The Proof Is In The Putting
It happens ever year. Golf companies try different things and make changes – and unfortunately the pre-purchase thrill of new and improved is soon replaced by the post-purchase blues of used and unsatisfied.
But other times? When the hype is justified? That’s when outbursts of excitement from insanely memorable shots make the game something we talk about all our lives and what makes playing golf so much fun.
So is the new Odyssey Golf Metal-X putter much adieu about nothing? Or is the proof in the putting that Odyssey has brought to market a product worthy of their reputation as the #1 putter in golf?
Let me put it this way, my initial impression when the new Metal-X putters first came out was, “Eh, I’m just not a fan of insert putters.” But my impression now after using the Metal-X #9 all summer long? “You can have it back when you pry it from my cold dead hands.”
Yes – it really is that good.
When you pick up a new putter it should make you feel confident using it from anywhere on the green. Five feet and in should be your “comfort zone” – but instead it’s the “throw up zone” far too often.
Will you be draining putts like Tiger Woods in his heyday with the Metal-X #9? Please. If anyone tells you this putter (or any club for that matter) is the perfect club for everyone? Run fast and far from these gypsies.
But you will find yourself making better putts (and sinking more putts) if the particular characteristics (weight, balance, distance control, appearance, and feel) of the Metal-X #9 expand your comfort zone. And for many people, it will do just that.
Carry Your Own Weight
Grab any putter that’s too light and your stroke will feel inconsistent and sloppy, with the distance control of a person who trips over his own feet. On the other hand pick up a putter that’s too heavy and you’re the bull in the china shop, and might as well be putting with a wrecking ball.
The Metal-X #9 checks in at 343 grams. Is that a good weight for you? You’ll need to try it and see for yourself. I find that weight is very good for me.
I’m not agonizing about an aggressive putt sliding hell on wheels 10 feet past the hole. And I’m not worried about those softer touch putts that need just a wake-up nudge to get started. The Metal-X #9 gives me a genuine confidence putt after putt to find my line and then trust the roll.
On the other hand the Metal-X #8 putter (with the old school blade design I absolutely love) checks in at 335 grams. But without extra lead tape, that lower weight (just 8 grams less) makes every green “three-jack city” for me. So don’t underestimate the importance of finding a putter with a weight you feel comfortable with.
Odyssey says the weights are optimized for each putter, which is fantastic. However that doesn’t tell you which weight is best for you. You’ll know almost immediately when a particular weight is right or wrong for you just by trying it a few times.
Smooth As French Silk Pie
Generally speaking you have toe weighted putters with most weight distributed in the toe section (like the #9), heel-toe weighted putters with weight distributed equally in the heel and toe sections (like the Anser), and mallet-style putters with weight distributed evenly across the face (like the 2-ball).
Find the right putter balance and your stroke will feel like poetry in motion.Your stroke will become poetry in motion.
The weight distribution of the Metal-X #9 makes the putter feel as if it’s on a track just waiting for my hands to set it in motion. Nothing makes it awkward or unpleasant to swing. That means smooth consistency into impact. And that means better putts and more putts made.
There are schools of thought that suggest certain puttingstyles should use certain putter designs. A straight back and straight through swing style generally suggests using a 2-ball putter. Inside square inside refers you to an Anser style. And a slight arc means you should be using a toe-weighted putter like the #9.
I’m straight back and straight through and supposedly should be using a 2-ball, but I’ve never rolled the 2-ball with any confidence or consistency. On the other hand the Metal-X #9 is flat out exhilarating to putt with because I know I can trust it from anywhere on the green. And in large measure that’s because of its balance.
The Tortoise And The Hare
Shamefully we’ve all heard it – “nice putt Alice” (by the way its origin is Alliss, as in Peter Alliss) when our ball cramps up before reaching the hole. And a ball screaming past the cup? More misery. Too slow or too fast on the greens and you’re going down a rabbit hole of putting misadventure that even Dave Pelz therapy can’t pull you back from.
To save you from the distance control blues, the Metal-X #9 incorporates a new dual layer insert technology. Odyssey says the outer textured aluminum layer creates a mechanical lock with the ball to reduce skidding and promote a consistent roll, while the inner urethane layer provides enhanced feedback.
Listen, at first I wasn’t sure about this insert at all. Would the aluminum dent? Mechanical lock sounds like something from the movie “Iron Man.” I actually didn’t want to like it because I’m normally not an insert fan. And then I hit it. And there I was, liking it. Actually, loving it.
The Metal-X #9 wins golf’s “Triple Crown” (roll, sound, feel) for insert technology. Putt after putt the ball rolls as true as my aim. The sound is a clean, crisp, yet soft click, nothing tinny (by the way, you get a higher pitched click with the Callaway Hex Black ball than with the Callaway Hex Chrome ball). And the feel is soft but not cushiony, firm but not rubbery.
Putting from the fringe might occasionally catch a blade or two of grass in the ovals. But a simple swipe of a brush or towel removes those unwanted green whiskers – a small price to pay for beating up on the greens rather than having it the other way around. And oh yeah, the aluminum holds up just fine (I chipped with it from 25 yards out to be sure).
If Looks Could Kill
Asking me if I like how the Metal-X #9 looks is like asking me if I think a girl you have your eye on is beautiful. Opinions on appearances are as unique as our own personalities, and it doesn’t matter if we’re talking, cars, clothes, or golf clubs. You might think she looks like a runway fashion model. I might not have even noticed her if you didn’t point her out.
OK, granted I’ve always been a bit excitable about black finish putters, but it still has to be done right. Odyssey says the Metal-X #9 glare-reducing finish is produced by a premium, high-tech process, and based on feedback gathered directly from Tour players. In other words, there’s black finish. and then there’s Odyssey’s black finish.
The bottom features the Metal-X and Odyssey logos, pretty straight-forward here. And the white, red, and silver secondary colors and compliment the midnight black nicely (the head cover by the way employs these same colors and has a very cool satin feel to it).
I should also mention I was pleasantly surprised the finish didn’t fade at all after a full season’s use. And though our clubs are “tools not jewels,” it’ doesn’t hurt to have a putter with its appearance every bit as dependable as its performance. The Metal-X #9 is incorruptible in beauty and brains.
Feel is a combination of all characteristics (weight, balance, distance control, and appearance) previously mentioned. And ideally it’s what makes you as comfortable using your putter as you would be just tossing the ball towards the hole.
So let’s cut to the brass tacks. No putter on the planet brings all plans to fulfillment. Even Tiger swapped back and forth between two putters this year, right?
But if you’re a fan of insert putters and try the Metal-X #9, at the very least you’re getting a premium performing putter at a bargain price.
And quite frankly for some people? The Metal-X #9 will be your perfect putter.
By Guest Writer Pete Pappas (TheGreekGrind)