Expert Review: Cleveland Frontline 10.5 Single Bend PutterPublished on 08/20/2023 · 5 min readThis review is my honest opinion of the putter, which I purchased with my own money in August of 2023.
All photos by Calvin Max
About this Review: This review is my honest opinion of the putter, which I purchased with my own money in August of 2023.
The Cleveland Frontline 10.5 Single Bend is an exceptional bladed mallet putter with high value for its price. It aligns intuitively and will benefit new to intermediate-level players. The face feels soft at impact and heavier in the hands than one might expect at first glance.
About the club I own
- Model: 2022 Cleveland Frontline 10.5 Single Bend Putter
- Shape: Bladed Mallet
- Hosel Neck: Single Bend
- Balance Point: Face Balanced
- Shaft Length: 34”
- Grip Type: Pistol Grip
- Finish: Black
- Average Score: 80
- Handicap: 6
- Experience: 20 years of playing golf
- Right/Left-Handed: Right-Handed
- Stroke Type: Straight back and through, pendulum.
- Golf Ball Used: Prov1
- Height: 5’11”
- When I bought the putter: August 2023
- Days tested: 4
- Where I’ve used it: Outdoor and Indoor practice greens.
- Weather and Wind Conditions: Tested in extremely dry and firm conditions.
- Green Speed: <10 Stimpmeter
- Grass Type: Tested on Turf and Bermuda
How it performs
What I was looking for
I recently discovered I had used the wrong putter shape for many years. After discovering my folly, I was desperate to find a mallet shape putter that better suited my needs.
Why I chose this club
This putter, in particular, stood out to me because of its finish. The black is deep, striking, and wears extremely well. What kept it in my hands was its exceptional forgiveness and balance. I considered many putters during my search. They ranged from bargain bin finds to Scotty Cameron custom pieces. The forgiveness, face feel, and weighting of the Frontline 10.5 is comparable to even the most expensive putters I tested.
What I love about it
- Face Feel: The feeling of the 10.5 impacting the ball is muted and soft, but the feedback is distinct. My nearest comparison is sonar, not in sound but in the feeling of precision. The only way I can describe it would be like a cloud through which I can feel individual divots. This is a rare example of a manufacturer using a design element to benefit the club's functionality. Take one look at the face with its center fort and accompanying outposts of face inserts, and it’s clear where all that feeling is coming from.
- Forgiveness: I find this putter is exceptionally forgiving. My putts are so close to the hole with this putter that my worst putts end up being better than some of my better putts with other putts.
- Weight: The 10.5 has enough weight to feel substantial, so I don't need to think about speed all that much with it in my hands. But it is a really good weight for those who struggle with sending balls zooming past the hole by a yard or more.
- Alignment: I find the alignment to be scary easy with this bladed mallet. I often set the putter behind the ball only to find I have intuitively aimed it already.
- Length: The mallet is compact but not beefy or overtly hammer-headed.
- Aesthetic Appeal: The Frontline 10.5 is downright handsome, if not somewhat understated. The black is very deep and even in application.
- Balance: The face balances with incredible stability. When I checked it, I thought it was impressive, then I swung it and was truly surprised. Coming back, it feels like bringing a roller coaster to the top of its tracks, and then letting it go feels like watching one of those massive pendulums that knockdown blocks in museums crash through the ball on a perfectly straight line.
Issues I’ve encountered
- Grip Feel: The grip feel is average. Mediocre sounds so bad, but because of the fewer suppliers who actually produce them, the grips today have all become ubiquitously okay. It takes a truly exceptional grip to impress me these days when the baseline is totally acceptable.
- Customization: No customization is available on this line of putters from Cleveland. However, that is by design. By limiting the amount of their custom work and massively expanding the scale of their production of generic putters, they can pack premium features into an economical price point. But that doesn't mean I have to like it either.
- Styling: The one area I found this putter lacking is the styling. The Frontline looks like it should be rolling on the bottom of a daytime television cop drama or something like that. It’s the only part of this putter I do not love.
Best Putt or Round with this Putter
My best moment with this putter so far came in my first testing session. I was becoming very frustrated with some other manufacturers' putters. Not because they were bad but because they weren't working for me, and I was looking for a shape I preferred. It hadn't occurred to me to look at multiple manufacturers with similar shapes to the mallets I had previously tried and disliked. When I picked up the Frontline 10.5, I may have exclaimed, “Oh, thank goodness it's not all my fault,” aloud in a room of strangers. Out of the first three I rolled, I holed two, and the third only lipped out by a hair.
Value for the money vs. other options
One of the big problems with comparing the value for the money here to other options is that the Cleveland Frontline series seems so hilariously packed with value that it makes me question the entirety of the market they compete in. That said, even though manufacturers like Scotty Cameron have driven the base price of putters up through the roof, there are still those of us who are cost conscious and think it's unreasonable to spend even $150 on a putter. To those, I recommend the Wilson Infinite line of putters, specifically the Bucktown. It is incredibly accurate and feels very crisp.
The Frontline 10.5 from Cleveland is an excellent value, somehow more than the already staggering sum of premium features and parts. This putter can be counted upon when pressure mounts and everything gets harder.