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golfertrb

Odyssey Stroke Lab #9 Review

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First, let me say how much I value and appreciate this forum. I have been fairly active on golf forums since 2006 but MGS is a wonderful community of knowledgable people of all different skill levels and the content is always respectful and informative. A little about me: I'm 47 years old and I've been playing golf since I was 20 years old. I've never had any formal lessons but read books and emulated to the best of my ability swings of people I respected. When I started golf, Freddie Couples was at the top of his game and thought the world of him (still do!). My first set of clubs I ever bought were Lynx Parallax and they were the only clubs I ever bought because of a tour player. Those irons were sweet - I got my first hole-in-one with the 9 iron from that set but I digress. 🙂

I was a scratch golfer within about a year but I was a guy who went through clubs constantly - whatever the latest and greatest happened to be, I had to have it. That held me back for a long time and I quit that in 2008 when I finally settled on Ping i3+ Blades, R7 425, Vokey wedges and Odyssey Black Tour Design #9. Over the following years my handicap went to as low as +3.6 because I focused on playing and not the newest clubs. In December of 2014, I was in a serious car accident that necessitated 2 back surgeries, including a fusion in October 2015. I ultimately had to get irons with a bit more speed and a more forgiving driver (I had moved into a SLDR 430 in 2013) so last year I got i500's and the G400 LST but I have never changed my putter. I have been a strong putter and have always done better with a heel shafted model - as a right handed player it has always helped me make putts that break left to right, as well as, it matches my strong arc stroke. I have been very happy
the Black Tour Design but the Stroke Lab 9 has been very interesting to me and when I wasn't selected to test one, I thought I would buy one for myself and do my own review. So enough about me - let's get on with the good stuff 🙂 

First Impressions

I ordered my Stroke Lab from Odyssey at 34.5" with a Flatso 1 at 1 degree flat. The Stroke Lab is quite striking; the contrast in silver and back is a strong look and makes alignment a breeze. I have not used a putter with an insert in a long time but the tech packed into this one is both attractive and purposeful. The difference in the weight of the Stroke Lab vs my Black Tour Design is striking, but I'll talk more about that in a moment. One thing I noticed is that the Stroke Lab putter looks smaller to me than the Black Tour - the shape is exactly the same size and shape but I think the two-tone silver and black, along with the black being matte in color create an allusion of a smaller head, at least to my eye. Here are some pics (I'm sorry the pictures aren't great - I'll take some better ones soon): 

StrokeLab.thumb.jpg.a69045ec106937c949544d241d591269.jpgSuperstroke.thumb.jpg.3cc52613fa44bc2e82059446d82d6d7a.jpgPairof9s.thumb.jpg.ce8d39e89fbf3d3bf52c17ec3fe8f7e2.jpg

I was able to play 9 holes this afternoon and I putted beautifully. My first putt was about 4 ft with a right to left break, which I made. The next hole was a par 3, a solid 7 iron left me with about 20 ft straight up the hill with a small left to right break which I put right in the hole - a pretty great start 🙂. It is a very different feel than what I'm used to but the MicroHinges really seem to put a forward roll on the ball, though I have no testing to personally back that up. That's about all I know at this point but I will keep you posted on my journey and if anyone has any questions, please don't hesitate to ask or if I'm forgetting something obvious please let me know. My plan is to give updates after every round and every trip to the putting green. Thanks for reading.

Edited by golfertrb
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Great review @golfertrb, did the feel of the micro hinges cause you any issues, for instance give you trouble with distance control?

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Hey Nunfa0! Great question - what I noticed more than anything were the times I felt like I didn't hit the ball hard enough to get to the hole, the ball rolled out. I think that feeling is a combination of the softness of the insert (relative to the "softness" of the milled face of the Black Design Tour) and the effectiveness of the MicroHinge technology. It really felt like the ball had more forward roll on it and a stronger one in terms of line. The other thing I failed to mention is that I ordered a sample pack of Snell golf balls after the MGS ball test so I was dealing with different feels everywhere.

 

 

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Really good review. I am all so a Stroke Lab man now myself, best decision I ever made.

