1. noun, an eccentric or peculiar person or thing.
2. adj. eccentric; atypical
(by Dave Wolfe) Right off the bat, let’s address the term oddball. Nowhere in that definition do we see the word “bad” or anything to make one think that being called an oddball has a negative connotation. The Oddball Putter is one that is atypical. We are talking about putters that shy away from the norm of form; 8802’s, Ansers, and Rossies need not apply. These are different. And yet, the oddball putter unites with their more common putter brothers in one critical area; they are made for putting!
The divergent-thinking geniuses behind these putters have stretched the design boundaries as they seek the ultimate rock rolling machine. Lets take a look at some of these left-of-center putters that have hit the green in recent years.
1. Bobby Grace Triumph
Some of you may remember this putter from the contest that Bobby Grace held to name it. I think that my entry was something super clever like Saturn, or BMR (Big Metal Ring). It’s a solid playing mallet, but my favorite Bobby Grace mallet is still the F-16.
From the Bobby Grace website:
2. Cameron Kombi Mid
My favorite Scotty Cameron putters are the ones that go outside the norm. These designs are also the ones that he seems to get the most grief for creating. I am a fan of his Futura and I even recently traded someone for a Studio Design #5. The Kombi, and later the Kombi-S were both on my must try lists when they rolled out.
From the Scotty Cameron website:
This hi-performance putter is part technical, three-point-weighted mallet and part free-flowing, melt-into-the-ground putting machine. Smooth curves and sleek styling give the Tour-tested Studio Select Kombi a futuristic feel. Advanced technology and superior craftsmanship give it the performance attributes you expect from a Scotty Cameron putter.
Balancing the aesthetics and weight properties of different metals has been a Scotty hallmark for years. The Studio Select Kombi is no exception. Precision milled 6061 aircraft aluminum gave Scotty the volume and shape qualities he wanted, while the stainless steel sole weights give the putter head the proper weight. These elements work perfectly together creating a mallet of remarkable balance and form.
The Studio Select Kombi incorporates Scottys Studio Select weighting system, which allows the weight of the putter head to be perfectly matched with the player’s preferred shaft length. This is achieved using the factory interchangeable stainless steel sole weights, which can be changed out at the Scotty Cameron Custom Shop.
T-shaped, high contrast red sight lines provide effortless alignment guides, making the Kombi a proven new weapon in your putting arsenal.
3. Dead Aim Putter
I will not bring up any reference to attaching lasers to sharks, but obviously that’s where my head went first. While there are a few putter lasers out there. the is one is the only one that I am aware of that is built into the putter design. It stands to reason that if you practice aiming with the laser that improved accuracy should be observed on the course. I’m waiting for the five-megawatt version.
From the Dead Aim Website:
The dead aim putter was inspired by watching Nick Faldo and his caddie, Fannie, practice for hours on the practice green of The Augusta National in 2004. Nick had mirrors on the green and was dropping balls from the bridge of his nose in an effort to hit his ball on the green below. As he was working on getting his eyes over the aimline, Fannie was on her hands and knees retrieving balls for Nick. Nick later began to work on aiming and alignment drills. He had many gadgets and most importantly had Fannie behind his line watching his face angle and aim.
We wondered how we could help any golfer get positioned correctly and with their eyes over the aimline every time. We also wanted to find a way to teach someone to aim correctly and learn how to putt better. If it was important to a 3 time Masters winner, it must be important. It would be nice to have a caddie, professional coaches, and lots of time to hone ones skills like Nick. Out of this desire to help others putt better and practice better came Dead Aim. After over 7 years of research and development, we know we have a putter and putting system that will transform the game of golfers at every skill level.
4. Mantis Putter
The Mantis is a lean, mean killing machine. OK so maybe it doesn’t kill and is not so lean from the top. It is a fun putter to play though and it definitely garnered a lot of attention throughout the weekend at the Haggin Oaks Golf Expo. Rumor has it that there may be a new model on the way later this year. I’ll keep you posted.
From the Mantis Golf Website:
5. Nike Method Concept
This putter makes my brain hurt a bit. I stand over it and I just can’t get used to its geometry. I like the feel of the insert, and the putter feels balanced when putting, but the shape is just too much for me. I do dig this blue version as well as the orange and white one.
From the Nike Golf Website:
With a lightweight aluminum face and a high-mass steel body, the Nike Method Concept C1 (Right-Handed) Golf Putter positions the center of gravity farther back and lower for a faster roll and increased stability.
