When it comes to putters, my approach is usually pretty straightforward. I want something small, sleek and simple which lets me feel like it is me who is doing the work and controlling the ball with my stroke.
So when I heard that Odyssey had adapted their existing high-MOI EXO Putter line to also utilise their new Stroke Lab shaft, as well as the popular Microhinge insert, I was worried that all this tech could get a little overwhelming.
However I am not too stupid, and definitely not too good at golf, to turn down the opportunity of a golf club making life easier for me. So I was intrigued to see whether this high-spec putter could really give me an advantage on the greens and help me improve my overall consistency.
What's It All About?
The best way to describe the overall package you get from the EXO Stroke Lab Marxman is probably to break the putter down into its three main elements, which have been joined together to produce this specific range and compare it to the previous range of Callaway Odyssey EXO Putters which didn't feature Stroke Lab.
Firstly, there's the EXO construction. This was first introduced by Odyssey around this time last year, and essentially uses a premium multi-material construction to create incredibly high MOI without the putter head becoming too big or heavy. Moving weight from the centre of the head to the perimeter also helps to provide consistent speed control and accuracy.
The putters get their stealthy, premium look through a precise skim-milling process which gives each head more refined edges and corners, and the range provides both face-balanced and toe hang options for each model.
Next is the White Hot Microhinge Insert, which is essentially the combination of two bits of technology Odyssey has used in their putters over recent years to create a great roll with good feel. The iconic White Hot insert has been around for over a decade and is one of the most popular on the putter market due to its soft feel and responsive feedback.
The Microhinge face, first seen in 2017, is made from small steel hinges on the insert which flex at impact to add top spin to the ball, so that it rolls more smoothly across the green for more consistent pace.
Finally, the Stroke Lab shaft comprises of a combination of steel tip and graphite upper, saving 40g of weight which is redistributed into the head and grip. The real bonus of the Stroke Lab technology is that you get a counterbalanced putter without having to add lots of extra weight into the grip end, and it helps to promote a smoother and more accurate stroke.
Odyssey has calculated that the Stroke Lab putters improves the consistency of backswing length by 21% and the lighter overall weight allows for better feel and tempo for improved distance control.
EXO Putters with Stroke Lab shafts are a remarkable meeting of three of our newest innovations: EXO construction, White Hot Microhinge Insert, and Stroke Lab Weighting. The result is a spectacular line of high-tech mallets engineered to help any golfer make more putts.
After a cold and miserable winter in the North West of England, the weather finally picked up this Spring and I was able to take the Marxman down to Fulford Golf Club and give it a thorough run-out during 18 holes of golf and a much-needed session on the putting green.
I split the review into a few different sections: on-course testing, short putting, medium-range putting and distance putting, whilst also taking note of the sound and feel of the putter along the way using Titleist Pro V1 golf balls.
Odyssey EXO Stroke Lab Marxman Putter Review
As someone who prefers to use an Anser-style blade putter, when I first got my hands on the Marxman I felt that it was one of those putters which some will love, and some will hate. It is immediately clear that Odyssey has put a lot of effort and technology into the design, and it really does look like something built for the modern game.
The hollowed-out, skeleton style head did look quite cool but I usually go for a much more simple look down at the ball. I have enough to worry about when playing golf, so I was concerned that this futuristic style may be a little bit of a distraction. Having said that, I liked the way the steel tip of the Stroke Lab shaft focused your attention on the head and ball, and the alignment line was clear and I can see that being popular with most golfers.
The head is big, but if you are a mallet lover and have used other Odyssey models, such as the #7, in the past then you should have no problem adjusting. In fact for some this may be a source of confidence, as a bigger head usually correlates to a more forgiving putter.
My favourite aspect of the putter would be the grip, which I thought was fantastic. The big Odyssey logo striped down the side looks great, and the overall texture was really good too.
Having experimented with thicker grips in the past, I felt that Odyssey had struck the right balance between being thick enough to remove too much wrist-action in the stroke, but not too thick to remove any feel.
I started off with a couple of short-range putts on the putting green, to familiarise myself with the look of the putter by the ball.
Whilst the large white alignment line was really clear, I found that the head tended to sit closed when soled. It felt like the toe was constantly trying to overtake the heel of the putter, even on those shorter putts. Add this to the slightly offset neck and I was concerned about missing those short putts left.
