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Odyssey 2012: Interview with Austie Rollinson

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When Keegan Bradley raised his arms to celebrate his first major championship victory at the 2011 PGA Championship in August, he reached higher than any major champion had ever before — literally.

Along with his arms, Bradley also raised his 46.75-inch Odyssey White Hot XG Sabertooth putter, making him look more like Patrick Ewing than his aunt, Pat Bradley. It was a life changing moment for the 25-year-old PGA Tour rookie, but possibly even a bigger moment for the putter industry.

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Bradley’s win was the fuel for the vast long putter migration that has occurred during the final months of the 2011 season, a trend that has carried over to the retail side as well. Since Bradley’s win, Odyssey has seen a 400 percent increase in demand for long putters from consumers, which has caused the company to fast track release of the retail version of the White Hot XG Sabertooth belly putter. But there’s much more to building successful line of long putters than shoving an extra-long shaft in a putterhead, according to Odyssey Principal Designer Austie Rollinson.

Because of the extra weight necessary for a long putterhead, most companies including Odyssey have opted to use mallet-styled putterheads that better accommodate the added bulk. But there’s another reason for the use of mallet-styled heads in long putters.

“When players use a belly or long putter, they tend to stand more upright,” Rollinson said. “They’re farther away from the ball, so they need to have a bigger head looking down. Some of our bigger mallets, including the new D.A.R.T. we just came out with – they lend themselves better to long and belly putters.”

There are many different ways to add extra weight to a putter. Both TaylorMade and Titleist have introduced putters with removable weights that allow a player to fine tune the weight of a putter to their liking. Another approach is to increase the size of the putterhead, as a way to keep the putter’s proportions in check when the extra weight is added. But Rollinson and his crew came up with a different approach for the White Hot XG Sabertooth, one that allowed them to keep the popular dimensions of the standard-length putter, but also add the necessary weight needed to balance its longer length.

Instead of casting the White Hot XG Sabertooth belly putters from stainless steel, Odyssey cast them out of a denser material called tunnite. For that reason, the putter Bradley used to win the PGA Championship had the exact same dimensions as the standard-length White Hot XG Sabertooth, but a heavier head weight because of the tunnite casting.

Odyssey will release the White Hot XG Sabertooth belly putter Nov. 18. It will be available in a 43-inch length, and feature the same tunnite construction Bradley uses in his putter.

ProType Tour Series Putters

While a lot of Odyssey’s focus has been on its long putter offerings, the company has also been hard at work with its new standard-length putter line, the ProType Tour Series.

The ProTypes are a departure from what has been Odyssey’s bread and butter in putter design, insert putters. The ProTypes are milled from 1025 carbon steel and feature the deeper, sharper milling marks on the face that have gained popularity among tour professionals for their softer feel and truer role.

In Europe and Japan, Odyssey’s high-end insert putters have thrived because of high use on foreign professional tours. But in the United States, where purchases are highly influenced by what consumers see Tour players using, one-piece putters have risen in popularity, which has shifted Odyssey’s U.S. strategy.

The ProType models will include Odyssey’s No. 2, 3, 6, 7 and 9, as well as a Two-Ball mallet that will be released without an insert for the first time.

“For the 2012 line, we chose models by what’s doing well on Tour,” Rollinson said. “A former Callaway staff player won the U.S. Open using the No. 7, and the No. 6 model is a lot like the TriHot TriForce No. 2 shape that K.J. Choi and Steve Stricker have been using for years.”

The ProTypes will be released Feb. 17 in with a slew of custom options. They will feature a dull, milky white chrome plating and a Lamkin 3Gen Pistol Grip, available in six different color options that can be matched with the putterhead paintfill for an added charge. All models will be available in 33-to-35-inch lengths. They have an MSRP of $335, with the exception of the Two-Ball Mallet, which has an MSRP of $375. The No. 2, No. 3, No. 9 and Two-Ball Mallet will be available in left-handed models.

 

 

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Zak is the Editor-in-Chief of GolfWRX.com. He's been a part of the company since 2011, when he was hired to lead GolfWRX's Editorial Department. Zak developed GolfWRX's Featured Writer Program, which supports aspiring writers and golf industry professionals. He played college golf at the University of Richmond (Go Spiders!) and still likes to compete in tournaments. You can follow Zak on Twitter @ZakKoz, where he's happy to discuss his game and all the cool stuff that's part of his job.

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Fujikura launches new Pro 2.0 and Pro 2.0 Tour Spec shafts

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Fujikura has announced the launch of the second generation of its Pro series shafts: the Pro 2.0.

The first iteration of the Pro shafts were designed with a soft handle section to aid in loading. The Pro 2.0 presents an even more effective loading zone, according to the company, which also says torsional stiffness is 14 percent greater in the 2.0.

“Like all of our shafts, the Pro 2.0 has been designed utilizing enso, a 3D motion-capture technology that no one else in the shaft industry has,” said Alex Dee, Vice President at Fujikura Composites America.

