Odyssey Marxman X-Act putting wedge

We accept the 'Chipper Challenge' with Odyssey's latest shot-saver

Posted: 11 February 2008
by Bob Warters

Odyssey Marxman X-Act putting wedge
Technology:Short game option using same alignment technology as Odyssey Marxman putters with polymer insert, longer grip and hybrid sole design. Engineered to function like an approach putter with 37 degreees of loft and full shaft offset. Available in right-hand only with 35-inch shaft.
Price: £89

Odyssey putting wedge
Profile of the putting wedge

As one of the first to break the news of Odyssey dipping both its heel and toe into the world of 'chippers for chokers' - I feel a responsibility to have given the Marxman X-ACT putting wedge a serious testing.

Perhaps not the best time of year to review a piece of equipment, in cold and wet conditions, but when one of the world's leading manufacturers of Tour-level putters says it has spotted a gap in the market - albeit tiny - and decides it needs to fill it with a quality product, you have to take notice.

My first reaction was a McEnroe-esk: 'You cannot be serious?'

Why would Odyssey, pioneers of the modern two-ball putter, back-weighting technology and soft polymer insert faces for better feel on faster greens, consider it needed to a add a 'girlie' chipper to its range?

After all it's a club, surely, that many golfers believe provides a way of simplifying the game so much that it verges on cheating? Surely blokes wouldn't entertain adding such a club to their bag when they can use a wedge or a 6- or 7-iron around the green to deliver the same result?

Odyssey putting wedge
37-degrees of loft on the face

Let's face it, despite its chequered history as a 'jigger' from around the turn of the last century, a putter with loft is rarely seen outside the bag of a high handicap woman golfer with a serious attack of the pitching yips.

However, I greatly respect the equipment that Odyssey has placed in the hands of some of the world's greatest players and major winners including Padraig Harrington and Phil Mickelson and if their engineers believe there is a market for a putting wedge, they deserve a fair hearing.

The makers say that it's designed to function 'like an approach putter, providing an easy to hit option for those tricky shots around the green.'

However, at address I immediately became confused. I could see all of its white elastomer insert face angled like a 6-iron(37 degrees) but couldn't decide how to grip the red, soft-feel handle.

Should I take a traditional putter grip (I already use reverse overlap, left-hand low and claw depending on how the mood takes me) or should I hold it like a regular club and cock the wrists in the back swing? The longer grip on this club allows for a variety of options.

Best results from my initial efforts from the fringe from around 15-20 feet to the flagstick were left below right, just as I'd grip for a long putt. The ball popped off the face on a low trajectory but tended to run on with little or no spin and leave me a series of seven or eight-footers coming back. Alternatively I held back expecting the ball to roll-out and it came up short by a similar distance.

odyssey putting wedge
Using the putting wedge with putting grip from the fringe

With no grooves on the face, pace was difficult to control, especially from fluffy grass.

At longer distances, upto 30 yards back on the fairway, there didn't seem enough weight in the head - the sand or pitching wedges are normally the heaviest club the the bag - to develop a smooth pendulum swing. The result tended to be a thinned or topped approach.

However, the club proved most appropriate with 15-20 yard approach putts from the extreme perimeters of the green. The wide sole caused no damage to the putting surface and the loft of the club tended to take out some early undulations.

I also put it in the hands of some serious scratch and single-figure golfers during a visit last week to play the Monte Rei and Millennium courses at Tavira and Vilamoura on the Algarve.

Though having sympathy for the plight of the higher handicapper who finds chipping an art hard to master, none were convinced it could replace the traditional, versatile lofted irons and fairway metals we tend to use around the green in the modern game.

I detected, too, that part of the problem was the less than macho sight of a 'real golfer' using a club mostly favoured by, with respect, the less talented female golfer.

The Golfmagic Verdict
Rating: 7.5/10
Summary: With more practice I would seriously be prepared to swallow my pride and keep the putting wedge in my bag for a little while longer until Odyssey demand its return. I fear, however, that I would come to rely on it too heavily and start considering its use from 100 yards out on seaside links or even from low-lipped greenside bunkers! If you're prepared to shell out £80 for this versatile club it could well be an excellent investment, especially when your confidence around the green is low.

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What do you think of Odyssey giving credibility to the chipper with its launch of the Marxman X-act putting wedge? Are we dumbing down the art of chipping and pitching with the validation of this club by a top brand? Or am I being an old fashioned equipment snob?

Posted: 09/10/2007 at 12:19

No Bob, you are not.

Waste of a club in the bag! Learn to chip!!

or use a rescue

or even (shock horror!) a 6 or 7 iron!

Posted: 09/10/2007 at 12:29

Bet the shambles group would use one.

Posted: 09/10/2007 at 12:40

Why the mockery?

 if its legal helps you get the ball in few shots then it deserves a place in the bag.

