Steve Stricker’s surprising putter change is already paying off

steve stricker odyssey putter

Stricker is using a 37-inch Odyssey Versa Jailbird 380 putter for the first time.

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Some pros prefer to keep their inner on-course demons concealed from public view. Steve Stricker isn’t one of them. On Wednesday at the U.S. Senior Open Championship, a reporter spied Stricker working on his putting, which prompted him to wonder how one of the best to ever stroke a putt preps for a major championship.

Instead of speaking in generalities and concealing his putting woes, Stricker got straight to the point: “It’s been a little bit of a challenge lately on the greens for me.”

Like a hitter trying to swing his way out of a slump, Stricker is doing whatever it takes to find his putting stroke at Newport Country Club. Even the best go through rough patches. What made Stricker’s admission so interesting was the words that followed.

“I think I’m going to go with a different putter, to be quite honest with you,” he said.

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It’s common for pros to try different wands when nothing is going right on the greens. However, Stricker’s situation isn’t so black-and-white. His Odyssey White Hot No. 2 putter has been replaced on occasion in the last 17 years, but you can the number of times on one hand. It might be the closest thing to the relationship Tiger Woods has with the “Elder Wand.”

Stricker’s had to replace the White Hot insert and shaft over the years — due to general wear and tear — but putter surgery has never pushed the relationship to the brink of a permanent change. It’s always nearby.

Of course, like every long-term relationship, there are bumps along the way. When the trusty putter started to go cold recently, Stricker contemplated a change. With counterbalanced putters on the rise, Stricker decided to give a 37-inch Odyssey Versa Jailbird 380 the opportunity to bump White Hot No. 2 from the bag.

“[I]t’s the exact same thing that Wyndham Clark putts with,” Stricker said. “It just feels a little bit more stable, especially in these windy conditions. I found that it’s heavier. It seems to hold the line a little bit better, the putter does, I should say. It just seems to track on my line a little bit better.

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“That’s the one thing that’s been kind of letting me down so far this year is getting the ball in the hole. And it’s tough to practice right there where we’re getting batted around in the wind. That green is a little bit different than the course. It’s a little thinner. They aerated it. There’s still some marks in there from the aeration hole. It’s not as good as the golf course, so you sit there maybe too long.”

Asked to explain the differences between the two putters, Stricker confirmed it’s a significant change away from the traditional blade (and length) he’s known for most of his career. One is light and flowy while the other is sturdy and tank-link.

“It’s a complete 180 from where I’m at,” he said. “This putter that I’m putting with, it’s more face balance. It’s got a different neck on there. It’s a big ole grip. It’s counterbalanced. It’s longer than my putter.

“It feels just a little bit easier to keep the putter head on my line right now, and I’ve been struggling with consistency with mine. It’s a smaller blade. I’ve gotten older. It’s getting harder.”

Father Time may be undefeated, but the new putter has Stricker feeling like his old self again through 36 holes. Employing the heavier counterbalanced build for the first time, Stricker buried numerous putts from inside 10 feet to post matching 66s and move into contention as he chases senior major win No. 8. Even putts that used to come up short were suddenly finding the hole.

“Hit a lot of really good putts,” he said of the putter change. “Even the one I missed at 10, it was like a 90-degree lipout. I felt like I hit it right on my line. Probably hit it a little bit too firm. Left a couple right in the middle of the hole short. I thought I left the last one short right in the middle, but it ended up just the last roll getting there. It was definitely better than what I’ve been doing.”

It’s the kind of putting performance that should give Stricker the belief that another senior major win is well within reach.

Want to overhaul your bag for 2024? Find a fitting location near you at GOLF’s affiliate company True Spec Golf.


Jonathan Wall Editor

Jonathan Wall is GOLF Magazine and’s Managing Editor for Equipment. Prior to joining the staff at the end of 2018, he spent 6 years covering equipment for the PGA Tour. He can be reached at

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