It started in the late ’90s as a random thought by Ely Callaway: How can we make an insert that has the sound and feel of a golf ball? Seems like a logical pursuit, considering the sound of the strike has as much influence over a player liking or disliking of equipment as anything else.
In the case of putters, it made a ton of sense to match the experience of the putter face to the feel of the golf ball. This led to the development of a new insert based on the Callaway Golf Ball at the time, the Rule 35.
The actual development process didn’t go through a ton of iterations—the recipe came together rather quickly. It was only the question of how to make them that posed the biggest work through.
From a performance standpoint, Odyssey was already on a serious roll with its Stronomic inserts. The soft, lightweight material gave R&D new ways to distribute weight (stability) across the putter head, and the impact experience was one most responded favorably to.
There was one catch, however, for better players, Stronomic inserts were too soft compared to the metal faces they were used to, and in addition, once you peeled back the onion a bit, it actually didn’t transfer energy as well as one would want. At that level, “softer” means “less roll out,” apples to apples, against metal.
Engineers asked: How can we replicate the feel but make it play firmer?
Enter the creation of the White Hot in 2000. In simple terms, “ball on ball” contact. The urethane blend gave Callaway the ability to create a face that was not only soft but also had the crispness of strike that milled steel faces had. The recipe was an instant hit on tour.
From the time it was introduced at the professional level across the globe, it saw immediate adoption. To be fair there was one element beyond the White Hot insert that cranked up the numbers a bit—the best-selling putter of all time, the 2-Ball. Nonetheless, White Hot hit the ground running and saw great success in year one and beyond with LPGA Hall of Famer Annika Sorenstam being the first to really win big with her Odyssey White Hot 2-Ball in late 2001 and into 2002.
700 worldwide wins later, it’s easy to say Mr. Callaway’s instinct paid off.
If you have paid close attention to Odyssey over the years, you know White Hot has been the bedrock of future developments. The company has done impressive work in the insert game—the below timeline (courtesy of Odyssey) gives you a slice of the history.
2020-2021: Odyssey Introduces the White Hot OG
This brings us to today and the White Hot OG. We had the opportunity to chat with Senior Director of Product for Odyssey Luke Williams, and this is what he had to say about the return of White Hot.
GolfWRX: What inspired you to bring back White Hot, and why was now the best time?
LW: We decided to bring White Hot back because people kept asking for it. On tour, even though it was not an inline offering, it was still our most popular insert. Whenever we would launch a new putter or new insert, golfers would ask us about White Hot and tell us how much they love their White Hot. Finally, we just felt that it was time to give the people what they wanted. Based on the early reaction, we think the timing was perfect.
GolfWRX: How do you compare the feel/benefits of an insert like White Hot vs milled faces, etc?
LW: Relative to milled faces, White Hot is definitely softer and it has a more consistent sound and feel. In terms of ball speed, it is very similar to a milled face, so it is easy for players to adjust to in terms of how the ball rolls out.
GolfWRX: How has Stroke Lab technology enhanced the performance of the White Hot Insert?
LW: Stroke Lab is a significant enhancement to the White Hot OG line. Stroke Lab technology helps golfers by making their strokes more consistent from one to the next, and this new version is lighter, stiffer, and more stable than the original.
GolfWRX: We have to ask: Any plans to bringing back Tri Hot?
LW: I’d never say never!
The thing about White Hot we find the most fascinating is the loyalty to it by certain players over the years. Below are some pictures of a few Callaway staff and others that have lived and died with an Odyssey White Hot for a long time—all these putters are still in the bag, with the only exception being Phil Mickelson, who swaps between his WHXG and milled model.
Joe Toulon (yes, Sean’s son) is the man in charge of the tour, and this is what he had to say on the strong connection to the White Hot.
“Tour players still love White Hot, and when they first started testing OG the response was positive right away. We did a soft launch during the Fall season, and there were a few models that went into play right away. On the European Tour, there were eight in play the first week it was out there, and on the PGA Tour, we’ve seen a consistent increase in adoption. We still had a few players that were loyal to that insert, and we would do one-off putters for them so the momentum never really left.”
“Players just really trust the sound and feel, and they know what to expect with it on every putt. That’s so important to players of that caliber. Nostalgia and good memories in regards to equipment is still a powerful thing, and the White Hot insert is just one of those things that a ton of players had success with in the past so bringing it back in a big way was kind of a no brainer.”
There have been over 700 worldwide wins and over 100 PGA Tour wins to go with 48 majors. Check out this list of the major championships won with White Hot.
