50 Words or Less
The Toulon Design Portland putter is a high-end take on the now-classic #7 head shape. Great feel. Surprising forgiveness, given the compact size. Unique fitting options.
I’m an unabashed putter snob. I appreciate the performance of the giant, multi-material mallets, but I want something beautiful to take to the course. When I saw the Toulon Design Portland, I saw a putter that might finally give me the best of both worlds: the forgiveness of a mallet with stunning looks.
What first struck me about the Portland is how compact it appears. It’s nearly as long from heel-to-toe as an Odyssey #7, but the difference is in the length. The Portland is substantially shorter from front-to-back, and that change in proportion makes all the difference. The dark finish also makes it seem a bit smaller than it is.
Over the last couple years, it’s been my opinion that no company has dialed in their clubs’ aesthetics like Callaway. The Odyssey/Toulon Design brand has not been overlooked. From the clean, minimal branding to the classy color choices, it’s clear that thought went into every detail. I particularly like the Toulon Design branded Super Stroke grip.
Sound & Feel
As I’ve written in previous Toulon reviews, I absolutely love the Deep Diamond Mill face milling that Toulon Design uses. To me, the sound and feel that it creates is perfect: soft without being mushy, crisp without being clicky.
For a putter that looks so compact, the stability is impressive. As long as you stay on the middle section of the face, it’s hard to feel any twisting. Similarly, there’s not much change in the sound. If, however, you wander off the Deep Diamond Mill, you will notice a substantially firmer feel.
What has always attracted me to the #7 head shape is the stability. The “wings” or “fangs” seem to laugh off mishits and keep the putter face from twisting. Given the smaller dimensions, I was curious to see how much forgiveness the Portland would have. Answer: plenty. I have found that my distance control has been noticeably better because my mishits don’t lose as much speed.
That stability is arguably even more important on shorter putts. Inside five or six feet, you can get away with a slightly poor strike on most putters. When you get closer to ten or fifteen, catching the ball on the toe can twist the face enough to create a miss. I found with the Toulon Design Portland, I had less tendency to leave those type of putts short, and I was more regularly finding the center of the cup.
The Toulon Design Portland comes with a two major fitting options: the neck and the weighting. The H3 version is a plumbers neck with full-shaft offset and 45 degree toe hang, both similar to a traditional Anser-style putter. The H4, seen here, is a short slant neck with similar toe hang but only 1/2 shaft offset. If you tend to pull putts, less offset may be the better choice.
Toulon Design offers three options for the weighting: standard, Moderate Release, and Aggressive Release. The standard weighting has a 350 gram head. Moving up to the Moderate Release (MR) raises the head weight to 363 grams and places a 25 gram counterweight in the grip. The Aggressive Release (AR) pushes the head weight all the way to 383 grams, extends the putter to 38″, and includes a 50 gram counterweight. The AR is meant to simulate the release of a belly or long putter and may take some adjustment to get used to.
I opted for the Moderate Release because I’ve had success with counter weighted putters in the last few years. It was extremely comfortable in my hands from the beginning, no adjustment period necessary. I find that the extra weight in my hands keeps them quiet, but it’s not too so much extra that I feel like I’m swinging a sledge hammer.
Whether or not the Toulon Design Portland becomes a mainstay in my bag remains to be seen, but the early results have been impressive, and it will certainly get more time on the course. I’m very impressed with the amount of forgiveness that’s been packed into this compact, sweet-feeling flat stick.