Plenty of Tour players have been using this high-tech putter from Odyssey. Our equipment guru learnt why ...
TESTED BY: Jimmy Emanuel, Golf Australia Writer (GA Handicap: 9.4).
MODEL PLAYED: Stroke Lab 2-Ball Fang.
FIRST IMPRESSIONS: I was already intrigued by the Stroke Lab shaft having seen it in multiple Tour players bags late last year. Once I got underway with my testing of the Stroke Lab 2-Ball Fang, the head impressed, but the shaft proved an outstanding piece of technology for mine.
The weight distribution of the Stroke Lab putters is obvious when simply swinging the putter back and forth, with a repeatable stroke and strike the result once a ball is in place.
For its part, the head design was extremely stable, easy to align and had a very soft feel off the putter face.
HOW IT PERFORMED: Odyssey claims the shaft technology in Stroke Lab makes it easier for golfers to make a more consistent stroke. Having seen other putter shaft technologies come and go, I was a little sceptical, but it had a positive effect on my putting.
I currently opt for an unanchored long putter in my own setup for its pendulum qualities and consistency and the Stroke Lab 2-Ball gave me a very similar feeling. The putter swings freely, but not out of control, and the result for me was not a single seriously mis-hit putt during my time with the putter.
The technology was outstanding for me on short putts, where I had a confidence on the course I normally only possess on a putting green with no one else watching, almost every close range effort finding the bottom of the hole. And any misses were more a case of user error when reading the putt, than the stroke. The weight at the extremities of the putter meant I didn’t make my normal decelerating stroke when faced with a knee knocker.
I didn’t expect the Stroke Lab to be as noticeably better from long range as it was from close to the hole, but was pleasantly surprised by some very consistent and slightly improved results. Again, the weight being in the head and butt end of the club produced a very consistent tempo and stroke that had me finding the centre of putter face every time. Combined with the improved forward roll of Odyssey’s ‘Microhinge’ face meant I just needed to calculate how hard to hit each putt and take a free run each time.
"The putter swings freely, but not out of control, and the result for me was not a single seriously mis-hit putt during my time with the putter."
The head of the putter itself also performed very admirably. The combination of the 2-Balls, Versa colour scheme and even the hinges of the face insert, framed the ball perfectly and made the 2-Ball Fang extremely easy to align, while the head was incredibly stable during the stroke.
The feel off the face was extremely soft, perhaps too soft for some, but it is very much in line with Odyssey’s history and I am sure the other models offer variations in feel, while Odyssey is also offering the Stroke Lab shafts in other models to offer different feel options.
Despite some ‘seen it all before’ feelings before actually testing the Stroke Lab, I certainly changed my tune after trying the technology. The shaft does exactly as described and it is no wonder I spotted a large number of the world’s best players with Stroke Lab shafts.
FACTS AND FIGURES
SUITABILITY: Offered in 10 head styles ranging from blade models to large mallets, with many options offered in multiple shaft setups, there is a Stroke Lab putter for every preference and putting stroke.
LEFT-HANDED: Eight styles are available for left-handers.
ODYSSEY SAYS: Featuring Odyssey’s innovative new ‘Stroke Lab’ weight distribution, the Stroke Lab putter line helps improve the stroke through a profound change in weight distribution made possible by an innovative new shaft.
The shaft is a full 40 grams lighter, made possible by an innovative new multi-material design that combines a graphite body with a steel tip to net out at just 75 grams, with most of the mass concentrated in the tip. The saved weight is optimally redistributed by adding 10 grams to the head in the form of two sole weights, and adding 30 grams to the grip-end.
The effect of Stroke Lab’s innovative weight distribution on the stroke is dramatic. Odyssey studies indicate improvements in the consistency of backswing time, face-angle at impact, ball speed, and ball direction.
Feel for the putter head becomes more acute, helping the golfer repeat the same, smooth stroke time after time, while the ‘White Hot Microhinge’ insert offers smooth roll and great feel.
For more information, visit: www.callawaygolf.com.au