Odyssey Hwy 101 Putters – 1 year anniversary

Odyssey Hwy 101 putters

This week marks the 1 year anniversary of the Odyssey Hwy 101 putters. These limited edition putters came in iconic shapes with some added details to make them special. Don’t remember these beauties? Here’s a refresher course on each model.

Odyssey Hwy 101 Putters

Background

When you think of the most iconic roadways in the United States, several come to mind, like I-95, Route 66, and US-1. In the golf industry, there is one that has been the heart of golf club design and innovation over time: California Highway 101. As a tribute to the area where putter concepts and inspiration were formed over the years, Odyssey created the limited edition Highway 101 series. Odyssey knew they couldn’t just slap a themed headcover on a putter, call it “Limited Edition”, and charge a premium price. So, what sets the Highway 101 apart from the other Odyssey classics?

Features in Each Model

Odyssey hwy 101 putter faces

First, the body consists of milled 1020 carbon steel, giving the putters a soft feel. A 17-4 stainless steel insert with the Metal-X pattern delivers great feel and exceptional roll reliability.  However, the putter can’t just feel good. It must sound good too in order to appeal to the world’s best and those seeking a premium performance putter. Thus, located behind the face insert is what Odyssey terms the “Sound Chamber”. This technology is designed to improve the sound and feedback a player gets at impact. As a result, the sound off the face will be slightly louder for an increased response compared to if the putter only had the Metal-X insert. All putters also came equipped with a red, midsize Cabretta leather MasterGrip which provided a cushioned soft feel. In total, 1,000 of these putters were released across three classic models with only slight differences.

In total, 1,000 of these putters were released across three classic models with only slight differences.

#7 Model

odyssey hwy 101 putters #7

The #7 is an advanced mallet design and features weighted alignment wings. The #7 has a more face balanced set up than the other two, for added stability.  It is ideal if you have a straight-back-straight-through stroke.

#2 Model

odyssey hwy 101 putters #2

The #2 model has a classic blade-style design. The footprint is slightly larger from heel-to-toe than a traditional Odyssey blade putter. The crank-neck hosel bend performs best for those using a slight arc in their stroke.

#5 Model

odyssey hwy 101 putters #5

Finally, the #5 model is a half-moon mallet design with a single-bend, slant-joint hosel, also ideal for a slightly arced stroke.

 

Thank you for taking a trip down Memory Lane with us! Adding any of the Odyssey Hwy 101 putters to your collection will give you a unique piece and will help your putting (should you decide to game it).

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Wilson Golf President Previews Season 2 Driver vs Driver [Interview]

Season 2 driver vs driver

The show Driver vs Driver was Wilson Golf’s innovative way of bringing their new product to market. If you are unfamiliar, contestants competed to have their driver design become the newest Wilson driver. The show gives viewers an inside look at how a club gets made, from design to production. In the finale, Eric Sillies’ Triton driver design took home the inaugural title.

Wilson is pairing up with the Golf Channel again for the second season of Driver vs Driver. We recently got an opportunity to speak with Wilson Golf President Tim Clarke. He talked about Season 1 and gave us a preview of Season 2 Driver vs Driver. Here’s what he had to say:

GG: What was your favorite part of Season 1?

Tim Clarke: My favorite part of Season 1 was everything. We went down a trail that nobody has gone down and, quite honestly, in a business that’s been a little stagnant. I think the cool thing was just the professional learning experience and then the energy. Taking a big idea from ideation and development internally to the final product was really, really cool. The second part was how energizing the excitement of the contestants was. Watching the winner get life-changing prize money was pretty special. Any time you do something different, there is no road map. So it was truly reality TV in the purest form.

GG: Do you think it’s more important to design a club for a professional or for an amateur? Whose influence is bigger?

TC:  The answer is yes and yes. The hard part is the balancing of that. Clearly, we had our tour staff involved in it and there will be definitely more tour involvement next time. There’s no doubt that when you have the tour staff involved there’s a lot more look shaping that’s harder to measure. What we try to do, in the design process, is to have parameters around what would be the ideal driver for the consumer to have. It was about how long can you hit it and how straight can you hit it.

So, there is that balance. I would say that in Season 1, to be very transparent, we built it more trying to keep the market more open for everybody, keeping the amateur in mind. I think what we’ll see in Season 2 is probably more appearance influence on the shape and the way the club sits from our tour staff and the better players that we work with.

GG: How many entries did you get for Season 1?

TC: We had 350 entries in Season 1 and based on the current clip, in Season 2, it’s going to be a lot more. I think we may push 2000 at the rate that they’re starting to roll in.

GG: In the designing of Season 1, did you see a lot of the contestants looking into shaft options to get their design to perform better?

TC: Their project was around the head design. We did shaft testing as we moved through the process, as things got prototyped. We [mainly] did shaft testing with the final three [contestants]. And then, at that point, we looked at the shaft twofold. Number one, what was performing well? The second was looking at a shaft that had some pretty strong credibility on tour.

GG: How close was the Pivot to winning?

TC: It was so close. Both drivers were one and two all the way through. At the 11th hour, before the final call was made, there was a lot of discussions.

I would say that up until the final three weeks, Pivot had some advantages in it but it had issues. Number one was in the design, that [sole] plate had some durability concerns. It was a titanium plate that had a center screw that allowed it to move six weights around. We had it to a point where it was passing durability [tests], but over the impact of, I believe 2000 times, we were seeing some bending of it. Over that many impacts, it was starting to cause a feel or setup issue.

The big thing that won for the Triton was the adjustability was far beyond the Pivot. The weight adjustments were in the most extreme locations ever done in golf.

