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Q&A with Vikash Sanyal of Happy Putter: How has the putter industry changed?



Vikash Sanyal, now the President of Brainstorm Golf and inventor of the Happy Putters — possibly the most aesthetically differentiable putters on the market — got his start as a founding member of the Odyssey Golf Team where he helped the company launch industry-changing product after industry-changing product. He was there when Odyssey flipped the putter industry on its head, and he developed the skills to later build the Never Compromise company, where he shook up the industry again. After a hiatus from the industry since selling Never Compromise, Sanyal has reemerged by developing Brainstorm Golf. He’s attempting to make a splash in the waters of the putter market once again, highlighted by his lie-angle, loft-, offset- and head-weight-adjustable putters launched in 2015.

This time around, however, Sanyal has noticed things have changed; from buying habits of golfers to the equipment market in general. He’s also used feedback from GolfWRX members to help shape his newest products, the Eye Align Series that will sell for significantly less than his original release; that’s because he’s listened to the market, consumer, and GolfWRXers.

Check out the Q&A with Sanyal conducted via email by our Andrew Tursky below for more information, and see more photos and discussion of the new Happy Putter Eye Align Series putters here.

Andrew Tursky: How has the putter industry changed from when you first started working with Odyssey until now? 

Vikash Sanyal: Wow, that’s a broad question! It’s changed in many ways. From a manufacturer’s perspective, there has been more consolidation. When we started Odyssey, the market was dominated by Ping, but there were quite a few smaller companies that were emerging. Now the market is dominated by the larger manufacturers who own their own putter brands. One result of this consolidation is that it is much more difficult to gain traction on the professional golf tours. In the old days, almost all the tour players were open to work with, but now most of them are getting paid to use putters through their equipment companies. That being said, one thing that hasn’t changed is that a new technology that can help performance will always have an opportunity to make an impact with tour players. That is why we are excited to bring our new Eye Align Series with adjustable alignment and adjustable weight to the tour, as it addresses the main weaknesses that most golfers have, poor alignment and inconsistent distance control.

Another change that is noteworthy is the shift in the retail environment and consumer purchasing habits. In today’s market, the consumer is so much more educated because of their access to information through the internet. When we started Odyssey, most of our business was through green grass locations, and we relied heavily on the PGA professionals to share our story. Now the majority of the business is generated through off-course shops, and the consumers are coming in looking for the product they want.  Another byproduct of consumers being more informed is that direct online sales are much more prominent.

The last change that I want to comment on is that the pricing in the putter category has gone through the roof and it makes us feel badly for the consumers. At Brainstorm Golf, we are challenging ourselves to not only be the most innovative putter company, but also to offer those innovations at a price that all golfers can afford. Consumers shouldn’t have to pay $300 plus to get an innovative putter. We believe our putters are the most innovative on the market at any price point, they just happen to sell for $129.99. This doesn’t diminish the fact that our adjustable technologies are the most unique and impactful technologies offered in the last decade.

AT: How do the increasing prices of putters in the current market affect how golfers purchase putters? Is this a positive or a negative? 

VS: The main effect has been that many golfers have stopped buying new putters. The market size has shrunk by over 50 percent in the last decade. It isn’t a coincidence that the average selling price for putters has increased by over $100 during this time frame.  Golfers are smart, they look at the putter technologies that have been offered to them over the past decade and they see many recycled technologies. It isn’t that these putters haven’t been great, but the technologies that they offer have been seen before, and even if they are slightly better, the problem is, they are only slightly better, and golfers ask themselves, “is it really worth $350 for something that is only a little better than what I already have?” The challenge for manufacturers is developing meaningful technologies at affordable prices that are unique.

Is it positive or negative? Well that depends on your perspective. From a manufacturer and retailer perspective, it’s a negative because they are selling much less than before.  However, I think it is a positive for consumers for them to make a stand and basically challenge manufacturers to be more innovative. At Brainstorm Golf, we were forced to listen, our first products were innovative, but they were also in the $300 range. As we studied the market information and listened to the customer feedback, we knew we had to develop a product unlike anything else, make sure the technology was real, and also make sure the putter was affordable. While it wasn’t easy, we did it, and while it’s only been a couple of months, we have already sold more of our new Eye Align Series with adjustable alignment and adjustable weight than we did all last year. The fact that the putters sell for $129.99 is a large factor in our initial success.

