I’ve got two balls
I’ve got two balls
They’re such two balls
And they’re dirty two balls
And he’s got two balls
And she’s got two balls
But we’ve got the two-est balls of them all!*

Putter Tested: Odyssey ProType Black 2-Ball

(Written By: GolfSpy Dave) I was fortunate enough to get my hands on a ProType Tour 2-Ball earlier this year.  At the time, the silver-headed ProType was the third 2-Ball that I had played with, previously having rolled the DFX and the Black i versions.  Like many of you, I thought that the simple two-ball alignment system could help me drain putts like the pros that have won with it in the past.  The Odyssey #7 seems to get more PGA love than the 2-Ball these days, but if we look at total wins since 2002 when the 2-Ball hit the scene, I bet the drain-for-dollars score favors the 2-Ball.

Back to this summer’s silver ProType 2-Ball.  I was super excited to finally roll a milled face version of the 2-Ball as the previous insert versions never really seemed to work, likely due to my issue (perhaps psychological) with inserts.  Alas, my relationship with that ProType was short lived.  While I loved the feel of the milled carbon head, aiming correctly with the allegedly simple 2-Ball alignment system seemed vexing.  When I took the ProType Black out on the course for the first time, I could only wonder if a new color would really make a difference.

Odyssey ProType Black 2-Ball Features:

  • Material: 1025 Carbon Steel
  • Weight: 360g as tested
  • Loft: 3°
  • Lie Angle: 70°
  • Offset: Full-Shaft
  • Toe Hang: Face Balanced
  • Length Tested: 34″

BALL USED: Callaway Hex Chrome

LOOKS

Some balls are held for charity
And some for fancy dress

The looks of the Odyssey ProType Black 2-Ball are classic 2-Ball.  This is a putter that represents an iconic, archetypal design in the history of putters.  Like many of the major designs, we observe significant differences between the pre-2-Ball and post-2-Ball marketplace.  The looks of the 2-Ball changed the entire putter paradigm.  Yes, I know, Odyssey purchased the initial design concept from Dave Pelz.  But go and compare photos of his design and this modern version.  Henry Ford doesn’t get credit for every advance in the auto industry in the last century.  Pelz had a novel design that Odyssey made sleek and deadly on the green.

As a huge fan of the milled-face look, I applauded the looks of the silver version of the 2-Ball when it rolled out.  The milling was super precise and the lines of the top and sole just flowed together.  The black version keeps the great visual characteristics of the previous ProType 2-Ball, and adds in the blackness. At first, I was laughing a bit at the launching of the black version.  Remember, this is from the company that launched the “Performance over Paint” anti-white driver campaign a few years back.  In all fairness, there is more here than just a good-looking “Midnight Black PVD” finished head.  The shaft is also black (powder coated), as is the new to the line-up black grip.  Maybe this is just a cosmetic thing, but the blackness really looks amazing.  Having all of the components (including the headcover) be black really works aesthetically.  They even muted the paintfill by going with grey instead of the read that I saw on the prototype black version back in January.  This is a great looking putter.

FEEL

But when they’re held for pleasure
They’re the balls that I like best

For me, the jury is still out regarding insert-faced putters.  An insert-faced beauty frequently will seduce me, but I always return to metal-faced putters in the end.  I like how metal feels at impact.  Some of the recent inserts out there have shown promise, like Nike’s Polymetal Grooves and Odyssey’s Metal X, but for me, nothing beats the metal face for feel.  This milled 2-Ball just further supports my bias.  The deep milling and the carbon steel composition of the ProType Black combine to make a very soft feeling impact. Perhaps not insert soft, but soft nonetheless.  A better way to describe the feeling is smooth.  Striking the ball and sending that little dimpled beauty on its way is very fluid, totally devoid of skips, clicks, or hops.  Sorry inserts, looks like the ledger moves another click toward metal.

SET-UP & ALIGNMENT

My balls are always bouncing
To the left and to the right

So now we get to the whole point of the 2-Ball; the two ball alignment system.  I would be surprised if there is a golfer out there who has not lined up a ball with some version of the Odyssey 2-Ball if only to see what the aiming system is all about.  For the one person reading this who has never tried a 2-ball, the idea behind the aiming is that you align the two balls on the putter with your ball, aiming all three of them in a row along the target line.  Does it work?  Well more than a few tour pros have risked their fortunes on the precision of these two balls.

