The MacGregor MacTec X 004 Putter is a very good value for money putter for beginners. The feel from the face was good as was the all round performance, although it felt a little heavier than most to use.
Excellent value for money
Decent level of forgiveness
All steel head felt heavier
Looks reflect the market price
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One of the noticeable things when testing the best putters of 2022 was the cost of the latest models. The vast majority of the putters tested were over $200, with the top of the range models reaching over $400. Whilst it is the club you use the most and also the one you need for the principal purpose of golf, which is to get the ball in the hole, these are prices you would normally find on a driver.
So with the cost of living crisis in mind, can you get a putter for under $70 and how would it perform? Fitting the bill in more ways than one is the MacGregor MacTec X 004 putter with a steel head and shaft and a milled ARC Tech face insert for a better roll.
Using Arccos Caddie to track the performance in a competitive round, I benched my trusty old Odyssey 2-Ball putter to see how a budget putter would compare against it for performance and value for money.
First impressions were not too bad compared to the best mallet putters in the market. The X 004 has a shape that is considered familiar now with two long bars on each side of the head that create a face balanced design that is similar to my gamer. It lined up very well at address and the feel was pretty good for a face insert that is made from a similar material to the head rather than some fancy compound or multi-material super forged metal.
The shaft is steel and the grip is pretty standard, which is where you might expect most of the savings to come from, but the quality is still there. Out on the course the MacTec X 004 felt pretty good. The lie was a little flatter than my usual putter, but the big difference was the weight of the all steel head, which was a little heavier.
At this price range you are not going to get multi-material heads that use lightweight metals with tungsten weights in the corners to increase the MOI. This is 100% steel all the way through and you could feel it. Not that this is necessarily a bad thing, as the MacTec had a decent level of forgiveness and feel and for the money it was very playable.
A difference of 0.4 strokes per round in my first round using the MacGregor with no practice is a very acceptable outcome and I am sure with a little more practice I could get the numbers to be the same and have a few hundred pounds extra in my pocket from the cheaper price.
So would I do this? If I was on a budget, or was looking for the best putter for beginners, then at least there is the re-assurance that there are models out there that will do the job and do it well.
When I started researching how to choose a putter for this I was imagining having to go with something that had all the feel and style of a putter that would not look out of place at a mini-golf facility. However, I was pleasantly surprised with the quality of models like the MacGregor MacTec range, so these types of putter are out there if you can find them.
However, this is the real world and golf is also about having the latest tech and feeling good about your clubs. I am also a firm believer that if you are going to spend a lot on a club then it should be on a putter as well as a driver, and you should be fitted for it too.
Players who are good putters will probably be good putters with anything, but for average and poor putters there are forgiving putter designs with fancy shafts and custom fitting options that can improve your game. As with most things in life, you will get what you pay for, so you pays your money and takes your choice.
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Martin Hopley is one of the foremost UK equipment reviewers with over 20 years' experience. As the former founder of Golfalot.com he was an early pioneer of online reviews and has also been a regular contributor to other titles. He is renowned for his technical knowledge and in-depth analysis, which he now brings to Golf Monthly.
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