For Odyssey, the mission in 2020 seems to be not just about making better putters. It’s about making golfers into better putters.
That effort will pursue multiple levels, and includes introducing putters that not only improve performance on mis-hits but models that improve the consistency of the stroke, the consistency of the way the ball rolls and the consistency of the one area that determines whether a putt will ever have a chance of going in: aim and alignment.
And the latter gets its inspiration from a golf ball.
First, the company is continuing the tempo-smoothing shaft technology called Stroke Lab, which will be standard in all Odyssey putter models going forward after its first year introduction where it became the runaway top-selling model for the top-selling brand in golf. That philosophy uses a combination graphite and steel putter shaft to redistribute 40 grams of the putter’s overall weight to raise the balance point closer to the hands to provide the golfer with more control of today’s head-heavier designs. The main Stroke Lab family will consist of Stroke Lab Silver, which was introduced last year and features six models that use the White Hot “Microhinge” face insert to enhance roll.
Added to Stroke Lab Silver will be the new Odyssey Stroke Lab Black collection, which debuted in the fall with two high-stability mallet designs, Ten and Bird of Prey. Those models will be joined in the new year by two additional blade versions (One, Double Wide) and three mallets (Seven, Rossie and R-Line Arrow). While Stroke Lab Black’s face insert will again feature the roll-enhancing hinges, the insert removes grooves and changes the color of the hinges for a cleaner face design that produces a firmer sound and feel. Called “Microhinge Star,” the insert is designed to produce the same effective initial forward spin as the “Microhinge” insert at a slightly higher decibel and frequency level.
That insert will be part of Odyssey’s other major introduction, the new Triple Track lineup of putters that take their inspiration from the golf ball aiming line technology seen last year in parent company Callaway’s ERC Soft and Chrome Soft golf balls. The three-line marking on the ball, which was developed initially by a frustrated golfer/entrepreneur and researchers at the University of Missouri-St. Louis and features a red line surrounded by parallel blue lines on a white background.
According to Odyssey research, the feature improved golfer’s ability to line up to the target and improved the consistency of the impact location. Those elements were further enhanced when combined with golf balls that feature the Triple Track lines, said Sean Toulon, general manager for Odyssey, who called aim and alignment a problem for all golfers.
“It really has nothing to do with a golfer’s ability level,” he said. “Almost nobody is a good aimer."
Toulon said the Odyssey lineup attacks the fundamental issues that plague average golfers’ putting: the inconsistency of the way they swing the putter, which Stroke Lab seeks to solve; the inconsistency of their mis-hits, which the Microhinge Star insert and the forgiving mallet designs seek to solve; and the inconsistency of their aim, which Odyssey Triple Track seeks to solve.
“You’re not going to hit much if you can’t aim at the right place or don’t know where you’re aiming,” Toulon said. “Average golfers don’t aim well and they are wildly inconsistent.” He noted that Odyssey’s player testing showed not only were players aiming as much as five degrees left or right of the target on putts as short as 10 feet, but that those misses happened in different directions with the same golfer from putt to putt. He said well-regarded putting instructor Mike Shannon said the Triple Track putter design when used with a Triple Track ball was “like having a 4- or 5-inch chalkline on every green.”
“That’s in effect what this is,” Toulon said. “All you have to do is connect the lines from the putter to the lines on the golf ball, and you no longer have to worry about alignment. From there, all you have to worry about is speed.”
The Odyssey Triple Track will be offered in five models, including double bend and : 2-Ball, 2-Ball Blade, Ten, Double Wide and Marxman.
The new Stroke Lab Black ($300) and Triple Track putters ($250), each of which feature multiple hosel orientations, will be at retail Jan. 31.