Louisville Golf specializes in persimmon golf clubs. At first we thought that their True Center Persimmon Inserts were just a design gimmick intended to capitalize upon the persimmon mystique. That turned out to be untrue as the TC-3 soon revealed itself to be genuine. Still, we were reluctant to begin testing this Louisville Putter after the great success of the recently reviewed Maltby P.E.T. Tour. The P.E.T. was going to be a tough act to follow for any putter. We need not have worried. The True Center TC-3 lived up to the challenge. In spite of initial misgivings, the TC-3 ended up receiving high marks from all of our testers.
The feel of the Maltby P.E.T. has a tactile vibrancy that is transmitted directly to the fingertips. The feedback provided by the True Center is not so immediately intuitive. Some translation of the persimmon insert’s subtle feel is required. Players unaccustomed to this putter may find it to be a bit dull and overly muted at first. Metal faces transmit a feedback at a much more pronounced level of intensity. That is not necessarily better, however. With time, most of our players have learned to appreciate the nuances of feedback that only persimmon can communicate. It has the unique propensity to absorb negative vibrations without filtering out too many positive sensations. As Louisville Golf says, “The True Center’s Persimmon Insert provides … vibration-dampening so you feel the ball in your stroke and not the vibration from the impact.” This may seem like an oddly incongruous thing to say, but it is true. You can feel the ball in your stroke.
Once the taste is acquired, the refined feel of persimmon is easy to live with, especially when it is incorporated into a tried and true head design such as the Zing-inspired, TC-3. At first, our testers thought that this True Center putter felt a little dead and sluggish, but as testing sessions progressed, the understated sensations became more and more appreciated. This was particularly true when softer, premium balls were used. Any older players who recall their persimmon-playing days will remember that, feelwise, balata on persimmon beats Surlyn on persimmon every day of the week. Balata and persimmon meld together with a mellow smoothness – like tea and honey.
While persimmon is a durable hardwood, it absorbs impact sensations and plays softer than it actually is. It certainly plays softer than all metals. This is a boon to those who tend to be overly aggressive with their putts. The TC-3 has a heavy, solid feel in the hands. Yet even with its high swingweight of E1.5, this putter is not a banger. The True Center may be stroked slightly harder than metal-faced putters of the same weight. This permits players to be a bit more aggressive in attacking the cup. In fact, our testers soon learned that they had to shorten their takeaway slightly and drive just a little more firmly through impact to maintain correct pace. Once they adjusted, distance control became exceptionally good with this putter.
Another benefit derived from the persimmon insert is weight savings. Persimmon is much lighter than steel. This allows for greater weight dispersion into the heel and the toe. A stable and reasonably forgiving putter has resulted. Ball roll has been good, but the short hosel has only a small amount of offset. This can result in added face loft at impact and some skiddery ball roll for those accustomed to putters with larger amounts of offset – especially if they putt with harder, 2-piece balls.
We have tried the Louisville Putters on greens of three different speeds. It has accommodated each quite nicely. It has also accommodated putts of all lengths well. Long-range bombs across pronounced undulations could be gauged with good predictability. Short, no-brainers offered no surprises, as well. During putting competitions on our ultra-fast, synthetic surface the TC-3 again sparkled in terms of consistent pace and distance control.
Accuracy was also quite fine with the TC-3. It sets up squarely and cleanly at address. In head to head, bocce-ball competitions against similar sized and weighted putters such as the Odyssey Rossie Blade, Wilson Fat Shaft CI 12, Callaway BJ-12 and Carbite Z-1, the True Center fared well. It won more than it lost. Pace-wise, it clearly dominated the others. Distance control was exceptionally good.
All of the above mentioned putters are easy to aim and align. The TC-3 was on a par with all of them. It aims with intuitive ease. This True Center putter is a predictable putter that no one would ever consider finicky. Its left/right consistency during competitions was very good. Under the pressure of competition it did not hold up to the extremely stable Wilson Fat Shaft for our nervous types, however.
We did not compare this putter directly to the Maltby P.E.T. in head-to-head sessions. The P.E.T. is a lighter, airier-feeling putter that appeals to different users than does the heavier, more staid TC-3. Though of similar size and design, they are not directly comparable. Both produce very tight patterns in terms of distance control, but each demands a different tempo and mindset.
By the end of our testing, the True Center TC-3 had found a home in the bag of one of our crew members. A relatively new tester, Jesse is a solid, consistent putter who almost never three-putts. A Callaway BJ-12 had been a permanent occupant of his bag for many years. The TC-3 is the first putter that has posed a threat to its happy home. Jesse likes the True Center because it allows him to “drive through the ball and aggressively attack the cup without fear of running too far past the hole.” The speeds on the greens at his two favorite courses vary greatly. The TC-3 can handle each admirably.
The True Center is a very fine putter that looks nice and plays nice. It is a heavy, stable, no-nonsense tool that performs admirably under most conditions. Players who prefer to attack the cup may like this putter a great deal. The feel, after a very brief period of acclimation, becomes quite pleasant. It has appealed to all of our testers.
The TC-3 is a friendly putter that will suit players with a relatively wide range of putting skills. It is not a game-improvement putter that is intended for raw beginners, however. The balance of the TC-3 is moderately toe-heavy – call it a 60-degree hanger. It prefers to be stroked on a slight in to out swingpath with a motion that accelerates firmly through impact. Those who use a face-balanced putter and a pure, pendulum stroke will have to learn to make minor adjustments with the True Center.
For more information, you can visit their website at: louisvillegolf.com.