By: Dylan Thaemert
50 Words or Less
By moving the club’s center of gravity forward, the new Frontline putters from Cleveland represent a radical departure in design philosophy from virtually every other putter on the market.
The Frontline series packages brand new ideas of putter technology into familiar head shapes. According to Cleveland, adding a significant amount of weight to the face pushes the center of gravity forward and therefore reduces gear effect on putts that are hit left or right of the sweet spot, resulting in straighter putts for players who don’t find the center of the face with every stroke.
At address, the Frontline Cero has a clean and sleek look. To my eye, it has everything I need to confidently line up a putt and nothing extraneous or distracting. For a mallet putter like the Cero, that means one sight line in the center of the top line and two more on either side of the flange. Its matte black color also means that you’ll never have to worry about glare.
Things look neat and traditional until you turn your attention to the face. That’s when you’ll clearly see tungsten weights (47.3 grams worth) in both the toe and heel of the putter face. Between the two weights is a milled aluminum face insert Cleveland calls SOFT (Speed Optimized Face Technology). The company says the insert is designed to help eliminate putts left short.
Sound & Feel
The Frontline Cero feels soft off the face. The sound is also a soft, muted ‘tock’.
While the feel is indeed SOFT, the ball comes off with significant pop. It took me a minute to reconcile the soft feeling with the oomph that a modest stroke seemed to create.
Another notable aspect of feel is the grip. Cleveland has included a stock Lamkin grip that is a slightly oversized pistol style. It has a soft, grippy texture and is just the right size for someone who generally prefers a larger grip without taper.
One thing that sets the Frontline series apart is that Cleveland has made it simple for golfers to identify which putter is likely to be a good fit for their stroke. On their website (HERE), Cleveland suggests which models are best suited to players with a straight back and straight through stroke and those that are more suited to players with a more arcing stroke.
Like getting behind the wheel of a new car, getting a feel for the Cero took a few putts. But once I did, I found the Frontline Cero to be a reliable performer.
While I don’t know how consistently I struck the exact center of the club face with my putts, I do know that putts rolled remarkably straight at short, medium, and longer distances. On short putts in particular, I felt my confidence increase. With other putters I feel that the shorter my stroke becomes, the less stable it is, causing embarrassing short misses. With the Cero, I found that I was more able to confidently make a short stroke and see those 3-4 footers disappear into the center of the cup.
Will moving the center of gravity forward revolutionize the way putters are made from here on out? I don’t know. What I do know from my experience on the course is that the Cleveland Frontline putters are a great option for a golfer who wants to know that their putter is a good fit for their stroke, who often leaves putts short, and who does not always strike the sweet spot on the putter face.