Pros: Available in four different models — #1 Wide, #7, 330M and V-Line — and two different lengths (35 and 38 inches). Each Tank Cruiser putter comes with a weight kit that offers three different head weights and counterbalance weights. Stock 15-inch SuperStroke Mid Slim 2.0 grip is a nice touch.
Cons: $249 is pricey for an insert putter, but there’s value in the stock SuperStroke grip that houses an adjustable counterbalance system and the putter’s slick weight kit.
Bottom Line: Odyssey recognized that there was a gap between the company’s conventional putters and its counterbalanced Tank models. Tank Cruiser putters sit nicely in between, offering several different models and a well-thought-out, nicely packaged adjustable weight system.
Odyssey Principal Designer Austie Rollinson told me in last 2012 that the ban of anchored-putting styles by golf’s ruling bodies would fuel putter innovation. My guess is that the Tank Cruiser was exactly what he had in mind.
Like previous Odyssey models, the Tank Cruiser putters ($249) have two adjustable weight ports and three sets of putter head weights that weigh 10 grams, 15 grams and 20 grams. They allow the putter head to be made as light as 365 grams or as heavy as 385 grams in 10-gram increments.
What’s new, however, is that the putters also have a screw-in weight system in the butt end of their grips. Those removable weights, which weigh 0, 15 and 30 grams, allow golfers to change the overall feel of the putter.
Adding the heavier weights to the handle of the grip will move the putter’s balance point closer to a golfer’s hands, while using the lighter weights will move the balance point closer to the putter head. Golfers looking to smooth out their stroke often add more weight to the handle of their putters, while those more reliant on feel or like to feel a more active release during the stroke usually add more weight to their putter heads.
Counterbalanced putters like the Tank Cruiser are nothing new to golf, as many serious players have tinkered with different head weights and “back weighting,” the process of adding weight to the handle of the putter, for decades. But Odyssey is the first major putter manufacturer to simplify this process with adjustable weight ports in both the head and handle of a putter, saving tinkerers time and money.
The Tank Cruiser putters are available in four different styles — the #1 Wide and 330M have a bit of toe hang, while the #7 and V-Line are face-balanced — and each is available in lengths of 35 or 38 inches. Odyssey advises golfers who are interested in a counterbalanced putter to try the 38-inch model if they use a putter that is 35 inches or longer, or to try the 35-inch model if they use a putter that is 34 inches or shorter.
The Tank Cruiser putters come stock with a 15-inch SuperStroke Mid Slim 2.0 grip that weighs about 70 grams without weights. It’s extra length allows golfers to choke down on the longer-than-standard putters as Odyssey advises without the worry of running out of grip. And since the grips are non-tapered, golfers will have the same feel at the top of the grip as they do at the bottom.
As a former long putter user, I was devastated when the USGA announced that starting in 2016, I wouldn’t be able to anchor my 50-inch broomstick to my sternum in the USGA qualifiers I like to play. So like most golfers who were reliant on anchored putters, I started experimenting. I tried arm lock/Kuchar putters, big grips and several different putting styles before I realized that I could survive without my anchor. But surviving on the greens and thriving on them are two different things.
The takeaway from my tinkering was that I needed a counterbalanced putter with special weighting to help me putt my best. One of my favorite options was Odyssey’s Tank putter, but it felt clunky to me and I was moving away from face-balanced models. If only the Tank Cruiser putters were available then, I wouldn’t have spent so much time and money adjusting my gamers with shaft extensions, grips and lead tape.
Adjusting a Tank Cruiser putter allows a golfer to play Goldilocks. For me, putting the heaviest weights (20 grams) in the putter head made it feel too heavy. The 5-gram weights, on the other hand, made it feel to light. The 15-gram weights got me closer, but it still wasn’t “just right.” I’ve spent the last month experimenting with the 0-, 15- and 30-gram counterweights in the grips of the #1 Wide and 330M putters I was sent for review, and have finally settled on the 15-gram weight in the #1 wide. That gives me a more traditional look and the counterbalanced feel that I’ve come to enjoy, especially on the short putts that I tend to miss to the right of the hole.
