Tuesday, June 26, 2012
We Tried It: Odyssey Flip Face And Ping Nome
It's pretty cool to be a putter these days. Anything goes when it comes to style, shape and function. Sure, drivers and woods have benefitted most from adjustability/interchangeability lately. But putter customization has picked up a lot of steam this year with new and popular models that promise different methods to help you perfect your stroke.
ODYSSEY FLIP FACE
Model Tested: Flip Face #5 ($320)
Rounded mallet with a single-bend shaft (no hosel) and full-shaft offset
First Impressions: The new Flip Face putters (there are currently three models) look fantastic. The #5 is a smallish mallet design, with the most striking feature (other than the adjustable face—more on that in a moment) being the rectangular cutout behind the face. We assume this does more than allow the face to flip—it pushes the CG back, lending a nice balance and feel to the putterhead. The Flip Face tech enables golfers to literally flip the putterface from the soft White Ice insert to the firmer Metal-X insert. This essentially turns one putter into two. This is done by using a simple wrench tool (which doubles as a divot tool, by the way) and loosening a screw located underneath the toe. The process is an easy one, but here's my only gripe. The screw comes all the way out, and it's black. I dropped it in the grass by the green—not fun. Had it been painted white—it might have been easier to find. Anyway, a small detail.
The top end of the putter has a Lamkin 3GEN grip that feels awesome. It also makes it easier to detect the difference in how the two sides of the putterface feel.
Performance: The first insert I tried was the Metal-X, which is an aluminum insert with oval-shaped dimples that grip the ball and impart a better launch on the golf ball. Upon trial, the insert felt impressively firm, but not so firm that it's uncomfortable. This is probably due to a urethane layer behind the aluminum insert. As it so happened, I tested this putter on some slower greens, so the Metal-X actually helped with my distance control. I felt as though I didn't need to muscle the ball toward the hole, helping to smoothen out my stroke. I for one have favored firm putterfaces for this very reason, and the Metal-X was right up my alley.
With a quick flip of the face, I was onto the White Ice insert—the same one in the popular White Ice series putters. First of all, what a difference! I was skeptical as to whether or not there would be much of a discernable difference in how the two inserts felt, but my skepticism quickly vanished. It really is like having two putters in one. The White Ice insert was softer, produced less putt distance and seemed like a great fit for putting on faster greens. If you're like me and you've had doubts as to how different the inserts feel—trust me, it's night and day.
Summary: Being able to adjust the feel and performance of a putter without affecting its overall look and balance is a genius move by Odyssey. The putter does what it says: It offers two unique feels from one putter. The mechanism is pretty slick too (don't drop the screw!), and I appreciate not having to store inserts away from the putterhead—you simply flip the face over. At $320, it may seem on the expensive side—but know that you really are getting two putters for the price of one here. And if that's what you want, you can't go wrong with the Flip Face.
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