Over the years the Odyssey range of putter inserts has had a little of the Goldilocks about them. Callaway has varied the inserts from being firm to being soft and they keep serving up new versions so that any golfer can find the one that is just right for them.
For a lot of golfers, the White Hot insert that featured in recent ranges like the Versa was just about right, but now Callaway has added to the menu with the Fusion RX insert in the Odyssey Works Versa range.
The underlying material is still the White Hot urethane insert, but now on top of it they have added a 0.406mm thin piece of stainless steel to change the sound and get the ball rolling quicker. This not entirely new as a similar steel mesh was used in the Metal-X range, but the Fusion RX version is thinner.
Compared to the standard White Hot, the Fusion RX does sound better at impact as you get more of the feedback you would associate with a steel face putter, which has always been the downside of a synthetic insert. The feel is different too, as the steel mesh tones down the feel that you get with the White Hot insert and that may be an improvement to some.
It really depends on what type of feel person you are and the firmness of the ball you are using.
If you are an auditory feel person then the sharper, deeper sound of the Fusion RX will probably be preferred to the softer, higher pitched White Hot sound.
If you are a sensory feeler, then the mesh reduces the feel from the insert through the club head at impact when compared to the White Hot, but is not making up for it by feeling like an all steel face. It is kind of in the middle of the two, neither White Hot nor steel cold and possibly not right for these types of players as the feedback seems muted by comparison to both.
The roll was very consistent, so the Fusion RX insert does do the job of getting the ball rolling as soon as possible in a similar way to putters with grooves on a face.
If you are someone who tends to putt from off the green, then grass can get caught in the steel mesh from time to time, like in the grooves of your irons, but it is easy enough to clean out.
The Fusion RX insert features in the Odyssey Works Versa range of putters that contains many of the tried and trusted shapes that Callaway has produced over the years. However two of the seven models have had a makeover and here is how these new heads shape up.
Callaway Odyssey Works Versa 2-Ball Fang Putter Review
With an iconic head shape that is as successful as the 2-Ball, the temptation is not to mess with it, but at the same time it has to evolve.
In theory it is all about the 2 white circles lining up with the ball rather than the head shape as the 2-Ball Blade showed, but the Odyssey Works Versa 2-Ball Fang is a very different construction.
Instead of the 2 white circles being on the steel head, they are on a lightweight plastic panel that allows weight to be moved from the top of the putter to the sole.
The contrasting colours and lines are the Versa concept carried over into the Works range, but now using black and silver instead of black and white. This is a bit more subtle and aesthetically looks better, whilst still giving all the alignment benefit for whichever head shape you choose.
As you may have noticed by now, the Works Versa 2-Ball features Fangs either side of the alignment strip and these move the weight to the outside and lower down to increase the stability or Moment of Inertia (MOI) of the head.
Callaway say the 2-Ball Fang is 36% more accurate as a result and you can feel the extra weight when you putt as it is 5g heavier than the previous Versa 90 2-Ball at 360g.
As most of the weight is now either side of the head, rather than being towards the rear of the centre of the head, the Fang does have a different balance to previous 2-ball models.
It is certainly feels very stable, but it is just a different style of 2-Ball with a higher MOI than the previous model, so if you are a 2-ball die-hard then you may want to try before you buy.
The Fang probably has the edge in terms of looks as the sweeping fangs do look great and give the head a more rounded look at address.
The new head shape has also changed the face dimensions a little too. The face width of the Fang is 0.7cm narrower and the insert is 1.1cm narrower. In addition the circles are 0.2mm larger and the black strip underneath them is 0.4mm wider.
In some ways, the extra stability should negate the need for a wider face, but the face on the Versa 90 is not exactly oversized, so again just check what is right for your needs.
For even more stability you can also get the 2-Ball Fang in a heavier 380g Tank version with a 35 or 38 inch shaft.
The Works Versa 2-Ball Fang comes with a standard Odyssey grip in blue, or for an extra £20 you can upgrade to a thicker Odyssey branded SuperStroke Mid 2.0 grip that will help reduce the influence of the hands.
Callaway Odyssey Works Versa #1 Wide Putter Review
The other traditional Callaway shape that has come in for some treatment is the #1, which is essentially the Anser style model. The Works Versa range features the #1 as standard, but now also a #1 Wide with a deeper head and a double bend shaft instead of the usual crank-neck hosel.
If any of you remember the Odyssey Tri-Hot #3 putter with the extra tungsten weight on the back of the putter, then like me you are not only quite old, but you will also know how it looks.
At 350g it feels a bit lighter to use, but the principal is the same, with more weight low and away from the face, moving the CG back and making it marginally more forgiving than the #1.
It also allows the revised Works Versa colour scheme to really come into its own on the deeper head, as the silver/black/silver stripes and white alignment line provide an excellent visual guide to lining up the head perpendicular to the target line.
This is probably the biggest advantage of the deeper #1 Wide head and why it is also available in a heavier 380g Tank version with a 35 or 38 inch shaft and a longer 42 inch Arm Lock version with 7° of loft.
Overall, both the new models take the Odyssey Works Versa Fusion RX range forward in terms of style, whilst also remaining true to their most popular shapes.
So, if you like the Versa concept and the Fusion RX insert, then you should find a putter that is just right for you.