What's new? How much does it cost? And how does it perform? Jack Backhouse brings you the low down on Cleveland's new HB Soft Milled 4 putter
Cleveland have released a line of affordable milled putters, so how does their classic blade perform? Find out in our Cleveland HB Soft Milled 4 putter review.
Cleveland HB Soft Milled 4 putter review: NCG Summary
As a blade putter, this is as clean as it comes. The Cleveland HB Soft Milled 4 putter sits wonderfully square behind the ball, and the strikes feel soft off the face. It won’t take many putts on the practice green to have you feeling like you can’t miss.
Blade putter fans in search of an upgrade will love this model, as Cleveland have changed their milling process to drive the costs down, giving us, the player, a chance to use the best face technology for a fraction of the cost of other milled putters.
- Looks amazing at address
- Option for a shaft upgrade
- The putter feels really balanced when lag putting
- The head cover feels cheap
Once you take the headcover off the putter, it’s stunning. All of the lines are really clean and square you making you feel you can align it to anything, which is not something you get a lot from a blade putter.
The milling on the face is interesting, and the subtle detail on the back of the putter gives you the impression Cleveland have put a lot of thought into a putter that can easily be overlooked by brands as the shape is fairly ‘simple’ and, how much technology does it really need?
To say I like blade putters would be an extreme understatement. I have a nice collection growing at home, and I even have a Ping Zing putter that’s over 20 years old that sometimes comes out for a spin went the greens are really smooth.
I do have high standards for a blade, and I know exactly what I’m looking for in a putter, so getting my hands on Cleveland’s new HB Soft Milled 4 putter was quite exciting. I put it straight into the bag and have used it for numerous rounds of golf now, so it’s had a thorough testing.
The first thing I had to do was change the headcover. Cleveland’s was velcro and just didn’t match the quality of the putter at all. I know this isn’t a headcover review and likely not important to many players, but it feels important to note. Don’t judge a book by its cover.
The big story with the new HB Soft Milled line is the precision design and build. Cleveland are trying to make the production process more efficient, so are only milling the face and back of the putter, which reduces waste and cost, so that savings can then be passed to the golfer.
The face milling pattern is a specific design that is closer together in the centre and gets progressively wider away from the centre, is designed to equalize ball speed for good and bad strikes. As blades are generally less forgiving than a mallet, this is great news.
We’ve all been there when you hit a 40-footer from the toe, and you still have 10ft left; the new milling aims to stop this from happening. Consistent ball speed across the face is exactly what we want from a putter.
My experience testing this putter is a wonderful one. I don’t know if it’s just because an increase in form has coincided with getting this in my hands, but I’ve been using it pretty well.
I find it really easy to line up with the edges of the putter being so straight and square, so my short putting has been pretty reliable. I also find that the putter feels really well-balanced. The weight of the head somehow feels perfectly matched up with the weight of the shaft and grip, and it just swings really well.
Because of the putter’s balance, and the new milling design on the face of the putter, my lag putting has also been really good. The ball reacts really well from the face and rolls well very quickly, which is exactly what we are after.
Something I really like about the Cleveland HB Soft Milled 4 is that there are some pretty good custom options available which aren’t that common in putters. You can upgrade the shaft for a UST Mamiya graphite which is stronger and flexes less in the stroke, improving your lag-putting consistency.
You also get a choice of grips, both Golf Pride Pro Only grips but one slightly thinner than the other. These are supposed to either compliment your arcing stroke or more straight back straight through stroke. I’m not sure how much I believe that the grip is anything more than a personal preference, but it’s great to have the option.
Cleveland says this putter head shape is designed for a player with a slight arc stroke. I have never particularly bought into the idea that one putter head will suit one type of stroke, but I do understand the points they make. This is a great putter, and I think you shouldn’t be put off trying or using it just because you may not have a slight arc.
This is a blade you should get out and try. I really like it, and it is staying in my bag for the foreseeable future and maybe for the whole season. Having it in my hands gives me confidence on the greens, and I can’t look much past that.
HB Soft Milled Putters: The Details
Shaft lengths: 32 – 37 inches
More information: Cleveland Website
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