Weighting in the wings: Odysseys XG 2-Ball F7 Putter

Odyssey Golf XG 2-Ball F7 putter
Price: $199.99 (Golf Town)

'Dammit, Jim! I'm a golfer, not a Starfleet engineer!' Meet the boldly stroking XG 2-Ball F7.

'Dammit, Jim! I'm a golfer, not a Starfleet engineer!' Meet the boldly stroking XG 2-Ball F7.

What they say:

¢ Weighted alignment wings create incredible stability for a highly accurate stroke path

¢ 2-Ball technology for better alignment and more drained putts

¢ Soft elastomer insert for soft feel and truer roll and a thin outer striking surface infused with urethane provides fine-tuned responsiveness

What we say:

Science fiction fans might be among the first to gravitate towards Odysseys new XG 2-Ball F7 putter, and with good reason: the F7s high-density wings, designed to stabilize the putterhead by putting the bulk of the weight at the edges, flank the familiar two-ball alignment system to create a distinctive starship Enterprise look.

But before boldly going anywhere with the F7, roll a few and decide whether youre prepared to value the unique styling and stability characteristics over and above the unmistakable tuning-fork effect at impact.

The concept of the F7, like recent Odyssey offerings like the Sabertooth and the Teron, is part of the recent trend in mallets toward maximizing the clubheads moment of inertia by distributing the bulk of the putterheads weight to the outer edges. Theres precious little bulk behind the putterface; the two-ball aiming device is essentially a platform that extends off the back of the leading edge.

With all the weight in the wings, theres no doubt the result is a club thats harder to twist off line and therefore less susceptible to operator error. But the tradeoff _ as always seems to be the case with game-improvement equipment, which is definitely what this is _ is a significant drop off in feel and comfort.

The XG Teron - Two talons, no balls

The XG Teron - Two talons, no balls

For a player more familiar with the look and feel of a blade or half-mallet putter, theres definitely a getting-used-to factor with any outsized or odd-looking mallet _ and the F7 definitely falls into both categories. The framing effect of the wings, for instance, tends to be a distraction from the familiar two-ball alignment device, particularly for someone who might be accustomed to the sight of the two balls by themselves.

But because the wings provide the putterhead with more of a square shape, its exceedingly difficult to set up to the ball with the F7 with anything less than total certainty that youre square to your target. Its also, as advertised, almost impossible to twist off-line.

Theres a caveat, however. While the F7 does make it easier to find the sweet spot (comprised, incidentally, by Odysseys twin-material, ball-inspired White Hot XG insert), it does so with an unmistakable ping at impact thats exceedingly hard to get used to.

The F7 is not, of course, the first putter to make sound. Pings revolutionary Anser putter, the club that gave the company its name, gave off a distinctive noise at impact thanks to a slot in the bottom, directly behind the face. But the Anser is as quiet as a church mouse compared to the F7.

That could be a deal-breaker or a minor distraction, depending on what ones used to.

Like all the XG 2-Balls, the F7 comes standard with three degrees of loft and (in the case of the standard-length models at least) a 70-degree lie angle – one degree flatter, interestingly enough, than the old standard of 71 degrees. It also boasts a double-bend shaft with full offset and five grams more weight (355 grams) than its standard 2-Ball counterpart.

But if ever there was a putter that demanded you spend a bit of time with it first before settling on a long-term commitment, this is the one _ theres a lot to like about the F7, and a lot to hate as well. The F7 is bound to have its fans, as well as its detractors _ just dont look for many people sitting on the fence.

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James McCarten

When James McCarten isn't at the Ottawa offices of The Canadian Press, where he works as parliamentary news editor, he's either on the golf course or putting off his latest freelance golf-writing gig to spend time with wife Lisa and school-age kids Claire and Lucas. With 20 years of experience in Canadian journalism, James also suffers from a financially crippling addiction to all things Scotty Cameron.

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