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Meltdown? What Meltdown? TaylorMade’s Kia Ma Putters

Recession, shmecession: Brother, can I borrow $360?

TaylorMade has finally unveiled the long-awaited commercial versions of its premium putter line, featuring the coveted craftsmanship of Vietnamese putter builder Kia Ma, a top-shelf master in the tradition of contemporaries like Scotty Cameron and Robert Bettinardi.

I’ll confess, as the TM release below notes, to knowing precious little about Ma – not even the TaylorMade website offers much in the way of biographical information, and he’s been the subject of precious little Internet gossip, at least as far as Google is concerned.

Beyond the dramatic looks of a branding iron like the Monza Spider, there’s little new going on here in terms of shape _ Scotty and Ping fans will no doubt recognize the classic silhouette of the Anser, Newport and Laguna lines among some of Ma’s creations.

The gear groupies who gather at some of the U.S. message boards, however, are falling all over themselves to get their hands on these putters _ and with good reason, from the looks of the pics. These are some pretty sweet flat sticks, folks, but like any premium putter offering, you’ll need a bit of coin to put one in your bag.

Which begs the question: is a $360 putter the sort of discretionary purchase that a committed golfer would put on hold in a time of dire economic uncertainty? Common sense would demand it, of course _ but surely it’s no secret that “committed golfer” and “common sense” are highly contradictory concepts.

Here’s what I’d suggest: Fire up the eBay widget and see what you can get for all those exiled basement dwellers, then trade up for one of these bad boys. If you’re a Scotty fan, don’t forget to wander over here to see some of the new-look offerings out of the Studio for 2009.

TaylorMade Introduces Rossa TP by Kia Ma Putters

Five New Premium Models Created by Legendary Putter Craftsman Kia Ma

CARLSBAD, Calif. (November 12, 2008) TaylorMade Golf has introduced five new premium putters that were created by, and named for, a true master of the art of putter-making, Kia Ma.

His name, scarcely known to the average golfer, is revered among tour pros. A native of

Vietnam, Ma endured a 17-month immigration to the United States in 1980 and found a home in the golf industry soon after, assembling clubs for a small southern California equipment manufacturer called Shamrock Golf. In 1987 he joined Ray Cook Golf and took up putter desig

n, and built his own workbenches and bargained for the tools he needed to further his craft. His talent for applying the exact degree of heat needed to bend a shaft to the precise amount of curve or angle became legendary. He started his own company, K & M Golf, which quietly serviced some of the most powerful brands in the game. Six years ago he joined TaylorMade, and since then has been instrumental in elevating the company’s stature in the world of putters.

In the past, premium Kia Ma putters have been reserved for TaylorMade’s Tour Staff professionals, including the custom-made putter used by Sergio Garcia to win the Castello Masters and the HSBC Champions event in Shanghai. That’s changed with the new Rossa® TP by Kia Ma putter franchise, which consists of five carefully crafted models painstakingly honed by Ma, whose expert eye for shape and detail is clearly reflected in each one.

The line consists of three blades “ Daytona, Monaco and Imola; and two mallets “ Monte Carlo and Maranello, each 100% CNC-milled from soft 1020 carbon steel and completed with a rich, midnight finish. Look closely and you’ll see the rich detailing that Kia Ma putters are known for, including the six tungsten weights embedded into the rear side of the Daytona and Monaco.

“Rossa TP by Kia Ma putters are guaranteed to appeal to the golf purist who loves classic design and flawless execution,” said Bill Price, TaylorMade’s senior director of putter creation.

“Every surface is satiny smooth and every curve and corner is perfectly rendered. Their straightforward shaping makes them easy to look at and aim, and they feel fantastic. When you pick one of these putters up you realize right away the person who created it is someone special.”

On the PGA Tour this season, the Rossa TP by Kia Ma line was put in play by TaylorMade-adidas Golf professionals Justin Rose (Monte Carlo), Andres Romero (Daytona), Mike Weir (Daytona) and Garcia (Daytona).

“‘Smooth,’ ‘classic,’ ‘exceptional,’ ‘beautiful’ and ‘performance’ are some of the buzz words that I hear on a weekly basis from the Tour players who roll a putt with a Kia Ma putter,” said TaylorMade Tour rep Shawn Mullin. “I believe there is a true appreciation shared amongst the players for the tremendous detail and craftsmanship that goes into each putter. It’s great that all golfers can now play the same putter players on Tour are all talking about.”

Rossa TP by Kia Ma putters are available for purchase in mid-December at a manufacturer’s suggested retail price of $360.

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James McCarten

When James McCarten isn't at the Ottawa offices of The Canadian Press, where he works as parliamentary news editor, he's either on the golf course or putting off his latest freelance golf-writing gig to spend time with wife Lisa and school-age kids Claire and Lucas. With 20 years of experience in Canadian journalism, James also suffers from a financially crippling addiction to all things Scotty Cameron.

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