back started to hurt from pulling balls out of the cup, so I took a break. After the break I sunk another 50 in a row. I repeated this exercise and found myself at 200 straight made putts. As I was approaching 200 in a row, I started getting nervous. I was shattering my previous record. At 201, I was both elated and relieved and lazily pushed number 202 to the right. I finally missed, beating my record by 6 fold or 169 putts.
Putting in Play
Moments after hitting 201 consecutive three footers, I called Sam Hahn CEO of LAB Golf. My exact comment/question was,”what in the heck did you build me?” We spent the next hour talking about torque and how lie angle balance eliminates it. I am going to save you the geek speak, and share the video that explains it to a tee.
After our conversation, I raced to the golf course. The magic continued during my round, draining 3 and 6 footers with easy and confidence. The putter just felt amazing. As Sam shared, “it just goes straight back and straight forward. There is no fighting the torque.”
The Looks and Comments
Ever golfer I play with/against makes a comment about the putter. I have heard it all: “the branding iron, the ash tray, the bottle opener, the broom stick. etc.”
After, their comments or jokes. I tell them, I call it “the wallet opener.” After that I let my putting do the talking and when the round is over collect money on our skins game.
My buddies and I typically have a few wagers on our game include flaggies. A game where $5 is paid from each guy to the putter who drains a putt longer than the length of the flag stick. After the first month, my regular group stopped playing the game. If there is one testimonial it is this. It is the reason I have not switched out putters in over a year.
L.A.B. Putters advertising campaign is every putt is now makeable. It truly is my belief and the confidence is certainly there. I literally paid for a second putter to go into my backup set with the winnings profited from flaggies and skins.
A Small Learning Curve
Sam Hahn shared a small learning curve with the putter.
1) Put Shaft in Middle of Stance.
With a traditional putter golfers center the putter in their stance. Because the L.A.B putter is center shafted and onset by approximately a half inch it is recommended to have putter more forward in the stance or better put have shaft in the center of the stance.
2) Down Hill Lags – Cannot Playing Off Toe
With a traditional putter, touchy down hill puts can be softened by hitting off the toe. Because the Directed Force Putter is Lie Angle Balanced mishits or toe intentional putts are struck with (nearly) full force. The best way to hit speedy down hill putts is to either loosen/soften grip or decelerate. Deceleration is a naturally tendency amoung golfers and is a killer with traditional putters but not with a L.A.B Putter.
The Take Aways
Distance control is spot on. Most amateur golfers mishit long putts resulting in coming up short. Once again, because of the perfect balance mishits result in consistent distance control.
2) Every putt is makeable.
Over the last 15 months my handicap index has dropped from an 11 to 5.9. Yes, I tinker with balls and other clubs but scoring is done with putting. My birdie percentage has gone from 0.7 birdies per round to 1.5. While I do not track every round for number of putts, I know my number of long ranged puts made, missed 3-4 footers and number of 3 putts all have noticeable improved.
3) Putting slumps still happen.
Yes the confidence did erode but it was short lived. Typically after reviewing stance and ensuring a forward press the magic returns. My putting slumps are very short lived. I used to measure slumps in weeks now it is never more than a round or two.
4) Have Not Switched Putters.
I was once a habitual putter switcher. Well, truth be told, I have tinkered with other putters but only with other putters in the L.A.B Golf family. I have purchased an original Blad, two Mezz 1.0’s (L.A.B’s newest putter shape) and three additional Directed Force 2.1’s. Why you ask? I keep one in the set at my club, one in a backup/trunk set, one at my office and another at my house. The putter is that good.
Going On The Record
Over one year later, the original Directed Force 2.1 has not left my bag. It is my gamer. It is going nowhere. It will not be replaced. Truth be told, I have not received any payment for this article or any other endorsements from L.A.B Golf putters. On the contrary, the guys at the club have threatened to 1099 me for my skin winnings in 2021 and 2022.
Hello, do you have the stock shaft in all of your LAB putters? Or do you have one of the shaft upgrades?
Any thoughts on the Link 1 and how it compares? I do like my DF 2.1 but curious the differences.