Round 4 Putters: The Best Putter You’ve Never Heard Of?
Up until recently I’ve never been a good enough golfer to take my gear that seriously. I was an 18ish handicap, who played once a month, and really believed my clubs didn’t make that much of a difference.
That has changed this year, as I’m sitting on 100 rounds year to date, and my handicap has dropped to around a 10.
Slowly but surely I’ve come to the realization that an upgrade in my clubs was going to be necessary across the board if I wanted to continue to make strides in my game.
One of the most crucial things I needed was a new putter.
I’ve had the same Nike putter for a solid 4 or 5 years. I never got fit for it, I just told my girlfriend I wanted one, and she surprised me with it at Christmas.
The putter served me well, but my short game was shaky at best, and I knew that getting something that was more geared towards what I wanted would make a big difference.
Enter, Round 4 putters.
I’m willing to bet you’ve never heard of Round 4 before. I certainly hadn’t until a recent trip to New York, where I met the founder, Al Vikmanis, through a mutual friend.
It was clear Al and I had a lot in common, and through the course of the conversation we started talking about his passion for putters.
I’ve never seen someone so knowledgeable and so obsessed with the flat stick before.
He started the business because he truly believed there was a better way of doing things. So many of the off-the-rack putters we see on the market today, are simply clones of one another – many of which trying to mimic the most well known, high end putter brand: Scotty Cameron.
“I wanted to do something different. I wanted to make beautifully designed, unique putters, that didn’t try and copy someone else. More importantly, I want to help people find the perfect putter for them.”
There’s a reason you haven’t heard of Round 4. Al likes it that way.
“I never want these things to be mass produced or on the racks of every golf shop. It’s low volume, high service.”
There’s something to be said about developing a sub-culture and catering specifically to those people who are in the know. My buddy Adam and I were lamenting the fact there’s not enough of that in golf.
Part of my goal with Breaking Eighty is to discover those personal brands that were developed simply out of a passion for golf. Round 4 is totally one of those brands.
My Round 4 Putter
After meeting Al, and putting with a few of his demos, I knew I wanted to try one of these out for myself.
I told him that I was completely clueless when it came to what loft, lie, grip etc I wanted on my putter.
Since he was across the country at this point, we couldn’t do a custom fitting, but we emailed back and forth as he asked questions to figure out my current setup – and to try and deduct what would be the best fit.
Two weeks later my shiny new putter showed up.
I’ve since gotten about 6 rounds in with it, and I’ve gotta say, with each putt I’m liking it more and more.
When I first hit the course, I couldn’t believe how different it was from my old Nike putter. The Nike was a large mallet style that was extremely hot off the face. It had a pop that I had a tough time controlling and often resulted in putts that were much too long or short.
My Round 4 is the exact opposite.
While still technically a mallet style putter, it’s closer to a blade, noticeably smaller, and it has much more weight to it, which I like.
It’s got a perfect pendulum like motion that I didn’t have with my Nike.
My first putts with it, completely caught me off guard. I hit the ball and it felt dead.
I was used to my the ball just popping off the face, but this just kind of seemed to die. While it felt weird at first, I’m now starting to see why this is such a good thing.
My distance control with the Round 4 is unbelievable. I leave almost everything to within a couple feet.
My most recent round is the perfect example of this.
I shot a very unofficial 80 (winter rules with a handful of mulligans), but I had probably double the number of tap in pars I usually have. I had no less than 4 birdie putts that just barely missed – so I’m confident with a bit more practice those will start sinking.
I also had 5 one putts on the front 9 alone…I never do that.
Due to the weight and pendulum like motion I feel like I can hit the ball straighter and I have more confidence with the 3-5 footers. I now understand where the name comes from “Round 4”. For those days in the 4th round of a tournament when you have to go out and win, the last thing you want to do is be thinking about your gear. You want tools that you know are going to do what you want them to – and these putters are the perfect example of that. More than anything, they’ve actually given me confidence in my putting.
My Round 4 has also led to lots of questions on the course. Within 5 seconds of pulling it out during my first round with it, a friend who knows much more about gear than I do, immediately said “what’s that?!”
He couldn’t stop talking about it all round. It’s always kind of cool to be the one in the know 🙂
You guys should know by now, I’m not a scratch golfer. Nor can I tell you every small intricacy from one club to the next. However, I do know what works for me.
And quite simply, my Round 4 putter has been a game changer. I’m improving with each round I play with it, and when you factor in the level of customer service and customization that goes into making one of these – it’s definitely a brand you should consider if you’re looking for a high end, competition putter.