What I was after, and what most golfers will be looking for, is the feeling of an effortless release of the putter at impact. In theory, the extra weight in the handle should slow down that portion of the putter during the stroke and allow golfers to more easily square up the toe with the heel at impact, but that won’t be true for all golfers. Some players, like me, will like the overall heavier feeling, which can add stability to a golfer’s stroke. Some golfers won’t know why they like it… they just will. And that’s great, too.
Each Odyssey Tank Cruiser comes with three sets of adjustable putter head weights (5, 10 and 20 grams) and three different counterbalance weights (0, 15 and 50 grams), as well as a special wrench to make the adjustments.
So how do you know if a counterbalanced putter is for you? Making changes to the putter’s adjustable weight system creates noticeable differences in feel, but if you’re strongly opposed to the way the putter feels in its stock configuration (two 15-gram weights in the head and a 15-gram weight in the handle), it’s probably not right for you. And if you do like the stock setup, you should still experiment with the different weights. You’ll know when you get it right, even if it takes you some time like it did for me.
Looks and Feel
The Tank Cruisers have Odyssey’s Black Matte finish, which gives the putters a classic, no-glare look and offers a nice contrast with white alignment aids on each putter. I found the finish to be fairly durable, although the finish on the sole will show some wear as soon as you take it to the course.
Odyssey also took care to offer several different alignment aids in the line. The #1 Wide has a single alignment aid that is located in the flange of the putter, while the 330M has two lines on the flange that frame the ball nicely at address. The #7 has a sightline on the putter’s top line, as well as two longer lines that reinforce a golfer’s alignment on the fins of the putter. The V-Line has the most aggressive alignment aid with three long sightlines on its flange.
Each of the putters has Odyssey’s re-formulated White Hot insert, which feels extremely soft and is Odyssey’s most popular insert on the professional tours.
If you’re struggling with your putting, there’s no reason not to try a counterbalanced putter. They’re great for golfers looking to get a jump on switching from their anchored putters, and while they’re not for everyone, they can be a nice change of pace for golfers who want to feel something a little different.
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WRX Spotlight: Toulon Design San Diego Stroke Lab putter
Product: Toulon Design San Diego Stroke Lab putter
Pitch: From Odyssey/Toulon: “The Odyssey Toulon San Diego Stroke Lab Putter is our take on on another classic putter. It’s an expertly crafted, premium milled blade, with our multi-material Stroke Lab Shaft, deep diamond milled cross hatch grooves, and a new Charcoal Smoke finish.”
Our take on the Toulon Design San Diego Stroke Lab putter
Toulon is the line of all milled putters from Odyssey, originally started by club designer Sean Toulon and his sons. Toulon putters have always featured their Deep Diamond Mill face, adjustable sole weight, and brazed (instead of welded) necks. That combination has created a great putter line that has become popular on tour as well as us amateur players. For 2019, there are some new head shapes, Charcoal Smoke Finish, Deep Diamond Milling across the whole face, and the Stroke Lab putter shaft.
I got my hands on the Toulon San Diego, a more squared-off blade shape, for this review. The shape, milling, and finish on the San Diego are great and really show off what a high quality piece it is. The biggest change visually is the full Deep Diamond Mill face, making the view from address more uniform. The face used to have the milling only in the center of the face and to some that was a distracting look while others liked the way it framed the ball. The new finish also looks great. I always have liked darker finishes and this looks high end while still reducing glare in the brightest conditions.
The Stroke Lab shaft goes well with the finish on the San Diego and the head cover is a plush synthetic leather that feels like it will hold up for years of use.
