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Rickie Fowler's latest gear change could buck the popular tour trend

Fowler uses an opposing construction putter last year (left) and a regular-length offering this week (right)

Jonathan Wall/GOLF

CHARLOTTE, NC – Rickie Fowler sent the mechanical world into disarray last season. His decision to field the controversial Odyssey Versa Jailbird coincided with a fresh start on the green and a return to the winner's circle.

Fowler's peers caught wind of the 38-inch counterbalance build and started using it, down to the lead cassette attached to the 17-inch grip of the superStroke Zenergy Tour 3.0. Wyndham Clark won the US Open with Fowler's build, and weekend golfers couldn't get enough of the putter. Odyssey even released a limited edition (Jailbird 380) that sold out in minutes and set up the company's website due to demand.

Fowler's putter was there i Mission story for the 2023 season. (And if you've never heard the term “counterbalanced” before, a putter that's built with a longer length to help create more stability compared to a standard length putter. More length, often paired with a larger and heavier grip. A larger grip helps put more weight in the golfer's hands for resistance. (with a heavy putter head and helps create a smooth putting stroke.)

rickie fowler putter grip
Fowler was spotted using an Odyssey Jailbird 380 mallet in Charlotte.

Jonathan Wall/GOLF

However, as soon as the opposite formation gained momentum on the Tour, it could be about to lose two players who helped put it back on the map.

Wyndham Clark released a longer, heavier putter earlier this year for the Odyssey Ai-One Cruiser Jailbird with a smaller SuperStroke Tour 1.0P Claw grip. Now Fowler looks set to do the same thing at the Wells Fargo Championship.

During practice at Quail Hollow Club, Fowler was spotted checking out several putter builds from Odyssey, Axis1 and LAB Golf. The session was notable because all three were built to a standard length (35 inches), rather than the counter-balanced 38-inch setup Fowler had been using since last January.

rickie fowler putter grip
Fowler said the smaller grip of the SuperStroke Pistol Tour allows him to use his hands more during the stroke.

Jonathan Wall/GOLF

As he rolled the putts, Fowler confirmed to that he wanted to move from the 17-inch Zenergy Tour 3.0 grip that initially took his hands out of the stroke and engaged the major muscles.

“It served its purpose,” Fowler said of the big catch. “I just wanted to bring back more hearing [a smaller grip].”

A custom SuperStroke Pistol Tour grip is attached to a new Odyssey Jailbird 380 head with a black and orange paint finish (a nod to his alma mater, Oklahoma State University). Until last year, Fowler relied almost exclusively on a small pistol-like grip that allowed him to bring the putter head higher with his hands, so the change isn't something that requires a learning curve.

Odyssey Limited Edition Jailbird Versa 380 Putter


The limited edition Odyssey Versa Jailbird 380 is built on the exact points and design features of the best-selling model that everyone has been talking about. Features Versa's proven superior black-and-white alignment that accentuates the angle of the face from address to impact, for confidence on every side. The unique Jailbird mallet shape has been a popular choice on Tour with its unique design that helps frame the ball. With a long, 17″ long SuperStroke grip, and a heavy duty steel shaft, it is designed for players to grip the putter for more control over the stroke. This Jailbird also features our original Microhinge insert and comes with our limited edition large cover for June. Now you can get champion performance with Versa and Jailbird.

View Product

As for Odyssey's Jailbird, the putter head remains the most popular on Tour. About 20 players still use it, including Valero Texas Open winner Akshay Bhatia and Webb Simpson, who confirmed he will be building a broomstick this week.

It won't be official until Thursday morning when Fowler steps in, but for now, the controversial craze on the Tour appears to be dying down.

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Jonathan Wall Editor

Jonathan Wall is GOLF Magazine and the Managing Editor of Materials. Before joining the staff at the end of 2018, he spent 6 years assembling PGA Tour equipment. He can be reached at [email protected].

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