Does this red-hot putter live up to the hype? | Proving Ground

lab golf df3 putter testing

L.A.B Golf's DF3 went head-to-head against the writer's Ping PLD Anser 2 gamer.

Jonathan Wall/GOLF

Welcome to’s ClubTest Proving Ground, where managing equipment editor Jonathan Wall and senior equipment editor Ryan Barath put the latest designs and groundbreaking technology in the equipment space to the test on the range and the course.

The tools: L.A.B. Golf’s DF3 putter

The test: To determine how L.A.B. Golf’s latest putter offering stacks up to the tester’s gamer.

The results: I’m a creature of habit. Ask anyone in my inner circle and they’ll tell you I stay at the same hotels when I travel for work, eat at the same restaurants, stick to the same workout routine and continually ask my wife the same inane questions — all in the name of consistency.

That doesn’t mean I won’t chase a wild hair or try a different restaurant, but I need to be convinced it’s worth deviating from the daily script. As far as equipment in my bag, I’m the same way. I’ll test equipment all day, even though I know the bag setup most likely isn’t changing. I like what I like and generally don’t see a need to change.

Of course, I’m always willing to give the newest gear products on the block a fair shake — even if it’s something I would’ve never considered for personal use. Before the DF3 was introduced, L.A.B. Golf had never been on my radar for putter testing. The original Directed Force, in my opinion, had a profile that never appealed to my eye, and no matter how many times I rolled in putts from inside 10 feet, I just couldn’t get past the look.

lab golf df3 putter testing
A better look at the profile and sole design of the DF3. Jonathan Wall/GOLF

As someone who has played a traditional Anser-style blade for decades, most mallets never passed the eye test. And like most golfers, if it doesn’t pass the eye test, it generally isn’t making the cut for further testing. What caused me to change my tune about DF3 was the smaller profile and positive feedback I kept hearing from recent L.A.B. converts on Tour.

As you can see from the above photos, the overall DF3 shaping is unlike anything in the marketplace. A whopping 8 individual sole weights are positioned along the wings to stabilize the head throughout the stroke, thereby reducing the amount of head twisting at impact.

What I immediately noticed after several practice sessions was how stable the head felt from practically every distance. I found it easier to make a confident stroke on putts from inside 10 feet and not sweat how the ball might react to a heel or toe impact.

L.A.B. Golf DF3 Putter

We took a chisel to the original Lie Angle Balanced putter to make DF3 smaller and sleeker while honoring the shape that started it all.DF3 offers our popular build options and specifications. These options are a great fit for golfers that use fairly standard specs.
View Product

I’d chalk up the overall uptick in consistency to the weighting and optimal lie angle that was designed specifically for my stroke. Possessing a putter that’s made for your stroke and delivery is key if you want to make more putts.

The Press Pistol 2 Degree grip offers a unique design that took some getting used to, especially for someone used to a more traditional grip. Unlike my standard pistol, when the shaft is situated in the middle of the grip, the shaft is inserted on the right of the Press Pistol, creating a built-in forward shaft lean that automatically throws your hands forward during the stroke.

Another aspect that took some acclimation was the overall feel of the head at impact. The 6061 Aluminum head with grooves running across the face required a firmer stroke when compared to my milled PLD. I’d describe the DF3 feel as “buttery” at impact, which might appeal to some golfers.

lab golf df3 putter testing
The Press Pistol 2 Degree grip inserts the shaft in a way to add 2 degrees of shaft tilt. Jonathan Wall/GOLF

Once I got a handle on the pace needed to get the ball to the hole, the softer feel wasn’t an issue. But there was a period of acclimation. Again, feel at impact is incredibly personal, so take my insight with a grain of salt.

Conclusion: Golfers with inconsistent contact could benefit from DF3. The overall weighting and carbon composite shaft play a major role in reducing torque, which in turn keeps the head from twisting during the stroke.

From my recent rounds with DF3, I found myself with more makeable second putts from 30-plus feet away. Putts per round were relatively close to what I see with my gamer, but I enjoyed being a few feet closer or within tap-in range instead of having to sweat a 5-footer.

lab golf df3 putter testing
A face-on look at the DF3 putter. Jonathan Wall/GOLF

As a traditionalist, it took me some time to warm to the unique shaping, but I can tell you it’s a big upgrade from the larger Direct Force. The head is more compact and feels a bit more like a standard mallet. In my opinion, it’s the little improvements that make DF3 a better option for golfers who currently play a blade but are intrigued by L.A.B. Golf’s recent success on Tour.

One other thing I appreciated was L.A.B. Golf’s attention to detail. In a world where gear is increasing in price, their putter design process is second to none. Instead of simply buying one off the rack, I was able to choose from standard or counterbalance, 3 different head weights, 5 shafts, 33 alignment aids and 6 grips. Lengths range from 28 inches to 50 inches, and the lie angles range from 63 to 79.5 degrees. The build menu is extensive.

The putters aren’t cheap ($559 and up), but with so many options available, at least you can feel good knowing you’re getting a highly detailed wand built to your specifications.

Want to overhaul your bag for 2024? Find a fitting location near you at True Spec Golf.


Jonathan Wall Editor

Jonathan Wall is GOLF Magazine and’s Managing Editor for Equipment. Prior to joining the staff at the end of 2018, he spent 6 years covering equipment for the PGA Tour. He can be reached at

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