Scotty Cameron has pretty much held the same weight/length characteristics with his various Newport lines over the years with few exceptions. For the most part, the 33" length was matched with a 350-gram head, the 34" with a 340-gram head, and the 35" getting a 330-gram head. Other than swapping shafts with a heavier head (or vise versa), you were pretty much stuck with whatever weight head came with the correct shaft length for your physical makeup and putting stroke.
For those of us who prefer a little more heft in our putter head and don't want to use lead tape, the new Studio Select line fits us perfectly. The Studio Selects feature removable weights that let you fine-tune the weight that works best for you.
I've spent the last two years using a Studio Style Newport 2 and really like the softer feel of the insert, so even though the Studio Select Newport 2 looks similar, I was a little hesitant to give up the feel to which I'd become accustomed. Read on to find out if I ditched the insert and went all milled.
Design, Looks and Setup
For those of you who didn't like the German Stainless Steel (GSS) insert on the Studio Style line, it is now a thing of the past. The Studio Select putters are milled from a block of 303 stainless steel and provide a slightly different feel and sound compared to the GSS insert of the Studio Style. I actually grew to like the insert of the Studio Style so this was a little bit of change for me. More on that later.
While the Newport 2 style head is similar to ones in the past, there are some pretty noticeable changes with the Studio Select version as it looks like a combination of a few different heads. If you to look at from the face side, you would think you were looking at the Mil-Spec with the three red dots and the Cameron name as well as a more rounded bottom. Also a very distinctive milling patten make the face look quite sharp.
Another difference from past Newports is the high toe set-up that reduces the tendency for players to raise the toe and aim left of target. I found this to be a very nice addition.
Two body styles are available, the Newport or the ever so slightly less "boxy" Newport 2. The Newport features a plumbing neck while the Newport 1.5 features a flare neck. If the Newport 2 head is more your liking you have the option of either a plumbing neck or a mid-slant neck.
The Selects feature a stepless steel shaft that helps to soften the feel - a nice touch. It also comes with one of my favorite things - the Red Cameron cord grip. The red theme continues with three large Cherry dots on the back of the putter, three smaller Cherry dots towards the heel of the face, three Cherry dots on the shaftbands, and three rather large Cherry dots on the reflective silver headcover.
Perhaps the biggest change, however, is the removable circular sole weights located in the heel and toe. No longer are you held to a certain weight for a certain length shaft as you can send the Studio Select into the Custom Shop and get some different weights for your particular putting stroke (if the standard configuration doesn't work for you). It remains to be seen however if you'll be able to go to your local authorized Titleist dealer to get the weights changed rather than having to send it to the Custom Shop.
Performance & Feel
I've been putting with a Scotty Cameron Studio Style Newport 2 for the past couple of golf seasons so I figured "hey, it can't be that big of a difference." Well, not exactly.
I'm not sure what the difference between German vs. American stainless steel (or any other country's stainless steel for that matter) but I had grown accustomed to the soft feel of the insert and almost hated to see it go. After two years of getting used to that particularly soft feel and the more muted sound, I noticed an immediate change when I switched to the all-milled Studio Select. I adjusted, but it took a few rounds.
Once I became accustomed to the firmer feel (the audible difference didn't bother me at all) and saw a fair share of putts drop, I really started to like the Studio Select. What really made the transition easy was, of all things, the red Cameron cord grip. I'm serious! I've putted with the smooth Studio Design grip and its a bit small for my longer fingers but the cord fits beautifully and the tactile feel is great. For me, this might be the best grip I have ever used on any putter, hands down. I don't think its just me that thinks this grip is great as I've let a couple of golfing buddies hold it and both asked where they could get one for their putters.
The other detail that helped ion me over was the additional weight. My Studio Style weighs 340 grams while the Studio Select I tested came in at 350 grams. While it doesn't seem to be a huge difference it was noticeable and really helped me maintain a smooth, controlled stroke. I really liked the overall weight of the 34"/350g combo as it just "felt right" from the moment I picked it up out of the box.
With the additional weight, distance control was a breeze and I found it pretty easy to gauge the distance on putts of every length. The Studio Select has a very nice balance to it and swings quite easily as it accelerates through the stroke. The toe flow (or "toe hang") helps you maintain a nice arc without the feeling of having to manipulate the release of the putter head. Lining up with the ball is a snap with the white alignment line (although you may choose to go without the alignment line - that's an option!).
As for feel and feedback, the Studio Select provides a good amount of both. When struck perfectly (or very closely to), the feeling is very smooth with a subtle bit of "springy" feeling that lets you know you caught it on the sweet spot. Off-center hits feel a bit "clanky" and produce a different sound. These aren't super-high MOI putters (though they will help some), so you are not rewarded much on poorly struck putts. The putt still rolls nicely and very nearly online, but your distance will suffer some and you can definitely feel the difference.
Both Newport models are available in 33", 34", and 35" lengths and come with a lie angle of 71° and 4° of loft standard. The Studio Select can be adjusted +/- 2 degrees from their standard lie in order to fit your individual putting stroke. The 303 stainless is a nice soft metal to work with, so adjusting your lie should be a snap.
All models in the Studio Select line are available right-handed. For the lefties out there, the Newport 2 model is available in all three lengths as well.
The Red Cameron Cord comes standard but you can also choose from the Black Studio Design, Red Studio Design, Black Baby T, Red Baby T, and Red Winn AVS Midsize for your custom orders. If none of those suit your fancy, don't forget the Custom Shop has many more to choose from as well as some new paintfills and headcovers to make your Studio Select stand out.
Speaking of standing out, the standard sliver headcover with the three large Cherry dots does just that and is quite gaudy in my opinion. I much prefer something a bit more toned down (and certainly not silver) so that'll end up being something I will end up replacing (I do like the black versions you can get at the Custom Shop).
The Studio Select line will run you $299 at your favorite golf shop. That's at the high end for putters, but considering you're going to use this 30+ times a round compared to a $300-$400 driver you may hit a third of that, and suddenly the price point doesn't look too bad at all.
I really like the direction Scotty Cameron is going with all the customization options you can make to the Studio Select line. Being able to chose a weight/length combination that is the best for your individual putting stroke makes this a must-try when you are out shopping for putters. I found this to be a very solid performer and if you like a blade-style putter, you owe it to yourself to give one a shot.
In the end, I made the switch from my Studio Style primarily due to the extra weight and the cord grip. Those little differences have provided me with a bit more confidence on the green as I finally feel that I have a putter that was made to my specifications.