Monday, 19 August 2013

Odyssey Demo Day

Of all the areas of the game, putting has been one constant this year. My season has been a dichotomy of better ball striking and a fledgling short game and a steady rise in handicap as competition rounds have failed to reflect the progress being made. Throughout this the putter has remained a faithful companion. I'd been using an Odyssey ProType Tour Series #9, a milled half mallet style. Whilst it has behaved itself deep in my heart I have yearned to go back to a blade putter. Consequently my Ping Anser 2, a bit of a museum piece these days, has made a sojourn back into the bag for the last few rounds and has been as good as the Odyssey. That in itself has given me a dilemma on which to persevere with

Whilst not directly in the market for a new wand, the fact that there was an Odyssey demo day at Royal Ascot last week meant it seemed rude not to saunter along and at least see what they could offer.

A wide range of putters on offer along with the advice of the trained Odyssey fitters
My eye was immediately drawn to the latest range, the Versa. They are described by the company:

"The Versa line of putters offers Odyssey’s latest breakthrough innovation, Visionary High Contrast Alignment. The black and white contrast accentuates the face angle at address, through the stroke and at impact, improving concentration and allowing you to align your putter more accurately to the target. In addition to offering this innovative alignment technology in our mallet and progressive style putters, this technology has been applied to our blade style putters, providing a functional alignment aide to a traditional style putter. Coupled with a new and improved White Hot insert, the Versa line provides options for every player type."

To be honest I found it too busy at address. There was no denying the quality of the putter and the insert felt a little firmer than some of the predecessors but it wasn't really singing to me. Our putting green is a trifle slow at the moment, around 8.5 on the stimp but I struggled with pace.

I went to the White Hot range. I've been a fan of this for ages and had the #9 model in this range before swapping for the milled face model I have now. Again the blade models didn't really do it. I was better in terms of distance but not so good on shorter ranges. It was at this time that one of the fitters came over and asked me about my current putter(s), my stroke and what I was looking for. Odyssey are using a new fitting system called Eyefit and there is a great video that explains the concept http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TNcaqrod-t0#at=26

We decided that I was a three dash fit and having watched me putting asked me if I had considered the Tank model. To be honest, I hadn't heard of it. This is what Odyssey have to say about it

"Our newest addition to the alternative category is called Tank. It comes in short options (34” and 36”) and long options (38” and 40”) and features specifically weighted components with a Tour preferred balance point for a higher MOI and greater stability through impact.

The counterbalance weight (30g in long options and 40g in short options) plus a heavier head (400g) quiet the hands during the stroke. The added weight raises MOI to create more stability through impact, and engages your big muscles to promote more of a pendulum stroke that keeps your wrists from breaking down.
Total Club MOI With Increased Weight
One of the main reasons we’re able to achieve a greater level of stability is due to the total club MOI. The short options (34” and 36” putters) have a total club MOI that is 34% higher than a standard putter with a 19% increase in total club weight. The long options (38” and 40” putters) have a total club MOI that is 109% higher than a standard putter with a 32% increase in total club weight.
Tour Preferred Balance Point
The balance point is lower on the shaft, providing a more conventional feel that Tour players prefer.
New and improved White Hot Pro insert
New and improved White Hot Pro insert is highly engineered for more consistent sound, feel and Tour Proven performance."

The Odyssey Tank - a heavy duty putting machine
It was love at first putt as I slotted in a fifteen foot left to right putt with the first effort. It does what it says on the tin and extra weight really does work in taking the wrist action out of the stroke and gives the putter the feeling of a nice pendulum stroke. It's extra weight means the length of the stroke needs to be shorter but once that little hurdle is cleared it was solid. Even on long down hill putts I could just take it back and through and the heavy head did the work and thirty foot putts down the tier in the green finished next to the hole like an old Labrador nestling by the open fire.

Even the short ones were an eye opener. The heavier head and the counter balance in the grip make it hard to putt on anything but a straight back and through line. It was confidence building to stand over three-five foot putts and just take swing up and down the line and see the ball drop. The insert is definitely firmer than the original White Hot version but having come from a milled faced model this wasn't an issue.

At the moment it only comes in a #1 and #7 design but I loved the 34 inch, three dash model. I kept putting it down, chatting to the Odyssey staff and Ali White, the Royal Ascot club pro and picking it up and trying it again and again.

Plenty of interest in the Odyssey range, and plenty of options to try
I said at the beginning of the piece that I wasn't in the market for a new putter. Technically that's still the case but I've got Ali White to get me a quote for the Tank #1 just to see what he can do against RRP and online prices. If the price is right I am sorely tempted. I am happy with the bladed head design and can only reiterate the heavy head makes the stroke more compact, and really does stop the wrists taking over or breaking down. If I'm to start making some good scores and halt the slide in my handicap I need the short game to continue to flourish but also to be able to get the ball in the hole once I chip it close.

If you are in the market for a new putter, the Odyssey range really does seem to have something to suit everyone and if you can find a demo day at a club or retailer near you I recommend going, if only for the Eyefit to see what style of putter you should be using. For now, I'm putting the ProType Tour #9 back in the bag but I have a feeling it will be usurped by the Tank in the very near future. Or will it?

2 comments:

  1. Putting is about ensuring the face of the club is exactly at a 90 degree angle to the path you want the ball to go at point of impact, A £10 putter will do this just as well as the expensive equipment & marketing hype you have just been subjected to.
    At the end of the day it's down to practice & more practice. Throwing money at an area requiring improvement will give you a feel good factor but it isn't the root cause. You are.

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