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  1. Dave's Putter Profile: Odyssey's EXO Indianapolis S New Gamer Alert! That's right, today's featured putter, the Odyssey EXO Indianapolis Sis the new gamer. Dave switched his gamer? That never happens. How does something as common as rainbows with colors warrant an “Alert”? While I am in fact gaming the EXO Indianapolis S, the “Alert” in that title was not referencing me, but rather Odyssey head design honcho Luke Williams. He has switched to the Indy S. It wasn't too long ago when Luke, Hashtag Chad, others, and myself were all founding members of Team Red Marxman S. it was a big red Marxman love fest. (You can find out more about the O-Works Red Marxman S HERE.) Anyway, as I was chatting with Luke about the upcoming EXO line release, he dropped the bomb that he had switched to the EXO Indianapolis S. And just like that, the Marxman was relegated to the garage, and my excitement to roll the new incarnation of the Indy went pedal to the metal. Luke has access to lots of putters, and he can even make custom ones should he choose, and this putter replaced his gamer. I'd say that warrants a closer look. EXO Line Features Review It was back in January when I was able to share with you the details about the new Odyssey EXO line. You can check out that whole blog article HERE. For those of you who choose not to click the information-refreshing link above, I'll give you the quick version. The new EXO line features three (six) models, a new insert, and multi-material construction that allowed Odyssey to push the MOI numbers beyond normal values. To quote myself: With the EXO line, Odyssey has constructed putters that feature a lighter weight center portion made from aluminum, with the outer part of the putter being made from heavier steel. Physics says, if you move the mass from the middle to the edges, you increase MOI, thus improving rotational stability. Mixing the two types of metals in the head allowed Odyssey to reposition the weight. Additionally, the EXO putters feature shallower centers of gravity than non-EXO models, which should add to their forgiveness. Damn, That Hinge is White Hot The White Hot Microhinge insert is new to the EXO line, and it is much more than an O-Works insert painted white. Without getting too far into the insert rabbit hole again, and because you have all read the First Look article (right?), let's just say that it took some tweaking to get the sound and feel just right. And what “just right” really means is that the insert feels and sounds like the revered White Hot insert, while providing the improved roll of the microhinge technology. When all things were said and done, Odyssey had developed an insert with the sound and feel profile of the beloved White Hot insert, and the roll enhancing microhinge technology. Now that I've had some rounds with the insert, and with the O-Works microhinge insert, I can definitely attest to their differences. Though both provide solid rolls, sound and feel are not the same. I find the White Hot microhinge to feel and sound much softer. It's so soft that I am sometimes surprised that the ball rolls all the way to the hole. Perhaps the feel issue is just an issue of familiarity. During their heyday, I did not extensively game a White Hot putter, preferring milled metal faces. I'd love one of you with more White Hot mileage to chime in on the feel comparison. It does feel softer, yet roll more proficiently when I compare it to my beloved White Ice Sabertooth, but that insert was not quite a White Hot. The EXO vs. Toulon Indianapolis The EXO Indianapolis is the second incarnation of the Indianapolis, with the first one coming under Odyssey's Toulon Design brand. I spent a good deal of time with the Toulon Indianapolis about this time last year (article HERE). Naturally, one will want to compare the two models, and he or she will quickly find that they are actually quite different. Construction One of the things that you can see right away when you compare the two models is that the materials have changed. Both are multi-material designs, but the EXO Indianapolis doesn't feature some of the fancier, and more expensive materials, like carbon fiber and tungsten. While I was initially a bit disappointed that the carbon fiber was gone, I actually think that I prefer the simpler look at address without it. I also think that not including these materials in the EXO version allowed this Indy to hit the $299 price point as opposed to the $399 price for the Toulon version. You can also see some design differences when you closely compare the two models. Take a look at these side shots. The Toulon Indianapolis is mostly hollow, while the EXO version has some structural pillars at its core. If memory serves me, these elements in the EXO Indy were included in the design to control sound and feel at impact. Regardless, it's little design tweaks like this that let consumers know that this is not just a cheaper version of the Toulon model. The Odyssey crew put some thought, and innovation into the EXO Indy. Looks I sort of mentioned this above, but I think that the new looks are a huge improvement at address. I just couldn't get comfortable with the half black and half (really) shiny silver looks of the Toulon Indianapolis. As good as it felt, it was demoted from the bag to the garage. The all-dark EXO looks great to my eye. You get the big sight line, and that's about it at address. I prefer this simple look to that of the Toulon Indy, and even to the O-Works Red Marxman S that I was gaming. It just simplifies aiming for me, and as I have mentioned in the past, I putt better with more squared putters. Slant Neck Option Odyssey is all in on offering slant neck variants of their mallets this year. All of