The potential ban of anchored putting strokes is driving innovation, and once again, Odyssey Golf appears to be at the forefront. The first offering they introduced last year conformed to the acceptance of anchoring to the forearm and is called the Arm Lock. The most recent solution they are presenting is called Tank and its name couldn’t be more fitting.
Introduction from Odyssey
Callaway’s newest addition to the alternative category is called Tank. It comes in short and long options and features specifically weighted components with a Tour preferred balance point for a higher MOI and greater stability through impact. One of the main reasons Odyssey is able to achieve this level of stability is the total club MOI. Short options have a total club MOI that’s 34% higher than a standard putter, and for long options it’s 109% higher than a standard putter.
Stability weighting and a heavier head and shaft quiet the hands during the stroke to provide consistent control while a double barrel alignment clearly frames the golf ball at address. This added weight engages the big muscles to promote a more pendulum stroke that helps keep the wrists from breaking down, even on shorter putts.
Counterbalance Stability Weighting
- The Tank putter uses a counterbalance weight, heavier head (400g) and heavier shaft (150g) to quiet the hands during the stroke. The added weight raises MOI to create more stability through impact, and engages your big muscles to promote a more pendulum stroke that keeps the wrists from breaking down.
Total Club MOI with Increased Weight
- One of the main reasons Odyssey is able to achieve a greater level of stability is the total club MOI. The short options (34” and 36” putters) have a total club MOI that is 34% higher than a standard putter with a 19% increase in total club weight. The long options (38” and 40” putters) have a total club MOI that is 109% higher than a standard putter with a 32% increase in total club weight.
Tour Preferred Balance Point
- The balance point is lower on the shaft, providing a more conventional approach that Tour players prefer.
New and improved White Hot Insert
- New and improved White Hot Pro insert is highly engineered for more consistent sound, feel and performance.
- Available in four lengths: 34”, 36”, 38”, and 40”
- 70° Lie Angle – 3° Loft
- Full Shaft Offset
- MSRP $199.99
What is Tank?
Tank has the distinction of being one of the most unique putters on the market today. It utilizes proven technology in counterweighting, while presenting it in a user-friendly and familiar way. The utilization of the classic #7 head shape is a great way to draw in those folks that are a little leery of trying something new.
First, let’s talk about the most obvious feature – the weight.
As the name implies, Tank is a hefty putter. At 400g, the head is certainly heavier than most production putters we see in stores. In addition, the size of the head is larger than the standard #7, one centimeter wider and deeper to be exact. However, the weightiness doesn’t stop there. The shaft is also heavier, weighing in at 130g to 150g, depending on the length of the putter. Lastly, Odyssey has added 30g or 40g (again depending on the length) more weight inside the shaft, which has the effect of changing the balance point of the putter, otherwise known as back-weighting. The goal of this, of course, is to produce a putter that is extremely stable in-hand during the stroke and forgiving on off-center strikes (MOI).
In addition to the heavier build of the Tank putter, it’s being offered in four lengths that are anything but standard, ranging from 34” to 40”. In honesty, I was a bit confused when I first saw the putter. At 40 inches, I didn’t feel like it was long enough to be a belly putter (even though it resembles one), yet it was five inches longer than my conventional putter. There’s a good reason for that and I’ll provide some more on it detail later.
Visually, Tank shares many features that 2013’s White Hot Pro series is offering. It’s adorned in the smoky gun-metal finish that I was a fan of while reviewing the V-Line recently. This finish presents a meaner look than the conventional satin that we are used to, while also preventing any hot spots from the glare of the sun.
The insert is also shared with the White Hot Pro series and it’s one that Odyssey is quite proud of. I spoke about it in more detail in the V-Line review, so I’ll keep my thoughts here short. It’s classic Odyssey – soft, responsive, and attractive.
The fact that Odyssey was able to maintain a semblance of feel with the ultra-heavy Tank was quite impressive. The back-weighting actually makes the putter feel surprisingly nimble, while the White Hot insert gives the trademark feel that Odyssey has built a brand on. I certainly didn’t feel as if I was laboring to take a stroke with it and the insert provided feedback when I missed its center.
Odyssey’s use of the familiar #7 shape makes the Tank putter seem familiar, even though it is different in many ways. As I mentioned, the head is larger, but it took a ruler for me to really grasp the size difference. In addition, the head has more material up top and a deeper cutaway to the flange. A closer look will also reveal a tri-beveled sole, as opposed to the flat one see on the standard #7. Still, it is very much true to its roots and provides confidence in alignment as one would expect from the shape.
The most obvious difference from an aesthetic standpoint comes from increased length and a longer grip. As I mentioned, I mistakenly thought the Tank I reviewed was a belly putter before taking the time to learn a bit more about it. I can’t stress enough that it’s not a belly putter, so don’t be afraid to try one of the longer varieties if you get a chance. The longer grip invites you to choke down a few inches, which increases the effect of the back-weighting. I found the 40 inch Tank to be quite useful after a little time on the practice green.