On the green the San Diego SL has a crisp sound and feel. If you like a little more click to your putter, then the San Diego SL will be right what you are looking for. And don’t take that as a negative thing, that crisp feel gives great feedback on face contact. You know exactly where the putter face and ball met by the sound and feel. The Deep Diamond Mill gets the ball rolling quickly on line with very minimal hop and skid, providing very consistent and repeatable distance control.
This is blade, so shots off the toe to tend to stray from your intended line a bit, the face does seem like it wants to rotate open a bit. Heel strikes defiantly stay online better, but tend to lose more steam and net get the roll out you might expect. The simple alignment line on the flange of the putter is easy to align, even for a guy who has been using mallets for years.
Like I have said before, I think there is something to the Stroke Lab tech, the lighter shaft and weight in the butt of the shaft do affect tempo for me; I noticed a slight calming of my backstroke and stroke through the ball.
Overall, the San Diego is a great putter for those who like a little firmer feel and more audible click on their putter. It is very responsive and putts a great roll on the ball. This isn’t a cheap putter ($450) and the fit and finish let you know that you are getting what you paid for.
- More photos of the Toulon Design San Diego Stroke Lab putter (and other Toulon Stroke Lab putters) in the forums.
WRX Spotlight Review: Miura MGP-NM1 Putter
Product: Miura MGP-NM1 putter
Pitch: Limited to 300 pieces, the Miura MGP-NM1 is Miura’s first 303 stainless steel putter. Its appearance is in keeping with the bolder designs of the Miura Giken family.
Our take on the Miura MGP-NM1 putter
Miura Giken has become the brand where Miura can push some limits and try out designs and technology not really fit for the standard Miura line. And if doing something new and different is what Miura Giken is about, then the MGP-NM1 fits like a glove. When most people think of Miura, they think forged carbon steel and traditional, old school shapes. The MGP-NM1 is a long ways from that, being milled from 303 stainless steel, having adjustable weights and milled stepped pockets in the sole.
If you love mill marks, then the MBG-NM1 will fulfill all our needs because the head is covered with them. I really liked the top line where the mill marks go front to back but then get much finer around the alignment line. If you look close the milling is still there, but just much finer. It works great along with the alignment lines on the “fangs.” The MGP-NM1 is a great size: large enough to give you confidence that a mishit will stay online, but not too big to be distracting. Like most putters with this (Odyssey No. 7) shape, it frames the ball really well and looks great to my eye. The way the shaft goes into the head is for sure unique, it is straight from address but does drop down into the head.
I will get my one con on this putter out of the way early: the way the shaft goes into the head from address. I love the shape of the head, but the way the shaft enters the head makes it harder for me to line up. At address you can see the the top line of the putter on both sides of the shaft and for some that might be helpful, but it took me a long time to get comfortable with my alignment. Also, the head cover isn’t up to standard for a putter in this price range.
But the good of this putter really outweighs that bad. The putter feels and sounds great, much like the Miura KM-009 reviewed previously. Feel is very solid with, to me, the perfect amount of click on impact. There might be just a slight bit of vibration on contact, but very minimal and will probably vary with the ball you play. Contact on the toe and heel really stay on target well; you can tell this mallet has a fairly high MOI. Like any responsive putter should do, this really provides good feedback on mishits. Toe and heel shots are not punished as much as you would think, the ball still rolls out well with minimal distance loss. That solid, soft Miura feel really does come through with this putter.
Overall, I think the Miura Giken MGP-NM1 is a really great way for a mallet user to put a Miura putter into the bag.
Review: Optic Z Putters
Pros: Point-and-shoot putting. Optic Z putters use a Z-neck design that can lead to a more consistent setup with your hands and eyes on every putt.
Cons: It could take a little while to get used to the design.
Who It’s For: Players looking to develop a consistent setup and stroke.