AT: You say the market has shrunk for putters by over 50 percent in the last decade. Is this particular to putters, or is the market shrinking for golf clubs in general?   

VS: According to Golf Datatech, the industry’s measuring stick when it comes to research, the majority of categories in the golf market have reduced in size over the past decade, but putters have experienced the most dramatic reduction. Again, we think this is a statement being made by consumers that are demanding more innovation at a reasonable price.

AT: What was the specific feedback you were hearing from customers or Tour players about previous Happy Putters, and what have you changed other than the price point?


The main message was simplification. For the tech crazies, they loved the Happy Putter with all the adjustable features. However, many tour players, retailers, and consumers asked us to clean up the look of the putter and simplify the technology.  We actually need to thank your readers that posted reviews in your equipment forums because their comments influenced our product development. People often ask me what the breakthrough moment at Odyssey was, and it’s easy to say when Nick Faldo won the Masters, but I actually think the breakthrough moment occurred a couple of years earlier when we found a way to get our technology, “better feel,” into more traditional shapes.  Odyssey really started to gain momentum on tour and the market place when we launched the original Dual Force series that were traditional shapes with the Stronomic insert. It’s the same thing we are experiencing with the early momentum of the Eye Align Series, new and innovative technology, that is much different than anything else being offered, contained within traditional shapes. If a golfer can take a shape they already like and make it easier to align and easier to control distance, why wouldn’t they?

AT: How did the GolfWRX community specifically influence product development in the new Eye Align Series?


VS: We have a lot of respect for your audience, mostly because of their passion for equipment. One of the best things about your audience is that they are brutally honest, but that is a good thing. As a new company, one of the challenges is being open minded to constructive criticism without being so sensitive that you are always jumping around and overreacting to every negative opinion you receive. We read every review and comment that appeared on your website, and there was some very specific feedback regarding design and function that directly influenced our Eye Align Series. For example, many of your readers felt the technology was “too complicated,” this led us to simplify and focus our efforts on alignment and distance control, the two most important aspects of putting. We also recall comments that your readers didn’t like the way the putter looked at address, so we decided to offer our adjustable technologies within more traditional shapes taking away another barrier.

Another thing I love about your readers is that they are not afraid to mix it up within themselves. For every criticism we received, there were readers who defended the product, which we really appreciated. Ultimately, your readers are very well informed and have great input. In fact, the changes they suggested, were very much in line with the feedback we have received from tour players.

AT: So tell me about the new product(s) and technology, and how you think it will help golfers play better.


The best technologies are the simple ones that have the most impact. When you think about putting, it’s pretty simple. If you align accurately and you control your distance well, you are going to be a good putter. The Happy Putter is the only putter on the market that allows golfers to dial in those two features. The most common problem on the greens is poor alignment, if you can’t see the line properly, your mind knows this subconsciously, and you don’t commit to the stroke, causing deceleration, and ultimately resulting in poor, inconsistent putting. The reason we believe the Eye Align Series is the best alignment putter ever made is that every golfer can adjust the alignment to fit their individual visual tendencies. I’ve personally witnessed numerous tour players improve their alignment by simply changing their alignment guide, some see lines better, others shapes, colors vs. black and white also matters. Even the width of the alignment lines can have an impact. The bottom line is that for the first time ever, golfers don’t have to guess what they see best, they can try the different guides, and through our visual diagnostic test, which can be found on our website, they can know what they see most accurately. Just think how much better golfers will putt if they know they are lined up accurately. They would only have to focus on their distance control, and we all know, the less you think on the greens the better.

