Every year at the PGA Show in Orlando, a few new products are awarded with awards for their innovation and design. In 2014, Tru-Roll Putters won the Top Buyer’s Choice Award. Given the volume of products on display every year this is quite an accomplishment. On the putting green during the PGA Demo Day when I met Sheldon Long, the inventor of the Tru-Roll Putter, I overheard several people talking about the product and nobody had a bad thing to say about it. The Top Buyer’s Choice award reflects observation. The design and concept of the Tru-Roll putter is simple – to get the ball rolling immediately.
The barrel shape of the Tru-Roll putter is a unique look and takes a bit of getting used to, but the design is clean and functional. There aren’t any over the top graphics or alignment aids to distract you, just a single line denoting the sweet spot and a brushed metal head. My tester was the TR-II satin putter, which has a single bent shaft, but other models offer a standard plumber’s neck hosel or straight center shaft.
By making the putter a metal tube shape instead of the traditional flat face with loft, Tru-Roll arrived at a design that consistently strikes the ball at the equator, regardless of your hand position. You can have a forward press or lock your hands slightly behind the face at address like PGA Tour player Zack Johnson, it doesn’t matter. The Tru-Roll putter will strike the ball with the same face angle and roll the putt the same way every time. The concept of a round tube putter is similar to the way a cue ball is used to roll balls across a pool table.
During play testing, I found the Tru-Roll putter to be most effective on faster greens. The ball tends to come off the face with slightly less perceived energy than a standard putter because the ball starts rolling much faster. With a traditional flat faced putter, on a long putt the ball becomes airborne temporarily, then skids for a while and starts to roll a few feet down the line.
Once I adjusted to the way the ball comes off the face I was rolling putts with very consistent speed. The nature of the design make it very forgiving on off center hits and less than perfect strokes. People who sometimes scuff their putts or tend to top the ball a bit will find the Tru-Roll putter will help them.
Because the putter head is not cambered or curved on the bottom, the putter lies very flat against the ground, which can be an issue if the lie angle isn’t fit properly for the golfer. A proper fit is always important for putters, and this putter is no exception. The other thing that takes getting used to is the rounded face. Since the face sits slightly in front of the shaft on my TR-II model, alignment was a little awkward. The TR-I model with an offset hosel would probably fix that.
Mr. Long has created a very simple and very functional putter that will help just about anybody roll the ball better and more consistently.