- Multi-material design with a lower center of gravity for a faster roll and more precise stroke
- A streamlined look and increased stability for a high MOI and small footprint
- Precision insert for better accuracy and more stability
6. Nike Method Drone
I overlooked this putter when it originally came out. I think it was because I was an insert snob. How could this one with the plastic be as nice feeling as the original Method line. Red was a stop for me then. Stupid play on my part. The Method Core insert is a winner, and the wide footprint of the Drone makes for a twist-free stroke. I need to get my hands on the Drone 2.0 at some point.
From the Nike 2011 Press Release:
The Nike Method Core Drone features the Nike major-winning Polymetal groove technology in a high-Moment of Inertia (MOI) package. With its iconic larger mallet shape and milled face, the Nike Method Core Drone is loaded with geometry. Its extreme mallet design and Opti-mass weighting in the center and wing tips keep the clubhead on its path, preventing twisting and creating a smooth, accurate stroke. The high-MOI putter enables more stability, which provides a better roll and ultimately leads to increased confidence over every putt.
The Nike Method Core Drone also has the distinctive Polymetal Groove Technology that exists in all Nike Method putters, generating a faster forward roll at impact for increased accuracy. The polymer and aluminum grooves lessen impact vibrations and provides pure sound and feel. This helps eliminate backspin, which causes skidding and misdirection. This revolutionary and visibly distinctive red insert decreases backspin, which was expressed by Nike Golf athletes as an important ingredient to their putting accuracy, distance control and ultimate putting success. The less backspin, the more “true” the putt will roll.
7. Odyssey Backstryke DART
This is actually the putter that the Callaway fitter suggested to me three years ago when I went down to Carlsbad for a fitting. At the time, I was a shallow player, who let appearance override performance. Since then, I have watched more than one guy drop deep putts with the Backstryke DART. I also really came to appreciate the DART alignment system after testing the White Hot Pro DART Mini this year.
From the Odyssey Website:
Can a putter make for a better stroke? What about one that puts you at ease? Would that putter change things forever? We think so, and we want to introduce you to a better engineered putter. Promote an ascending stroke and impart true forward roll with our Forward Press Stabilization. We also promote a stable, straight line with the lead arm through our unique shaft position. This means you won’t have to worry about your wrists breaking. We made a visual aid to help you sink your putts by adding our Visible Face Alignment, which makes sure you can see if you’re square without the shaft getting in the way. Our White Ice insert makes for better consistency, responsiveness, resiliency and sound. Get a low, deep CG and a true roll with our A.R.T (Advanced Roll Technology) that incorporates multi-material construction.
- Visible Face Alignment: Makes it easy to look down to see if you’re square without the shaft getting in your way. The result is an unprecedented way to visually line up putts.
- Forward Press Stabilization: Promotes an ascending stroke because of a hands forward position, which makes for faster topspin and a true roll. The wrists won’t break down during the stroke thanks to a shaft position that’s optimized for a straight lead arm.
- Stroke Balance: Produces a stable, fluid stroke by balancing the putter on the axis of the stroke, which means better distance control and accuracy.
- White Ice Insert: Get better responsiveness, consistency, resiliency and sound through the multi-layer insert. We made the core 19% more firm to optimize the feel, and it’s 92% stiffer for more resiliency and consistent distance control.
- A.R.T (Advanced Roll Technology): Get a truer roll thanks to the deep, low CG from the multi-material construction.
8. Odyssey Sabertooth
I can’t explain my excitement when I purchased the Tour Bronze version of the Sabertooth. It looks dangerous, and promotes cat-like roars after making putts. I have also heard that you can actually wear the putter like a mask, but who would do that? These photos are actually of the new heavy version of the Sabertooth. If you liked this putter, but thought it was too light, you are in luck. Find out more about the Sabertooth Heavy HERE
From the Odyssey Golf website:
• Aiming Channels inside the fangs ensure consistent, square alignment at address.
• A multi-layer White Hot XG insert generates softer feel and enhanced responsiveness
9. PING Wack-E
I love PING, though I can’t really pinpoint why. Maybe it’s the history of the company. It could be because my friend’s G10 irons were state of the art when I started playing golf. I think that it is because PING always rolls out new ideas in their putters. They keep the classics, then go design-sideways. Some are hits, like the new TR line, and last year’s Nome, but others miss the mark. For me, the iN line was a miss. I did not like the holes in the putters as I found them too distracting. I think that they sort of know that they are out past left field in some of these designs. Why else would you name them Wack-E or Craz-E?
