Putter Tested: Odyssey Flip Face #5
(Written By: GolfSpy Dave) I can’t count how many times I have heard people argue about innovation in the putter market. Who copied who, who is original, who is unoriginal, and so on. I think that innovation in any market is a dangerous proposition. On one hand, you have the chance to produce something new that will capture the imagination (and cash) of the golfing public. On the other hand, producing something new is risky and could be fiscally painful should the public reject the new idea. It’s much safer just to produce the same putter year after year, perhaps with a tweak in the finish or other minor feature.
The Odyssey Flip Face line of putters does not represent a minor cosmetic tweak of an existing line. Instead, Odyssey has chosen to move into uncharted putter territory by making a putter with the ability to flip between two different faces and by doing so, two different inserts. Other companies have produced putters where you can change the insert (like STX) or change all kinds of components (like Machine), but the two-putters-in-one nature of the Flip Face sets it apart from the adjustable putters of the past. We are in new design territory here.
There is one question that must be asked though: Has Odyssey produced a putter whose design will become another industry standard, or will the Flip Face end up in the bin with the other “interesting concept, but no thanks” putters?
- Metal-X and White Ice inserts
- 345 grams
- Face Balanced
- Full Shaft Offset
- Satin Finish
- Lamkin 3GEN Pistol Grip
- Loft 3 Degrees
- Lie Angle 70 Degrees
BALL USED: Callaway Hex Black
And so we begin the exploration in the duality that is the Odyssey Flip Face #5. The Flip Face #5 feels either crisp/firm or soft depending upon the insert that you have in place. This is, of course, the big deal with the Odyssey Flip Face, you can flip the face to switch between the softer White Ice insert and the firmer Metal-X insert. We will talk about the effect on performance in a bit, but first lets address the feel.
Your take on the ability to change the feel of your putter will probably depend upon what you look for in a putter. If the feel at impact is not something that you really pay attention to when putting, the Flip Face will feel fine to you regardless of face in play. If you are a fan of the feel of both the White Ice and the Metal X inserts, then switching from the crisp to soft insert shouldn’t faze you much. However, if you prefer a firm or soft feeling putter, then flipping the face will definitely effect your perception of this putter.
For me, I definitely prefer the crisp feel of the Metal-X insert to the softer White Ice insert. As a result, I found that I wanted to practice more with the Metal-X in place, and this was the insert that I preferentially put in place on the course. Sound and feel consistency and preference for the Metal-X trumped any performance benefits gained by flipping the face. For the sake of this review, I did of course play both inserts on the course. I don’t normally play putters that can flip their inserts, but when I do, I prefer Metal X.
Overall, I think that the Flip Face #5 will appeal to those who already like the look of the other Odyssey small mallets. The balanced lines of the head’s perimeter as well as the thicker top line are just what the mallet player is typically looking for. The seam on the back flange fits “seamlessly” with the single alignment line. The Flip Face #5 has classic Odyssey aesthetics, with one notable addition; it has a big hole in it.
When you look at the Flip Face #5 from address, you cannot miss the fact that there is a relatively large hole behind the face. This is not a thin sound slot some manufacturers cut behind the face. This is a big empty space. You will see the grass through the putter when you address the ball. Is this distracting? Maybe a bit. Will it bother you? Possibly, but maybe not for long. I was definitely aware of the hole when I started testing the Flip Face, but after a time, my brain just merged the hole in with the rest of the putter and it became a non-issue. Why is the hole there? To provide space for the face to flip, of course!
SET-UP & ALIGNMENT
The Flip Face #5 sets up to the ball like the other traditional Odyssey mallets. There is a single line on the flange of the putter for aiming, common among this type of putter. What I did notice though is that the hole in the putter also can be used as an aiming tool. I used the rectangular hole in combination with the line to make a “T” shaped aiming tool. As one who sometimes struggles using a single line to aim, the combination of hole and line proved very effective. It may sound a bit odd, but if you spend a little time just looking at the Flip Face #5 from address, you will likely have a bit of an “ah ha” moment and from then on, aiming should be easy.
“Do I need a putter that can flip inserts?” Although this is the main question of the review, I thought it was appropriate to save it until the performance section of the review. To me, this is where the question should be answered. Flipping the face is not about looks; it’s about having more options on the course and improving scores.
Before we address the face performance though, there are some general points about putting with the Flip Face #5 that are worth mentioning:
- Once I became comfortable with the alignment characteristics of the putter, it was very easy to roll the ball along the target line.
- The head feels very balanced through the stroke, as one would expect from a face-balanced mallet.
