U.S. Open: Justin Rose's Axis 1 Rose Proto putter stays hot at Pebble Beach

Justin Rose's Axis 1 Rose proto putter David Dusek/Golfweek

U.S. Open: Justin Rose's Axis 1 Rose Proto putter stays hot at Pebble Beach

Equipment

U.S. Open: Justin Rose's Axis 1 Rose Proto putter stays hot at Pebble Beach

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PEBBLE BEACH, Calif. – By PGA Tour standards, from 2012 through 2017, Justin Rose was a bad putter.

He ranked No. 100 or higher in each of those seasons in strokes gained putting, a statistic that measures of much of an advantage (or disadvantage) are player has compared to the field based solely on the quality of his putting. The Englishman was an elite ballstriker but giving away shots on the green.

Then, in 2018, things turned around, and Rose started making putts.

A lot of putts.

He worked on his stroke and dedicated himself to improving his performance on the greens. The hard work paid off and Rose finished the year ranked No. 21 in strokes gained putting, with an average of 0.424. That means one of the game’s best drivers and iron players was now picking up almost half a shot against the field on the greens.

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Riding that hot putter, Rose won twice, was a runner-up three times, collected 11 top-10 finishes and won the FedEx Cup.

This season, he’s putting even better, and with the help of a unique putter, he is sitting at 7-under (135) through 36 holes at the 119th U.S. Open.

Now, about that putter. If you have seen some of the worm cam footage of Rose putting this week’s during the television broadcast, you probably noticed that his putter looks different than other putters. It is.

Justin Rose's Axis 1 Rose proto putter

Justin Rose’s Axis 1 Rose Proto putter. (David Dusek/Golfweek)

Rose is using an Axis 1 Rose Proto. The body face is made from 303 stainless steel and the black portion in the chassis is carbon fiber.

The shape, with a pair of wing-like extensions in the heel and toe areas, is not especially unique, but the hosel bends and goes inside the head in front of the hitting surface, which is unusual.

According to Phil Long, partner and vice president of Axis, this allows Axis to position the center of gravity and the sweet spot of the putter to be directly in the center of the hitting area.

As a result, Long said, the Axis putter does not twist at the moment of impact, and the face does not open and close as much during the stroke.

In other words, as you swing an Axis 1 putter, its geometry encourages the face to stay square, and if you mis-hit the ball, the putter will twist less and transfer energy from your stroke to the ball more efficiently.

Justin Rose's Axis 1 Rose proto putter

At address, you can see how the shaft enters the head in front of the hitting surface. (David Dusek/Golfweek)

Rose started experimenting with Axis putters at the 2017 Dell Technologies Championship at TPC Boston. The previous week, his strokes gained putting average at the Northern Trust had been -0.523, but with the Axis, it went to 0.537 at the Dell Technologies Championship.

At that time, Rose was under contract to play another company’s clubs, so the putter came out of his bag the following week.

According to Long, the prototype putter Rose first used was 383 grams, but the putter he has at Pebble Beach has a shorter blade length and weights 355 grams. All of Rose’s putters have been fitted with a rectangular Flat Cat Svelte grip.

After Rose signed an endorsement deal in January with Honma to play the company’s woods, irons and wedges, the Axis 1 Rose Proto putter immediately went into his bag. It has been there ever since.

In the first round of the 2019 U.S. Open, Rose’s strokes gained putter was 5.81, the best in the 156-man field. He putted well again on Friday en route to a 1-under 70. If his putter stays hot, and Rose continues to hit the drives and iron shots that he’s known for, a second U.S. Open title could be 36 holes away.

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