Even before it launched its first product for retail sale, a new stand-alone putter company landed a spot in mygolfspy.com’s list of the 10 Most Wanted Blade Putters for 2016. And unlike any other putter on the list – or in the marketplace, for that matter – the Sentio Sierra 101 has a unique technology you can not only feel, but you can see.
Every time any golf manufacturer brings out a new club, it boasts of “new and improved” technological advances that make the club better, or at least different, from its predecessor, as well as its many competitors. Sometimes these claims are factual, or at least close to it, and sometimes they are little more than marketing hype.
But in the very crowded putter segment of the market, Sentio Golf, a company founded in 2015 and based in Acton, Mass., has introduced a putter with technology that is literally unique to the industry. What’s more, Sentio’s innovative “floating face” is patented, so the myriad boutique and mainline putter manufacturers cannot copy the technology, as so many do with basic shapes and designs.
Sentio’s Sierra 101 blade-style putter – the first and currently only model offered by Sentio Golf – features a face completely separated from the rest of the head by a vibration-dampening thermoplastic elastomer, or TPE, layer. Hold the putter up to any light source and you can see the technology for yourself.
The three component parts of the Sierra 101 putter head could be likened to golf’s version of the iconic Oreo cookie, the translucent TPE layer acting as the 'filling' separating the 304 stainless steel CNC face from the 303 forged stainless steel body. The manufacturing process that allows for the unique three-part design to become a singular putter head is called insert molding, a tediously precise and expensive procedure.
"Insert molding requires extremely tight manufacturing tolerances, so our metal components are made to some of the highest dimensional standards in the industry,” said Jim Varney, president of Sentio Golf. “Our proprietary TPE formulation bonds the two metal parts permanently together while keeping them separated from each other without any contact. This softens impact while keeping some of the pop, which we have found is critical for good distance control."
Speaking by phone, Varney explained that it is the TPE layer that isolates the face of the Sierra 101 from the rest of the putter head that also separates Sentio putters from every other putter on the market. By isolating the face, he said, Sentio engineers have given the putter a consistency across the face you simply do not find in other putters, be they solid or insert designs.
To further enhance and personalize the “feel” of its putters, Sentio offers the Sierra 101 model with three distinct TPE inserts, each with a different elastisity and easily identifiable by the color of the polymer layer – green (soft), red (medium) and blue (firm). (See photo at left.) As Varney further explained, changing the durometer, or relative hardness, of the TPE layer affects energy transfer to the ball by altering the COR (coefficient of restitution) of the clubface, providing a range of feel not available with any other putter models.
Don’t just take the company’s word for it. Go to mygolfspy.com and you’ll see that, of 25 putters tested, the Sierra 101 was one of only four to place in the top 10 from every distance – 5, 10 and 20 feet – in tests to pick the site’s 10 “Most Wanted” blade putters.
Sentio Golf suggests that players who prefer a putter with a face insert or who regularly play on fast greens try the green or soft core Sierra model. Conversely, for those who prefer a solid, milled putter and/or play on slow greens, the company suggests the firm (blue) core, while the medium (red) core provides a middle-of-the-road feel that can accommodate a broad range of conditions.
Trying a Sierra 101 with the medium insert, we found the putter felt perfectly “at home” on greens rolling in the 11-foot-plus range on the Stimpmeter.
Further, we found that the consistency Varney spoke about translates into a seemingly innate distance control on the greens. Our Sentio Sierra 101 demo putter produced putts that “rolled out” within inches of the desired distance almost intuitively. More impressively, putts intentionally struck off-center – one-half inch toward the heel or toe – suffered almost no distance loss over center hits.
“Every player has an innate sense for distance control,” said Varney. “If you can match the tool to your expectations, it follows that you are going to make more putts.”
Also, we discovered that, because it is visible at address, the translucent TPE layer provides another benefit, in addition to enhanced feel. The perpendicular line formed by the insert acts as an alignment aid at address. (As someone who has always placed the ball with the name perpendicular to the line, I found this feature particularly appealing.)
Regardless of TPE layer, the Sierra 101 putter features a 350-gram head, with two degrees loft and a standard 72-degree lie angle. However, the full offset plumber (or Anser-style) hosel can be bent by a qualified club fitter to adjust lie angle. The stock True Temper steel shaft is available in 33-, 34- and 35-inch lengths and is outfitted with a PURE midsize pistol-style grip.
Currently, Sentio's Sierra 101, with custom headcover, is available through the company’s website, sentiogolf.com, or at selected golf shops for the retail price of $299. But expect distribution to grow rapidly as word gets out about this one-of-a-kind putter.