The full story behind Jack Nicklaus’ 1986 Masters-winning Response putter, from the man who designed it
The putt Jack Nicklaus holed on the 17th green at Augusta National on Sunday at the 1986 Masters, en route to his 18th and final major victory, is one of the most iconic putts in golf history.
The moment was huge, as was the physical size of the putter Nicklaus used to make that putt. As the ball dropped into the hole, the Golden Bear raised up — with one hand — the oversized MacGregor Response ZT (Zero Twist) 615 putter. Actually, according to a 2011 interview with the USGA, the dimensions of that putter are used to set the maximum width for putter conformity. Classic Nicklaus, setting the bar.
MacGregor’s Response putter was large, it was made of lightweight aluminum (he added a bunch of lead tape on the back cavity), and it ended up in Nicklaus’ bag essentially by accident.
Prior to the 1986 season, Nicklaus mainly used a George Low Wizard 600 putter, which, compared to the size of the Response putter, was miniscule. The Response putter, on the other hand, was built like a brick house and it was designed for higher inertia (or more forgiveness).
You may have heard some of the backstory to how the Response putter ended up in Nicklaus’ bag at the 1986 Masters, but now we have the story in its entirety. Clay Long, known best as Nicklaus’ club designer throughout the years, recently joined our Fully Equipped podcast to talk everything equipment. Of course, we had to ask him about the legendary Response putter, made wickedly famous by Nicklaus.
Enjoy the full version below of the story from the man who designed the club himself. From a run-in with USGA rules, to Nicklaus questioning whether the design was actually serious, Long gives up all the details.
For more classic Nicklaus stories from Long, check out the whole Fully Equipped podcast below.