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Odyssey’s new EXO Indianapolis, Seven and Rossie putters (2018 PGA Show Demo Day)

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Along with the multitude of putters that Odyssey recently launched, the company had three new putters on its putting green at the 2018 PGA Show Demo Day in Orlando.

They’re called the EXO putters — at $299 they’re more affordable than the $500 Odyssey EXO 2-Ball — and the whole idea is to create a line of putters that has the ultimate in forgiveness. But that forgiveness is created by not only shifting weight toward the perimeter, but also by making center of gravity (CG) shallower in the club head, according to chief-designer at Odyssey, Austie Rollinson.

Here’s everything you need to know about the EXO putters, as described by Austie himself.

See all of our photos from the 2018 PGA Show Demo Day here.

The high-MOI, but shallow-CG design

Austie says: “The whole idea behind the EXO putters is to create high-MOI designs. The center section being aluminum takes all that weight out to redistribute weight into the perimeter. So the No. Seven (EXO) compared to the regular No. 7 is about 50 percent more inertia. That really gives you a lot of forgiveness on off-center hits. We got a new insert in it, as well: a White Hot Microhinge insert. It’s a firmer version of the standard microhinge. We got some feedback from the players that the standard microhinge has great performance, great roll, but it’s a little quiet, a little soft. So we wanted to get more sound. That’s why you see the bigger hinges on it, as well as a little firmer material… you get more sound out of it. But the key to it is that it’s designed to get more inertia for more forgiveness.

The other thing we’ve done, which we’ve learned through the years, is a lot of times you make something big, like in drivers, the CG gets deep because you make it bigger, and that actually hurts you for forgiveness. Even though the inertias big, if the CG gets too deep, actually the side angle goes up. So, on these designs we wanted to get the inertia big, but also the CG pretty shallow. A lot of these, the CG is about an inch to an inch-and-an-eighth deep. Versus some we’ve had are an inch-and-a-half to two inches.

Even though you have high inertia, you start losing forgiveness. That’s another thing we tried to engineer into these by using multiple materials is to control the center of gravity position and then enhance the MOI.”

A Toulon-like Indianapolis, a No. “Seven” and a bigger Rossie

Austie says: “The thing we changed from the Toulon (Indianapolis) is that we flipped the materials. On that one we had an aluminum face with a steel sole to try and get the CG low on that one. We flipped it (for the EXO) so it’s a steel front and an aluminum sole, and then some steel weights in the back. So the inertia is a little bit higher. The (Toulon) Indianapolis is already high, so (MOI) is about 5 percent higher, but the center of gravity is almost a half-inch shallower, so that really enhances forgiveness.”

“We’ve also brought the No. Seven design, which is one of our iconic shapes. And then the Rossie type shape. It’s a little bigger than the Rossie shape, but it’s reminiscent of that design.

So three really cool progressive shapes in (the EXO) line.”

Release dates and pricing

The EXO line of putters will be available in May, and they will sell for $299… a bit lower than the EXO 2-Ball that Odyssey recently released.

Austie says: “That one is (the EXO 2-Ball), we spared no expense to machine every part. It’s a very complicated shape. But, the result of that is a really cool, rich look. This one we wanted to make a bit more affordable. We know $500 is out of reach for a lot of golfers, but $299 is not that big a price. We’ve done a combination of casting and skim-milling on the bodies, then the tresses are all forged and machined. So that helps us make them a reasonably priced product. They’re not coming out until May.”

See all of our photos from the 2018 PGA Show Demo Day here.

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The Elder and Younger 2-Ball, #teamkiradech, and a very boring wedge on the Honda Classic range

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GolfWRX is live this week from the 2018 Honda Classic at PGA National’s Champion course  in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida. And there was plenty to see on the range Monday.

Kiradech Aphibarnrat, making his first U.S. start since the 2016 Web.com Finals, was in his glory. We got WITB looks at (the very yellow bag) of Brandt Snedeker, Gary Woodland, and Chesson Hadley, too.

Here are a few of the best shots from t-minus three days until tournament time.

Chesson Hadley is gaming this superb, decade-old, lead tape-laden, Odyssey 2-Ball.

We also spotted Odyssey’s latest 2-Ball offering, the Exo Two-Ball. No word on whether Mr. Hadley is upgrading…

Kiradech Aphibarnrat’s putter cover is everything you’d expect (and perhaps more).

The leader of #teamkiradech also has his emoji self embroidered on the back of his shirt. This would only be made better if emoji Kiradech also had an embroidered emoji on his shirt.

