FIRST LOOK: Odyssey Stroke Lab Black Ten and Bird of Prey putters
Sean Toulon knows what you’re probably thinking: the company’s new Stroke Lab Black Ten putter looks a lot like a certain mallet that’s taken the PGA Tour by storm in recent years. But before Toulon joined Callaway as the general manager for Odyssey Golf in 2016, he worked extensively on the Spider line during his time at TaylorMade, which offered him insights into the popular mallet shape.
“For us, it was how can we really improve MOI,” Toulon said. “We like a lot of the No. 7 shape, but this will look a lot like, to the people who are seeing it for the first time, a [TaylorMade] Spider, which has been a shape that golfers have liked, and that we felt like we could really improve upon.”
Odyssey is rolling out two new mallets, but it’s the Stroke Lab Black Ten head shape that has the equipment industry buzzing. The mallet was recently adopted by Phil Mickelson during the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open and offers a multi-material head design that’s highlighted by a thermoplastic polymer in the center section of the sole.
The polymer serves three purposes, beginning with an overall improvement to the sound and feel at impact. The polymer section sits directly behind a redesigned White Microhinge Star insert developed with direct feedback from Tour. While the original Whit Hot Microhinge has been a popular option on Tour, some players have requested a version with a firmer feel.
The new insert provides the same White Hot Microhinge roll benefits with an overall firmer feel and sound at impact.
“More players are really equating sound with speed or velocity off the club face,” Toulon said. “We’re trying to do a better job of matching sound to the speed of [the insert]. Some of the insert putters we had were very quiet, and some of those had quite a bit of speed. That can be difficult for golfers. These are more correlated.”
With a lighter weight polymer positioned directly in the middle of the head, Odyssey designers distributed discretionary weight along the perimeter to drive up the inertia properties. With an MOI of 5504 (Izz), the mallet is built to resist twisting, even on off-center strikes. The polymer piece also allows the putter to be soled at address, something Toulon noted tends to get overlooked during the design process.
“That’s a big deal with a lot of these high-MOI putters,” he said. “They have a tendency to, in most cases, flop open or even closed as well. Both of these designs, when you sole them, they don’t have to be jury-rigged.”
With an MOI over 5700 (Izz), the Stroke Lab Black Bird of Prey is the more forgiving model of the two mallets being introduced. The squared-off head shape frames the ball at address and works in tandem with a white high-definition line on the crown to enhance alignment.
“It’s a very square putter,” Toulon said. “If you look at all the parallel lines relative to the target line, it’s a very simple putter to get lined up properly and feel comfortable.”
Both putters are outfitted in a black PVD finish with Odyssey’s Stroke Lab shaft. The multi-material shaft saves 40 grams of weight that’s redistributed to the head and grip end of the putter to improve tempo and overall stroke consistency.
Odyssey’s Stroke Lab Black Ten and Bird of Prey putters will be available Nov. 1 and retail for $300.
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