2002 Kraft Nabisco – Annika Sorenstam
2003 McDonalds LPGA – Annika Sorenstam
2004 McDonalds LPGA – Annika Sorenstam
2004 US Womens Open – Meg Mallon
2005 Kraft Nabisco – Annika Sorenstam
2006 U.S Women’s Open – Annika Sorenstam
2007 Kraft Nabisco – Morgan Pressel
2008 US Womens Open – In Bee Park
2009 Ricoh Womens British open – Ji-Yain Shin
2009 US Womens Open – Eun Hee Ji
2010 LPGA Champ – Christie Kerr
2013 Ricoh Women’s British Open – Ji Yai Shin
2014 Kraft Nabisco – Lexi Thompson
2015 KPMG Womens PGA – In Bee Park
2015 Ricoh Womens Britihs Open – In Bee Park
2016 ANA Inspiration Lydia Ko
2018 Ricoh Womens British Open – Georgia Halltonytoulon
PGA Tour Champions majors
2003 US Senior Open – Bruce Lietzke
2004 Senior British Open – Pete Oakley
2006 Jeld Wen Tradition – Eduardo Romero
2007 Senior British Open – Tom Watson
2008 US Senior Open – Eduardo Romero
2010 Senior British Open – Berhard Langer
2010 US Senior Open – Bernhard Langer
2011 Senior PGA – Tom Watson
2013 Senior PGA – Kouki Idoki
2014 Senior Players – Bernhard Langer
2014 Senior Open – Bernhard Langer
2015 Senior Players – Bernhard Langer
2016 Regions Tradition – Bernhard Langer
2016 Senior Players – Bernhard Langer
2016 US Senior Open – Gene Sauers
2017 Regions Tradition – Bernhard Langer
2017 Senior PGA – Bernhard Langer
2017 Senior Open – Bernhard Langer
2019 Regions Tradition – Steve Stricker
2019 US Senior Open – Steve Stricker
2019 Senior Open – Bernhard Langer
PGA Tour majors
2005 U.S. Open – Michael Campbell
2006 Masters – Phil Mickelson
2008 British Open – Padraig Harrington
2009 PGA Championship – YE Yang
2010 Masters – Phil Mickelson
2010 U.S. Open – Graeme McDowell
2011 PGA Championship – Keegan Bradley
2016 British Open – Henrik Stenson
2018 Masters – Patrick Reed
2019 British Open – Shane Lowry
It’s comforting to know that in all the buzz and chase for the next big thing, there are still things in our game that stand the test of time. A good thing then is still a good thing now. Great ideas in golf, like White Hot 2-Ball, have a long shelf life. With the direction the game is going as a whole and any potential tweaks the rule gods put in to play, these stubbornly good ideas will keep us going.
Bridgestone launches special First Tee edition e6 ball
Bridgestone Golf has launched a special First Tee edition e6 golf ball, with a portion of the proceeds going directly to First Tee, a youth development organization that helps kids and teens build their strength of character through golf.
The special First Tee edition ball is available now exclusively through PGA Tour Superstore and comes in both white and optic yellow color codes.
“We’re very pleased to offer this special First Tee edition e6, exclusively at PGA Tour Superstore. For decades, First Tee has done very fine work, helping young people learn and grow through the game of golf, building strong individuals and communities. It is an honor to create a dedicated product where the proceeds from the sales will bolster their charitable endeavors.” – Dan Murphy, President and CEO, Bridgestone Golf
As a reminder, the e6 is the longest-running model in Bridgestone’s current lineup. The latest model, new for 2021, features a larger, softer core in design for a more responsive feel added distance for moderate swing speed players.
The new design, which is specifically tailored to modern players who value a ball that provides a very soft feel at impact, retails for $21.99 per dozen.
Adidas unveils new Stan Smith golf shoe in classic colorway
Adidas Golf is bringing the classic Stan Smith colorway to the course, with the new unmistakable white and green golf shoe.
Building upon the new PimeGreen upper made with high-performance recycled materials1 as part of Adidas’ mission to End Plastic Waste, this version is also waterproof (one-year warranty) to help keep golfers dry both on and off the course.
The new Stan Smith golf shoe features a PU cushioning in targeted areas in the midsole to go alongside a PU die-cut sockliner in a bid to provide maximum comfort.
The shoe also contains an adiwear spikeless outsole that features lugs inspired by the shoe’s original sole design, offering some added traction for all course conditions to go along with their style.
“When we were talking about bringing this shoe into golf, the original white and green colorway was a must-have as part of our planning. The Stan Smith silhouette is known throughout the world for being so versatile from a fashion standpoint, so we’re excited to give golfers that same style and versatility for when they head out to the course, now in a more sustainable way.” – Masun Denison, global footwear director, Adidas Golf.
As an ode to the traditions of the past, Adidas has also included a removable white kiltie to provide players another way to wear their shoes and give off some added flair for their round.
This classic white and green colorway of the Stan Smith Golf will be available on adidas.com, through the Adidas app, and at select retail partners worldwide beginning Saturday, May 1.
Lob wedge or no lob wedge? – GolfWRXers discuss
In our forums, our members have been discussing the necessity of a lob wedge. WRXer ‘rickybooby25’ kicks off the thread, saying
“Do you use a Lob wedge in your current set-up or not? Players nowadays immediately default to using a LW when playing a chip shot around the greens. I currently have a LW in the bag but have been debating on taking it out completely because it creates bad habits when facing a chip shot. What are your thoughts?”
And our members have been sharing their thoughts on the subject in the forum, with some very interesting responses.
Here are a few posts from the thread, but make sure to check out the entire discussion and have your say at the link below.
- Chadwickog: “I am in the NO lob wedge camp, it simplifies the decision making when it comes to wedge play, and all shots are still possible if you know how to hit them.”
- jholz: “I’ve always looked at the lob wedge as a specialty club for special situations. Lower lofted wedges (54* or 56*) are the ones I use for the vast majority of generic chip shots.”
- timmekang: “I’ve mentioned this in prior posts, but I carry 2 lob wedges. Not all lob wedges are created equal to don’t be afraid to bring more than 1 out on the course with different bounce/grind/etc. and see what works best depending on your lie and circumstances.”
- lefthack: “I bought one, learned to hit it, but didn’t find a need for it in my bag when there are other clubs I would use more.”
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