We also firmly believe that “Lazy Eye Syndrome” is real, if it wasn’t, putters wouldn’t go stale. Over time, golfers get tired of looking at the same alignment features, they focus less, and they don’t putt as well. Our alignment system allows golfers to “reboot” their eyes. Before that meant golfers would buy a new putter or pull an old one out of the garage. Now they just need to change their alignment guide, so the feel of the putter stays the same even though the look is new.

Likewise with the adjustable weights.  Every golfer has a swing tempo for their putter, and with the Happy Putter you can adjust the weights to find the best weight for your individual swing tempo and be much more consistent with your distance control.

It’s simple, but it works.

AT: I also understand you have a new “multi-alignment guide” system. Can you explain how this system works, and what benefit it may have for golfers?  

New alignment aids will be available, including different designs and colors

New alignment aids will be available, including different designs and colors

It’s really quite simple. Every golfer, for that matter, every person has personal visual tendencies. Colors vs. black and white, lines vs. shapes. Digging even deeper, there is a difference between thick lines and thin lines, and also between what types of shapes are preferred. We have developed a system that allows golfers to “diagnose” their individual visual preferences. The cool thing is that no matter what your preference, we have a guide that will help you line up more accurately than ever before. Our putter comes with three guides, but starting this fall, we will be offering an additional 12 guides to choose from, and we expect that number to grow. It’s also a great way to fight Lazy Eye Syndrome, rather than buying a new putter, just buy a new set of alignment guides at a fraction of the price. We’ve started sharing this technology with the tour players and the response has been great. First there was curiosity because we are offering something that no other putter has, but that curiosity quickly shifts into excitement as for the first time, these tour players understand their natural visual tendencies. The technology is real, and we’ve witnessed that the results are immediate. Just imagine how much better a player can putt if they only need to think about distance control because they know they are lined up accurately.

AT: What does the future hold for Happy Putter as the putter industry continues to evolve? 

Our goal has always remained the same, to help as many golfers as possible by offering the most innovative technologies in the putter category. There is a reason that the putter market has experienced a massive reduction in size. Golfers are smart, and they motivate our team to make putters that offer impactful technologies that have never been seen before. Not incremental advances or recycled technologies, but rather major steps forward that will make golfers take notice. Having done this a couple of times before, we realize there is no room for ego in building a market leader. The breakthrough ideas may come from tour players, our retail partners, consumers, and yes, GolfWRX forum posters. But we don’t care who gets the credit, we just want to make the best putters in the industry.

Discussion: See more photos of the Happy Putter Eye Align Series

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  1. joro

    Sep 29, 2017 at 11:40 am

    The Putter industry has changed a lot. These guys are getting rich off of copying old standards and selling them for a bunch. What a joke as we have to have a Scotty, or whoever is making themselves a star copying a proven design with a small Change. We have to have what Day Putts with because he had a great yr. on the Greens, where is he now, and what is he using.

    I have a Scotty, an Odysee or two, and Putt with a 40 yr. old Wilson TPA that REALLY works. So much for the ego, that is what it really is about, having one, kind of like Blowhards PXG. “I am no better, but I have one”. You think they play with whatever for free? Think again.

  2. Jay Mack

    Sep 25, 2017 at 9:13 am

    I recently started looking for a new putter (mine was OLD), and looked at everything out there. When it comes to putting, obviously, feel is the most important thing. And, “Feel” can be different for everyone. When I looked at the Happy Putter, I liked the fact that (to me) it offered more than other putters. I liked the different eye alignments, but loved the changeable weights. Ball feels great coming of the face and I seem to be hitting better putts, more consistently. I’m thrilled with my purchase.

  3. X-out

    Sep 23, 2017 at 9:55 am

    These so-called ‘alignment aids’ are only for statically lining up the putter to the ball, but once the putter starts moving in the backstroke they are redundant….. and then the putter wobbles all over the place before it returns to the ball with the face all out of alignment.

    • Rich Douglas

      Sep 24, 2017 at 9:20 am

      I play the original Happy Putter for its adjustability. I’ve never been impressed with–or have even noticed–alignment aids.