First of all, I’ll say that it took me a couple of practice sessions to get comfortable with the added length of the Tank putter. In fact, I eventually took a standard #7, stood them next to each other, and visually marked a spot on the Tank’s grip, so I knew my hands were in the position they normally would be in. Fortunately, the grip made this quite easy, and I found myself most comfortable when I placed my hands right below the “Y” in Odyssey.
The most valuable and exciting aspect of the Tank presented itself to me with putts in the 5 to 10 foot range. The head is extremely stable and easy to maneuver along its intended path, which really proved useful in this important range. As a player that misses more greens than he hits, having the ability to feel confident after a wedge shot is vital for saving par and eliminating big numbers.
The cliché seems to be that the performance of longer putters degrades the farther you get from the hole, but I didn’t find that to be the case with the Tank in hand. It was adept at lagging the ball close when needed. My performance from 30-40 feet was just as good as it normally is while using a conventional putter. I felt like the back-weighting played a good part in this. I was able to take a relaxed grip and let the putter do the work with good success.
I think it would be very difficult to find a putter that performs as well as the Tank on off-center strikes in terms of the ball maintaining its direction and its pace. Off-center performance was truly out of this world. I know that many of us like to think we hit every putt pure, but the simple fact is that we do not. The added forgiveness from the sky-high MOI built into Tank could be a benefit to just about any player.
Interview with Odyssey Golf
Since Tank is a newer concept for many people, I thought it would be helpful to hear some information straight from the source. Chris Koske, Global Director at Odyssey Golf, was kind enough to entertain some questions that I hope you find useful.
Where did the idea for Tank come from and who did you have in mind when designing it?
The idea really started as we were looking into alternative methods of putting a little bit deeper. With the rumors swirling about the Anchoring Ban, we wanted to open up our exploration a bit to cater to Belly and Broomstick users that may be forced to change. The guys and gals who are using these putters are doing so for stability and consistenc,y so that’s what we set our sights on. At every Pro Shop, retail store and golf course in America there’s a guy that says, “I wish I could just make it a little heavier.” We wanted to be able to deliver that without compromising the feel.
What length should people gravitate towards in comparison to their conventional putter? Do the different lengths have a different target audience or is it fitting related?
We chose to offer it in four different lengths at two degree loft increments and it was really based on some work we’ve done with tour players around the world. Most of the U.S. PGA Tour players that were experimenting away from the Belly were trying the heavier, counterbalance at the longer lengths and leaving about 4-6 inches of shaft above the hands. When we went to Japan, they were really into the shorter lengths and leaving about an 1-2 inches above their hands. After watching hundreds of people try these now, it really comes down to personal preference. The longer versions will provide a higher club MOI and offer more stability, but the feel is more foreign to people who have been putting with a conventional putter length. If a person is moving away from an anchored putter, I recommend starting with the longer models and if you’re coming from a more traditional length, then go an inch or two longer than your standard putter.
What is the difference between the two longer versions and the two shorter versions? Are the shafts the same weight?
The weights of the components are all different except for the head on each of the models. The shorter versions have a 40 gram counterbalance weight in the butt of the shaft, whereas the longer versions have a 30 gram weight. This is in part due to the weighting of the other components. The longer version has a heavier shaft and a longer grip, so the player can grip down further. For the shorter version, we had to design a new shaft with True Temper to get the proper weighting we wanted. It weighs about 20 grams more than a typical putter shaft.
Can consumers use their grip of choice?
Absolutely. The weight is in the butt of the shaft, so grips can be switched out freely.
How has Tour acceptance been?
The tour acceptance has been good. We’ve had so many guys adopting the Versa and White Hot Pro putters that we have some tempered expectations. It’s a tour niche for us; however, the first week we brought a proto out at Riviera, one of the players demanded he get it, so we let him put it in play. The first week we had full inventory on the EPGA, the putter got a win in Morocco and it was the first time the player ever put it in play. We’ve gotten a lot of requests from some very elite PGA Tour players as well, but I’m not allowed to mention any of these names.
How do you maintain feel in such a heavy putter?
That was the key to this whole project. We want to make it heavier, raise the entire club’s MOI and try to engage the larger muscles in the body so that we could deliver a putter that helped cure the “Yippy” stroke. The one thing we didn’t like about other heavy weight putters that had been on the market is that they felt so different from a standard putter. The balance point was so high in the club that it took all the feel out of the hands. To get the feel we wanted, we kept the balance point of the putter down towards the head, just as you’d see on a conventional putter. People are shocked when they pick it up, because it feels heavy, but still gives a very similar sensation to a normal putter in the golfer’s hands.
If it’s stability and ultimate forgiveness you crave, the Tank may be your answer. This fresh take on the tried and true technique of back weighting comes in a package that many will find both attractive and familiar. It’s a solid option for keeping your stroke in line, without being clunky or unresponsive. For more information on the Tank putter, you can head to www.odysseygolf.com.