ODYSSEY PUTTERS

A voiceover speaks in the hushed tones of menace we associate with horror films: “Who knows what’s in his mind—what twisted dreams he has.” As the spotcontinues, it reveals that this twisted mind belongs to a golf-course greenkeeper. We see him rolling a ball toward the hole, but he’s contoured the green so even a true shot will veer off course. “No one can truly understand the evil that dwells in the heart of the greenkeeper.” A tagline says an Odyssey putter will help you “Even the score.” As four-letter words go, “evil” may strike you as an outsized companion for “golf.” But golfers do see their sport in such apocalyptic terms. If they think the voiceover sounds a bit bonkers, they’ll secretly welcome the tacit assurance they’re not the only ones who get unhinged by the game. And since ads for putters often speak of technology compensating for golfers’ weaknesses, the audience won’t be sorry to see someone else get the blame for all those missed putts. Another spot shows the evil one is his toolshed, sharpening various objects as if getting ready for a slaughter. There’s an intriguing class angle in all this. The spots work in part because they subtly exploit the anxiety golf’s white-collar constituency feels toward blue-collar types who do skilled work with their hands.