- Odyssey White Hot OG continues in 2023 with a new design and price point.
- Odyssey is bringing back the popular Versa alignment scheme.
- 2023 White Hot OG (MSRP: $199) and White Hot Versa (MSRP: $249) both at retail on Feb. 3.
All that’s old is new again at Odyssey Golf in 2023 and some of you are going to be real happy about that.
Yes, the No. 1 putter on the PGA TOUR (three for three for Odyssey-using winners in January so far) is acting like it’s 2013 instead of 2023. Odyssey is not afraid of looking backward to move forward. Why wouldn’t they with their solid track record full of positive designs?
True, Odyssey already sort of did the retro thing in 2021 when they revived the original-recipe White Hot insert for the OG White Hot OG line. Odyssey did that because players continued to use their old White Hot putters rather than changing to new models. So Odyssey did the smart thing and gave the people the insert they wanted.
In 2023, they are taking a page from their own playbook and again resurrecting a popular Odyssey design. Continuing to give the people/customers what they want seems like a solid marketing plan to me. What has Odyssey returned to the clamoring public? In a word, Versa.
Black-White-Black is Back. All right!
Obviously, Odyssey can’t just rerelease their Versa putter designs from 2013. I guess they could but that would mean completely discounting the decade of putter performance progress Odyssey has made since the original Versa launch. Why not have both? Just like they did with the White Hot OG line, Odyssey is taking the core retro Versa elements loved by golfers and merging them with current design methodologies.
How about we take a look at the White Hot OG and Versa lines to see how Odyssey was able to merge the old with the new?
Odyssey 2023 White Hot OG
The 2021 White Hot OG line was a successful throwback to the salad days of the original White Hot putters. So much so that this will be the third production year for the White Hot OG line. In a time when most putter lines live two years max, earning the additional year is an applaudable anomaly. I’d venture that customer feedback and sales enabled the OG to continue. If that is the case, it is interesting that the Odyssey folk decided to make a fairly major design change in 2023.
Don’t worry. The original recipe White Hot insert is still safe. The new changes focus on weighting and pricing.
Exit Removable Weights, Enter New Pricing
The 2023 White Hot OG putters no longer feature removable sole weights. Talk about going backwards. In a time when putter companies try and make their putters more and more complex, Odyssey has chosen to simplify the White Hot design by sliding the sole weights right on out of the picture.
But why would they do that? Doesn’t everyone spend hours adjusting the weights on the bottom of their putters? According to weight kit sales, Odyssey believes most consumers never adjust the weights. I’d wager some don’t even know the weights are removable. I know that to we putter tinkerers, that concept seems blasphemous. Silly as it seems, some people don’t fiddle with their putters. They just putt with them.
So Odyssey has permanently removed the removable weights from the White Hot OG line. In doing so, they reduced manufacturing costs and are now able to offer the White Hot OG at the new price of $199. A cheaper, high-quality putter is a win for consumers. They’ve lost the weights but the White Hot OG putters still feature the improved aesthetics and the White Hot insert.
Amazing. A new putter line has decreased in price rather than increased. Now that is a retro approach I can get behind: Remove a feature that most people don’t utilize, then drop the price. That’s a win for consumers. For Odyssey, it also gives them a putter in the sub-$200 marketplace. If you look around the shop, there are not many putters under $200 these days. Odyssey has brought their large fish to a nearly empty pond.
The Return of Versa
The big story today is the return of the Versa alignment scheme. When Versa hit the scene in 2013, it was a big deal. It was impossible not to notice these black/white/black painted putters. Consumers couldn’t ignore them but also didn’t immediately understand them. Why would anyone want these alternating colors on a putter?
All About Alignment
The purpose of the high-contrast Versa alignment scheme is to help golfers aim better. The lines sit perpendicular to the target line, helping golfers square the face to their target line. The Versa putters proved to be very popular, both with professionals and recreational golfers. Phil Mickelson played a Versa Nine for years. The system proved popular since it was easy to understand and effective.
So why has Versa returned? Once again, demand and potential market opportunities. Versa players are not likely to ditch a Versa putter for one that has a different alignment scheme. Tour players have stuck with Versa. Putting instructors like Phil Kenyon praise Versa’s influence on putting. Other golfers out there are too young to have experienced the first Vera release. That makes for a bunch of potential Versa customers.
