Today’s exploration of Odyssey’s new Toe Up putters marks the third time that I have written something about these putters. I can’t remember the last time that I wrote three articles about a single putter release. Obviously, Odyssey has done a great job of building Toe Up buzz.
That’s a pretty savvy piece of marketing for a putter line that was meant to be a sidebar release, with the majority of the Odyssey marketing machine promoting the new White Hot RX release.
Marketing folk at other companies should write the Odyssey formula down. Be secretive, tease a bit, release something truly different, and then collect the spoils at the register.
I bought the hype. By the time the Toe Up putters hit my porch, I was nearly salivating at the chance to get them on grass and roll some putts. Sure, that’s my usual response when putters arrive, but I swear that I had a little extra anticipation/slobber for these.
When Hype Hits The Short Grass
That sentence would be cooler if I was writing about a basketball product. When Hype Hits the Hardwood sounds way better, especially with a deep dramatic narrator voice.
Regardless, excitement about any product will quickly turn to meh if said product turns out to be mainly just hype. Looking at you Batman v. Superman…
Let’s take a moment to rehash what Odyssey has told us about the Toe Up.
We’ve used Stroke Balanced technology to reduce torque during the stroke for minimal twisting, so when you roll it, it’s going to be much easier to get the face back to square. We do it by strategically placing more weight towards the face to balance the putter, and the CG is aligned with the center of the face. All this is designed to promote a more consistent stroke, and when you put your finger up to the face, you’ll see that it balances toe up like no other putter in the market.
I’m not totally sure about the “no other putter in the market” claim. I can think of a few putters, both current and past, that hang toe up. They may call it something other than Stroke Balanced, such as torque-balanced, but the idea of 12:00 toe hang is the same.
But as I’ve mentioned in previous articles, design innovation is not the key thing that Odyssey brings with the Toe Up, but rather Odyssey’s ability to broadly distribute the line. If that quote from the Odyssey site means no other putter in the market that sells golf stuff near my house, then I totally agree.
The Toe Up putters will likely be the only Stroke Balanced putters that many golfers ever can actually put their hands on. That’s the big deal.
Square to Square
The whole idea behind the Stroke Balanced design is that the head shouldn’t open and close during the stroke like it does with a traditional putter. Though we seldom think about it, face angle at impact with the putter affects ball roll just like it does ball flight with the full swing. A putter face that is open or closed at impact will send the ball in different directions, even if the swing path is the same. Again, just like with the full swing.
The theory of the Stroke Balanced technology is that because these don’t gate open and closed during the swing, they should be easier to return square to the ball – ultimately enabling you to roll the ball more consistently and potentially straighter.
Specs: Odyssey Toe Up
- Head weight: 355g
- Loft: 3°
- Lie: 70°
- Face: Metal-X
- Grip: SuperStroke Flatso 1.0 – Counter Core
- Toe Hang: 12:00
- Dexterity: Right and Left
- Availability: Shipping begins April 15, 2016
- Price: $199.99
The Number 1
This is a great little putter, but it’s a strange one too. Though it looks like another Anser variant, it really doesn’t play like one.
At address, it looks a bit different than a plumbers-neck Anser. The shaft sits at a slightly different angle, and for me, that made it feel like my hands needed to be at a different position relative to my usual address position. Look at the address photo.
Shaft offset is very different than a traditional Anser, it’s like a negative half-shaft offset. I felt the need to adjust accordingly.
Comfort, and accuracy improved when my hands, and the ball, were in a more central position relative to my body; i.e., no press. What’s interesting about this for me is that this more central position is where I traditionally play mallets. Moving the ball back a touch makes sense to me as a forward ball position gives the traditional slight-arc Anser time to close as it opens/closes.
The Toe Up #1 doesn’t gate like a traditional Anser, so that extra couple inches of travel isn’t needed.
Maybe this can all be chalked up to issues with my putting stroke, lord knows there are a few, but I just want to let you know how I changed my set-up in case it makes a difference for you when you roll these. Hands back may help.
The Number 9
Of the two, the #9 was the model that I was the most excited to try. I was very interested to see how this head would play with the atypical toe hang. Remember, the traditional #9 has a deep toe hang, and usually meshes with a strong arc.
This #9 definitely plays differently than the other #9s. Really different actually. Whenever I take a traditional #9 out on the course, I find that accuracy relies upon a loose association with the putter, thus allowing it to gate through the stroke. If you don’t let it do what it wants, bad putts proliferate through the round.
The Toe Up #9 plays much more like a traditional mallet. Obviously it’s not face balanced, but it almost feels like it is. The Toe Up tech really changes the characteristics of the #9, making it more like a compact mallet than a heel-shafted half mallet.
My guess is that the traditional #9 player won’t like it a whole lot, but those who like a compact mallet shape, but can’t cope with the arc of a traditional #9, will really be interested in the Toe Up #9.
It seems ridiculously obvious, but these two putters definitely play differently from traditional putters with traditional toe hang. I know that’s a vague statement, but I want you to expect that they will feel unusual when you first roll them, and not to immediately put them back in the rack because of that unfamiliar experience.
You are going to need a bit of time to get to know the Toe Up. Buy it a drink. Ask it about its major. Spend some time connecting, and you will begin to see how it truly operates.
Roll lots of balls with the Toe Up. I wouldn’t recommend that this is a putter that you purchase after taking five putts in the shop, but like I said above, don’t dismiss it after five putts either.
Once you become accustomed to the unique movement – or lack of movement – of the Toe Up putters, then make your decision.
Some of you will love these, while others may just not mesh with the technology. Such is the case with all golf equipment…
One question that I had with the Toe Up was why did Odyssey go with the Flatso grip? I’m not bashing the selection of SuperStroke; my gamers all currently sport SuperStroke Mid Slim grips. The Flatso concerns me because it is atypical in its own right, and the Toe Up already faces potential market resistance for being atypical all on its own.
The Flatso is not a terrible grip, but for many, it will feel uncomfortable or at least unusual. Combining the unusual aspects of the head and the grip may turn off some potential players who would have actually putted well with the Toe Up had they spent a little time overcoming their initial disorientation.
The Toe Up Revolution Begins Today!
Okay, so maybe that’s a bit melodramatic. Perhaps today will not be remembered as the day that we all transitioned from toe down to Toe Up, but the increased availability of these Stroke Balanced putters is significant nonetheless.
Why, you ask? Because there will be some people out there who will drop balls with the Toe Up design way more frequently than they ever did toe down.
While Stroke Balanced putters may not replace all other putters, we are seeing an ingress of them into the golfing population, even at the professional level. If you watched the Masters, you probably saw Bryson Dechambeau using his torque-balanced Edel Brick, but did you know that JB Holmes made over $400,000 (T4) there as well using an Edel torque balanced putter?
Maybe this will be the start of the next big putter thing after all.
But Did I Win One?
Don’t worry, I didn’t forget about the contest. I am happy to say that the winner of the Toe Up putter is:
Congratulations and check your inbox. I’ll be contacting you very soon.