During the round my short putting was mostly fine, but I did have to make a concerted effort to readjust the putter head down by the ball so that I was confident I was aligned properly. I would prefer a putter to sit square down by the ball, and this may also be a little unnerving to others too.
In my opinion, the Marxman was at its best on medium length putts. My putting from 10 to 30 feet was consistent in terms of roll and my distance control was good throughout, giving me the confidence to be able to think about holing the putt rather than worry about leaving myself a tester if I happened to miss.
We all know that there's nothing more annoying than watching your putt come up one roll short of dropping in, right on line. But the Marxman was consistently getting to the hole at good speed, and most importantly it felt like I wasn't having to work too hard to do so.
For medium-range putts the weight of the putter and the Stroke Lab shaft felt really good, and it seemed that was able to just make a smooth stroke and allow the head to do the rest.
I also spent quite some time hitting long putts across the length of the putting green. I will say that it did take some time to get used to the combination of the Stroke Lab weighting and the White Hot Microhinge Insert when gauging how hard to hit the putts, but by the end of the testing I was satisfied with the results.
I found that most putts had to be hit a little harder than you may expect from a big-headed mallet, but once I began to trust this I could really see where the technology was helping me. The grouping of these long putts was more consistent than I would typically achieve with my current blade putter, falling within that three-foot ring around the hole which should be the aim when lag putting.
Considering the average golfer takes around 35 putts per round, which equates to over a third of total strokes, if the Marxman can help you eradicate those dreaded three-putts then you should see your scores improve.
In terms of sound, I felt the Marxman to be pretty unoffensive. It was a duller 'thud' than I was perhaps expecting, as the White Hot insert in my current Odyssey blade produces more of a 'click', but I wouldn't say that was a bad thing as it seemed almost to add to the soft feel I was getting. If you like a real 'ting' when you hit your putts as that extra bit of feedback then you might be left disappointed, but I think the sound is something which the majority of golfers would be happy with.
Would I Use It?
No, but that's not a criticism on the quality of the putter, it's simply because it doesn't suit my stroke or preference.
If I had the type of putting stroke that suited a big-headed mallet putter like this, then I would definitely be interested in the EXO range, including the Marxman model. The putter felt good in my hands and I really got the impression that even if it meant I wasn't going to start knocking 15-footers in for fun, I would ultimately be more consistent over the course of a round.
It just seemed that less could really go wrong when using this putter because I had technology on my side, which can be trusted to give you that little bit more help and is bound to make you feel a little more comfortable as a result.
The look and feel of the putter would take a little while to get used to however, especially if changing from a smaller blade-style like the one I currently use. Though that slightly dead feel from the Microhinge face may suit some people, I would want a little more feedback from the head so that I can really get a sense of the strike every time I hit a putt.
With five other models with Stroke Lab from the comprehensive EXO range, including straight and centre-shafted options, there's plenty of choice for golfers to get their desired shape for that added bit of confidence on the greens.
Odyssey EXO Stroke Lab Marxman Putter Verdict
It's hard to be too critical of this putter just because it isn't suited to me, so I'm going to view it more generally and assess its qualities for the average golfer.
Yes, it's expensive, and the looks are a little 'out-there'. But I think that if most amateur golfers put this in play for a whole summer of golf, they would see more consistent results with their putting. The Stroke Lab shaft and White Hot Microhinge face helps to produce better results on medium to long-range putts because you're getting a little bit more assistance on those occasions where you don't strike it quite right.
If you can get used to the look and feel of the putter, which may take a while if you've had a go-to for a number of years, I imagine most people growing to quite like the feel of the Stroke Lab shaft, and the grip was a joy to use.
I still have concerns over the way the club sits and lines up, and found this a little concerning over short putts especially, but this is not an 'off-the-shelf' type of putter which is made for everyone. If it suits your stroke and you get the opportunity to give this a proper test then I'd certainly recommend giving it a go, to see whether it helps you become a Marxman on the greens.
- Grip felt great and really helped promote the right grip pressure
- Stroke Lab Shaft looked good and actually framed the head well when addressing the ball
- Overall weight of the putter was good, nicely distributed which felt like it was going to help with stroke consistency
- Good alignment lines
- Good build quality and head cover
- Big, friendly head will help some golfers with forgiveness
- Club was sitting closed when soled, which was unnerving
- EXO-cage look may not be to everybody's taste
- Muted feel means gauging distance will take some practice