LAB Directed Force 2.1 Putter Review
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In this L.A.B. Directed Force 2.1 putter review, we’ll look at one of the strangest putters you’ve ever seen and describe how the innovative technology behind it can improve your putting. After using this putter, I finally feel confident that I can hit the line I intend and give the ball an excellent chance to drop into the hole.
Table of Contents
The Technology Behind the LAB Putter
L.A.B. Golf uses two innovative technologies in their putters, “Lie Angle Balance” and “Forward Press Technology,” to simplify the process of making a consistent putt.
What is Lie Angle Balance? (L.A.B)
Lie Angle Balance eliminates torque (twisting of the putter face) as the putter swings to return the face to the intended target line. This makes it easier to repeat the same putting stroke.
L.A.B. Golf created a tool called the “revealer” to test this balancing where it’s noticeable that other putters spin in a variety of ways when stroked without hand manipulation (see the video below).
The idea is that with a traditional putter, in addition to having a constant putting setup and stroke, you also need to use your hands to ensure that the face of the putter returns to square when it’s fighting against you. Having a Lie Angle Balance putter eliminates this factor and makes putting simpler.
Forward Press Technology
The second unique technology behind the L.A.B. putter is the Forward Press Technology built into its grip.
Some of the best golfers on the P.G.A. Tour (Phil Mickelson, for example) have used a forward press in their putting stroke. This technique involves leaning the putter, so your hands are ahead of the face at setup to prevent the tendency of flipping the hands at impact. This helps ensure the ball rolls smoothly by maintaining the face angle and loft through contact.
This is a helpful technique, but it does require some effort to master and an extra step in your putting routine.
L.A.B. Golf has built the forward press into their putter grips by pre-setting the shaft at an ideal lean angle. This means you can set up without thinking about the forward press, and you’ll be doing it automatically.
How to Get Fitted for a LAB Putter
If you’re interested in trying out a L.A.B. putter, you’ll want to get fitted. If you’ve never been fit for a putter before, the goal is to make sure the putter is suited to your specific putting setup.
This is particularly important for a L.A.B. putter as you want to let the technology help you make a consistent putting stroke. If you’re using the incorrect lie angle, you’ll have to setup unnaturally or add some manipulations to get the consistency you’d have with a properly fitted putter.
You have two options for getting fit. You can go in person to one of L.A.B. Golf’s certified fitters, which you can find on this map, or you can do a remote fitting through their website by sending in a video of your current putting stance.
I did a remote fitting through their website, which was simple to set up, and after a couple of days, they emailed back with recommendations for lengths and lie angles of a custom-built putter or a stock putter. As I’ll go into more detail below, you can have your putter custom-built to your specs with custom alignment marks, or for a lower price, you can buy one of their pre-made stock putters. It happened that my recommended setup matched a stock offering (34″ / 67°).
I was interested in trying the putter out in person before investing, so I went to both a local P.G.A. Superstore and a local used and new club seller, 2nd Swing, to see what they had in stock.
On Course Performance
When I initially checked some local stores, they didn’t have a putter with my exact specs available, so I tested out a few putters, primarily a 69° Directed Force 2.1 with a Press 1.L grip. Eventually, I purchased a putter that fit my specs at 67° with a Press II grip.
As everyone will note, just looking at the putter is much different than whatever putter you’re used to. The putter head is giant but doesn’t feel heavy or awkward to swing. The press grip also makes the shaft align differently than you’re used to looking down the club, but once you focus on the ball, you won’t notice it.
You might get some comments from your playing partners for bringing out an ‘alien’ putter, but ultimately who cares if you can make some putts. I initially heard some of these comments, but it wasn’t long before they were looking into purchasing their own L.A.B. Putters.
Hitting this putter feels fantastic. It’s surprisingly well balanced and feels light compared to how it looks. The ball rolls smoothly off the face on nearly every putt—everyone I’ve given the putter to try out comments on this.