Personally, I get the concept, but I have never felt very confident aiming previous incarnations of the 2-Ball.  This includes the silver version the ProType 2-Ball I rolled earlier this year.  I loved the feel of that putter, but I struggled to hit the line, and with that the hole.  For whatever reason, the black color really makes a difference for me.  Pin it on the increased contrast between the white balls and the black body or whatever, I honestly don’t know for sure.  Being that color is the difference, I’ll go with that.  If you have rolled silver colored 2-Balls in the past, and struggled to aim, you should reassess your aiming with the black version.


PERFORMANCE

It’s my belief that this 2-ball
Should be held every night

So how did it play on the course?  Did I give away the secret by gushing about how the alignment system on this black version works for me?  You figured it out; you smart cat you.  I truly enjoyed rolling the Odyssey ProType Black 2-Ball on the golf course.  Here’s the short list of why:
  • I felt confident of alignment/aim at address.
  • Misses long or short were caused by poor swings rather than inconsistencies off of the face.
  • Misses that were off-line were bad reads.  Time to refresh the Aimpoint…
  • The balance is tremendous as it swings back and forth.  If I got myself out of the way and let the putter swing, it was deadly.
  • The all-but-the-balls blackness really makes the alignment balls look big and bold at address.  The black shaft just blends in, and vanishes.
  • I loved seeing the putter whenever I took it out of my bag.  I think that if your first putting thought is “This putter is badass” then your confidence in making the putt only increases.

I think that my only critique with the whole set-up is with the size of the stock grip.  I think that the texture and the shape of the grip are excellent and that they help to promote a solid stroke.  I wish that the grip was larger in diameter.  I’ll admit that my recent gaming of the larger SuperStroke grips may have shoved me into the large-grip lover category.  However, based on tour play, I will be surprised if larger grips are not more readily available as options in the future.  I will need one that is all black though, of course.

Response from the average golfer that I showed the putter to was definitely more enthusiastic than when I showed the silver ProType 2-Ball to people.  While both versions of the ProType 2-Ball have great feel and play characteristics, the looks of the black version of the ProType 2-Ball make it the show stopper. Many of the comments were directed at the coolness of the black shaft.

  • Distance Control = 9.5
  • Accuracy = 9.4
  • Sound & Feel = 9.5
  • Appearance = 9.5
  • Alignment = 9.4

OVERALL SCORE= 94.6

FIT FOR STROKE™

Don’t change your stroke. Change your putter.

The (FIT FOR STROKE™) concept was developed by PING, yet another genius fitting system they have developed for golfers. It works hand-in-hand with the iPING Putter App which is highly suggest everyone getting (IT’S FREE!). You might be surprised to find out that the stroke you think you have isn’t the stroke you actually have.

This addition to the MGS reviews will allow you to become a more consistent putter by matching you with models that better fit your stroke type. They will be broken down into three categories: (1) Straight – for face balance putters (2) Slight Arc – for mid toe hang putters (3) Strong Arc – for toe down putters

“Results from hundreds of player and robot tests at PING offer overwhelming scientific support for the effectiveness of fitting for stroke. In recent years more diagnostic tools and testing equipment have become available, and the results prove that a golfer’s consistency improves when their putter balance matches their stroke type. It was interesting to observe that golfers putt more consistently with stroke-appropriate models, but they also show a personal preference for these models, too. Prior to putting with them, golfers are drawn to models that fit their eye, even before they fit their stroke.” says PING.

The Odyssey ProType Black 2-Ball is a: Straight


OVERALL

The Odyssey ProType Black 2-Ball is black.  Like I said earlier, it’s “all-but-the-balls” black.  For me, this was a critical difference when I compared my performance with this putter to the silver ProType.  As I mentioned before, 2012 may be the Year of the Mallet.  Once all is said and done, this 2-Ball may in deed have the biggest balls of them all. That’s because the Odyssey ProType 2-Ball Black putter is now the #1 Highest Rated Putter on MyGolfSpy!

*apologies to Bon and Angus for torturing a great song…