  4. Barry

    Sep 23, 2017 at 8:22 am

    I stumbled upon the Happy Putter when the first one was in the design stage. Although I liked it, I thought it needed to evolve. I recently purchased the eye align mallet. Wow! It fits my eye, feels good in my hands, and on lag putts, it’s easy to scoop up my gimme putt with the back of the putter. Now that’s a good design.

  5. Rich Douglas

    Sep 22, 2017 at 9:17 pm

    I have both first-generation Happy Putters. I prefer the mallet because it’s heavier (by 30 grams).

    What I cannot believe is that the 2nd generation putters are all heel-shafted, where the 1st gen putters were center-shafted. This matters! Yet no mention of this–and whatever accompanying implications are present–in the article.

    The new putters are way less adjustable–a feature I really like in the old ones. You can adjust lie angle (3 choices), loft (3 choices) weight (3 choices on the heel and another 3 on the toe), off-set (again, 3 choices), and you can switch it all to left-handed, too. The colors are striking–you either like it or you don’t. (The mallet is dominated by bright blue and green, the blade is blue and silver).

    I prefer–by far–a center-shafted putter. They’re becoming more and more rare, IMHO. I’m just glad I got my Happy Putter when I did.

  6. JB

    Sep 22, 2017 at 7:32 pm

    Great article. I have a Happy Putter and love it. The multi alignment guide is ideal as I change mine out every few weeks to keep a fresh look when lining up a putt.

  7. Mike kluth

    Sep 22, 2017 at 5:14 pm

    This is a very solid putter and has multiple alignments that you can fine tune what fits your eye . I putted with the Two ball blade for ten years and switched . I love the comments from high handicappers that don’t know good golf . Great putter !!! Great price

  8. Fr

    Sep 22, 2017 at 12:02 pm

    The reason why it APPEARS that the market has shrunk is because there are too many darned putters that suck! And too many new ones that don’t do anything special. So people just wait and buy a decent used one for less than half price, and that’s fine with them. Ugly contraptions like these are not going to help. Going back to clean, simple, no frills type putter will be better

    • o.b.

      Sep 22, 2017 at 4:37 pm

      Gearheads are suckers for new, shiny, fancy clubs and putters. It’s all they live for because they don’t play golf because that would scratch up their awesome WITB. Also these gizmo putters become something to talk about with the other guys and shoeing off their new toy.

      • obdumdum

        Sep 23, 2017 at 5:17 pm

        You are truly a fool!

      • Rich Douglas

        Sep 24, 2017 at 9:18 am

        Stereotype much? And on a website dedicated to golf equipment, no less.

        I am grateful not to have such ugliness lurking inside me.

  9. AC

    Sep 22, 2017 at 11:53 am

    With all the contraptions, shapes and adjustments, do they come with instructions on how to use them? At the outrageous prices they ask they should, otherwise they are only fancy toys.

    • Rich Douglas

      Sep 22, 2017 at 9:23 pm

      My (original) Happy Putter came with instructions. It also came with an app I put on my iPhone. But it is totally easy to adjust, using the same kind of torque wrench you use on your adjustable driver. (Same fittings; I carry just the one wrench for both.)

      I don’t know if the latest generation putters come with instructions or an app, but neither is really necessary to make the desired adjustments.

      The adjustment I make the most is loft. I don’t touch the sideweights, off-set, or lie angle. I experiment once in awhile–shifting the weights when I’m either pushing or pulling puts. But you have to think about loft each time you go to the golf course. I use lower loft for faster greens and higher loft for fuzzy ones. (There is also a neutral loft.)

      Yeah, it’s for gearheads. But it’s perfect for them!

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Members’ Choice: The top-5 drivers that golfers want to test in 2018



Golf’s “off-season” is upon us and the PGAM Show in Orlando is quickly approaching in January, which means it’s time to start thinking about the upcoming driver releases.

We’ve seen a few companies launch their “2018” lines already — such as Cobra with its new King F8 and F8+ — while speculation swirls around the companies who have yet to announce their newest products. For instance, we’ve spotted a new “TaylorMade M4″ driver, and a new “Rogue” driver from Callaway. If history repeats itself and Titleist remains on a two-year product cycle, then we’ll see a replacement for the 917 line sometime in 2018, as well.