Putters like the Evnroll have this feel by extending the sweet spot. Once you’re used to the Directed Force, the balancing makes it easier to return the face to the starting position, ensuring you’re hitting the center of the face aimed at your line.
I’ve struggled a lot with putting over the years, going on hot and cold streaks. I had a lot of success with a belly putter, but after they were no longer legal, I couldn’t find a replacement that I could be as consistent with. So when I tested out the Directed Force that didn’t match my specs, the feel was great, but the results were not much better than my current putter, even if it felt better overall.
I track my rounds with an Arccos, and it was evident that putting was most often the determining factor on if I had a low round. I was the king of the tap-in, with good speed and distance control, but always just missed the hole. There is nothing worse than hitting an incredible drive, reaching the green in regulation, and then missing what should be an easy putt.
Then I switched to a putter that matched my specs and immediately saw improvement. At that point, I had the feeling that I could relax and putt on any line that I intended and just needed to adjust my speed and line for how the new putter rolled the ball. The easy putts that I’d been just missing have been dropping more often, and after some practice, I’ve been dropping in more long putts as well.
Tips for Putting with the Directed Force 2.1
There are a couple of things you’ll need to adjust as you putt with the Directed Force 2.1 compared to a traditional putter. These tips helped my setup and my lag putting.
- With the forward press grip you’ll need to change where the ball is placed in your stance by moving it about a ball forward. On a typical putter the shaft is placed near the face where-as on these the shaft is set further back. Test out this alignment on a straight putt until you’ve found a position where you’re consistent.
- If you’re a decent putter with your current putter of choice, you’re probably doing some manipulation of the face with your hands. You will no longer need to do that with this putter, and you can work on this feeling by lifting your thumbs off the grip as you practice putting. This makes it hard to twist with your hands and helps you get the correct feeling once you put your thumbs back.
- As with any putter change, lag putting to a bit to get dialed-in. This putter rolls the ball very smoothly, and this can minimize the effect of a breaking putt if your current putter isn’t rolling as well. If you’re missing on the high side of the hole, try taking out just a bit of the break and aiming more at the hole than you might typically.
- Finally, another helpful tip for lag putting is to make sure you’re letting the length of your stroke control the distance of your putt. If you’re trying to hit the ball harder it’s going to be difficult to not manipulate the putter face and risk putting it off-line.
The L.A.B. Directed Force 2.1 comes in black, red, and blue and is typically paired with one of three press grips. The stock putter comes with the Press II 3° grip, but you can customize it with the larger, elliptical Press 1.L grip, or the heavier Press OG 3.0.
When purchasing a custom putter, you can also select between additional shaft options, including arm-lock and broomstick style putters, and a wide variety of alignment marks.
If you prefer the look and feel of a blade putter, you can also look into their B.2 model, which incorporates the same technologies into a blade-style putter.
One significant hesitation to buying this putter is the cost. Currently, the range is $399 for a stock model and $549 for a custom putter. Fortunately, the resale value is good, and you hopefully have some opportunities to test it out before investing. I’ve seen others note that people don’t balk at paying this for a driver, and you’ll use your putter more than any other club in your bag, which is a great point.
- Removes torque to make consistent putting easier
- Feels great and rolls the ball smoothly
- Smooth fitting process and company cares deeply about its product and customers
- Initial look of the putter takes some getting used to
- Requires some minor setup and stroke changes
- This is an expensive putter
LAB Directed Force 2.1 – 4.5/5
The Directed Force 2.1 is an excellent putter that feels great and will likely help most amateur golfers improve their game. Once you get past the club’s look and adapt your stroke, it’s a sure winner.
LAB Putters on Tour
L.A.B. Putters haven’t become a common sight on tour at this point. However, several players have been testing them out; most famously, Adam Scott used one a few years ago. Likely, this is due to this putter being a pretty significant change from typical putters, pros using clubs from sponsorships, and not wanting to risk a change at such a high level. Simplifying the factors needed to make a good putt will certainly help amateurs, where pros have spent countless hours perfecting every part of their putting stroke.