the O-Works mallets can be had with a slant neck, and the same is true for the EXO putters. The Indianapolis, Seven, and Rossie all come in slant or traditional necks models. But why does this matter? Perhaps you happened upon the Most Wanted Monday video below about putter fitting. Adding the slant neck changes the playability of the putter, making a more traditionally straight-back-straight through mallet play more like an arcing blade. The significance of this is twofold. First, it allows slight-arc blade players to try out higher MOI mallets. Adding a slant neck makes the mallet feel more blade-like as it arcs through the stroke. Otherwise you'll be fighting the straight mallet with your arcing stroke. The second thing that builds from that idea, and also from the data in the video, is that not very many players actually have straight strokes. Some will argue that nobody has a straight back and straight through stroke. This means that nearly everyone playing a mallet is playing a putter that doesn't fit his or her stroke. The sad irony for many is that they pick up a mallet in the shop thinking that it is an easier to use putter, and then the resulting mismatch with their stroke costs them putts on the course. PING has addressed this idea for a few years with their different shaft options for their mallets, and now Odyssey has done the same with the S neck. Now you can choose a mallet that actually matches your stroke, and shouldmake putting easier. We still have to roll the putts correctly, of course. Gaming the Indy So like Luke, I am indeed gaming the Indy as well these days. I've mentioned some of the “Whys” already, but really the bag-ability of the EXO Indianapolis Scomes down to a couple of things. First of all, I really feel like I can aim this putter. Obviously, putts hit the hole more often when you can actually aim them at the target. While the Marxman S was quite easy to aim from distance, I struggled in close. Something about the head was distracting, and caused me to lose confidence. Nothing like preferring the 15' putt to the 5' putt. I believe that it's the square shape of the Indianapolis that better suits my eye, and meshes better with my aiming perceptions. Going the Distance The other thing that earns the Indy a bag spot is its distance control. My miss is traditionally short, but the bent-strong loft and the White Hot microhinge insert seem to be doing their distance-controlling job. Though the insert seems a bit soft, it does a great job of getting the ball to the hole. What I mean is that the swing that I take to get a ball a certain distance, gets the ball that distance, even if the feedback makes me think that it was too soft to get there. I am thinking that I will either get used to the soft feel, or this could end up being a to-the-bench issue for the Indianapolis. My feel-to-roll disconnect a bit disconcerting, but if the ball is getting there, I'm cool with the discord. It would be worse if I felt like I hit it well and it ended ten feet short or long. As of now though, it looks like the EXO Indianapolis S will be one of the putters that I'll be taking to Bandon Dunes in a few weeks. Yes, one of the putters. One has to have options for the Punchbowl after all. You can find out more about the Indianapolis, and the rest of the EXO line at the Odyssey site HERE.
  2. Well hello there MGS readers. Today, you are reading the first installment of a new putter series that I will be putting together for your reading pleasure. Welcome to Dave's Putter Profiles Rather than look at all putters head to head, like MGS does with the Most Wanted Putter testing, Dave's Putter Profiles will focus on single models, exploring the features of that individual model, and taking some time to show what separates it from the others in the corral. While the mission of mygolfspy is to be unfalteringly #datacratic, these articles will be much more editorial, and ideally conversational. I'm going to let you know my thoughts on a variety of putters, both new and vintage models, and then you tell me your thoughts, and then we see where it goes from there. I've run quite a number of putters though my garage over the years, and I want to share some of the flatstick goodness with you. Imagine that we are having a conversation on the practice green, perhaps with a nice adult beverage in hand. That's the spirit of Dave's Putter Profiles. We just look at a putter and have a nice chat. For the first installment, we are going to go with a newer model from Odyssey, admittedly one that I was shocked that I actually wanted to even look at let alone game. I Hate(ed) The Odyssey Marxman How's that for a segue into talking about a putter that I actually like? Perhaps it is not the best way to set the mood, I know, but that was pretty close to my actual thought when I visited Odyssey HQ last January and learned that a Marxman would be part of the 2018 O-Works line. For some reason, my love of all putters has never extended to the Marxman. I think that the disdain actually dates back to the Backstryke Marxman, with the two creative spellings not compensating for the fact that the shaft attached at the rear of the putter. Sure, one of you right now is thinking of telling me how awesome backstryke putters are, and feel free to do so. I'm just not down. We all have our turn-ons and turn-offs. Think about porn for a moment. Let's face it, we all have tags on Pornhub that we prefer, and others that we will never, ever, click on. If backstryke is your kink, good for you. I'll spend my three minutes elsewhere. Anyway, sorry for the detour into porn to make a point, but in that January meeting, I'd have sworn that I'd not be clicking any two girls one Marxman links any time soon. But then I got a look at the red Marxman