Odyssey Ai-One and Ai-One Milled putters: 5 things you need to know
Realizing not everyone has the time to consume every piece of content on club launch days, we’re trying something different and offering a fresh version of our detailed tech write-ups that hits the high points. Here’s what you need to know about Odyssey’s Ai-One and Ai-One Milled putters.
Odyssey Golf is a behemoth in the world of professional golf. Since 2000, the putter manufacturer has recorded 1,800-plus wins worldwide and has been the top putter on the PGA Tour Champions, DP World Tour and LPGA Tour for two decades. This year was no different. With more worldwide wins than all of its competitors combined — not to mention 8 major championship victories — Odyssey once again put its mark on the putter space in a big way.
A lot of good can come from being an apex predator, but behind the scenes, Odyssey was dealing with some issues of its own that needed to be rectified.
“We were clearly number one [in Tour usage], but we’d become a little bit stagnant, a little bit flat,” said Jacob Davidson, Odyssey’s general manager and head of global tour. “It was a strategic decision on how we were going to solve that and unlock the next frontier.”
Instead of conducting a myriad of internal conversations to come up with the “next big thing,” Odyssey decided to try something different and place one of its brightest engineers, Eric Stubben, on the PGA Tour.
The goal? To shadow Odyssey’s PGA Tour reps and glean insights from the top players in the world. During his time on Tour, Stubben learned where Odyssey was strong and weak in the putter space. He also picked up on several key putter tendencies with the help of a state-of-the-art putting green on the Callaway Tour truck.
With a problem to solve, Odyssey leveraged Callaway’s Artificial Intelligence design and super-computing capabilities to come up with a speed solution: the Ai-One insert.
Stubben quickly found out pros possessed phenomenal speed control, but like their amateur counterparts, they continually struggled with mishits, which in turn plagued their speed control.
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Odyssey Ai-ONE Milled Putters
Odyssey staffers lost a staggering $25 million from 3-putts on the PGA Tour this year. It’s a staggering statistic that highlights the importance of possessing a reliable putter. The wand is equally important for recreational golfers, too, particularly those hovering around a 15 handicap who tend to record a 3-putt at a clip of 3.3 times per round.
“I was a little nervous talking to pros about mishitting putts,” said Luke Williams, Odyssey’s senior director for product and brand management. “I was sort of thinking they’d look at me like I had four eyes, like, I’m on Tour, I don’t mishit putts. But they all that they do, and what that costs them.”
The further a golfer misses the ball out of the middle, the more ball speed tends to fluctuate coming off the putter face, which in turn affects distance control.
In 2019, Odyssey started taking a closer at ways to shore up distance control with the help of Artificial Intelligence. Similar to how AI’s learnings have helped retain ball speeds on Callaway’s metalwoods and irons, Odyssey started to notice how machine learning could improve ball speeds off the putter face as well.
“If we can get consistent speed, no matter where you hit it on the face, that’s going to help golfers putt better,” Williams continued. “That was the objective that we worked with the computer to solve — creating consistent ball speed across the entire face.”
The end result is two different inserts — Ai-One and Ai-One Milled. The former is a co-molded insert featuring a grooved urethane layer and aluminum backer that’s designed to produce a traditional White Hot feel. The milled offering, on the other hand, is made from titanium — and paired with a milled stainless steel head — to deliver a premium feel at impact.
“It was important for us to have the feel of that be consistent with what players of milled putters expect,” Williams said, “but with performance you wouldn’t get from a typical milled putter.”
The contours found on the back side of both inserts were added with the help of AI, and make it possible to see, in the case of Ai-One, putts wind up 21 percent closer to the hole on off-center strikes. (The claim is based on recent robotic testing Odyssey conducted.)
Due to the urethane layer and aluminum backer found on Ai-One, golfers will notice a larger, more consistent sweet spot across the entire face. The sweet spot has also been increased on Ai-One Milled, with the only dip in speed coming on strikes out towards the toe.
3. Visible tech
Instead of showing tech images of the AI-inspired contours on the back of the insert, Odyssey decided to make its latest creation visible to pros and amateurs alike.
This back view isn’t a rendering with a cutaway to show the back of the insert. We talk at Callaway about products that are demonstrably superior and pleasingly different. We think the window delivers on the pleasingly different part. Sometimes the best technologies are hard to show, so we’re excited to be able to make it visible.”
The window is made from an automotive-grade polymer called “Panlite” that makes it possible to showcase the contours, while still maintaining a premium look. It’s important to note the window will only be available on the Ai-One; the Ai-One Milled has a more traditional cavity with the Odyssey logo affixed in the middle.
4. Staggered launch
Odyssey’s Ai-One ($299.99) and Ai-One Milled ($449.99) will hit retail shelves on November 3rd, but not every head shape will be available at that time. The Ai-One #1, Double Wide DB, Rossie S and #7 S/CH will be deployed this month, but you’ll need to wait until February for the #2, Double Wide CH, Rossie DB, #7 DB, 2-Ball DB/CH and Jailbird Mini DB/CH.
For the Ai-One Milled lineup, golfers won’t need to wait — all seven shapes (One T, Two T, Three T S, Six T, Seven T DB/CH, Eight T and Eleven T) will be available on November 3rd.
And if you’re someone who wants a longer build beyond 34 or 35 inches — think Versa Jailbird 380 — Odyssey has it covered with a “Cruiser” version of the Double Wide CH, #7 DB and Jailbird that’s specifically made at 38 inches with a 17-inch grip, 140-gram shaft and 380-gram head.
Odyssey’s Stroke Lab shaft returns with a fresh look and weight. The shaft is considered “lightweight steel” by Odyssey standards, but it’s still 20 grams heavier than the original version.
The goal behind going heavier was to have extra mass that could be placed in the grip to improve stroke consistency. Unlike the previous multi-material Stroke Lab design, the SL90 version is a stepless steel design.
“Our previous Stroke Lab was 75 [grams] and typical steel shafts are in the 115-120 range,” Williams said. “This still gives us the ability to put some counterbalance in, so with the stock grip, you’ll get 20 grams of counterbalancing in the butt end of the club. That helps deliver more consistent strokes across the board.”
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