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20 hours ago, golfertrb said:

Hey Nunfa0! Great question - what I noticed more than anything were the times I felt like I didn't hit the ball hard enough to get to the hole, the ball rolled out. I think that feeling is a combination of the softness of the insert (relative to the "softness" of the milled face of the Black Design Tour) and the effectiveness of the MicroHinge technology. It really felt like the ball had more forward roll on it and a stronger one in terms of line. The other thing I failed to mention is that I ordered a sample pack of Snell golf balls after the MGS ball test so I was dealing with different feels everywhere.

 

 

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Thanks for the answer, sounds like you're really enjoying this putter 🙂 

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Great review so far! I am seriously interested to see if the hype of the stroke lab shaft is real, so I will be paying close attention to this. 

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I worked on the putting green for about an hour last night and the feel is so unique. Odyssey claims that the Stroke Lab shaft will improve the stroke through the weight distribution and change in feel is quite noticable. You feel the weight in your hands without losing any of the head weight and the sensation is one of the club starting the forward stroke on its own. That's not to say, that I feel any less in control, in fact, it's quite the opposite. It feels like an extension of my arm - I know that sounds a bit like marketing but the feel is one of being connected to the stroke and the head more than usual. I don't have any actual data to support that other than my feels and my eye but it noticeably a different feel than what I have used in the past. The two-tone head is also quite easy to align, I wish the white line were not there but that is a personal preference. I didn't mind the line on my gamer but somehow with the silver and black it feels distracting and unnecessary. The face is quite easy to align because of the silver against the black and I like that a great deal. 

One little anecdotal story I will share is that when I'm practicing putting I will put down my wedding ring and putt to it from 8ft and in. It gives me a small target so that the hole seems huge when I'm playing. Anyway, I was in a nice rhythm last night and my last putt my ball rolled up and on my wedding ring. I started laughing and said to myself, "Those MicroHInges really do put forward roll on the ball." Ha. On that note, I will say that the roll seems to be stronger with the Stroke Lab than my Black Tour Design - it just seems to want to roll forward. I have never felt like the Black Tour Design has a hard putter but the insert in the Stroke Lab is softer but the roll is strong. I'm not sure if that makes sense but I have often felt that a milled face puts a better roll on the ball but it doesn't seem to be the case here. I know putter technology has made a lot of strides in the past few years (Evnroll, etc) but this is a new sensation for me and it appears to be working for me. 

If you have any questions or thoughts - let me know.

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Just an aside - I've heard/read elsewhere you should keep the head cover on with the Micro Hinge putters, to protect the hinges from getting pushed or pulled out of place.

And great review! Happy that you're happy with your new hole-finder!

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Thanks cksurfdude! I will always keep it covered 🙂 

I haven't been able to play recently due to weather but I have been putting a great deal and I'm growing more comfortable with it. The Stroke Lab shaft feels more active than a conventional shaft - I can absolutely "feel" the shaft helping in the forward stroke. I'm interested in seeing how I will score with it - how I will make a putt when I really need to. Putting has always been a strong part of my game - I have averaged 28 putts the last few seasons. When I hit greens - I can go really low as a result so having a putter I can count on is critical. I will keep you posted once the weather clears a bit.

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One thing that I have been noticing is that I am having an issue with missing putts to the right. It feels a bit like I lose the head. My Black Series is 340 grams - when that putter was introduced the tungsten weight increased when the putter as the shaft decreased in length. 35" 340; 34" 350; 33 360. The idea being that the the swing weight would be the same. At any rate, for whatever reason, my miss is right with the Stroke Lab. Now I haven't been playing just doing a lot of putting and I am missing coins or my wedding ring to the right while the Black Series is right on line. Not all the time of course, if it was, I would need an agent 🙂

What's weird is that I know the head weight is higher on the Stroke Lab but the counter balancing does certainly make a difference. It's not light by any means - it's just different. Anyway, I'm just reporting in and I will keep you posted. I am planning on playing Thursday so I will report back. 

