- L.A.B. Golf adds the Link.1 blade putter to their 2023 putter lineup.
- The Link.1 features the same Lie Angle Balanced design found in the popular L.A.B. Golf mallets.
- The Link.1 is available at lab golf.com. MSRP $469 for stock and customs starting at $559.
L.A.B. Golf unveiled their new blade putter last month, the L.A.B Golf Link.1. If you missed it, don’t feel bad. We had a great many golf products cross our screens and inboxes last month. Some of them were bound to get lost in the glossy deluge of newness. A single new putter from a small putter company doesn’t stand much of a chance of being noticed when the big players in golf are throwing millions at the public’s attention.
Now that the new release season has calmed down a bit, it seems like an ideal time to take a longer look at the Link.1. What makes this new putter different from the previous L.A.B. putters? More importantly, what separates the Link.1 from other blade putters in the marketplace?
Even more importantly, how does the L.A.B. Link.1 roll the ball?
L.A.B. Golf’s missing Link.1
Apologies. That title may be the most hack thing I have ever written. The message is spot on, though. Prior to the Link.1, L.A.B. Golf was a company known for their mallets. The fleur-de-lis-shaped Direct Force mallet was the first putter L.A.B. released. The MEZZ.1 and MEZZ.1 MAX followed soon thereafter.
One could argue that adding the L.A.B Golf Link.1 blade putter to the L.A.B. family seems like the next natural step. As it turns out, L.A.B. took a similar step when they added their previous blade, the B.2, to the cohort. So, yes, my “only mallets” statement in the above paragraph was a bit incomplete. Prior to the Link.1, L.A.B. Golf was currently only producing mallets. You can find the B.2 blade using Google but you will not find it on L.A.B. Golf’s website.
So why is this new blade more significant than L.A.B Golf’s seemingly abandoned blade putter?
The L.A.B. Golf Link.1 looks like a blade putter
Looking odd is not something new for L.A.B. Golf. Atypical designs that boost putting performance are L.A.B. Golf’s bailiwick. In my opinion, the problem with the previous blade putter was that it looked like a bar of metal on a stick. Maybe it wasn’t odd enough looking to garner interest. Think a less interesting-looking SeeMore blade. I’d speculate that the simple, almost unfinished look of the B.2 turned off customers, regardless of the putter’s performance.
The new L.A.B. Golf Link.1 putter looks much more like a traditional heel-toe weighted blade putter. No, I didn’t overlook the hosel attaching to the cavity or the multitude of screws. Those elements are non-traditional for sure. I’m referring to the overall familiar Anser-like shape of the Link.1. Initially, Karsten would probably wonder where L.A.B. Golf was taking his iconic design.
Truth be told, I think that Mr. Solheim would also appreciate what L.A.B. Golf has accomplished with the Link.1 as he also experimented with similar designs at PING.
What separates the L.A.B Golf Link.1 from other blade putters?
Obviously, we are talking about the screwed-in weights, right? Sort of. The weights in the Link.1 are different but that’s because the Link.1 is designed to play different from other blades. Like L.A.B. Golf’s mallets, the Link.1 blade is Lie Angle Balanced.
What was “Lie Angle Balanced” again?
Simply put, the L.A.B. Golf putters are designed so they will not rotate during the swing. While other putter heads will gate open and closed relative to the putting arc, the toe of a L.A.B. Golf putter stays put. This means the putter should stay square to the arc the whole time, ultimately returning square to the ball at impact.
This design is not unique to L.A.B. putters. Other companies have produced similar designs. Edel Golf makes torque-balanced EAS putters and other companies have dabbled in the design as well. Odyssey Golf gave it a shot in 2016 with their Toe Up putters. I mentioned Karsten Solheim would appreciate the design of the Link.1. That is because he, too, experimented with a similar design with his Kushin putter—not the recent Kushin design but the old one where the toe pointed straight up.
Swinging a lie-angle balanced putter will probably feel odd if you are not used to putting with one. After a while, you will learn to let go of your manipulations in the stroke and just let the putter swing. That may sound like an infomercial line but that was my experience using the MEZZ.1 MAX last summer. Once I let the putter do its thing, it was hyper accurate.
Green time with the Link.1
When I first took the Link.1 putter out of the headcover, I had the obligatory “What the hell is going on?” moment. The Link.1 looks unusual. Like three-headed goat unusual. There are weights all over the place and what is going on with the shaft bolted off-center in the cavity? Sure, the little L.A.B. Golf logos in the cavity are cool looking but they don’t totally distract you from the hosel sitting next to them.
Having rolled the L.A.B. Golf MEZZ.1 and MEZZ.1 MAX putters last summer, I knew not to put too much stock in the appearance of the Link.1. She’s an odd bird but if she rolls the rock like her siblings, all oddities are forgiven. On some level, I was kind of hoping the Link.1 didn’t putt well. Basically, I’m shallow when it comes to putters. I like the pretty ones.
I think I swore out loud when I made the first putt I took with the Link.1 and then laughed when the second ball snuggled next to the cup. Not even kidding: the first one from about 20 feet just dropped. I am sure my previous experience with the Mezz.1 Max had something to do being comfortable with the Link.1. This Link.1 has the same ACCRA x L.A.B. graphite shaft as the Mezz.1 Max. As expected, the cosmetic issues faded quickly as balls hit holes.
Are you Link.1’d in?
The L.A.B. Golf Link.1 is a great addition to the L.A.B. Golf putter line up. Those interested in trying a lie-angle balanced putter, but not really into mallets, should look at the Link.1. Ideally, you can find one of these to demo before buying one. They are not inexpensive. The standard Link.1 costs $469 and the custom version starts at $559.
So far, the Link.1 is the surprise of the season for me. It looks so odd but rolls so well. The construction may be atypical but it is also high quality. You may question the weights and angles of the Link.1 but you shouldn’t question the materials. Like the Mezz.1, the Link.1 was produced with tight tolerances.
I’m curious to hear your thoughts, both from current L.A.B. putter users and those of you new to the brand. Is the Link.1 something that has you curious?
Find out more about the Link.1 and other L.A.B. Golf putters at labgolf.com.
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