The question we posed to our GolfWRX Members recently was, which new or unreleased driver has you most excited heading into 2018? Below are the results and a selection of comments about each driver.

Click here to join the discussion!

Note: The comments below have been minimally edited for brevity and grammar. 

Titleist (7.39 percent of votes)

BDoubleG: I know it’s well down the road, but the Titleist 919 is what I’m most looking forward to. I played the 910 until this year and loved it, but I realized that I wasn’t getting much in the way of distance gains with the 915/917, and I was just leaving too many yards on the table. I know it’s a cliche, but I was seeing considerable gains with my G400LS, then my M2 I have now.

I feel like Titleist has been hurting in the driver market share category (and probably elsewhere), as I think a lot of people think that the 913, 915 and 917 have been minor refreshes in a world where almost everyone else has been experimenting with structure (jailbreak, turbulators) or with COG (spaceports, SLDR, G-series extreme back CG). I think if Titleist is going to recapture some of their market share, they will need to start taking an interest in stepping outside of their comfort zone to catch up with everyone else. Maybe I’m hoping for too much, but a D2-style head with ample forgiveness and low-spin (maybe a back-front weight), with the same great sound of the 917, and hopefully getting rid of the “battery taped to the sole” look would be a huge hit in my book.

I’m really looking forward to seeing what they come up with…and I hope I’m not disappointed.

Mizuno GT-180 or otherwise (8.87 percent of votes)

mrmikeac: After thoroughly testing the Mizuno ST-180 and seeing the distance gains I was getting from my Epic, I can’t wait for the GT to get here. Cobra would be next in line for me, but Mizzy really did something special with that JPX-900 and it seems to look like they’re going the same route with these drivers. Excellent feel, forgiveness and simple but effective tech. 

Callaway Rogue, Rogue Sub Zero or otherwise (17.73 percent of votes)

cvhookem63: It seems like we’re not getting a lot of “NEW” this time — just some same lines “improved” on a little. I’m interested to try the Rogue line and M3/M4 line to see if they improved on their previous models. The Cobra F8+ is intriguing to me, as well. I’d like to compare those three to see how they stack up. 

tj7644: Callaway Rogue. It’s gotta make me hit straighter drives right? It sure can’t be my swing…

Equipto: Callaway Rogue Sub Zero, and that’s about it. Most of my testing will be with shafts I presume. 

bangabain: Excited to give the Rogue a shot, although with the hope that there’s a little more fade bias despite the lack of sliding weight.

TaylorMade M3, M4 or otherwise (27.09 percent of votes)

DeCuchi: TaylorMade M3 of course, and the F8+. I’m more interested in the fairways this year though. TaylorMade M4 fairways and Rogue fairways are top of my list. 

elwhippy: TaylorMade M3 and M4. Not owned a TM driver for several seasons and want something with a bit more power than the Ping G Series…

cradd10: M3. Still rocking an OG M1. Super solid driver. Curious to see if the updated version can beat it. 

Cobra F8/F8+ (33.66 percent of votes)

WAxORxDCxSC: I sure want to like the F8 based on looks (I understand I’m possibly in the minority on that one at GolfWRX).

TWshoot67: For me, it’s three drivers: the Cobra F8, F8+ and TM M4. 

The General: Cobra F8 is going to dominate everything, just wait, on the F8

Ace2000: Definitely F8/F8+. Love my Bio Cell+ and can’t help but wonder if these perform as good as they look. 

Click here to join the discussion!

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True Linkswear goes back to its spikeless roots



True Linkswear is getting back to its roots, while expanding the singular golf shoe brand’s reach at the same time.

The Tacoma, Washington, company’s Director/Partner, Justin Turner, told us that with the release of the two new models, the company is course-correcting from a move toward the mainstream, spiked golf shoes, and a loss of identity.

In addition to durability issues, Turner said the core True Linkswear customer didn’t appreciate the shift — or the deluge of models that followed.

