Zebra has done an excellent job of reinventing the original mallet for the modern game. Compared to modern putters it may look quite simple, but if you like mallets with strong alignment lines then the Zebra AIT 1 putter offers quality design at a competitive price.
Great alignment lines
Solid sound and feel
Good value for money
Simplicity of design may lack wow factor
Why you can trust Golf Monthly Our expert reviewers spend hours testing and comparing products and services so you can choose the best for you. Find out more about how we test.
Zebra AIT 1 Putter Review
As you go through your golfing life there are clubs that stand the test of time and if you grew up playing golf in the 1970s and '80s then the Ram Zebra putter will be one of them. It was one of the few face balanced mallet putters in a market that was saturated with blade putters, and I don't mean Ping Anser style blades.
VIDEO: Discover why the Zebra AIT 1 putter was chosen for Editor's Choice in 2023
The low profile face and distinctive lines on the crown drew a loyal fan base because it worked. You didn't see many poor putters with a Zebra and two major wins by Ray Floyd and Nick Price put the exclamation mark on the putter's history. Towards the end of the 20th century the brand faded from view as it was overtaken by changes in face inserts and high MOI mallets, so much so that we are a mallet dominated sport on the greens now.
Sometimes brands like this are re-launched under new owners but they don't quite capture the essence of the original. However with the 2022 relaunch the new owners hired veteran Odyssey designer Austie Rollinson to re-imagine the iconic shape of the original in the Zebra AIT 1 putter, using Artificial Intelligence Technology (AIT) to find the ideal CG locations to maximise the MOI.
Compared to the original, the face is deeper with an insert and the head is larger and rounder to create more forgiveness. In a nod to the past, the AIT 1 sole plate still features the Zebra turning its head and of course the distinctive alignment lines on the crown.
These are now grey on black instead of black on grey, which helps to make the central white line stand out more. The deeper head allows the lines to be longer and this combination creates an alignment aid at address with a strong visual look. It may not be as unique as it was, but for those that remember the original, it is like meeting an old friend and therefore has been awarded a place in our 2023 Editor's Choice.
The face features a 303 stainless steel insert in front of a soft urethane pad for better feel. The grooves on the insert help improve the launch and roll from the 3° face. The whole insert saves over 16g which is relocated elsewhere in the head to improve the MOI that measures 4172 g/cm2. As well as the two 15g weights that can be replaced, there is apparently a horseshoe (zebra shoe?) weight in the soleplate. It certainly feels like it is there and the roll and sound form the Zebra AIT 1 putter was very good.
It is a reasonably forgiving putter too and Zebra has done an excellent job of reinventing the original mallet for the modern game. The pricing is also competitive (RRP £179.99) for a putter that features a stepped KBS steel shaft for greater stability and a branded midsize Winn pistol grip.
Compared to modern putters it may look quite simple, but if you like mallets with strong alignment lines then the Zebra AIT 1 putter will also stand the test of time.
For a more modern variation on the Zebra theme read the Zebra AIT 3 putter review.
Get the Golf Monthly Newsletter
Tips on how to play better, latest equipment reviews, interviews with the biggest names and more.
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.
'Why Wouldn't He Be A Favourite?' - Couples Says Tiger Woods Can Challenge For Another Masters Title At Augusta
Fred Couples says that if Tiger Woods can play regular golf without pain then there's no reason why he couldn't challenge for another Green Jacket in April
By Paul Higham Published
World No.1 Scottie Scheffler Using New Putter At Hero World Challenge
Scheffler has been pictured using an Olson Golf flat stick this week in The Bahamas
By Elliott Heath Published
'There’s No Unity Or Path Forward With Him Involved' - Mickelson Calls For PGA Tour Boss Monahan To Go
Phil Mickelson has taken to social media again, and this time to call for PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan to leave his post
By Paul Higham Published