Nike IC Putter: Innovation or gimmick?

Saturday, January 26th, 2013 By

golfer lining up putt

The Nike IC 20-20 Putter promises to take some of the distractions out of putting. Image from Flickr.

The Nike IC 20-20 Putter was made to improve golf scores with “optical engineering” that eliminates the distractions that interfere with a smooth, accurate putting stroke. The most obvious feature of the Nike IC Putter is its green color from the shaft down to the blade. Nike claims that the IC Putter’s green color blends into the surroundings to mute the visual noise that interferes with a golfer’s concentration.

Will the Nike IC Putter cure the yips?

The Nike IC 20-20 Putter is the latest innovation in an industry driven by technology that promises to shave a stroke off your golf game. In a game where “drive for show, putt for dough” is the rule, the Nike IC 20-20 Putter could be a pay day for golfers looking for an edge in the most difficult part of the game. The all-green color is what you will notice first, but the Nike IC 20-20 Putter has a variety of features that Nike promised will result in lower golf scores.

Nike’s Optical Engineering System

Nike claims that optical engineering will help your eyes and brain tune out “visual noise” for more accurate putt alignments and lower golf scores. In addition to its all green color, the Nike IC 20-20 Putter features:

  • a grip by Winn with made to optimize tackiness and feel
  • a putter face milled to enhance accuracy, predictability and distance control
  • a high moment of inertia (MOI) stabilizes the head through stroke and impact
  • an optically engineered alignment aid focuses your eyes on the putter face

Playing on the words “I See,” the IC Putter was developed by Nike Golf in collaboration with Dr. Alan W. Reichow, the global research director of Vision and Science for Nike, Inc., and Tom Stites, director of club creation for Nike Golf. The official company line:  “After much testing, they meticulously came up with the white, triangular shape alignment aid that is a key feature of the Nike IC Putter. The optically engineered alignment aid helps square the face in relation to the hole and starts putts on the line. The face of the Nike IC Putter is milled to precise tolerances to enhance accuracy, predictability and distance control across the putter face. With a high moment of inertia (MOI), the head is stabilized throughout the stroke and at impact for greater confidence and improved accuracy.”

Golf experts like the Nike IP 20-20 Putter

The Nike IC Putter is so new you can’t find it on nike.com yet, but several golf blogs have weighed in on the performance of Nike’s optical engineering technology. The golf blog putterzone.com says the Nike IC Putter is “a pretty slick instrument that, while a bit alien in appearance, is quite effective in matters of performance”. Rob at sandbox8.com says “the optical engineering of the IC 20-20 tricks your eyes and brain into focusing only on the face and large alignment marking. This results in fewer miss-aligned putts and a lower score. I found this to be a huge benefit from up close, within the  8-10 foot range, where putting alignment is crucial. As a result I now have the confidence to make those putts, which I had previously all too often missed.”

A mid-range price for the Nike IC Putter

Chances are you won’t need a personal loan to lower your golf score with the Nike IC Putter.  Nike’s IC putters are positioned between Nike’s value-priced Ignite putters and high-end Unitized putters. Will all these features make golfers chuck their existing putter in the pond and whip out their credit cards? Who wouldn’t want to eliminate some of the tension that is a given for every golfer when they step on the green? Sometimes the easiest putt generates an incredible amount of anxiety. Throw in funky breaks, inclines and inconsistent grain direction and it’s enough to cause a panic attack.  The Nike IC 20-20 Putter was made to help you settle down and make the birdies fly more often.

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