Saturday, 29 April 2017

Product Review - Odyssey O-Works V-Line Fang CH Putter

Odyssey have been producing tour quality putters for many years and there latest release, the O-Works continues that legacy but also in their own words, introduces "a new way to roll" with micro hinge technology.

In the UK there are numerous models split between bladed and mallet models. In the blades there is their #1, #1 Tank, #1 Wide, #2 and #9. In the mallet section they have #7, #7 Tank, R-Line, R-Line CS, V-Line Fang CH, and the famous 2 ball.

So what is this micro hinge technology? In essence they are tiny hinges on an insert moulded onto an elastomer face that Odyssey claim spring back when they make contact with the ball to impart top spin which they claim leads to the ball rolling better on the green with less skidding. Apparently the handicap golfer tends to impart too much back spin on their putts whereas the top players are able to get their putts running with more top spin. This is a link to what Odyssey have to say and why they are so excited about micro hinge technology (Odyssey Micro Hinge Technology)

If you saw my last review on the Ping Sigma Wolverine putter (Ping Wolverine Putter Review) you'll know I prefer a larger mallet type putter so I was excited to be able to test their V-Line Fang CH. Now the Fang style of putter has been around for many years now and this latest version has the Odyssey Versa colour scheme and a distinctive red line on the top to really ensure the putter is correctly lined up.

I've done a video to show the putter in action on my Youtube channel running in conjunction with this blog. I've attached a link to it here (Youtube Review). While you'll there, make sure you subscribe to the channel to get ongoing reviews, updates on "The Quest For Single Figures" and on course video logs. Don't forget to thumbs up the video as well. If you have any thoughts on this video please feel free to leave them in the comments box and I'll read each one and respond.

The Odyssey O-Works V-Line Fang CH Putter featuring Odyssey's Versa Alignment

As a mid-handicap golfer, and without access to technology like SAM Lab to measure the quality of my strike and more importantly the spin characteristics I impart, it's difficult to give a definitive tell for certain how much the micro hinge technology actually helped. What I do know is that there was no discernible difference between the premium ball I used (Srixon Z Star XV) and the firmer model, the Srixon AD333 Tour and both felt equally soft off the face.

As I said in the video, as a mid-handicapper I am not overly convinced micro hinge isn't a little gimmicky. I've been a fan of Odyssey putters for many years and have had both milled and insert faces. Odyssey have always produced decent inserts, although some have felt firmer than others, but in my mind, why change a winning formula?

All of the O-Works putters come with their new Superstroke Counter Core Grips (featuring a weight in the grip) and my putter came with their Pistol GT Tour model that has a lovely flat front and is rear stitched. It's lovely to hold and sits beautifully in the hand.

I putted from two feet, five feet and fifteen feet and it did perform really well. I really enjoyed it and although not overly sold on the new micro hinges, there is no doubt it produces a really soft feel off the face and I did find distance control easy to manage. Since the video, it has been out on the course with me for several rounds and I recorded 33 and 30 putts and holed a number of decent length putts. On the shorter ones, the Versa colour scheme really did make it easy to line up and it certainly inspired confidence.

The face of the O-Works V-Line Fang CH Putter and one of the most funky head covers I've seen
As per my last putter review, let me break the Odyssey O-Works V-Line Fang CH Putter (note to Odyssey, it's not a catchy title) into a number of sections.

Looks - It's not as big as some mallet putters, but it's not a shrinking violet either. The Versa colour scheme is subtle but the red line on the top stands out perfectly and really promotes confidence behind the ball 9/10

Grip - As mentioned I had the Pistol GT Tour grip. Despite it having a weight inserted (and which isn't removable) it doesn't make the grip feel heavy or uncomfortable and didn't really seem to influence my stroke or made a difference. I have to say that the Superstoke grip really does sit in the hands well and it's easy to make a solid, firm and meaningful grip without ever feeling like you need to grip it tightly 8/10

Alignment This is one of the O-Works strongest suits throughout the range. In the Fang CH I had the colour scheme worked exceptionally well and the ball was easy to aim correctly at the hole. This is the first Odyssey putter I've had with the Versa colouring and I really like it. I have an old White Ice #9 in an old back and it's rather plain metallic finish and white insert look rather plain in comparison to the bold Versa colouring. That said it's distinctive without being intrusive 9/10

Feel - As mentioned while not sold on the micro hinge technology completely it undoubtedly provide a soft feel but never pudding like or overly so and there was never any fear that the ball coming off the face would lack sufficient pace (subject to my strike). It was impossible for me to distinguish between the premium and firmer ball but neither felt they would fly off the putter 8/10

Stability - Although not a massive head in the world of mallet putters it's still a very, very stable putter. Whether there is any correlation between the weight in the grip and those on the sole, I can't say but I'm sure that has to have been in Odyssey's design plans. On long or short putts, it felt very solid and my relatively back and through stroke seemed at home with the design and there was no feeling of twisting 8/10

Price - The V-Line Fang I tried appears to come in around the £169 mark for most of the models in the range although the two-ball versions are retailing for an additional £20 and come out at £189 (in the UK). These are still relatively new to the market and while there will no doubt be the odd bargain to be had here and there, this RRP is not dissimilar to many of Odyssey's competitors for similar putters 7/10

Overall - Lets put this to be once and for all, the micro hinge technology should be exactly what I need to improve the quality of my putting. However without being able to prove this technology works and how well it does compared to something like the "Tru Roll" insert on the Ping putter I featured in my last review, I still remain unconvinced. If somebody reading this in the South East of England or even from Odyssey themselves has access to the SAM Lab technology and wants to show my the data compared to the Ping Sigma Wolverine I reviewed, and even my Protype Tour milled #9 I am more than happy to be educated and proved wrong

Leaving aside my feelings on this, it should not in any way take away from what is an exceptionally good putter and the O-Works range certainly continues Odyssey's proud tradition of producing innovative and well constructed putters. I am very happy with how this performed both on the putting green in the review video, but also since I've taken it onto the course. In fact dear reader, I am so happy I am pleased to say it now has residence in my bag and has become my putter of choice 9/10

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