The Odyssey DART Putter and Its Innovative Alignment Aid

Without question, the Odyssey Dart putter looks "different." Its unusual design is intended to help us line up our putts. Does it work?

Before I begin this review of the Odyssey D.A.R.T. putter, you might be wondering what the "D.A.R.T." in its name signifies. I know I did at first. Well, according to Odyssey Golf, "D.A.R.T." stands for "Direction and Alignment Technology."

Dave Pelz, the famous short-game guru, says "alignment is the single most important part of putting," and obviously Odyssey agrees. That's why it came out with this revolutionary new Odyssey DART. putter.

The name of the Odyssey D.A.R.T. putter is clever, but it's difficult to read (and even harder to type). So, now that I've explained the significance of "DART.," let's make it easier on everyone (me included) and do away with those silly periods. Let's just call it the Odyssey Dart putter.

Actually, there is more than one model of this specific putter. There's a White Ice Odyssey Dart putter in both a mallet and blade design, and then there's a Backstryke Odyssey Dart putter. And golfers who want a longer version can play an Odyssey White Ice Dart belly- or chest-length putter.

So, why does Odyssey Golf - one of the premier putter companies in the world - believe so strongly in "DART.?" I'll do my best to explain why Odyssey is convinced that "DART." can help all of us golfers putt better.

Basically, Odyssey took a page from classic psychology when it designed its new putter. "Gestalt Theory" deals with how our minds can "complete" an image that's "incomplete" by filling in the missing information. The old adage "the whole is greater than the sum of its parts" is based on Gestalt Theory, and according to Odyssey, it's one of the driving principles behind this putter. The two converging lines on the top of the putter head somewhat resemble an arrowhead or a dart, and they're said to create a visual image in the mind's eye that improves alignment and therefore helps golfers sink more putts.

Here's the theory explained in practical golfing terms: at address, a golfer sees the putter head's two converging lines and pictures them (perhaps unconsciously) as converging into an arrow (or dart) just ahead of the putter's face. When the putter is aligned properly, those converging lines will look like they're pointing right at the center of the ball. If the alignment is "off," the golfer won't "see" this image, and will realize he or she must reposition the head.

The whole thing can be boiled down into an arrow or dart that, when aligned properly, points the center of the putter face directly at the target line. Voila! You now have a perfectly-aligned putter head. Your eyes don't actually see everything you need to align the putter properly, but your brain fills in the missing information with the help of the putter's dart-shaped alignment aid.

The face of the Odyssey Dart putter has the same multi-layer "White Ice" insert as several of the company's other putters. But, the surface of the insert is slightly roughened to increase friction (to promote a smooth forward roll) and produce a satisfying sound. As a final piece of technology, the Odyssey Dart putter has an adjustable weight on the sole which allows golfers to dial in the particular feel they prefer.

I tried the White Ice mallet version of the Odyssey Dart putter. I normally use a mallet putter and this one fit my eye a lot better than the Backstryke version. As advertised, it was extremely easy to align. Just point the "dart" at your target line and begin your putting stroke. I didn't make all my putts, but I sure felt like I was starting the ball on my target line.

I'm used to Odyssey putters with the White Ice face insert, so distance control was not an issue for me. If you're used to an all-metal putting surface, you might need some practice to adjust to putting with a slightly softer face. But, a few sessions on the practice green should be enough to give you the "touch" and solve any distance control problems you might have when you first start using the Odyssey Dart putter.

The Bottom Line: Some golfers don't like its looks, but the alignment aid of the Odyssey Dart putter is certainly effective. With some practice, this one could become a "point and shoot" putter.

From the Odyssey DART Putter to other putter reviews.

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