The Callaway Odyssey Red Ball putter brings another meaning to getting the red-eye that is altogether much more beneficial for your health than getting up for an early morning commute.
Having the correct alignment is obviously key to good putting and that relies on good posture and having your hands and eyes in the right place and this is what the Red Eye design helps you to get right.
This is not the first putter to do this, but Odyssey's take on it is one of the most simple visually to understand. Rising out of the sole on the putter is a little red ball and at address you can see it through a round scope that is on the crown of the putter.
If you get your posture right and your eyes over the ball then the red ball will appear perfectly in the centre of the scope.
If for example the bottom half is obscured then your eyes are too far inside the line of the putt and you should move closer to the ball until the red ball is back in the circle and so on.
This is one of the simplest and I would have to say fun to use alignment systems I have used. If the red ball goes out the back or front of the circle then that could be hand position instead of head position issues, which is something I am prone to. Therefore it is the whole posture and ball position package that can be worked on with the Red Ball putter.
However I would recommend ensuring that the sole of the putter is flat on the ground before aligning your eyes, as it is possible to cheat the system and align your eyes to a putter that is toe up for example, and that 'would be bad' as Dr Spengler would say.
The head is a mallet that has an MOI that is 'in excess of 5300 g/cm2' which is high. Like the Odyssey EXO range uses an empty space in the centre of the design to shift the weight to the edge of the head and it certainly had a very stable feel and a touch of a nice ring sound at impact.
You might think that this is a face balanced model, but as is the trend these days, it has a slight toe hang to help those who have a little arc in their stroke as well as the straight through brigade.
What is left of the crown features another variation of the Versa design that Callaway uses to help you align the putter at address.
It doesn't feel quite as 'direct' in doing this as the original Versa models and maybe a continuation of the perpendicular white line along the sole from the leading edge either side of the Red Ball would enhance this aspect a little further.
Overall the Red Ball putter did feel very good at impact with a well balanced design that compares well to the EXO Seven and #7 Tank for stability.
The face uses the White Hot RX insert that first appeared in putter of the same name in 2016.
This uses the classic White Hot material with a mesh pattern design to make it sound and feel a little softer than the flat White Hot. It is still reasonably firm and if you know your Odyssey putters then I would put it as softer than the EXO and White Hot Microhinge faces.
It does however have a knack of getting little blades of grass caught in the mesh which starts to get annoying if you are a little OCD about everything being clean.
Even though it has 3° of loft on it, the face was more visible at address that I would expect and that could be due to the hosel position, but at least the rest of the Red Ball visual features are there to give you the confidence that everything is set up as it should be.
That is maybe the only rub with this, as like putting a line on your ball, you can get a little obsessed with getting everything perfect at set up and then forget that putting should have a certain amount of carefree nature about it to be successful too.
Therefore maybe focussing on using the red ball in practice and occasionally on the course might be a better way to use the Red Ball putter, which is yet another very good, high MOI mallet from Odyssey.