Like with the White Hot OG, how could Odyssey not give the people what they want?
2023 White Hot Versa
On Feb. 3, you should be able to find the five new White Hot Versa putter models in your local shop. While you will likely immediately recognize Versa’s familiar aesthetics, don’t think for a second that these new Versa putters are just rebranded original designs. Like with the White Hot OG, Odyssey has blended the old thing that you want with the modern Odyssey putter technologies.
White Hot Insert
The most welcome change to the Versa design will likely be the inclusion of the White Hot insert. Smart move, Odyssey. If customer demand drove the return of the White Hot insert in the OG line, how could you not include it in the new version of Versa?
For the curious, the original Versa featured a White Hot Pro insert. Black or white, of course.
Modern Odyssey Design Elements
The 2023 White Hot Versa putters feature updated Odyssey design components. First, there is Odyssey’s Stroke Lab shaft. Stroke Lab is another Odyssey technology proven on Tour and with the consumer. For 2023, all Stroke Labs shafts will be red. I expect you will see a bunch of red shafts during TV broadcasts and at your course.
The weighting scheme of the Odyssey White Hot Versa reflects Odyssey’s current weights-forward philosophy. Unlike the White Hot OG line, these putters do feature adjustable weights. The weights are at the front of the putter, continuing Odyssey’s 2022 plan of moving the center of gravity closer to the face to improve roll and consistency.
The weight-forward philosophy is also apparent looking at the bottom of the White Hot Versa Seven. You’ll likely notice first that the weights are forward but then you will see that the fangs at the rear have been hollowed out. This pushes the relative weight forward as well. The original Versa Seven was just a solid-soled putter. This Seven is not that Seven.
The new White Hot Versa putters have throwback paint but they are all modern Odyssey under the hood.
Fewer Models This Time Around
At least with this initial release, Odyssey has decided to dial back the number of Versa putters they are releasing. Truth be told, releasing fewer putters than the original Versa line is an easy task since the original Versa release had about 6,000 black-white-black and white-black-white putters. Yes, there were also some putters that the paint scheme was rotated 90 degrees to be parallel to the target line rather than perpendicular. Obviously those putters also needed to be offered in both the black-white-black and white-black-white patterns.
There were so many different Versa putters that we poked a bit of fun at Odyssey on April Fool’s Day in 2013 with our announcement of the new Versa Driver.
The 2023 White Hot Versa line consists of five models, a few of which have some neck options as well. Yes, that’s a far cry from the Great Versa Flood of 2013 but I think most people should be able to find a putter in the bunch that suits their stroke and eye. Maybe if these are a hit, Odyssey will release more models and variations. Fingers crossed for a slant-neck white-black-white White Hot Versa 90 Seven.
Overall, it’s a good mix of old and new heads. You have the classics like the One and the Seven. The newer favorite Double Wide is in there as well. There are two new head shapes. The new Three T compact mallet looks quite a bit like the Toulon Design Atlanta. The new number Twelve is the blockier mallet in the mix, evolving from the blockier Odyssey Eleven. From traditional blade to modern large mallet, you have a range of options.
My favorite Versa is the number Twelve with a slant neck. Oh, the
feet yards of putts that Twelve and I have already made together. That putter is so money.
Ten Years Backward, Yet Still Forward
It’s been 10 years since Odyssey released the original Versa line. The paint on the White Hot Versa line matches its predecessor but the new design incorporates a decade of putter discoveries. As a consumer, we really are getting the best of past and present. Consumer response should be interesting. Some of you will welcome the return of Versa and others will be experiencing it on the course for the first time. If you’ve never tried a Versa putter, now’s the time.
Pair the Versa design with forward weighting, the Stroke lab shaft and the modern White Hot insert and you have one of the most interesting putter releases of 2023, The looks of the Versa will draw attention in the putter corral. The Odyssey technologies and the MSRP of $259.99 should help many of the putters move from the corral to the golf bag.
What do you think about the return of Versa? Are you a Versa veteran or will this be your first exposure? Is there a model that you are drawn to or an original Versa scheme that you hope to see return? As I said, I’d love to see the white-black-white option come back. Maybe the Nine head shape as well. A Sabertooth is probably too much to as for, though that would be cool as well.
Find out more about the new White Hot Versa and White Hot OG lines at Odyssey.com.