- Model: Optic Z8
- Head Weight: 365 grams
- Material: Proprietary “Power 51” Alloy
- Finish: Black “High-Tech Molecular” application
- Face Milling: Deep Double Mill
- Stock Lie: 70.5 degrees (rolled sole allows angles from 67 to 75)
- Loft: 2.25 degrees
- Stock Length Options: 35 inches (All lengths available custom order)
- Stock Grip: Lamkin E.B.L “Optic” grip (Custom grips available)
- Stock Shaft: True Temper Steel (Aerotech, Loomis, and UST available)
- Price: $325 Base (Up to $500 with custom options)
Over the past decade, it seems like there have been as many new putter companies as there have been drivers released in the past year (I think another one just released since I typed that sentence). While many of them have come up with ways to re-create or re-design the classic favorites of the past 40-plus years, there are a few companies that are pushing the boundaries of what a putter can be and how it can help make putting easier. And a company called Optic Z Putters has done just that.
I reviewed the company’s Optic Z8 putter, which has a distinct batwing shape. It’s one of three putters the company offers — its Z3 is more blade-like in shape, while its Z7 is more mallet-like — and each putter sells for $325.
According to the company, Z Optic putters take the two main parts of putting and making them easy to reproduce. And with every putt, Optic Z putters are said to help golfers set their hands and eyes in the same exact position for every putt. “This has been done!” you say? Well, let’s find out if my experience with the Z8 was different.
When I first saw the Z8 putter with its Z-shaped hosel, I began to wonder, “What exactly is going on here?” It has a unique Z-neck that creates a “3D” effect when looking down over the ball at address. But when looking at the putter in any other view, it does look odd. It will take a little bit of time to get used to it, but like many putters that come out these days, after a while you simply get used to it and forget about it.
The putter is 100 percent milled, U.S.A. made, and has a deep “double” milled face pattern that is familiar to most people. It offers an incredibly soft feel that is part from the milling, but also from the Proprietary Power 51 alloy metal that is used. The sole of the Z8 has 8 degrees of roll to it. This means that it can effectively play with a lie angle anywhere from 67 to 75 degrees. The new Z-neck hosel also makes the putter face balanced as if it was a center-shafted putter. And finally, there are several thick alignment lines, both horizontal and vertical, to help aim.
The Z Revolution?
Once you set the putter down and see how everything lines up in a “3D” type of alignment, you get the point of the Z-neck. Instead of just giving one point of reference similar to other putters, the Z8 gives you three points of alignment.
You align the Z-neck bend with the toe of the putter, the heel and shaft together, and then make sure both are lined up together. Once you have this set, your hands and eyes will be in the correct position.
In addition to adding more reference points, the key difference with the Z8 is that it actually requires you to have forward press with your hands. The stated loft of 2.25 degrees is the loft with your hands in that forward-press position. The Z-neck is also supposed to eliminate the visual moment of impact of when the ball comes off the face of the putter. The theory is that it helps you relax more through the stroke by not seeing the point of impact, a similar theory to looking at the hole instead of the ball when putting.
Does it work?
I was skeptical of the putter when I first started using it, and it took me a little bit to get used to the 3D effect. After spending a good amount of time with it, I can say that it does what it is supposed to do. It really becomes a “point-and-shoot” kind of putting, and it makes the set up of putting incredibly easy. The ball rolls really well off the face, too, and the feel is incredibly soft. The alignment aids do a good job helping at address, and I’m someone who has moved away from alignment aids because I tend to aim them incorrectly.
The Optic Z8 putter performed the best for me on putts inside 10 feet. I struggled on longer putts, but it was more due to the weight of the putter. At 365 grams, it is much heavier compared to what I’ve been using, but I’ve always struggled with long-distance putting with heavier putters. Overall, I was pleasantly surprised with the performance. And the more I used it, the more comfortable I became and the more putts I made.
If you struggle with consistency, especially at set up, this is one to try. It may take some time to get used to Optic Z putters, but most golfers should be able to adjust. These putters are well made, feel great and can truly help golfers in two areas that we know are important to putting.
To learn more about Optic Golf’s putters, visit the company’s website.
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