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So I played 12 holes with my son tonight match play and I really struggled with distance control. I actually had 2 3-putts in a row and I really don't remember the last time I had a three-putt. I was playing a ProV1 and the issue is that with the insert the ball just felt like mush - I kept giving in a little extra at contact and leaving myself too much coming back. I was uber frustrated because I was hitting the ball so well but could not make a putt of any substance at all. I won but it didn't feel like a "win" at all. I'm playing on Thursday so we will see how that goes.

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43 minutes ago, golfertrb said:

So I played 12 holes with my son tonight match play and I really struggled with distance control. I actually had 2 3-putts in a row and I really don't remember the last time I had a three-putt. I was playing a ProV1 and the issue is that with the insert the ball just felt like mush - I kept giving in a little extra at contact and leaving myself too much coming back. I was uber frustrated because I was hitting the ball so well but could not make a putt of any substance at all. I won but it didn't feel like a "win" at all. I'm playing on Thursday so we will see how that goes.

Yeah, the microhinge insert on these is definitely really, really soft. Especially coming from an Evnroll. I was leaving putts short though, not sure if it's because I'm used to a firm face that feels like it gives me some spring, or if I was just really bad at distance control once I switched putters. It's gotten better since I got 6 or so rounds in with it.

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Yungkory - where did you land? Are you using the Evnroll or Stroke Lab?

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I spent a few hours last night on the putting green and I just could not get my distance control right. I spent the last hour using my Black Tour Series and it was night and day. My distance control improved substantially and I realized part of the issue is that I am able to release the putter head so much better with the Black Tour. I started making putts and my confidence soared. I played today and I took both putters to the putting green and the difference between the two was so clear to me. I played with the Black Tour Series - I had 27 putts for a round of 68 (2 under). I'm going to continue working with the Stroke Lab but my gamer is safe. I've had the Black Tour Series for 10-11 years but I was interested in testing new technology but so far I'm happy with my current technology 🙂 

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Looks like a sweet putter. Nice review and too bad that it's not working out for you. 

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On 5/16/2019 at 5:34 PM, golfertrb said:

Yungkory - where did you land? Are you using the Evnroll or Stroke Lab?

I ended up putting the ER2 back in the bag. I just couldn't find the distance with that microhinge face personally. I probably don't hit the center enough, and maybe that's where Evnroll is shining for me? I will say though that the Stroke Lab from 5' and in was almost guaranteed, I really liked it on those skittish 4' putts

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On 5/23/2019 at 2:03 PM, yungkory said:

I ended up putting the ER2 back in the bag. I just couldn't find the distance with that microhinge face personally. I probably don't hit the center enough, and maybe that's where Evnroll is shining for me? I will say though that the Stroke Lab from 5' and in was almost guaranteed, I really liked it on those skittish 4' putts

That was ultimately my issue too. Really struggled with distance control and just could not tell where I was hitting it. They clearly have something working for a lot of people but not for me. My Black Tour Design is firmly in the bag for next 8 or 9 years haha.

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On 5/23/2019 at 9:54 AM, FromRightToLeft said:

Looks like a sweet putter. Nice review and too bad that it's not working out for you. 

It really is - I really, really like the look of the putter! I really wanted to like it and was honestly shocked when I didn't.

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I haven't played in 13 days (whose counting :) - weather has been lousy in OK and my youngest graduated from HS) so I have nothing new to share except to say that I'm really looking forward to the testers feelings on the Stroke Lab putters, in particular the insert. As for me, I'm pretty sure I will be selling mine. Thanks for everyone's feedback and interest.


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Just put a Stroke Lab #1 in my bag.

I've always used face balanced mallets and after testing all of the stroke lab mallets and the face just felt so strange and I couldn't get any distance control. Tried the #1 and it was a completely different experience. A well hit putt feels strange in such a good way, almost like its in a track it just sticks to the green and starts rolling.

Not sure if I buy into the shaft weighting thing helping stroke, but it has forced me to take a longer slower stroke rather than a shorter faster stroke with the weight. That is a weird concept because you're going to have to adjust your stroke around the putter rather than getting a putter that fits your stroke. I'll post a full review after using it a couple more times.

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