50 Word or Less
Artistic. Crisp response. Great roll. “Kitchen sink.” Innovative.
Prior to The Open Championship, Ian Poulter tweeted out that he was officially “sacking” his putter. Hot off his putting clinic at the 2012 Ryder Cup, Poulter was about the drop the Odyssey White Hot XG #7 that he had made even more famous. Poulter then pulled a big time move and asked putter manufacturers to send putters to his offices in the UK for him to try out. Ultimately, this putter sweepstakes was won by another Odyssey. This time it was the Odyssey White Damascus iX #1; a new Japanese release shrouded in mystery.
Fortunately, Odyssey was generous enough to send one our way to review so we could share some of the lesser known details about the putter.
The Odyssey White Damascus iX is a striking putter. The dark finish contrasted with the silver insert is always a great look. Additionally, the swirl of the damascus in the insert is an eye catcher and the focal point of the putter’s aesthetics.
The previous damascus inserts from Odyssey were milled flat, but the White Damascus iX has a Metal-X pattern milled into the center of the insert. Though it looks like an insert within an insert, it is actually a single insert with a different pattern chemically milled in the sweet spot.
Here is the information Chris Koske shared with me regarding the “chem mill” process:
The chem mill process starts with a plating over the insert. That plating is then lasered off to reveal the oval pattern you see in the face. Once the plating has been layered off, the insert is put in a chemical bath that eats away at the metal and leaves the oval depressions. Chem milling is typically used in industries where exact, tiny detail is important.
Sound & Feel
Having quite a bit of experience using different Odyssey putters with all types of inserts, it was immediately noticeable that this insert feels and sounds much different than other Odyssey offerings.
By nature, damascus steel is a very hard metal. For this reason, it should be expected that there will be a different sound off of the face than we typically hear from an Odyssey putter. The Metal-X and Protype milled heads have significantly softer, more muted sounds, whereas the White Damascus has a little more click to it. The Metal-X pattern milled into the damascus softens the sound a bit more.
For the very reasons mentioned above, you can expect a bit different feel. If I were to compare the feel to a Metal-X putter, I would say the feeling of the ball off the face is “crisp” and precise. You get a very responsive feeling at impact, but it’s not uncomfortable. A common criticism is that the damascus is backed by a urethane piece, but this is by design so Odyssey can get the feel dialed in to the exact specs that the tour players are looking for. If it were to be pure metal, they would have less control over the feel. I’ll be honest, right now, I’m hooked because of how good this putter feels.
With all of the different putters I’ve tried from Odyssey over the years, I always find myself thinking, “What is really going to be that different and will performance really change from new line to new line?” Somehow, Odyssey keeps coming up with small things that seem to improve upon already tried-and-true designs.
The damascus/urethane insert gives you an unbelievably responsive putter making distance control a breeze, but there are two other key characteristics that make this putter a real winner. First, the Metal-X milling in the damascus helps to promote a better roll on the ball. Of even more importance to the roll of the ball is the tungsten flange. Per Chris Koske at Odyssey, the tungsten flange “positions the center of gravity low and deep to increase gear effect.” This means that because of the placement of the center of gravity, the ball gets a better forward roll off the face and minimizes skidding and backspin.
It’s amazing to me that we aren’t seeing more of the Odyssey White Damascus iX line in the hands of bigger name touring pros. So far, the White Damascus iX has popped up in the hands of Ian Poulter (#1) and Ryo Ishikawa (#9HT), but I predict there will be more because this putter is as good as any putter Odyssey has ever made, if not better.
Odyssey refers to this putter as the “Kitchen Sink” because of all the unique contributing factors that make this putter such a beast. Odyssey really threw everything they had at this putter to make it a premium golf club with performance as well as looks, and they certainly succeeded. The White Damascus iX really should make you believe there’s a reason that Odyssey is the number one putter on tour.
Price & Specs
- Hand Availability: R
- Loft: 3º
- Length: 34″, 35″
- Offset: Full-Shaft
- Lie Angle: 70º
- Head Type: Blade
- Head Weight: 350g
Beyond the Review…
This section is a little different than we normally put in our reviews, but with all of the conversations I had with Chris Koske and the research I’ve done, I figured it would be good to share some of the additional information that didn’t make the review.
The Ian Poulter Putter Sweepstakes:
As mentioned in the review, the Odyssey White Damascus iX #1 was the putter that won the Ian Poulter putter “sweepstakes.” The story is that Ian Poulter, clutch-putting European Ryder Cup hero, tweeted that he wanted to replace his trusty Odyssey White Hot XG #7 that had brought him so much success in the past. One might have thought that was just some social media content for him to post, but in reality, this served as “the call.” Anyone that manufactured putters saw that tweet and immediately got to work. Though no numbers were officially released, Poulter supposedly received hundreds of different putters in a matter of a couple of days. Like everyone else, Odyssey put their European Tour reps on the task, and they sent their fair share as well. After a period of deliberation, the White Damascus iX was the one, and it made its debut at The Open Championship where Ian’s putting game made a return to form. When did Odyssey find out the White Damascus iX was the winner? When Poulter tweeted a picture of the putter, just like the rest of us.
You might be asking, “Why would Odyssey only release this putter in Japan?” I asked Chris Koske the same question. Odyssey has had damascus inserts in putters in Japan for a couple of years now. The whole thing started when a tour pro in Japan started making requests for it, so Odyssey decided to explore this new insert. After the damascus insert started to get positive feedback, Odyssey began to explore it a little further and created lines with the damascus insert for the Japanese market. Then, when the Metal-X line was so successful, Odyssey decided they wanted to figure out how to bring the two worlds together, and the White Damascus iX was born.
So I addressed how Odyssey started their damascus trend in Japan, but didn’t answer WHY they are a Japan only release. Damascus steel is very expensive and difficult to make. For this reason, the cost of the putter is much greater so the price has to be higher. In Japan, Callaway/Odyssey has a significant portion of the market share and the Japanese market spends more on equipment which makes this putter a realistic fit in Japan at $500. In the States, this price point is typically reserved for limited offerings, so it doesn’t make sense for Odyssey to maintain a regular production of the White Damascus iX here. However, Odyssey was so happy with how the putter came out, that they felt it would be an absolute shame to not give the American market a limited chance to buy it. Odyssey ended up making 250 #1 head shapes and 250 #9HT head shapes available for purchase in the US.
Chemical Milling Process
I mentioned details about the chem milling process in the review, but I wanted to share an interesting quote from Chris Koske regarding why they use chem mill on these inserts rather than a CNC.
The Chem mill process is really done for two key reasons. We can get incredible fidelity in removing the exact amount of material we want to remove for a uniform pattern across the face. The other thing is that it helps with timing and cost. To CNC mill the face the same way, it would take a lot of time and, because of the density of the metal, can eat up bits on the milling machine quite quickly.
It’s just an interesting perspective to have from the OEM that we may not normally hear.