Surely that the idea of golf is to get the ball in the hole in as few shots as possible and not looking the part?

We dont snigger at the hybrid replacing the 3/4 irons? so to twist a previous post 

Learn to Use long irons!!

 Some people are uncomfortable using 3/4 irons so  carry hybrids, while others struggle with chipping so carry a a "putting wedge"

what the difference? Both make the game easier for the average golfer

Posted: 09/10/2007 at 12:52

And use a yellow ball with it also.

Posted: 09/10/2007 at 12:57

It will be interesting to see if the Odyssey will cause a rush amongst other premium brands to follow suit. In the past the bargain basement labels consigned the chipper to be ridiculed in most peoples eyes. Nike chipper - must have - only £100

Posted: 09/10/2007 at 12:58

Re the "learn to use" comment....

A chipper is a 6 iron with a short shaft! You already have one in your bag with a longer shaft - so go down the grip! Or if you need the flat sole, use a rescue!

If you carry a chipper , you can't carry something else!

2/3/4 iron versus hybrids debate is an "either/or straight swap" issue

Quite different!

Posted: 09/10/2007 at 13:07

Quite correct.

Posted: 09/10/2007 at 13:11

But my point being, you use what works for the individual golfer. Personally i find my PW and 7 iron do the job for most type of shots around the green but if i found a chipper worked better to such an extent, i would change my club configuration to fit it in.

 Whats the stat that 70% of golf shots are within 100y of the pin, so if any club is deserving a place in the bag, it is a club that will save you shots around the green.

If it is a chipper it is deserving of a place in the bag and therefore not a waste of a club in the bag.

I think its being a bit oversimplistic by calling it 6 iron with a short shaft.

Posted: 09/10/2007 at 13:17

I thank you!

Posted: 09/10/2007 at 13:19

Aces is right - if you let appearances restrict your choice of clubs, you're a poser not a golfer!

Part of learning about the game is learning what kit helps you. If this gives you confidence, more power to your elbow. Personally, I enjoy chipping with a 7-iron, but I don't expect everyone else to, just like honey monster doesn't expect everyone to want to use a 2-iron, or like we might advise a beginner not to hit his driver.

Posted: 09/10/2007 at 13:22

No one is wrong here as it is purely personal choice!

But, when I get to the first tee in matchplay, I never mind seeing a chipper in the other bag!! (grins!)

Posted: 09/10/2007 at 13:42



this shows you all the rules about chippers if a chipper doesn't break any of the rules then i guess it is fair

Posted: 09/10/2007 at 13:46

Bet the shambles group would use one.

Oi, i heard that!    As far as im aware there is only one mupp....... er i mean golfer that uses a chipper and he gets mocked on a regular basis

Personally i wouldnt use one if my life depended on it but its purely down to personal preference, if it works for you then why not. 

Posted: 09/10/2007 at 14:31

If a chipper works, use one !!

How many of you use Graphite shafted 460cc drivers rather than Hickory shafted persimmons ?

If it's legal - use it to your advantage.

I'm going to try one and if it kicks the duffed chips into touch I'll be investing !!

Posted: 09/10/2007 at 15:42

It is the price that gets me.  £90 seems a lot of cash for a club that has limited application.

I am sure that it will be of excellent quality but I doubt that it will offer much more for the average golfer than the £5 Dunlop or Donnay's you can pick up in Sports World, on top of that I doubt you will see these in the hands of Tour players I struggle to see the market they are aiming at.. 

I can only guess there are a lot of people out there with deep pockets who will want to be seen with the newest "gadget".

Posted: 09/10/2007 at 16:20

I agree, it does seem a bit steep for a chipper and not sure I like the semantics used in the name. 'Putting Wedge' my a**e it is a chipper and always will be and the name change with fool no one. I had a chipper in my bag when I first started and only had half a set but as I filled up to the full 14 clubs then it had to go. I find that my hybrid does exactly the same job.

Posted: 09/10/2007 at 16:32

Well, If I thought that one of these would help my game, i would have a bit of a dilemma.

On the one hand, golfing logic says that what works, works. That's why we have oversized clubs, 2ball putters, broomhandle putters, graphite shafts etc etc.

 On the other hand, i would know that my mates would take the p*ss something rotten. that is not a good golf reason not to carry a chipper, but it is pretty powerful none the less.

I suspect that if I had the chip-yips, i would be prepared to try anything, and hang what everyone else things.

Academic point though, becasue I am a supreme chipper............

Posted: 09/10/2007 at 17:02

And speller

Posted: 09/10/2007 at 17:40

"Bet the shambles group would use one. "

Your right, but I'm not telling you who, or I'll get another warning for good play, DOH.

Posted: 09/10/2007 at 17:45

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