S. Well Hello There This time, I found the Marxman aesthetics quite pleasing. The massive double sight line had been reduced to a single, and the addition of the slant neck fits right into my current more-toe-hang-is-better putting philosophy. Plus, the new body architecture reminded me of one of my old Odyssey favorites, the Sabertooth. I've got a super cool one of those to share in the coming weeks… Standing over this Marxman evoked feelings of reverence, rather than revulsion. Right away this putter went from never touch to must have. Considering that there was also a trouser-tightening #1 wide with a slant neck in the release, placing the Marxman at the top of my need to have list was surprising for sure. SAM Says One of the cool things that happened during the Odyssey visit was that I got to go through a SAM lab fitting with Odyssey's putter pro. I was pleasantly surprised to see consistent numbers from stroke to stroke, with lots of center face contact, and just a bit of that drifting-outside backstroke that I have long fought to avoid. Turned out that I add loft at impact, resulting in a launch angle that was a bit high. Glad to know that I do this with my putter as well as my irons… This though could be the reason why my typical miss is short. I hit the right line, but I just don't get the ball to the hole. The fitter recommended that I get a Marxman built with 1° loft, so that when I add loft with the swing, the dynamic loft produces better launch conditions. Cool, huh? Gaming the Odyssey O-Works Red S Marxman I've had the Marxman in the bag for about a five rounds now. Some of the play experiences have been as expected, and some surprising. The S Neck Slant neck mallets are a big thing this year at Odyssey. In addition to choosing between black and red, you can also decide if you want your mallet with a traditional neck, or a slant. The beauty of choosing a slant neck is that it will allow blade players to transition to playing a more forgiving, at least in terms of MOI, larger mallet. The slant neck makes the putter arc a little more during the stroke, conforming more to the blade path than normal mallet. I loved the feel of putting with this back in Carlsbad, and that feeling has continued as I putt back at home. I've swapped back and forth with traditional necked mallets in my collection, and the slant neck does make a huge comfort difference for me. 1° of Loft So am I still missing short? Yep, but not as often. My distance control has actually been pretty astounding with the Marxian S considering how few hours on the grass with it I've logged so far. Rarely am I super duper maybe I need steroids short anymore. The data set is totally subjective, but the number of holes threatened score has definitely gone up. More up should translate to more in if the opposite of the never up, never in adage is true. The low-lofted face does not look strange to me at address either. That, or I've just adjusted to it quickly. The putter seems to sit naturally behind the ball, and I don't think that I'm adding loft during the putting process to compensate. At least no more than I add naturally. I think that the strong loft theme will be one that I will continue to explore as other putters hit the bag this season. Interesting side note about the insert. As one who plays almost exclusively milled putters, I expected there to be some transition to the microhinge insert, both in sound and feel. Simply put, there was no transition required. At least on the Marxman, Odyssey has nailed the feel and tone, making the milled to insert transition a non-factor. Aiming the Marxman As I said, I've only been gaming the Marxman for a short time now, but one area of concern is alignment. I'm getting most putts near the hole, but I'm just not quite confident that I am aiming the big white line correctly. This I think will improve with practice, but I have a bit of a concern that this will prove Ketsch-like for me. That's right, I think that I am the one person who struggles to aim the Ketsch. Back when I ran the Most Wanted Mallet test where the Ketsch smashed face on the competition, I tried over and over to make peace with the Most Wanted monster. I came to the conclusion that the line and my eye were incompatible. Perhaps the big line on the Marxman will twist my perception the same way, or as I said, maybe it's just a matter of practice. I do know that I've already made some big putts with the Marxman, both at home, and in Carlsbad. During my visit, the Odyssey guys took me out for a round of golf at their home course. My game tends to go into hiding a bit when I play a course for the first time, and you can imagine the pressure of playing with Sean and Tony Toulon, Luke Williams, and Austie Rollinson. They were wonderful hosts, and not high pressure guys on the course, but as “a putter guy”, I wanted to sink some putts. Thankfully, I was able to drop some decently long putts with the Marxman that day. Austie dropped some bombs with the EXO #7, but I felt that my performance with the Marxman S was respectable. If that's not putting under pressure, then I've never experienced pressure. In a sentence: Odyssey O-Works Red Marxman S Combining the feel of a blade and the forgiveness of a mallet, the Marxman S should definitely be on your roll at the shop list. What do you think? So first of all, thank you for reading the first instalment of Dave's Putter Profile. I've got a number of putters lined up in the queue for the coming weeks, as I said, both putters you can find in the shops, and unique whips found only in my garage. If you would like me to clarify or expand on anything, just ask. I'm just here to start the conversation, where it goes from here is up to all of you.
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