Last Tuesday, I was on the practice green at the Safeway Open in Napa, CA, just minding my own business, watching professional golfers drop putts from all lengths and angles. Seriously, putts were dropping from everywhere. These guys are amazing.
Anyway, while watching these guys practice, I happened to spot a bunch of black and yellow putters across the green. At first, I thought that Yes! Putters were back in the tour mix, but then I saw the Odyssey logo.
Odyssey Stroke Lab “Prototypes”
While the folk at the bags were nice enough to let me take some photos of the putters, they were not as forthcoming about the new line’s details, or even if these are an upcoming new line of putters or just tour prototypes.
No Versa, But High Contrast
You won’t find the word Versa anywhere on these putters, but the legacy of Versa’s high-contrast alignment scheme is present. Most of the putters feature a silver face section, with a darker body trailing to the rear edge. The silver and black scheme is interrupted only by specialized alignment schemes, like those found in the 2-Ball and Marxman.
Overall, this color scheme is reminiscent of the original Toulon Garage Indianapolis, where the front silver portion was trailed by the darker carbon fiber body. Like the Indianapolis, this color scheme should create the illusion of putting with a much smaller putter, as you will tend to focus on the smaller silver area and not the bulkier black body. With color being used to strategically hide bulk, perhaps this will help traditional blade players transition into mallets.
New Models and Old Favorites
Even if by some small chance, these prove to be true prototypes that never make it to retail, it was cool to see a few new models mixed in with the Odyssey standards. I found three to be particularly interesting.
I’ve long wondered if the one-ball 2-Ball was ever going to hit the retail market. Callaway Pro Daniel Berger plays (and wins) with that putter. While some photos of similar putters have circulated the Internet, it hasn’t made its way to golf shops. It looks like that may soon change.
What do you name a putter that is wider than wide? The Double Wide! If you spend your free time shopping the Japanese golf market, the Double Wide may not be new to you. Though previously released in Japan as a part of the O-Works line, the Double Wide would be new to the US market. If we go by the putters by the bag, the Double Wide may be available in both double-bend shaft, and flow neck configurations.
Lots of players roll the #1 wide. It will be interesting to see who transitions to a Double Wide.
How many of you gamed the original Callaway Tuttle? High five to the old folk on that one. Yes, Callaway has released a Tuttle in the past, but it was a long time ago. So long ago in fact that we’re talking about a Callaway Tuttle, and not an Odyssey Tuttle.
This Tuttle shares a general design feeling with the Tuttle (and Tuttle 2), but it is a much larger head and incorporates the two-tone Stroke Lab color scheme as well as overt alignment lines. Once again we see a flow neck in the photo, but this time I didn’t see a double-bend option in any of the group shots.
Slant Necks to Continue?
Odyssey went all in on slant neck mallets last year, with all of their mallets coming in either standard or slant neck configurations. If this batch is to be trusted, then the slant neck option will continue into 2019. The only putter that didn’t seem to have a slant neck option was the R-Ball, and maybe that one just wasn’t part of the traveling prototype set. Side note: Looks like the White Hot Microhinge will return in 2019 as well.
The most intriguing feature about the new Stroke Lab putters is the new multi-material shaft. It’s the most interesting, and unfortunately, it’s the part where my information is most lacking. Multi-material putter shafts are not a new thing, UST has made their Frequency Filtered putter shaft for some years now, and the new Stability Shaft from Barney Adams’ Breakthrough Golf Technology launched earlier this year.
So how does the Odyssey shaft compare to those other shafts? Well beyond being made of carbon fiber and steel, I have no clue. This is one of those Odyssey trade secrets at the moment. The grip says that it is a Tempo Enhancing Design, but that’s the extent of what Odyysey is putting out there right now. The jury is out on any actual performance benefits – and certainly, some skepticism of the Odyssey offering (whatever it proves to be) will be warranted, but it appears that the putter shaft is emerging as the latest market opportunity.
Should these release to retail, I’m sure Odyssey will have plenty to share about the shafts, but for right now they are keeping their shafts close to the vest. Savvy observers will notice that some of the EXO putters around the bag in the background of the photo above also feature the new shaft. Does this mean that you will be able to can get it with your EXO?
Thoughts on The Stroke Lab?
So what is your first impression of these putters? Do you think that the color scheme will click outside of Iowa Hawkeye Nation? Are you pumped for the new models, and curious about the new shaft? Would you want Odyssey to release these shafts as a re-shafting option for your current gamer?