"Perceval, the Story of the Grail" was the earliest of the tales that would become the Quest for the Holy Grail. Written in French somewhere between 1135 and 1190, it was a long, yet never-finished, epic poem about the adventure a young knight after which the story was named.
The high-end French putter company Argolf has quickly developed a reputation for producing flat sticks of the highest quality with what might be the purest aesthetics on the market today.
And every Argolf model is named after a character from the Arthurian legends.
One of Argolf's newest models is the Perceval ($399), and just as that name evokes purity, even naivete, the Perceval putter is as pure as the whitest crushed marble bunker sand. So pure, in fact, you don't need to think about face angle or roll. Just let the knightly Perceval slay your enemies.
Playing Argolf's Perceval putter
The Perceval is a pronged mallet, a shape that has grown extremely popular over the past decade or so. The original pronged mallet was perhaps the Odyssey Sabertooth. The Perceval riffs on this general shape with a few comely and functional modifications.
First, the prongs extending from the back of the putter head at the heel and toe ends are squared off, so they aren't snaggy or pokey.
There's also a nice flange extending from the bottom back of the head, which is nice for scooping up balls. The prongs and the flange move the center of gravity back and to the ends of the putter head, creating what feels like ideal balance. Finally, the sole of the Perceval is beveled, so if you set up to the ball level, toe up, or toe down, the sole will still set up flush to the turf.
The head of the Perceval is forged in France out of a solid block of aeronautical-grade 304L stainless steel. It weighs 350 grams and has 3 degrees of loft. The assembled putter (assembled in Argolf's studio in Jupiter, Fla.) is nearly face-balanced, with just a very slight toe hang. The shaft is a single-bend with a 3/4-haft offset.
I played the Perceval a couple rounds on some gnarly late-fall greens and on an indoor simulator that provided exact diagnostics, and it performed like a real prince. The ball comes of the laser-milled putter face with a combination of feel and "pop" that is quite remarkable. The shaggy greens kept a number of putts from getting to the hole, but every single one was tracking straight at the cup.
The sensation on the course that every putt was struck squarely and on the right line was verified on the simulator at Lake of the Woods Golf Course in Mahomet, Ill. According to the swing analysis, the putter face of the Perceval was never more than 1 degree open or closed at contact, and usually it was perfectly square.
Argolf's Perceval putter: the verdict
The search for the perfect putter can feel as endless as the quest for The Holy Grail.
There are numerous "boutique" putter companies these days, but if you're on a quest to find the best of the best, Argolf is worth a close look. Every one of their hand-crafted flat sticks puts a pure, clean, roll on the ball. After years of playing an Answer-style putter, I'm going back to a mallet – Perceval will bring me victory.
For more information, visit argolfusa.com.