LAB Golf changes the way conventional putters think

Weights on the bottom and sides of LAB Golf’s Mezz.1 series of putters allow each to be customized to a player’s specifications.

Sam Hahn is a nice guy, but by his own admission, he’s a terrible person to hang out with in a living room, watching a golf tournament on TV.

When you’re the CEO of an independent putter company, getting one of your flatsticks in the hands of a tour pro is gold. But doing that early in the week at a tournament site is only half the battle – when Hahn gets home, he needs to see if the player took that LAB Golf putter from the practice green to the tournament.

And the only way to do that is to look like everyone else.

“It’s nerve-wracking, but I’ve improved a bit,” Hahn said.

LIV Golf helped. The fledgling company has gained a foothold on the young tour, and in its frenetic streams of four to five hours of limited-court action, Hahn can see every player on the greens and verify that his putters have hit the weekend.

And all season he liked what he saw. But more on that later.

The origins of LAB Golf date back to 2014, when a former mini-tour player named Bill Presse created a putter that simplified his stroke by delivering a square putter face to the ball every time. The invention – Lie Angle Balance – first manifested itself in a putter called Directed Force, whose head shape seems more suited to a cattle ranch than a golf course.

But about a year after the LAB Golf company was founded in 2018 (the name plays on the technology), Adam Scott used the unconventional putter at the Masters and threw it all.

Adam Scott lines up a putt at the 2019 Masters.

Adam Scott helped start LAB Golf history by using his uncharacteristically looking Directed Force putter on the Tour, including at the 2019 Masters.

The company eventually added a slightly more conventional (though still very distinctive) mallet, the Mezz.1, with the same technology that LAB Golf claims allows the player to let the face stay square rather than force it to stay. square. The Mezz.1 (and its bigger brother, the Mezz.1 Max) have eight weights on the bottom and two on the sides, allowing the company to build a putter to weight, setup, and lie angle specifications. requested by the player. (The stock price is $449, options such as custom trees are available for an additional fee.)

Hahn demonstrates putter stability in YouTube videos where a tool he calls “the revealer” shows how his club’s putter face stays square compared to competitors. If you’re skeptical, LAB Golf sells the developer on its website.

“My clients are avid golfers, people who don’t just scroll through golf ads,” says Hahn. “These are people who take the time to consider technology. I would say they are a bit more on the cerebral side – golf nerds.”

The challenge is to reach these players, but there’s never been a better time to be a so-called golf nerd with message boards and word of mouth.

Which brings us back to LIV Golf, where LAB Golf has had its biggest impact among the pros. Charl Schwartzel used a long Mezz.1 putter before joining the upstart league, then won his first event in June with the putter.

The second league event took place in Portland, Oregon, and with LAB Golf based an hour and a half away, it was an easy choice to show up on practice days with a few putters.

“It was great, the vibe was great, super accommodating,” Hahn said. “There’s so much less chaos there, everyone’s in a better mood.”

The vibe may be down to the Saudi-backed nature of the tour, with its huge scholarships and guaranteed contracts, but it may also come from a more open mind to gear, which is a godsend. for an independent putter company with a product that may take some explaining.

The Mezz.1 Max and Mezz.1 putters from LAB Golf.

The top view of LAB Golf’s Mezz.1 Max and Mezz.1.

At a PGA Tour event, with three times as many players and all the major equipment companies swirling around the practice green, Hahn says he might only have seconds to talk to a player.

LAB Golf staff also attended LIV Golf events in New Jersey, Chicago and Miami, and by the end of the year the company boasted nine LIV players using the putter at any given time. the season and six in the season finale in Miami (including Pat Perez, who helped the 4 Aces team win the title and a $16 million salary).

Therein lies another unique part of LAB Golf’s story in 2022. Major equipment manufacturers have been noticeably silent about LIV players; when someone won on Sunday, there was no media explosion on Monday about what was in their bag, contrary to standard operating procedure after a PGA Tour victory. The circuit has been too much of a lightning rod for controversy, especially in the United States

Hahn says he’s also conflicted as a golf fan, but professionally “my interest is all about helping people putt better.”

Finding a balance, as the name of the company suggests.

Michael C. Ford