When the new Two Ball putters were announced I was, of course, intrigued. During my iterations of putters one that I did try and actually used for probably longer than any other putter was the classic Two-Ball from years ago. I was eager to get my hands on one to see what they could improve with a putter that has been very popular and remains in the bags of golfers across the globe.
Read on to see what I thought about the newest addition to the Two Ball family after putting it to some extensive use.
Design and Technology
A Perfect Blend of Friction and Feel…it's how we roll. That's Odyssey's tag line for their new Metal-X putters. The biggest (and most marketed) change comes in the face of the club. For years we have been accustomed to the famous white inserts on every Odyssey's putters. No more. There in its stead is a new insert that changes the club completely.
The insert now is dual layered with the "Metal X" being made of 6061 aluminum. The other major change is that the insert is struck with a face pattern that intends to provide a truer roll roll. In marketing lingo:
The unique face pattern generates the truest roll in golf and the ovals on the face develop a mechanical lock with the golf ball's dimples at impact, creating friction and imparting an incredibly consistent roll for high precision distance control.
All you need to know is that there is a lot of thought and technology that goes into those little bumps and its intended to help the ball roll into the hole more often than not.
The black finish of the Metal-X, not just the Two Ball, was done to reduce glare at the request of the tour players. Definitely a significant deviation from years past and probably the first thing you'll notice. One of the less subtle differences is the Lamkin grip, which uses their proprietary 3GEN material that reduces vibration without dulling how the putt feels.
This has been a total revamp of the Two Ball. As described above, other than the iconic shape of the putter, all of the materials have been updated.
Looking at the older version and the Metal-X, the shape is identical. The biggest change in the looks is that black finish. While the old metal was not overly shiny and reflected a lot of light the black matte finish takes glare completely out of the equation and the white alignment two-ball stands out even more on the putter. The only question I had when first handling the putter is whether or not that finish would stand up to bag chatter and other minor scrapes. After a few rounds you could see the nicks and scrapes but nothing that was out of the ordinary. It just took away from a really beautiful, seamless black tone that you see fresh out of the box.
I appreciate Odyssey keeping the basic shape of the Two Ball. The classic formula for this putter has worked for years. Other Odyssey models may come and go but the Two Ball will, and should, remain.
Performance and Feel
Having used a blade putter for a few years now I had gotten use to the slim look and feel when addressing the ball. Other than a long putter I've tried just about every combination on the green of mallet and blade. Heck, I get out my old 8802 every once in a while. That being said, going back to the Two Ball was a seamless transition.
The first thing that struck me was the balance of the putter. One of the first things I like to do with a putter is to simply rest it behind the ball with one hand and see if it naturally opens or stays on the line you've intended. The Two Ball felt like I could nearly leave it in a standing position behind the ball. Once I rested the putter it did not move easily and I felt more confident that the ball was going to roll where I wanted. As Bob Rotella would say, golf is a game of confidence.
During the stroke the Two Ball continued to impress. I felt like the putter traveled on a perfect arc and did not feel any sort of weight imbalance anywhere. Some golfers may not like the look of the Two Ball and simply prefer a more traditional style but what they can't argue is that this putter has anything but a solid feel to it.
The strike of the ball was exactly what I was expecting. Where the old Two Ball putters felt a bit "mushy" the new Metal-X Two Ball feels much more lie, well, metal. There isn't a high-pitched ping or ring when hitting the ball but much more like you're hitting a blade putter without an insert. One golfer I regularly play with has the older style Two Ball and hit a couple and commented in the same fashion. That it felt like "he wasn't hitting a pillow or a piece of rubber."
As for performance, I was very happy with how the Metal-X Two Ball did on the greens. A lot of my struggles have been in the 5-15 foot range and not holing enough of those putts. I always felt 1) that I could never get aligned properly which led to 2) never feeling confident about making the putt.
After some time on the practice green I quickly erased the feelings I had in that first issue. I started with a very simple, straight three footer and drilled five in a row. After that short test I backed up to about six feet and only one in the first ten was significantly off line and I made seven out of the ten. It was during this time I felt the balance of the putter.
Longer putts also seemed to improve. Distance control was the same but I felt like my alignment and, to steal a Feherty-ism, my "towardance" was better. Because I have good distance control, I don't often three putt but I definitely noticed that I was burning the edge and sometimes making longer putts. Overall, the Two Ball was a definite improvement over my previous putter and also the previous Two Ball.
The Two Ball model I tested for this review was their classic Metal-X Two Ball model. You can get it left or right handed and in lengths from 30 to 39 inches in half-inch increments. Standard lengths are 33, 34 or 35 inches.
Odyssey also allows you to modify the standard grip. For the Lamkin or any other non-standard grip there is a $5 up charge. Women, you're not totally ignored out as Odyssey also offers all sorts of colors including ranging from sky blue to orange to pink. You can also have your grip wrapped up to an additional 1/8 of an inch for those of you with larger hands.
Standard lie angle is 70 degrees but you can adjust that up or down 3 degrees. Weight comes in at 350 grams and the Two Ball has a loft of 3 degrees.
I'm very happy with how the new Two Ball Odyssey has turned out. I like the look, enjoy the feel and am very happy with the results. In the end it is about getting the ball into the hole and for a golfer that has struggled a bit lately with doing just that I'm glad to have the Two Ball now at my disposal. The only drawback is esthetic in that the black finish just doesn't stand up well to normal use.
Odyssey has done a great job taking a good, popular putter and made it even better. While the overall shape, thankfully, has not changed the materials and innovation that goes into the putter has turned it into a must-try for any golfer out there.