Expert Review: Cleveland HB Soft Milled #4 PutterPublished on 06/28/2023 · 6 min readThis review is my honest opinion of the putter, which I tested for one day in June of 2023.
All photos courtesy of Calvin Lieberman
About this Review: This review is my honest opinion of the putter, which I tested for one day in June of 2023.
The Cleveland HB Soft Milled #4 Putter exceeded expectations, outperforming higher-priced options. Its impeccable alignment, forgiveness, soft feel, and overall performance make it a standout choice for golfers seeking a high-performing putter at an affordable price.
About the club I tested
- Model: 2022 Cleveland HB Milled Soft #4
- Shape: Blade
- Hosel Neck: Plumbers Neck
- Balance Point: Toe
- Shaft Length: 34”
- Grip Type: Superstroke
- Finish: Stainless Steel
- Average Score: 79
- Handicap: 6
- Experience: 18 years of playing golf
- Right/Left-Handed: Right-Handed
- Stroke Type: Slight arc
- Golf Ball Used: Titleist Pro-V1
- Height: 5’11”
- When I tested the putter: June 18, 2023
- Days tested: 1
- Where I’ve used it: Encanto Golf Course
- Weather and Wind Conditions: Sunny and cloudless
- Green Speed: 9-10
- Grass Type: Bermuda
How it performs
What I was looking for
As a right-handed golfer with a scoring range in the mid-70s to low 80s, I have always wanted to make that final push to scratch, but I struggle to putt throughout an entire round consistently. I suspect my issue is that I need a putter that's easier to keep on line compared to a true narrow blade shape putter I have played in the past. When I saw the #4, I knew it was what I had been searching for.
Why I chose to test this club
I picked this putter up because it seemed simple and reminded me of the putters I saw in the shop as a kid. The subtle and classic styling performs its alignment function without being distracting. Basically, I picked this putter because it seems so simple and functional.
What I love about it
- Face Feel: The putter provides a pleasingly soft feel upon impact with the ball, creating a sense of control and precision. However, it could benefit from a touch more feedback to provide a better sense of the ball's interaction with the putter face. This slight drawback may be an unavoidable consequence of Cleveland's design choices to prioritize a softer feel.
- Forgiveness: Despite its size, this putter exhibited exceptional forgiveness, making it nearly impossible to mishit, even in scorching Arizona temperatures. It consistently delivered consistent results, even on off-center strikes, helping to maintain accuracy and distance control.
- Weight: Given my preferences, the putter felt slightly larger and toe-heavy. However, it maintained good overall balance, allowing smooth strokes and stability during the putting motion.
- Alignment: I love the clean and easily focused single-line alignment of this putter. It provides a clear visual reference, helping me align my putts accurately and consistently.
- Length: I tested the putter at my usual preferred shaft length of 34 inches. I am a big believer in playing a putter that fits my height and swing type. The length of the putter itself is slightly oversized, so while it is a little bit long, relative to a typical putter of the same head shape, the slight increase contributes more to the weight in hand than it does the aesthetics of the putter and has virtually no visual change at address.
- Grip Feel: While I usually struggle with Superstroke putter grips due to difficulty fitting them into my narrow storage slots, I was impressed by the grip's performance during the testing session. The wide hand bracing combined with the extended plumber's neck created a clean and easily aimable setup at address. The grip provided excellent traction and stability, promoting a consistent and comfortable grip throughout the stroke.
- Customization: There is absolutely no customization available. It is built to be a standardized option, but with the tech someone usually sees in higher-end putters.
- Other: The putter's heft was slightly heavier than expected, but it instilled confidence in my swing. I found it easier to reach the hole without sacrificing control.
- Balance: The putter moves through the impact zone with undeniable stability. The alignment line was perfectly placed where the putter balanced naturally. I had more trouble getting the putter offline than keeping it on line because of how stable it was in the backstroke.
Issues I’ve encountered
- Aesthetic Appeal: The only drawback I encountered was the potential for glare due to the putter’s highly polished stainless steel finish. In certain lighting conditions, glare could affect visual perception, although it did not significantly impact overall performance.
Best Putt or Round with this Putter
I do not typically do well with lag putts, especially outside 30 feet. My typical issue is that I get scared and fail to impart the correct speed on the ball, and I don’t even get it halfway. The first time I had a lag putt with the #4, I knew something was strange because taking it back was comfortable but also similar in feeling, like coming to the top of a roller coaster. When I got to the back of my stroke, I was just ready to let it fly, and I did. I looked up in horror, thinking I had hit it way too hard, but soon my horror turned into joy as the ball glided gently over the grass, straight into the hole some 50 feet away.
Value for the money vs. other options
In terms of value, this putter is a revelation. Throughout the past two decades, the custom putter departments of major golf manufacturers have engaged in an intense arms race. However, Cleveland has managed to incorporate the fruits of that research and development into an affordable price point by prioritizing performance over extravagant customization elements. The HB Soft Milled #4 Putter represents a true bargain. It is every bit as nice as any of the Odyssey offerings, and while it’s lighter in hand than a Scotty Cameron Newport, I swear the feeling off the face is remarkably similar.
The Cleveland Golf HB Soft Milled #4 Putter offers golfers a remarkable combination of features, technologies, and performance at an irresistible price. Its superior alignment, balance, forgiveness, grip, and soft feel make it a standout choice for golfers seeking consistent results on the greens. The HB Soft Milled line, as a whole, represents Cleveland's dedication to delivering exceptional performance without the premium price tag. Golfers of all skill levels will find great value and confidence in this putter, as it unlocks the potential to enhance their overall putting game. With its impressive performance and affordability, the HB Soft Milled #4 Putter stands as a testament to Cleveland's commitment to revolutionizing the putter market.