So, in a sense, the two-model lineup both throws a bone to True devotees and casts a wider net.

Turner and company asked: “If we wanted to restart the brand….what would we value?” A commitment to the brand’s core outsider identity, style as articulated in early models, and an emphasis on quality led Turner on multiple trips to China to survey suppliers in early 2017. Eventually, the company settled on a manufacturing partner with a background in outdoor gear and hiking shoes.

“We’ve spent the last few years scouring the globe for the best material sourcing, reputable factories, advanced construction techniques, and time-tested fundamentals to build our best shoes yet. No cheap synthetics, no corners cut.”

Eventually, True settled on two designs: The Original, which, not surprisingly, has much in common with the zero-drop 2009 industry disrupting model, and the Outsider: a more athletic-style shoe positioned to attract a broader audience.

True Linkswear Original: $149

The company emphasizes the similarity in feel between the Original and early True Linkswear models, suggesting that players will feel and connect to the course “in a whole new way.”

  • Gray, White, Black colorways
  • Waterproof full grain leather
  • Thin sole with classic True zero-drop heel
  • 12.1 oz
  • Sockfit liner for comfort
  • Natural width box toe

True Linkswear Outsider: $169

With the Outsider, True Linkswear asked: “What if a golf shoe could be more? Look natural in more environments?”

  • Grey/navy, black, white colorways
  • EVA midsole for lightweight cushioning
  • Full grain waterproof leather
  • 13.1 oz (thicker midsole than the Original)

The company envisions both shoes being worn on course and off.

True Linkswear introduced the more durable and better-performing Cross Life Tread with both models. Turner says the tread is so good, you can wear the shoes hiking.

Both models are available now through the company website only. True Linkswear plans to enter retail shops slowly and selectively.

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Sean O’Hair and Steve Stricker’s Winning WITBs from the 2017 QBE Shootout



The team of Steve Stricker and Sean O’Hair closed the QBE Shootout with an 8-under 64 for a two-shot win over Graeme McDowell and Shane Lowry. O’Hair made a timely eagle on the par-5 17th hole at Tiburon Golf Club to lock up the first place prize of $820,000 ($410,000 each).

Here’s a look at their bags.

Sean O’Hair

Driver: Titleist 917D2 (9.5 degrees)
Shaft: Mitsubishi Tensei CK Pro White Prototype 60TX

3 Wood: Titleist 917F2 (15 degrees)
Shaft: Mitsubishi Diamana S+ Limited Edition 70TX

5 Wood: Titleist 915F (18 degrees)
Shaft: Mitsubishi Rayon Diamana S+ Limited Edition 80TX

Irons: Titleist 716 T-MB (4-iron), Titleist 718 AP2 (5-PW)
Shafts: True Temper Dynamic Gold Tour Issue X100

Wedges: Titleist Vokey Design SM7 prototype (50, 54 and 58 degrees)
Shafts: True Temper Dynamic Gold Tour Issue S400

Putter: Scotty Cameron prototype

Golf Ball: Titleist Pro V1

Related: Sean O’Hair WITB

Steve Stricker

Driver: Titleist 913D3 (8.5 degrees)
Shaft: Fujikura Motore Speeder VC 8.2X

3 Wood: Titleist 915F (13.5 degrees)
Shaft: Mitsubishi Rayon Tensei CK Pro White 80TX Prototype

Hybrid: Titleist 816H1 (17.0 degrees)
Shaft: Fujikura Motore Speeder VC 9.2X

Irons: Titleist 718 CB (3-9)
Shafts: KBS Tour Prototype

Wedges: Titleist Vokey Design SM6 (46, 54 and 60 degrees)
Shafts: True Temper Dynamic Gold S400 w/ Sensicore

Putter: Odyssey White Hot 2

Golf Ball: Titleist Pro V1x

Related: Steve Stricker WITB 2017

Note: We originally reported Stricker had a Scotty Cameron putter in the bag, per Titleist’s equipment report. Stricker did, however, have a Odyssey White Hot putter in play during the final round of the QBE Shootout.

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19th Hole