Software update available.
Do you remember when that phrase actually generated some excitement? These days we update our device software so often that we don’t even notice it, but there was a time when software updates were a thing.
A new version of Windows or Office could get people into stores on release day, shelling out hundreds of dollars for new software that held the promise of greater heights in computing. Gamers know this euphoria as well, having sat in lines at midnight for the latest Call of Duty release. In school, we had a chemistry teacher who was so into Call of Duty that he always took a sub the day after a new version released. That’s update enthusiasm right there.
These days, software updates aren’t needle movers. Even Apple’s announcement that it is abandoning iTunes won’t last a news cycle. There will be no camping out or substitute teachers required.
With this current Blasé 2.0 environment in mind, a software update that is more functional, more interactive, and (for some) more entertaining is worth taking a look at, especially if it involves building custom putters. (I did couch this with the for some above.)
Toulon Garage 2.0
Yes, the software update that I am referring to, and excited about, is the custom putter design tool for the Toulon Custom Putter Garage. I first wrote about Toulon’s customization program last year, comparing the computer version to the in hand version of a custom Toulon Rochester. While I would say that I enjoyed the previous build process, and used the design engine recreationally (and repeatedly) to build other theoretical putters, the software was not without bugs and irritants. It was a bit slow to load, not totally intuitive, and didn’t provide easy visuals when you changed the design of your putter.
It was fun, with faults.
With the latest software update, the garage has been remodeled for the better, and those of you who expressed frustrations with the last version should take a look at the Garage’s new improvements.
Let’s take a walk through the new build process.
Building a Custom Putter
Like the previous version, the first choice you will make is handedness. This part of the process looks like the previous version, with the strange Battle Zone geometric hands to choose from. Once you select a hand, you will see that things are not the same.
Selecting your model is now a simple scrolling interaction. You don’t need to click on the model icons; you scroll and click the head you want. There currently eight models available for right-handers with three more on the way. Lefties can choose from five models.
To demonstrate the new system, I will be building a custom San Diego, and comparing what is shown on the screen to what showed up at my house.
Once you select your head shape, you are taken to the page to choose a hosel. I appreciate how the interface has changed here. All of the options are shown together, rather than forcing you to click between each. Not all hosels are available on all heads, so you may not be able to get precisely what you are imagining (like a Las Vegas longneck), but each head gives you at least two, usually three, hosel options.
For my San Diego, I went with the short flow neck H5 hosel.
Vastly Improved Customization Visuals
Once hand, head, and hosel are selected, the Toulon Garage takes you to the customization screen, and this is where you can really see the improvements in the customization engine. The old software version was a bit clunky when it came to seeing how option selection affected the putter visuals, requiring you to click on and rotate the putter image to see other angles. Now, you have a four-pane visual showing the different perspectives of your putter simultaneously, with each photo changing as you make your customization selections on the right.
Option selection no longer requires new pages to load either. All you need do is click the plus symbol for your option, and make your selection. All of the images will update with your selection, as will the overall price of the build.
Available Options Abound
So what can you customize in the Toulon Garage? Without doing the math, I’d say that there are #shitloads of ways that you can put together your putter. You start with the finish options. Satin and the new for 2019 charcoal finish can be yours without an upcharge, but the black pearl will cost you an extra $100. When the system launched initially, rose gold was another upgrade option, but it is currently unavailable. Hopefully, that finish option will be added again soon.
After picking the finish, you can select the alignment aid scheme, stamping, paint fill, shaft, grip, sole plate weight, length, loft, and lie. You can pick nearly all of the cosmetic and functional options that you could want in a putter. Some of these will come with an upcharge, like $50 for custom paint fill, but there are several free choices as well. You can get a standard shaft, black shaft, or Stroke Lab shaft without paying a premium, and there are eleven free grip choices. The play-important length/loft/lie adjustments are included in the base price.
Once you have made all of your choices, click on the summary to double check them. All that’s left after that is to press Add to Cart to move the putter from cyber to steel construction.
Who Needs An Expensive Custom Putter?
This is a question that frequently gets asked in the comment section of articles such as this, with some folk getting riled up just knowing that a $750 putter even exists. I can’t help you with anger management, but I’ll share my views on custom putter motivations, perhaps kindling a kernel of empathy within the darkness of misplaced rage.
I have purchased custom putters for one of three reasons. First, as collectibles. Custom putters from big companies like Toulon, Scotty Cameron, Bettinardi, or small shops like Tyson Lamb, Byron Morgan, or even newcomer Cody James live in a baseball card/Pokémon reality. They are scarce, and people take pleasure in owning rare items. There is a level of artistry to the putters, and I do have a couple of putters literally hanging on the wall like paintings. There is a pleasure in owning them, and just looking at them. Like other artistic arenas, value is subjective, and likely won’t ring true the same way with all people. Such is art.
Another reason that I have ordered a custom putter is to commemorate life events. Many people will mark the births of children, marriages, and other significant life events with custom putter builds. For example, I had a custom putter built when I earned tenure at my college. It was a significant event in my life, and I celebrated it with a putter. Maybe this doesn’t resonate with you, but for me it did, and that putter serves as a memento of that achievement whenever I look at it.
My third, and most practical reason to buy a custom putter is to get the exact putter build that fits my putting game. Think of it as off the rack clothing vs. tailored clothing. It reminds me of the Simpsons episode when full-head-of-hair executive Homer’s new assistant Karl tells Homer to let it all hang out then instructs the tailor “You, conceal it!” A custom putter can be tailored to your exact playing needs. I know that I putt best with a square head, flow neck, sight dot, 35”, 2°flat, and 1° strong. These were the specs for this putter, allowing me to put this putter into my bag immediately when I received it. It was literally from UPS truck to car to course. I think that I rolled three balls with it before we teed off, and I still putted great with it that round. The putter build is spot on for my needs, and so too is the performance.
You can either look OK in a suit that you buy off the rack or look better in one that is tailored to your measurements.
Final Product: Custom Odyssey Toulon San Diego
Here are a few shots of the finished product. Overall, I am quite satisfied with the build. I had initially wanted to go with the currently-unavailable rose gold finish, but I am thrilled with the charcoal. I think that it makes the orange paint pop. The single orange sight dot paired with the two bumper lines of the cavity makes for my ideal alignment system. Once again, this is the advantage of the custom design as a sight dot is rarely offered as the stock alignment scheme.
The San Diego has a customized Super Stroke grip paired with the Stroke Lab shaft. In stock Stroke Lab putters, Odyssey adds a weight under the grip to make sure the overall weighting is correct. With the Super Stroke, this is accomplished with one of the stock Super Stroke grip weights. This change opens up the door for some tinkering with swapping in different grip and sole weights.
A Significantly Remodeled Garage
I suggest that you head over to the Toulon Garage and take the new interface for a spin, especially if your experience was frustrating the last time around. This time you should find building a custom putter much more enjoyable.
As far as computer putter customization goes, I think that this Odyssey Toulon Garage program is the one that sets the standard. Cameron’s Custom Shop is pretty good too, but for ease of use and faithfulness of result, I’m picking Toulon. It can’t give you all of the small shop custom options like twisted necks and hand-hammered bumpers, but there are loads of options for you to customize, and unlike small shop builds, you should receive your putter in weeks, not months.
Your custom putter is only a few clicks (and some cash) away.