One of the things golfers like most about long putters is that they're heavier than standard-length models, and that extra weight tends to make them more stable during the stroke. The future of long putters might be in doubt, but that stability is a trait golfers will seek no matter the length of the shaft.
The new Tank putter from Odyssey is, as its name suggests, heavier than your average flatstick – its head weighs 400 grams, while its shaft weighs 150 grams. This extra weight, plus a counterbalance weight (weighing 30 to 40 grams, depending on the individual model, at the top of the shaft) helps to keep the Tank stable through impact and to quiet the hands during the stroke. In addition, the added weight engages the big muscles to promote a pendulum stroke that helps keep the wrists from breaking down.
''With Tank, we wanted to enhance the stability of the putter by increasing the Moment of Inertia [in essence, its resistance to twisting or rotating] of the entire club,'' said Odyssey Golf Principle Designer Austie Rollinson. ''We feel this achieves most of the benefits of anchoring without actually touching the body.''
In redistributing weight to enhance the Tank's stability, Odyssey focused on placing the balance point in each shaft in relatively the same position as in a conventional putter. So at each length, the balance point is in a slightly different place on the shaft. And because of their extra weight (19 percent heavier than a standard putter), the conventional-length Tank putters have a total club MOI that is 34 percent higher than a standard putter, while the longer options (32 percent heavier than standard) have a total club MOI that is 109 percent higher than a standard putter.
"At every golf club in the world, we've heard golfers say, 'I just want something a little heavier,'" said Odyssey Golf Global Director Chris Koske. ''With the proposed anchoring ban in discussions, we thought it was the right time to service golfers with an alternative and stability-focused method to putting and putter design.
''We didn't just do heavy – each component is carefully weighed to ensure a proper balance point and ultimate stability,'' he added. ''We brought two prototypes out to Riviera and one went in play immediately."
The Tank's head, with its two wings flanking a big cutout in the middle, looks a bit like the reverse of Odyssey's famous 2-Ball models. A string of small red dots on the crown provides an alignment aid, and the face contains Odyssey's popular White Hot insert, which claimed more than 30 victories across the worldwide tours in 2012. For 2013, Odyssey developed a new laser milling cutting process that better matches the insert shapes to the various head shapes.
Tank putters will be available at retail starting on April 12. They, along with the Metal-X Arm Lock putters that Odyssey unveiled in November, should attract serious looks from golfers either considering long putters or weaning themselves off of long putters.