Chesson Hadley is also gaming one of Vokey’s new SM7 wedges with a bit of weight removed in a very boring fashion.

As if there weren’t enough yellow in this picture… Banana Snedeker?

All joking aside, you gotta love Snedeker gaming a Tourstage X 5-wood.

…with this wear mark, no less.

Laundry service for Bronson Burgoon, please?

Chad Campbell loves three things: UNLV, shaving cream, and Arnold Palmer. The Palmer-Barbasol thing makes sense, as the King reportedly abhorred facial hair on professional golfers (really).

A lovely assortment of Piretti covers. It’s probably frowned upon as a professional to walk away with this whole bag, but tempting nevertheless…

Ditto: Bettinardi.

Check out all our photos from the 2018 Honda Classic below!

Monday’s Photos

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Discussion: See what GolfWRX members are saying about the photos in our forums.

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GolfLogix President Pete Charleston on new Putt Breaks function, technology in the game

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Popular GPS and club-tracking app, GolfLogix now includes Putt Break Maps, which show players where their approach shots will roll and how their putts will break. This marks the first time recreational golfers will have access to similar information as contained in the putting green portion of professional golfers’ yardage books.

Putt Break Maps are sold as in-app purchases with annual, monthly and two-day purchase options for each mapped course. Putt Break Maps are available for over 5,000 courses currently, and the company is adding more than 200 new courses each week using a proprietary mapping process.

I spoke with Pete Charleston, President of GolfLogix, about his company’s new technology, specifically, and the use of technology during play more generally.

BA: Can you talk a little about the history GolfLogix and how you decided to develop Putt Breaks?

PC: My partner Scott and I founded GolfLogix back in 1999, and we partnered with Garmin, and we came out with the first handheld GPS device, which was sold directly to golf courses. Then, when the USGA and R&A changed their stance on electronic measuring devices…we transitioned into selling that same Garmin device with our software at retail. We were hugely successful. We had [Peter} Kostis and {Gary} McCord pitching our deal. We had one of the most successful infomercial campaigns ever.

Then, mid-2008, it was one of our best years, the first phones started coming out with GPS on board. And we sat there are were like, “man!” Why would anyone spend $300 on a device when they can get the same information from an app on their phone? So we went full bore. We were the first company to launch a golf GPS app (in 2009). The first iPhone came out right about the same time, and we launched on that in early 2009. Since then, we’ve been really the No. 1 app for golf. We’ve had over four million downloads…We’re a company who keeps investing in our product and making it better. We’re not just collecting people’’s money.

To kind of take us up to current, about two years ago, we heard about Tour pros using…green contour books. We kind of dug in and got our hands on one and said, “Why can’t we do this for the average golfer?” A year-and-a-half, two years later, we launched…Putt Breaks at the PGA Show. We basically have taken this extremely accurate data–accurate to three centimeters–and taken each green on each course and turned it into a digital putt reader.

BA: And what does Putt Breaks look like in practice?

PC: So there’s two new features included in the GolfLogix app (the paid version). Now it automatically pops into Approach Mode. In Approach Mode, you’re able to see what’s in front of you. You’re able to see the green. You’re able to see the contours. So from 175 yards out, you know exactly what the green does, so you can pick and choose what to avoid. For example, if you’re got a back left pin and the green really falls off, you can aim for the front or middle of the green. So, for the better golfer, it’s unbelievable at helping plan approach shots. And for the average or higher handicapper, at the very least they can know whether to take more or less club.

Then as you walk or drive up to the green, it jumps into Putt Mode. In Putt Mode, you simply walk up and drag the ball and cup to where they are and basically hit “read my putt.” It rotates your view and shows you from behind your ball exactly what the putt does. So it’s just like what the pros have. You can see with absolute certainty whether the putt is going left or right, uphill or downhill…It’ll change your life out there.

Our goal is to eliminate the three-putt…There’s nothing worse than when you’re out on the golf course–whether you’re scratch, or 10 or 20–everybody,some days on some holes, can’t see the putt. We take that guessing game out of it. You know with certainty where the putt is going.

BA: I think it’s interesting that one of the elements of the anti-technology argument is the whole “Well, if we allow rangefinders in competition, it’s really going to slow things down.” But your technology, other technologies, if used reasonably by the golfer, is only going to speed up play.

