February 28, 2011
I recently had the pleasure of discovering one of the best finds of my golfing career: Byron Morgan putters. LG did a cursory POTW several months back when he got his first Byron, but this post aims to give a little more information.
Byron Morgan is a putter maker out of Huntington Beach, California. He is famous among golf equipment aficionados for his custom-made putter designs. If you own a Byron Morgan, chances are no one in the world will own a putter that is exactly like yours. Although he does make production runs, they typically end at 25 or so putters maximum, and his custom options allow him to create for his customers a truly one-of-a-kind piece of artwork.
Byron makes putters of all different models. His most popular models are probably the heel-toe weighted options
the 006, which looks much like a Newport 2 or Anser 2
the DH-89, which looks like a Scotty Cameron 009 (or Newport) and looks like (and is named after) the Scottsdale Anser;
and, the 007, which looks like something between the previous two.
Byron also makes other models (the Channel Island, Bombora, and others), and is willing to provide different neck options above and beyond the standard plumber’s neck of his options. There is no “Off-The-Rack” Byron Morgan Flatstick. And, unless specified otherwise, Byron’s putters come with his unique “twilight zone” milled face.
Byron offers a wide variety of material, finish, and stamping options in addition to his other customizable features. You can purchase a sound-slotted terryllium copper 007 with a slant neck and your name stamped on the toe in a polished finish at 350 grams; you can order a stainless steel DH-89 with blue oil flame finish and a flow neck with a raised sight dot and a stamp on the bumpers that says “drop” and “bombs”; you can get a center shafted 006 in carbon steel with a lightning bolt striking a four-leaf clover stamped on the face and “Xander” stamped in the cavity with an oil can finish. The options are virtually endless.
Unlike some of the more well-known putter makers, though, the cost will not break your bank. Ask Scotty Cameron to make you a custom putter to exactly your specs, and he’ll send you a bill for $5,000.00 (that’s right, five thousand). Plus, it’s likely he won’t give you all the stamping options you really want.
Byron will do almost anything you want (see http://www.golfwrx.com/forums/topic/208308-byron-morgan-library-of-photos/ for a listing of some of his custom putters). His 007 and 006 models start at $300; the DH-89 models start at $500. While this may seem like a lot to the typical Sunday golfer, consider the equipment you have in your bag. You pay almost $400 for a driver that you hit 14 or so times each round, max. Meanwhile, you’ll take at least 24 shots with your putter over the same round–and 24 would be a GREAT round. A good putter is a very important part of the game. Then, consider the other options out there. A Scotty Cameron off-the-rack is $300 without any customization; it’s not even bent to your preferred loft and lie options, and if you want something other than 33, 34, or 35 inches, better get the shop involved, which means extra money; and I hope you like 330 grams, because that’s all Scotty makes (unless you get one with removable weights in it).
Meanwhile, you can get a Byron Morgan customized to look like what you want it to, at the length you want it to, at the weight you want it (that’s right, he’ll make it from 330 to 370 grams, no problem), milled to the loft and lie you want (not bent, like your Scotty–unless you happen to need the standard 71 lie angle and 4 loft of a Cameron), made out of the metal you want (Scotty gives you one option–which kind of means you don’t have an option), and made to the exact shaft length you want.
Plus, they look darn cool!
I was a bit skeptical at first. I thought they looked a little to hand-crafted. I thought they couldn’t really be as good as Scotty’s putters because…I mean, Scotty is endorsed by one of the best big companies, Titleist. He’s gotta be making the best, right?
I am so happy I tried Byron’s putters. I’ve never owned another putter that gets the ball rolling so quickly as my 007 does. It’s weighted and balanced so much better than my Newport Beach was. It gives me exactly what I need from a putter–confidence.
Moreover, the used market is not much different between Scotty’s putters and Byron’s. Obviously, you can find a Scotty Cameron on eBay for anywhere from $100 up to thousands–and, typically, a well-conditioned Byron Morgan putter is in the $200 range. But there are deals to be had. I’ve purchased Byron putters for $170 and $135 in very, very good condition.
However, that leads me to the second aspect of why I love Byron Morgan putters. In addition to making an amazing product, Byron is unbelievably accessible. Try to get customer service with Scotty Cameron and I think you might find it difficult. If you have a Cameron putter to send in for restoration, a staff member will email you and tell you what to do. And you’d better not have a lot of customization requests, because the Cameron shop will just ignore them and send you what they think you want.
What Scotty Cameron thinks is “customization”:
Meanwhile, I sent my current gamer in to Byron for work along with a letter stating what I wanted. Something didn’t work quite the way he thought it would, so, guess what? HE CALLED ME! Personally! I think my exact words were “I can’t believe I’m talking to you.” I spoke with him on the phone for about 20 minutes about what was going on with my putter in his shop as he worked on it by hand. He gave me a few ideas and told me what to expect. Amazing. Then, he called me again to tell me it was finished and even sent pictures to my email to let me know how it was going. In the end, I got about the closest thing I could to a custom putter.
See the big, ugly, non-circular sight dot? Guess what happens…
My putter after:
But that’s not all–I sent Byron the head by itself–in other words, with the shaft removed. Byron not only reshafted the putter for me with a new grip and a shaft, but he also replaced the paint fill–in custom colors that I asked for! All of this was included, and I didn’t even know it!
Now, Byron’s work is not for everyone. I understand some people just need to have a name that other people recognize. But the reason so many tour pros play the 009 from Cameron is that it is a high quality and custom made putter. Take the stamping off, and the Cameron 009 is totally indistinguishable from the DH-89. I have owned four Byron Morgans and I can say that, without a doubt, each one was better than any other putter I’ve ever played.
So, with all my reviews, there has to be a downside section. This is hard to come up with. If you’re ordering a custom putter, the major downside is trying to figure out what you want. And, once you do make an order, it can take some time (2 months). I’ve never experienced that, but almost certainly will one day when I have Byron make my custom putter. Availability is low since you typically can’t find them in a store, so you have to either buy one to try it or get involved with Byron’s demo program, which usually fills up the second it is released. However, that’s not really a downside because you can sell the things back for the same price you paid for them in almost every case. So, the most you’ll lose is the Paypal fees for selling them to someone else. BFD. It was a little difficult trying to figure out who to get in touch wtih and how to get in touch with them in order to get the work done. But, a little searching on GolfWRX or PutterTalk will get you in touch with Steve (Z-Man), who is Byron’s right-hand-man.
I can’t say enough good things.
Customer Service: 9
“Cool factor”: 10
Value (cost vs. quality): 10