“This technology and advanced data analytics has allowed us to crack the code on how club performance and ball flight are affected by shaft characteristics and swing type. When we compared to the original Pro, we saw the 2.0 was significantly easier to swing, had tighter shot dispersion, and lower spin to deliver the club head with more power, control and distance. We were thrilled with the result.”

The Pro 2.0 is painted “Destroyer Grey” with a metallic blue design in line with the original Pro shaft. The Tour Spec model is painted “Tour Spec White.”

The shafts will be available in weight ranges from 57 to 87 grams (5, 6, 7, 8) and in flexes starting at R2 up to X. $225 MSRP; $250 for the Tour Spec model. Hybrid option available for $140.

Available at over 600 qualified Fujikura charter dealers beginning February 1. Full specs at Fujikura.com.

See what GolfWRX members are saying about the Pro 2.0 in the forums.

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Fred Couples signs with Bettinardi, will continue to use FCB putter

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Fred Couples has been using his namesake Bettinardi putter, the FCB (Fred Couples Blade), for the past four years. Now, he’s officially joining Bettinardi’s Tour staff.

Couples, who has won 15 times on the PGA Tour and 13 times on the PGA Tour Champions, will putt exclusively with the company’s flatsticks.

(Photo by Drew Hallowell/Getty Images)

“I’m really looking forward to representing Bettinardi and its beautiful range of hand-made putters, as they always give me great confidence when I’m standing over putts,” said Fred. “Having won 5 times already with a Bettinardi putter, there’s nothing I’d rather be putting with.

Couples averaged 1.70 putts per hole when playing in 12 events with the Bettinardi wand last year.

“Having Fred Couples join our Tour staff is a massive endorsement for Bettinardi Golf,” said founder Robert Bettinardi. “We’re so proud and excited to welcome him to our growing Tour staff. I’m sure he will prove to be a great ambassador for our brand, as he attracts huge crowds and media attention wherever he plays.”

Here’s a look at Boom Boom’s FCB putter.

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Odyssey’s new EXO 2-Ball, Works Red and Black, and Toulon putters

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There’s one thing Odyssey has never struggled with: giving golfers options. Today, the company launched a trunk-full of new putters, including eight Works Red and Black putters, Toulon Atlanta and Portland models, and an Odyssey EXO 2-Ball putter that gives the classic 2-ball design a very new, and premium look.

Most of the new putters, actually, are mallets. More specifically, they are mallets that Odyssey says feel like blade putters; that’s because they’re made with toe hang (like a blade putter) rather than face-balanced designs of typical mallets. Toe hang frees up the face of a putter to open and close, a stroke-style that many golfers employ — amateurs and pros alike.

According to Austie Rollinson, chief designer of Odyssey, there’s been a trend of blade users on Tour switching into mallets because of this toe hang, and that will continue to happen. Odyssey says that of the PGA Tour wins last year, 29 winners used mallets — 14 of those were mallets with toe hang — while there were 20 blade winners. Also, of the top-50 in Strokes Gained: Putting, 31 players used mallets, 13 of which were toe-hang mallets, and 19 players used blades.

Therefore, many of the new putters from Odyssey are toe-hang mallets. Check out all of the new putters below, with info on design, pricing and release dates.

Discussion: See what GolfWRX members are saying about the new putters here

Odyssey Works Red and Black putters

 

The new Works Red and Black putters — adding on to the line of putters released in 2017 — continue to use microhinge face inserts that are designed to “grab” the ball to impart more topspin on the golf ball to get it rolling faster. The new offerings launched today include a No. 1 Wide S, No. 1 Tank, No. 7 Tank, 2-Ball Fang, Marxman, Marxman S, Jailbird Mini and Jailbird Mini S.

They will sell for $199 with a standard Winn AVS midsize pistol grip, and $219 with a SuperStroke grip starting on February 23.

See more photos and join the discussion about the Works Red and Black putters here.

Odyssey EXO 2-Ball

The new EXO 2-Ball, made with Rose Gold PVD, is a premium version of the iconic 2-ball shape. It’s CNC-milled with a microhinge insert, has an aluminum crown with a steel sole plate and Tungsten in the rear portion of the head. The EXO 2-ball also has black circles instead of the familiar white color for which 2-balls are known.

According to Odyssey, it’s a “statement product,” and it will only sell 5,000 of these putters globally. They will sell for $499.99 starting on February 2.

Odyssey says: “Our new Odyssey EXO 2-Ball is a premium limited edition putter unlike any we’ve ever offered. It combines one of the game’s most innovative and iconic putter designs with top-notch materials and meticulous production to create something truly special.”

Toulon Atlanta and Portland

Odyssey’s premium putter brand continues dipping its toes in the mallet style with its new mid-mallet Atlanta and Portland models. They have gunmetal finishes and are 100-percent milled from soft, 303 stainless steel. They also have Toulon’s familiar diamond-milled faces for improved roll.

The Atlanta and Portland models will sell for $399.99 apiece and hit retail on February 2.

Discussion: See what GolfWRX Members are saying about the Toulon Atlanta putter here

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