The Odyssey Stroke Lab putters came to the market touting a new consistency in putting strokes. The combination shaft of steel and graphite took 40 grams out of the middle of the putter and redistributed the mass to the grip and head to better balance the head, shaft and grip system. That switch, said Odyssey chief putter designer Austie Rollinson, led to measurable improvements in the consistency of the length of the backswing, club position, face angle in backswing, forward swing pace and face angle at impact.
Now, the company is expanding the line in a way that works on consistency even if you’re still somewhat inconsistent. The new Odyssey Stroke Lab Black lineup debuts today with two new multimaterial mallets focused on yielding a high moment of inertia. That property, which yields less twisting on off-center impacts, means mis-hit putts roll close to the same distance as on-center impacts.
The two new models have among the highest MOIs of all putters in the Odyssey lineup, just barely trailing extreme multimaterial designs like the Odyssey Exo 2-Ball, Exo Marxman and Exo Seven. The new Odyssey Stroke Lab Black Ten and Bird of Prey both have MOI measurements above 5,500 grams-centimeters squared. According to Odyssey testing, Rollinson said putters with high MOI measurements in that region produce dispersion patterns on 10-foot and 28-foot putts that are as much as 73 percent tighter than more conventional mallet designs. The Ten features heel and toe wings that extend from a framed central mass with a center alignment line, while the Bird of Prey is a more triangular shape that’s also framed around a central mass with a similar center alignment line.
While the Ten’s shape is familiar—Rollinson called it a cross between the shape of Odyssey’s No. 7 and the Odyssey Toulon Design Indianapolis winged mallet—he said the pursuit of a high MOI within the relatively traditional stainless steel design was paramount. “We wanted to get quite a bit higher inertia [MOI] than all the common models out there,” he said. “That’s why the body is a stainless steel with a super lightweight, low density polymer in the middle sole plate.”
Among the players already gravitating to these new models is Phil Mickelson, who put the winged Ten in play at the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open in Las Vegas. That’s a switch from the simple blade models he typically prefers, but Rollinson said Mickelson liked the putter because he was seeing more consistent “start lines” on his putts.
“He attributed that to the high MOI of this putter,” Rollinson said. “I think we’re going to learn a lot with these designs.”
The Odyssey Stroke Lab Black Ten features adjustable 15-gram heel and toe stainless-steel sole weights. The Stroke Lab Black Bird of Prey, which has the higher MOI of the two, has a 15-gram sole weight deep in the center and urethane-tipped screws in the heel and toe section.
“We’ve always struggled with sound with some of these large exoskeleton putters so we really took a lot of time and effort to get the sound right in terms of the amount of urethane on these screws and how we were able to damp the vibration,” Rollinson said.
Another key element of the Stroke Lab Black putters, which unlike the original Stroke Lab putters, feature an all-black look on top instead of the silver bar on the top line, is a refashioned face insert. Still designed with the rows of “microhinges” to produce a forward roll and topspin more quickly, the new face insert (called “Microhinge Star”) is a slightly firmer feel, Rollinson said. The insert also removes the groove found on the original Stroke Lab White Hot Microhinge insert.
“Certainly with our golf ball and more and more of the competitive set of golf balls having gotten softer, we wanted to provide another version that doesn’t kill as much of the sound,” he said. “We were able to get it firmer, gain sound but also maintain the speed and get even more consistent spin than we saw on the original.”
The Odyssey Stroke Lab Black Ten and Bird of Prey will be in stores November 1 ($300).