PC: Most people, can’t read greens. I didn’t start playing until I was 30. I’ve gotten decent, but my biggest challenge is reading greens. I just don’t see the break. And it’s frustrating, because I’m a good putter…if I have a great caddie that tells me to putt to a spot. But sometimes I look at these putts, and either I don’t know, or I’m not sure, but either way you’re not putting a confident stroke on the ball. Next thing you know, you’ve got that damn five-footer.

We did a tremendous amount of focus group and user testing out there. And you’ve got three groups [low, mid, high handicappers]. That five, six, seven handicap. This is a gamechanger for them, because they’re already decent putters. Now you give them a tool that takes the guesswork out of it…we were seeing improvements of three, four, five strokes per round.

BA: Right. You’re talking about more birdies. These are the people that can make the putt if they know the break.

PC: Yeah. And then eliminating the three-putt. The most surprising part: I had a guy who was a +1 handicap. He finishes the round…shoots like 68…says, “I think I saved three strokes today…When I looked at [the app] I was unsure [about the putts]. It confirmed I read them right, and I putted with confidence.

In the past, GolfLogix…we’ve never been in the lower handicapper’s bag, unless they were stat freaks. Now, all of a sudden, this is a tremendous tool for them.

BA: Yeah. You hear the best players talk, and it seems without that baseline of confidence and commitment, you’re not going to hit consistently good shots or putts.

PC: It’s been a fascinating project, and we’re really looking forward to our first golf season. We’ve got about 5,000 courses mapped, and we should have another 5,000 courses done this year…We’re investing incredibly heavily in this technology. No one has it at this scale.

BA: Your mapping process: This is all going to locations, boots-on-the-ground stuff?

PC: Yep. No satellites. Satellites are generally plus or minus two yards, and that doesn’t work on the putting greens. We have 3D scans at every course, accurate to about three centimeters

BA: So what about the murmurings at the USGA and their concern over the use of yardage books and green mapping? I mean, the way I think about it, whatever happens at the professional level should be dictated by the tours. But for the amateur, and I guess if you’re in the USGA, you’ve gotta submit to their rules, but for the average golfer in the casual round, we’ve gotta have bifurcation. I don’t know why anyone would want to take something like this out of the hands of the average golfer.

PC: It makes no sense. We’re at a time when people have less time to play. We’re trying to get younger people to play golf. One of the biggest challenges, and I don’t care how much time you have, if it’s not fun and you suck, this game is hard to keep coming back and playing. So, anything we can do as a company, and anything any of these companies can do to bring in technology that helps golfers play better, score lower, and have fun out there so they keep coming back…it’s a no-brainer. The industry has gotta change in that way.

BA: Yeah. The reality is, handicaps aren’t dropping. Yes. We fixate on distance on the professional level, but somehow there’s this bizzare equivocation that everyone’s bombing it and shooting under par at their local club, but obviously that’s not happening. I don’t know why we want to take anything off the table.

PC: Yeah. The USGA, obviously, just took a stand on electronic measuring devices, and they’ve been more positive about allowing them in play…USGA-sanctioned play. And for us, all we’ve done is digitize the green-reading book the Tour pros are using.

I was talking to ASU’s coach, and he says his players have come to rely on books, and he says it really speeds up their process.

BA: Even at the professional level, the thought that taking the books away will speed up play is odd. As far as I can tell, they’re not there flipping through their books for half an hour. It’s all the other processes. Thank God they have that information, because if they didn’t, imagine how long it would take.

PC: Our goal is to give golfers a quick read so they don’t have to walk around the hole five times. We’ll reduce the amount of three-putts, which is also going to save time.

BA: Right. OK. Back to the app. What are the price levels?

PC: We have a standalone Putt Breaks membership within the app, which is $29.99 per year. Then for $49.99 per year, we have our premium features and Putt Breaks combined.

BA: Good stuff. Thanks, Pete.

You can find GolfLogix on the web here.

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Spotted: Callaway X Series drivers hit the USGA conforming clubs list

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As of Monday, Feb. 19, new Callaway X Series drivers (9.5 and 10.5 degrees) appear on the USGA Conforming Clubs list. Here is the full photo and description as they appear on the USGA website:

There’s not much to go on here based on the photo or description. All we know is that the drivers are called “X Series” and that there’s a Chevron alignment mark. Not very helpful.

What we can guess, however, is that these X Series drivers will be a follow-up to the company’s X Series 416 drivers, which were lower-end releases that focused on distance and forgiveness at a lower price point. The X Series 416 drivers had an adjustable hosel, while it appears the new X Series drivers do not.

What do you think about these new X Series drivers?

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