Since the introduction of the original White Hot 2-Ball in 2001, Odyssey has released numerous iterations of the 2-Ball design, culminating in the recent unveiling of the Odyssey Black Tour Designs 2-Ball blade putter ($299).
While there is no arguing the success of the 2-Ball concept, the question is: Does the world need another 2-Ball putter? Following is PutterZone.com’s Odyssey Black Tour Designs 2-Ball putter review.
The 2-Ball blade putter is one of five models in the Black Tour Designs family, which was developed with input from Phil Mickelson, Ernie Els and other tour professionals. The Black Tour Designs putters could be considered the offspring of the ultra-premium Odyssey Black Series and Black Series i putters introduced in, respectively, 2007 and 2008.
According to Odyssey, “The precision-crafted 2-Ball Blade model is our first 2-Ball putter ever created without an insert, providing a new option for players looking for all the alignment benefits of the legendary 2-Ball design with the firmer feel of a milled face.”
The 2-Ball concept was originally conceived by legendary instructor Dave Pelz and licensed by Callaway (Odyssey’s parent company). Two white discs on the crown of the putter mirror the ball and help define the target line for improved alignment.
Odyssey Black Tour Designs 2-Ball blade putter is made with multi-material Advanced Roll Technology (A.R.T.), which includes a tungsten weight plug incorporated into a 1020 carbon steel head with a stainless steel sole plate for enhanced durability. The tungsten is placed in the rear sole of the putter, “resulting in a lower, deeper center of gravity to quickly generate true, forward roll.” A urethane dampening layer is designed to improve feel at impact, and a deep, sharp milling pattern in the face “increases interaction between the face and the ball, providing better feel, truer roll and more consistency.”
The Odyssey Black Tour Designs 2-Ball putter comes with variable head weights of 360 grams for 33- and 34-inch models, and 350 grams for 35-inch models. The loft is three degrees and the lie angle is 70 degrees. A plumber’s neck hosel features full-shaft offset, and the balance is very slightly toe down. A black PVD finish “produces a durable, glare-free look added specifically based on feedback from Tour pros.”
I’ve got to be honest—I’ve never been a big fan of the regular 2-Ball putter, despite its undeniable brilliance in the alignment department. Simply put, the 2-Ball’s record-smashing popularity and overall ubiquity has, ironically, made it easy for me to ignore. I just got tired of seeing it at every pro shop and sporting goods store. The early Odyssey inserts weren’t my cup of tea, either.
Well, I am now happy to report that the Odyssey Black Tour Designs 2-Ball blade putter has adjusted my attitude. With its sleek looks, electrifying alignment features and milled metal face, this putter takes the 2-Ball experience to a new level.
In this iteration, the 2-Ball feature is accentuated by the vivid contrast of the two white “balls” against the sleek black finish. A thin black paintfill still surrounds the balls, but you don’t notice it next to the black finish as you do on the earlier silver-finish models. The upshot is that the 2-Ball feature is at once magnified and simplified in the Black Tour Designs version.
The leanness of the blade design further enhances the putter’s linear sense of purpose. If you’re anywhere near the hole, it exudes a “can’t miss” quality that can elevate your confidence level.
Another thing I like about the Black Tour Design 2-Ball is that it seems predisposed to remaining square to the path of the stroke. Like the SeeMore SB putters, it places the bulk of its weight in line with the center of the face as opposed to the far perimeters (as often seen on high-MOI putters). Personally, I find this approach to weight distribution to be effective for maintaining a smooth, stable stroke.
The feel of the Odyssey Black Tour Design 2 Ball is thick and throaty, and, to me, almost oaky in its feedback. When you consider that this putter has extreme rear weighting, a urethane dampening layer, a hollow-body construction and two synthetic “balls” incorporated into the crown, it’s not surprising that the feel would be distinctive. If you like a soft, buttery feel in your milled putter, this may not be the stick for you. But if you enjoy a compact, solid feel, the Odyssey Black Tour Designs 2-Ball will fit the bill.
In the cosmetics department, the Odyssey Black Tour Designs 2-Ball blade putter gives off a badass vibe, which is not a term I would have used to describe earlier 2-Ball models. It’s probably as svelte as you can make a putter that incorporates the 2-Ball alignment feature, and the sharp corners of the lower flange complement the curvaceous flow of the upper flange. If someone ever breaks into my house and I have to grab a putter in self defense, it’ll be this one.
The black, white and silver motif of the head is echoed in the grip and head cover. The head cover is commendably appropriate for the price point of the putter, with a magnetic closure, snug fit and crisp embroidery.
The Odyssey Black Tour Design 2-Ball is also sure to fuel discussion about the direction of the ultra-premium putter category (roughly defined as $200 and above). This category was founded on pure milled putters with an overt sense of artistry, and with technological bells and whistles kept to a minimum. With the Nike Method putter and the Odyssey Black Tour Designs putters, to name a few, the category is widening to include designs that emphasize technology over artistry. It will be interesting to see how the ultra-premium category unfolds over the next few years.
The Bottom Line
Yes, it turns out that the world does need another 2-Ball putter, as the Odyssey Black Tour Designs 2-Ball blade is perhaps the best expression of the concept to date. This putter is a boon to golfers who seek to boost their confidence level on shorter putts, and its center-weighted design promotes a smooth, balanced stroke. The Odyssey Black Tour Designs 2-Ball putter is a particularly compelling choice for golfers who demand a lot of technology for the price.