From the Ping Website:
10. Ray Cook Chameleon Tunnel Vision
This one jumped out at me last week in the shop. I really like that they have a simple alignment system built into the putter. It reminds me of the red line in the Wilson Staff Vizor mallet. I think that having a consistent alignment tool can only help one to become a more consistent putter.
From the Ray Cook Website
A revolutionary new putter equipped with “Tunnel Vision”, the most advanced alignment system on the market!
How’s it work?
At address, the player looks down at the “tunnel”, a narrow cavity in the club. When the putter has been aligned perfectly, a yellow strip at the top of the tunnel combines with a blue strip at the bottom. When the strips combine the player sees green, and green means GO!
The enlarged style mallet head combined with the optimized design of the tunnel and weighted perimeter bars ensures the best possible moment of inertia, giving the player a greater balance and less chance of twisting during the stroke.
- Tunnel Vision, a revolutionary new alignment aid for correct setup
- Mallet style, non-glare nano white painted head finish with accent color
- Firm, light steel shaft reducing twist on impact
- Oversize, soft feeling rubber compound grips
11. STC xForm3
The xForm3 was the second most accurate putter in the “2013 Most Wanted Mallet Test”, finishing just behind Bettinardi’s winning Signature 6. While that is a great accomplishment, the xForm3 really showed me that perception of aesthetics do not influence accuracy. This putter ranked dead last in aesthetic scoring by our testers, but was the second most accurate. Share that with your friend who says he has to like how a putter looks if he is going to make putts.
From the STX Website:
STX Xform Series putters are 100% machined from extremely soft 304 stainless steel. Tour inspired designs combine classic elements with modern style. Their soft satin finish and distinctive milling lines create a glare free, rich appearance.
Xform Putters are equipped with our deep diamond milling that promotes a quicker forward roll and produces the soft feel desired by the best players in the world.
12. SuperStroke FATSO
You can read the review to get the whole story on this putter. It’s a shame that these went away before they could get the market share they deserve. Regardless, I can’t wait to see what Bruce Sizemore comes up with next. The orange one is an experimental color they were working on. It’s one of a kind and all mine!
From my review of the SuperStroke Fatso
From my review of the SuperStroke Fatso:
- Material: 100% Milled proprietary seven series aluminum alloy.
- Weight: 360g as tested (Belly version is 395g)
- Loft: 4°
- LieAngle: 71°
- ToeHang: Face Balanced
- LengthTested: 34″
- Face: DCF Milled Face
13. Tour Edge T-Balance 05
Did you know that Tour Edge, the makers of the “why do I need a driver?” Exotics fairways also makes putters? This T-Balance obviously shares some DNA with Odyssey’s Backstryke. I don’t know which was first, so don’t ask me. I do know that we have one of their milled blades in for the upcoming Most Wanted Blade Putter test, and it’s a beauty.
From the TourEdge Website
The T-Balance features a patented 90° bend shaft that delivers an advanced level of feel never before achieved in any other putter design. The shaft’s arched structure is stronger than a traditional straight putter shaft, thereby minimizing vibration and dramatically improving feel. You’ll feel the effectiveness of the design as the shaft pulls the head through the ball with a pure, effortless stroke.
The lower portion of the “T” – the stability bar – places more weight directly behind the sweet spot to increase the putter’s moment of inertia (ability to resist twisting). The result is increased accuracy on contact, and better-feeling impact on every putt.
There more oddballs out there, many more…
These putters definitely show creativity in design, but my no means is this the exclusive list of oddballs. You have already come up with one or more putters that could fit nicely on this list. Tell us about your favorite oddball in the comments section. Did you only see one, or actually buy one and game it? How did it go?
rob10 years ago
SABERTOOTH!!!! Best putter I have ever owned. Need to buy a new one to replace my current Sabertooth but man do I love it.
Brad Smith10 years ago
The Pelz 3-Ball Putter from the late 70’s or early 80’s. http://chicagogolfguy.files.wordpress.com/2012/01/photo3.jpg
Pelz designed this early in his career, in the early 1980’s. Concept was that a long line behind the ball would help with alignment. I think this might have been one of the earliest designs with that intent. And he chose, rather than a line(s) which subsequently became quite popular, three plastic golf balls. And the head itself is some type of plastic. Like ABS. It ran afoul of the USGA, first because it was longer front to back than from heal to toe. He revised it to comply. Once again, they ruled it illegal because it “was not plain in shape”. He gave up.
