“A New Way to Roll “
By Dave Wolfe
That’s the tagline for the new O-Works line of Odyssey putters, a new way to roll. While that may not be on the same level of boldness as naming something Epic, it does imply that there is something innovative, or at least different, going on with these new Odyssey putters.
With the O-Works line, Odyssey has followed its recent-years formula of keeping the tech that has worked in the past, such as Tank weighting and Versa alignment, and then adding in some new and innovative technology. This time around, that technology comes in the form of the new Microhinge Face Insert.
Odyssey is super excited about this new insert. I mean super excited about the insert. According to the press release,
So let’s take a look at the workings of the O-Works line, first with the recurring technologies, and then we will focus a bit on that new insert.
“New and Improved” Versa Alignment Technology
I remember it being a pretty wild thing when Odyssey released the original Versa models. You had lots of BWB and WBW heads to choose from, depending upon which fit your eye more at address. All of the perpendicular-to-target lines in the head at address were touted as a more effective way to square the face to the target line than traditional parallel to target lines.
The Versas were met with skepticism by the golfing community (Oreo putters!) but proved effective, and so they hung around. This kind of design longevity is not always the case, even for big putter companies. Remember the Odyssey Flip-Face?
My concern with the new Versa pattern on these is that Odyssey has introduced too much visual distraction with the additional red lines and extensions of the black and white sections. I always felt that the Versa system worked because of its simplicity. At what point of visual noise do you lose the Versa advantage?
Tank Counterbalance for More Consistency
Counterbalancing has stuck around longer than some thought it would. Perhaps it did become the go-to tech for those who had to ditch their anchored putters.
One interesting non-Tank counterbalance note with the O-Works line is that the non-Tank models will come with either a SuperStroke Slim 2.0 or Pistol GT Tour grip with Counter Core technology. That’s a nice option for tinkering with counterbalancing.
Tour Proven Shapes
The shapes that consumers are looking for are all there in the O-Works line. You have the iconic 2-Ball, the lately hot #1 Wide, and the Phil-favored #9. Nothing new shape-wise in the line, but that means a bunch of old favorites will be waiting for you in the shop.
The Microhinge Face Insert
When we set out on developing our microhinge inserts in the O-Works Putters, we focused on producing topspin like our other popular Odyssey roll technology inserts that increased friction – including White Hot RX and Fusion RX. A key difference is that with those previous inserts, in order to get the friction to work, golfers had to manipulate the putter by having forward press and hitting up on the ball – characteristics that are particularly inherent in Tour players and low-handicap amateurs. With the microhinge technology, we wanted the hinges to do that for all golfers regardless of their stroke.
At impact, the hinges help lift the ball and put topspin on it. As the ball impacts, the insert hinges and flicks the ball up, which helps lift it and put topspin on the ball. Regardless of the attack angle, golfers can still get positive roll numbers and more forgiveness, creating a more stable and pure roll.
We specifically looked at two characteristics: impact ratio and ball spin. Impact ratio is particularly important to this technology, because some inserts produce relatively slow ball speeds, and we wanted to achieve a ball speed comparable to our legendary White Hot insert. We are always looking at the ratio of head speed to ball speed to find effective efficiency, and in testing we found that O-Work’s insert topspin rate efficiency rate to be significantly higher than White Hot RX and Fusion RX.
So did you get all of that? The microhinge insert is a marriage of polymer and metal, similar to previous Odyssey inserts, but this time around, the metal part has a mechanical function.
To get an understanding of the action, think diving board rather than hinge. When you jump on the board, it flexes down, and then flings you up and away into the pool. That’s what this hinge does. It flexes and flings! Odyssey says that the hinge action imparts more topspin, and thus improves roll.
The interesting/confusing part of the release statement is the “regardless of attack angle” part. It's difficult to visualize how this hinge could compensate for a negative angle of attack, especially a steep one. The description leads me to believe that with a negative attack angle, the ball would be driven into the turf with more vigor rather than being lifted gracefully.
I also wonder if the loft of the O-Works line has been, or will need to be, adjusted for the microhinge action. It would be interesting to see the different launch and spin numbers compare to a previous model like the RSX.
Make your O-Face on February 17th
Odyssey has stuffed a bunch of interesting tech into the new O-Works line, and I for one am very interested in rolling them. I’m curious about the feel of the microhinge insert, and a bit wary of the more cluttered Versa alignment system.
We'll have to wait about a month to see if these new Odyssey O-Works putters do give golfers the O-face, or if it’s just another OK putter release.