- The Lamkin 3GEN putter grip feels great. It has a great texture and soft feel, even with a couple of extra wraps under the grip.
Finally, we get to my take on the Flip Face feature:
- The mechanics of flipping the face is very easy, with the wrench being stored in the headcover. (Cool wrench/divot tool IMO)
- The construction is outstanding. I did not feel like I could accidentally break anything while flipping the face.
- You can have the versatility of the two inserts, but only need to own one putter.
- You can change the insert to deal with different green conditions.
- Using one putter should help you develop a consistent stroke that will remain consistent even when you flip inserts.
- Flipping the face is very easy and can be quickly accomplished before a round. (Not during. That’s cheatin’)
- It may be difficult to know which insert is best for a given course, leading to putting indecision.
- Practice becomes complicated (Which insert should I use on this green? How long should I practice with each insert? & etc.)
- Golfers may prefer the feel of one insert to the other.
- It may be more effective to learn to putt at various green speeds with one insert than learning how and when to switch between the two.
- A poor day putting now can be blamed on using the wrong insert.
I enjoyed using the Flip Face #5 on the course, but for me, the ability to flip the face between the Metal-X insert and the White Ice insert was not one that I found myself taking advantage of very often. My preference for the feel of the Metal-X and my putting performance with that insert caused me to keep that insert in the majority of the time that I used the putter. On rounds where I played with the White Ice insert in place, I typically wanted to switch to the Metal-X after a few holes. That’s not allowed, by the way. No changing during the round.
Although it is not really a performance issue, there is one other thing about flipping the face that I must mention: THE SCREW. While the screw is easy to engage and loosen, there is one huge word of caution to share with Flip Face owners, the screw will fall out when it is unscrewed. If possible, it would be great to design a system where the screw remains attached. To their credit the instruction manual does warn that the screw can fall out. I kept this in mind, but I still had the screw fall out while shooting photos of the putter. Many of us have uttered “colorful language” while using our putters. However, I may be the first golfer to speak such off-color language while spending 25 minutes looking for a part of a putter that had seemingly vanished in the grass. Be careful where you flip…
- Distance Control = 9 (Metal-X) / 7 (White Ice)
- Accuracy = 9
- Sound & Feel = 9 (Metal-X) / 6.5 (White Ice)
- Appearance = 8.5
- Alignment = 9
- OVERALL = 89 Metal-X / 80 White Ice (Ave=84.5)
FIT FOR STROKE™
Don’t change your stroke. Change your putter.
The (FIT FOR STROKE™) concept was developed by PING, yet another genius fitting system they have developed for golfers. It works hand-in-hand with the iPING Putter App that I highly suggest everyone getting (IT’S FREE!). You might be surprised to find out that the stroke you think you have isn’t the stroke you actually have.
This addition to the MGS reviews will allow you to become a more consistent putter by matching you with models that better fit your stroke type. They will be broken down into three categories: (1) Straight – for face balance putters (2) Slight Arc – for mid toe hang putters (3) Strong Arc – for toe down putters
“Results from hundreds of player and robot tests at PING offer overwhelming scientific support for the effectiveness of fitting for stroke. In recent years more diagnostic tools and testing equipment have become available, and the results prove that a golfer’s consistency improves when their putter balance matches their stroke type. It was interesting to observe that golfers putt more consistently with stroke-appropriate models, but they also show a personal preference for these models, too. Prior to putting with them, golfers are drawn to models that fit their eye, even before they fit their stroke.” says PING.
The Odyssey Flip Face #5 is a: Straight
Overall, I think that the Odyssey Flip Face #5 is an excellent putter, as reflected by the overall performance score. However, I am not sold on the advantage of flipping the face. I just don’t know if I would be better served practicing to putt on greens with various speeds with one putter, or by flipping the face to address the speed change that way with the same putter. What if greens are slow on the front 9 and then faster on the back after they dry out a bit? You could get stuck with the “fast” insert on fast greens. If you haven’t practiced in this situation…
I think that the price of the Flip Face line also works against the putter. Based upon the complexity and number of machined parts in the putter, the $349 price is not that off target if we look at the Flip Face in isolation. However, I can’t overlook the fact that a White Ice #9 would run about $99 and a Metal-X #9 about $149. That puts the Flip Face feature cost at about $100. I am just not sure that the cost/benefit analysis of the Flip Face supports that premium. Is it better to have two putters in one, or two putters plus a c-note in the pocket?
Maybe there is something that I am missing with regards to the versatility of the Odyssey Flip Face.