We did a statistical area of accuracy test on the clubs, which is the nine-point impact test. Measuring off Iron Byron, we hit center, towards the toe, towards the heel, high center, high toe, high heel, and low center, low toe, low heel. The dispersion and accuracy of Triton was 38% better than Pivot.

GG: What are you looking forward to in Season 2?

TC: We’re looking forward to modifying the show. I think what you’ll see this time around is much more of our tour staff interaction in the process, you’ll see more field testing, and you’ll probably see the presentations cut down. We’re going to limit that to maybe, one episode with a lot of cuts. You’ll see more contests, where players do mini contests and win some things and move on. I think you’ll also see more prototyping. That’s really going to get the consumer excited and give them more time with the final driver that’s going to be coming to market, to understand the performance characteristics, and why this driver was better.

GG: Are there going to be new judges this season?

TC: Yeah, we have made the decision to go with a new slate, just to keep it fresh. We’ve got a list of names but we’ve got no commitments yet. Right now, the word is that I will be the one judge that stays on, even though I am more than happy to let them find somebody else. We’re looking for somebody with a very knowledgeable equipment background. We’re also looking at another name, whether that be athletics or TV personality or sports anchor. So we’ve got a huge list there.

GG: Do you think more companies are going to follow your lead in creating clubs this way?

TC: I can tell you that we know for a fact that people have inquired. Do I think this model has legs? I think it’s interesting. You have the opportunity to present your brand in a unique way. It’s very forward thinking. All brands, other than maybe the top 2 in spending, are going to have to find ways to get their story out.

I think there’s got to be a new way to go to market and I think this is the most innovative way that’s been put out there so far. And now I think people will start rallying around this concept, whether it’s a webisode or whatever they decide to do. I think you’ll be seeing much more of it.

GG: Do you see any plans to expand the series beyond drivers?

TC: There was a long discussion on what Season 2 should be. For our brand, iron versus iron would be a great show, with our heritage of 61 major championships in the iron category, more majors than anyone else. We think that would be a real special piece. On a smaller scale, you could do wedges or putters. We feel like golf balls would be very challenging. You can’t see anything. It’s all really high tech formulation, which is hard to articulate on a TV show.

We thought about and had some conversations on taking that off year [that we don’t do drivers] and do more of a mini contest with wedges or putters. We wouldn’t have as much development required because people could actually bring us the finished product.

GG: How has the show transformed your business?

TC: It’s been an adventure, it’s been fun. I’m proud to be at Wilson. I’m proud of what the Wilson Golf team, as a group, has accomplished because it’s really been no one person that’s been able to do this. The team that I have working with me has been unbelievable. Doug Thiel, who is our VP of Marketing for golf, is amazing. He’s a very creative guy and just to be able to have that type of an asset, making sure our brand was represented properly at all the shoots. Our innovation team, a number of hours they put into this project has been incredible. Our sales team, executionally, getting this driver to more doors than we’ve had a driver in since I’ve been in this position.

I’ll put our team’s resume up against anybody in the business as far as being forward thinking. And my view is that we just got to keep pushing on it.

GG: Thank you for taking some time out of your busy schedule, Tim! We look forward to watching Season 2 of Driver vs Driver!

TC: Thank you!

Check out our Season 1 recap and learn about the Triton Driver.

 

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Hybrid vs Iron: Which Is Best For You?

Since the introduction of hybrids, long irons have slowly been disappearing from sets. The benefits hybrids offer over long irons have led to this increase in popularity. However, long irons still have their place in many bags. In this Tip Of The Week, I’ll help you answer the question of hybrid vs iron, which is best for your game.

Hybrid vs iron

Hybrid vs Iron

The Hybrid

Technology in hybrids has improved vastly since their earliest forms. They have new design aspects, such as hollow construction, an improved center of gravity, and wide soles. These latest features make them generally much easier to hit than a long iron. Who doesn’t want a club that’s easier to hit in their bag?!

Hybrids also incorporate roll and bulge on the clubface, which is what makes the clubface curved. A curved clubface design causes a shot not hit in the sweet spot to curve back toward the intended line of the shot. One reason golfers struggle with long irons is because they tend to swing hard to get the distance. Overswinging is corrected by the forgiveness of roll and bulge on the face. Therefore, you can take your normal swing and still get the distance you are looking for.

The larger clubhead on a hybrid also instills confidence at address. Long irons tend to be small and unforgiving. As you step up to the ball with a hybrid, you know you can hit the shot you want.

The Iron

With all of that in mind, the big question is, “Why would anyone not use a hybrid?”  As one of those few people out there who still carry a 2 iron, here are my reasons for sticking with the long irons as opposed to using a hybrid.

Confidence in hitting a long iron

When hybrids were first introduced, they were primarily geared toward higher handicap golfers.  They featured a certain amount of offset in order to help eliminate the dreaded “s” word (the miss right, for a right-handed golfer). I tried some of these early versions and would almost always hit a hard hook due to the offset. With golf being such a mental game, that idea got into my head. Even now, when hitting the hybrids without the offset, I still feel I will hook the ball.

All that is to say that golfers who still use long irons do so because they like to. They don’t need the benefits that a hybrid gives and they have the confidence to hit them.

Shot Control

Another reason to stay with long irons is the ability to keep the ball lower and shape shots. For players who make solid contact or easily get the ball up in the air, the workability of long irons can outweigh the forgiveness of hybrids. I do wonder, though, if it is only a matter of time before long irons become extinct in golf, like persimmon woods before them. Technology advances and the more iron-like look of hybrids would suggest that.

Summary

To answer the question of hybrid vs iron; if you still carry a long iron but use it more to hack shots out of the trees than the fairway, give a hybrid a shot. I think you may be surprised at how easy they can be to use.

More Tips of The Week by Rudi

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