Golfers should never say never, but we typically do.
Ask any of your low-handicap friends (or
yourself) and you're going to find several things that
-- as the guy says on the Aflac commercial with the
duck playing golf -- will resound in a "big fat
Ball retrievers - no thanks. Iron covers - not in
this lifetime. Chippers? Foggetaboutit.
But those same golfers have no problem putting
from off the green, or using their hybrid to skip a
ball over the fringe, or even from light rough. Todd
Hamilton made that "play" cool when he
won the British Open in 2004. I've seen less of it
from friends lately, probably for the same reasons I
don't use my hybrid as much:
- The club is too long, so you have to choke
down and adjust your stance too much to make it
- On tight lies, you can just as easily
"skull" a hybrid as you can a 7-iron. You
can hit it fat too.
- The head weight is too light to get the proper
feel, unless it's struck perfectly
- The lie angle means that if you stand to far
away from it, the toe can get caught in the turf --
When I play from tightly-mown areas I usually
ask myself if a putter would be a better play, and
usually it is. But with a relatively low amount of loft
(yes, putters have loft) it can be tough to get a good
feel for how hard to hit it through the fringe.
X-Act Tank Chipper's offset design
Enter the Odyssey X-Act Tank Chipper.
The club, which was announced this week and
goes on sale July 15, addresses all of the
deficiencies of using a hybrid from off the green, and
it also comes from a company that might make you
feel better about carrying it, as opposed to a no-
name club you found in the bargain bin. Chippers
have been around for years, but never with
technology like this. The USGA can take away our
anchored putters but they can't stop companies like
Odyssey from helping you save strokes - legally.
Let's take a look at some of the things the X-Act
Tank has to offer.
First of all, if you're not familiar with the
"Tank" product line, it's Odyssey's
heavier, counter-balanced system that is available in
their popular putter models like the No. 7. Taking the
muscles out of play, and helping create a pendulum
motion is the goal, and it works. Many anchored
putters have successfully transition to the new Rules
of Golf by using a Tank.
In the X-Act Tank Chipper, the weight of the
head is 355 grams -- about 50 grams heavier than
your typical sand wedge, and about 25 grams more
than a standard putter. The grip end is weighted to
counter-balance the heavy head; I won't go into all
the benefits of counterbalancing but suffice to say it
promotes a fluid stroke and solid contact. And you
won't have to swing so hard to get the ball rolling on
a long approach chip.
The X-Act Tank comes with the Hi-Def Marxman
Alignment System to get you lined up -- it's a
confidence booster. The soft polymer insert promotes
a solid, consistent feel. My only recommendation
would be to keep a wet towel to keep it clean and
white, the more you keep it wiped down the better
it's going to look over time.
Starting to get interested?
Two more features really differentiate the X-Act
Tank from old school chippers. The hybrid-like sole is
beveled from toe to heel (it's called the X-
Act sole) resulting in less scuffed shots. It's a
hybrid-like feature you don't get when putting from
off the green with a flat stick. And on the grip side,
Odyssey has partnered with Superstroke on an
oversize, non-taper grip that's longer than a
standard club or putter grip.
PRICE AND AVAILABILITY
The Odyssey X-Act Tank Chipper is available at
retail on July 15 in 37 degrees of loft at 35 inches.
(right hand only) at a price of $129.99 each.
TAKING IT TO THE COURSE
I haven't tried one yet, but plan on giving the X-
Act Tank a try in the next week and will get back to
you with my findings.
PRODUCT TESTERS WANTED
Interested in testing an X-Act Chipper?
Sign up here.