Ten years or so later, in the late 1990’s, Callaway/Odyssey went to him and wanted to buy licensing rights to use the concept of the large, ball diameter circles in a putter. They offered him either $250,000 or $1 or $2 per putter that they sold (something like that). He grabbed the $250,000, thinking they’d never get it by the USGA. The USGA approved it. He is still kicking himself. The Odyssey 2-ball and 3-ball putters, which started to be sold, I think in 2002, sold, I’ve heard, in the millions, and became one of the most popular putters in history. They are still a staple in the Odyssey lineup today, 11 years later. Not many putters have lasted so long.
His concept of ball shaped circles behind the sweet spot to aid in alignment/aiming had been vindicated.
Golfer Burnz10 years ago
Here is a putter with a classic name, and an oddball look. The Railgun II. http://www.railgun.com/index.php
JE10 years ago
Can’t believe you guys missed the Yar putter. http://www.yargolf.com/
This thing rolls it straight. Period. End of story.
No timing involved. No worries about what type of stroke you have. Great putter.
parHunter10 years ago
I came across the yar a week ago. From the website and their videos it looks like one of these ‘claim everything but deliver nothing’ products but Geoff Mangum, the person who probably knows more about putting than everyone else said ‘There are basically “bad” designs and “okay” designs.
In that world, the Yar Putter probably qualifies as a “good” design.’
Would love to try one, although it looks fairly ugly
Nic Sherman10 years ago
Ummmmm… Ping DinnerPlate.. I mean Doc 17. Oddest Ball of them all.
Walter Graves10 years ago
Attn: Dave Wolfe
I love your assements of 13 Modern Odd ball Putters and it shows what I am up against in trying to sell my putter. The larger golf companyies will do anything to sell their putters. I would like to send you one of my putters for evaluation if you will accept the challange. You can visit my website, http://www.divotrepairputter.com to see the putter and get all the pertinent information. After you have checked out my putter and you would like one,let me know where to send it. Walter Graves, W.H. Golf LLC.
Bart10 years ago
I guess I am truly an oddbal because I own two of these putters. The backstryke and I just bought the chameleon from Ray Cook.
The backstryke is great a great design for 2 reasons. First the alignment tool is the best I have ever used. The second is the positioning of the shaft at the back of the putter. It forces you to finish the putting stroke and eliminates stabbing at the ball. Very accurate from 15ft in. However on long and very long putts there i had an issue with it. There is not a lot of mass to this putter and with the insert it is very soft, so to try to make those longer putts I was taking a bigger swing which caused me to become less accurate.
Enter the Ray cook chameleon. I wanted a putter that had similar alignment tool but would help me on longer putts. There is no insert it has a milled face and the ball rolls on forever. I made my first 60ft putt with this bad boy. If they placed the shaft it the back of the putter it would be a grand slam..
Barbajo10 years ago
Check out the Coutour Bolt and its older brother, the Arrow…not sure I could game that!
Dave Wolfe10 years ago
Those are definitely Oddballs. I’ve heard positive things about Coutour and their fitting process, but have never rolled one…
Matt10 years ago
I have the method concept. Picked it up as a “what in God’s name is this” in the store, and immediately things just clicked for me. I’ve never had better distance control than I’ve had with that thing.
Foz10 years ago
Great list of oddball putters…..as for me, I am now gaming the Nike Method Drone 33″…It has a 365 grm head and rolls silky smooth.
JKinSanJose10 years ago
The Axis1 and Cameron Detour are wacky, ugly models that immediatly come to mind…
Tommy Nevue10 years ago
How about the MXV1 Putter ? That putter rocks, if they made the whole thing out of the insert material of the white hot series it would be the best out there. Cant beat the roll a ball gets from contact with that putter.
Displayname10 years ago
The Triumph is the only club on this list that I haven’t seen before. It’s also the club that looks closest to my old trusty Odyssey 2-Ball SRT. I might finally need to replace it!
Jimberley10 years ago
I bought myself a Triumph for Christmas, and it is just ridonkulous how sweet that putter is!
Plus, you can call and talk to the man himself, Bobby Grace, if you have a question or issue. Worth every penny!
TwoSolitudes10 years ago
Mantis all the way. Love it.
For older school. I bagged the TM Tc3 when it came out in the late 90s(?) It was pretty strange for the time, but doesn’t look so odd compared to todays putters. If it had not been stolen out of my car I would still be using that one.