This weird looking beast is an Odyssey Backstryke - the first model of what Odyssey has claimed to be a revolution in putter design. It was launched to incredible fanfare in 2010 and had several tour players including Padraig Harrington singing its praises very soon after.
As you can see this putter's appearance is not exactly conventional. When you first put it behind the ball it really does challenge your concept of what a putter ought to look like.
Once you've got over the shock, though, you notice one major positive of having the shaft attach at the back of the head. You get to see the whole of the putter face unobscured by a clumpy hosel and that combined with the two ball design gives you a terrific sense of confidence that you've lined the putter up well.
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on an Odyssey Backstryke...
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It'd be true to say that although I was sceptical to begin with, within the first few minutes of using it, I decided I rather liked the look of the Odyssey Backstryke.
The only question mark still in my head was whether my hands were behind the ball (which almost all putting gurus are agreed is bad news) because the point where the shaft meets the head is so far behind the putter face you feel like your hands must be way back too.
If you check, you'll find that if the sole of the putter is flat to the ground, the grip is level to, if not slightly ahead of the face, so it seems impossible that your hands would be behind the ball, but the doubts still remained in my mind.
How does it feel?
Absolutely the first thing you notice when you start striking balls with this putter is the sound it makes. It's not at all what you'd expect. Instead of the dull thud of the original Odyssey 2 Ball, the Backstryke produces a high pitched pinging sound (a little reminiscent of an early Ping Anser)
It also seemed to be extremely light. You need to give it a good bash to get the ball up to the hole. I tested it on medium-to-fast greens and certainly nothing came close to scaring me in terms of the speed at which the ball came off the putter face. It's probably a great putter for lightening fast greens and not so good for slower nappy surfaces.
How does it roll the ball?
Apart from the fact that it didn't seem to give the ball as much speed as you'd imagine, the roll off the face was good - not quite as good I felt as other non-Backstryke Odyssey models, but good nonetheless.
I was particularly impressed with the way that my short putts rolled, the ball seemed to dive into the cup extremely willingly.
Our Verdict on the Odyssey Backstryke:
The Odyssey Backstryke was a much-hyped design when it was released. Its looks are certainly way-out, but I think it actually looks pretty good when it's behind the ball! It's dead easy to align because you have a clear view of the whole of the leading edge and have the trademark Odyssey 2 Ball design.
The high-pitched ping you get when you strike your putts makes it sounds a little bit weak and might not to be everyone's taste.
It's not a heavy hitting putter and is therefore excellent on extremely fast greens.
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