I've spent over a decade playing with an old Ray Cook M1-X putter. A mallet putter made popular by Nick Price and a few others many moons ago, it has served me well but has felt rather "dead" lately. The grip has become slick and hard and the top of the club had distracting little nicks in the soft metal.
The quest for its replacement began and ended with the Red X mallet from Scotty Cameron (and Titleist).
That's not wholly true: I briefly looked at every other mallet as well as some of those unusual clubs, like the Futura or the Odyssey 2-Ball that everyone's got these days.
Concept to Tour
The Red X started out as a concept putter nearly two years ago. Code named "Cabriolet," it was introduced to the PGA Tour in 2004. Several Tour players immediately accepted the Red X and it averaged a count of nine in play during most tournaments and six at the Masters. The putter is developing a following among all touring professionals, top college and amateur players as well, and the distinctive red grip often gives it away.
The Red X is a comprised of a stainless steel body with a premium precision-milled German Stainless Steel (GSS) insert. The insert has an elastomer border to achieve the proper sound. Scotty thinks the Red X models produce some of the best sound of all of his designs. The sole is aluminium, placing the weight higher and towards the edges, to decrease backspin and increase stability. The grip is a slender red baby T grip.
The Red X is available in three lengths and weights: 33"/350g, 34"/340g, 35"/330g.
Sibling: The X2
The Red X has a sister: the Red X2. This center-shafted model has a straight shaft with no offset. Three dots behind the shaft allow the user to get the shaft in the proper position prior to stroking the putt. Both the Red X and the Red X2 have 4° loft.
Looks and Setup
The Red X is a serious looking putter. Its soft, dull "mist" finish reduces glare and inspires confidence. I use the logo or the printing on my ball to align the putt, and the three white lines on the top of the Red X are much easier to align with my intended line (and the logo on the ball) than the 2-Ball putters. The face of the putter is smoothly milled with curved lines.
Feel and Sound
The Red X sets up nicely. The gently rounded sole rests solidly on the ground and practically aligns itself. The singly-bent shaft is positioned in such a way that your eyes line up over the ball, allowing for the smoothest pendulum stroke.
Scuffed putts seem to average more distance than with bladed putters, but this putter is just as likely to get caught up in the fringe for those who putt from the edges of the greens. The putter has a consistent feel and balance on putts of all distances. The grip, which is both skinny and deep, encourages less hand action than other grips. It is also rather small which encourages you to grip the club in the fingers to increase feel.
Of course, there's also the very simple matter of how the Red X putts. In a word: superb. The ball jumps off the clubface on putts, but in a controllable fashion. Distance control is quite easy, and I could concentrate on making a smoother stroke. Long putts, even with the shorter shaft (33"), are consistently easy to judge. In practice rounds, I felt as though I'd left a few short, but the ball rolled smoothly all the way to the hole. Finally, this club has very little "skid" to it - the ball starts rolling within a few inches and on-line.
All is not roses, however: I did find one flaw. The back of the putter is too thick to properly scoop up a ball resting on the green. But it's no matter: I always thought I looked cooler picking my ball out of the hole than anyone else did giving themselves short putts anyway.