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HYPE, or REAL? The Odyssey Versa Jailbird putter craze, explained by a top PGA Tour putting coach



I’m not gonna lie, I didn’t want to write this story. Given the amount of times the Odyssey Versa Jailbird putter was brought up during the Sunday coverage of the 2023 U.S. Open at LACC, I figured that most golfers were sick of hearing about it and just wanted to move on.

Hand up, I was wrong. After covering the early-week equipment activity at the 2023 Travelers Championship, and seeing what’s going on in the putter market overall, it’s clear that the Odyssey Versa Jailbird counterbalanced putter setup has officially moved from “hype,” to “trend.”

On Tuesday and Wednesday at the 2023 Travelers Championship, I counted at least five* PGA Tour players testing one out for themselves. The list included Kramer Hickok, Carl Yuan, Jimmy Walker, Ryan Moore and Joel Dahmen. And that’s just who I saw with my own eyes. Obviously, Rickie Fowler and Wyndham Clark are using the putter, and Keegan Bradley (who’s currently atop the Travelers leaderboard after round 1) has also been using the putter since 2021.

When I asked Joe Toulon, Callaway’s Tour Manager, how many requests he’s had for a Jailbird in the last week, he simply answered, “A lot.”

Also, in the third-party used golf equipment world, the market prices have officially hit quadruple digits for listed prices.

So has the golf world simply lost its mind over this putter? Or is the hype actually real?

Before I get into my conversation this week with top PGA Tour putting coach Stephen Sweeney (who works with a TON of PGA Tour players on their putting strokes), I wanted to provide my own personal anecdote.

Don’t worry, I’ll be quick.

Back in 2018, I switched from playing golf right-handed to playing golf left-handed. It was partially because of a bet with my Two Guys Talking Golf podcast co-host Brian Knudson, and partially because of a back injury. Either way, during my first full 18 holes as a lefty, I used an Odyssey Versa Jailbird putter to help me break 100… and win the bet.

So I guess you could say I am slightly biased when it comes to the benefits of the Jailbird mallet head. I’ve seen them first hand.

But I’ve yet to try out the newer age setup that’s currently hot in the golf world – a counterbalanced Versa Jailbird version with a large, elongated SuperStroke 17-inch putter grip, and slabs of lead tape on the sole.

Before every amateur golfer in the world goes out and overspends on a used Odyssey Versa Jailbird putter, and reconfigures it into the Rickie/Wyndham specification, I wanted to get to the bottom of what’s going on here.

In my opinion, there was no one better to turn to than Sweeney. He’s one of the foremost authorities on the putting stroke in the world of golf, and he works with players like Shane Lowry, Aaron Wise, Collin Morikawa, and a slew of other top players in the world.

So, Stephen Sweeney, what’s actually going on with this Jailbird? What is counterbalancing? Why does it help? Should everyone in the world switch to this putter, or what?

Here’s what he had to say on the matter…

Andrew Tursky, I know you’ve worked with at least one player who’s tried out the Jailbird for the first time this week. Does it have legitimate impact on improving the stroke? Like, should amateurs try out a counterbalanced putter? Should they try out the Jailbird, or is it hype?

Stephen Sweeney, PGA Tour putting coach: No, it’s not hype. I mean, I think the biggest thing that people don’t understand with that putter is the Versa element to it; the black-white-black colorway. So it helps with alignment at the very start.

And then with the counterbalanced part of the putter, and the Versa together, the way they work together, it almost swings itself once you get it started. It’s very easy to swing on the correct path. So, no, it’s not hype. It actually does have some technology in it that helps it perform better.

Can you explain “counterbalancing” to someone, you know, amateurs, who really don’t know what that means?

SS: Yeah, so the simplest way to think about it would be on a regular putter, the end of the putter, that’s where the last gram of weight is on the putter. So basically 90 percent of the weight is below the hands. It makes the putter quite heavy, activates the wrists, and makes the hands pretty active. Whereas, with a counterbalanced putter, there’s a proportion of the weight that sits higher than the hands. It basically quiets the hands down and stops so much wrist movement, and it makes the stroke more arm and body driven as opposed to wrists, hands driven.

Rickie Fowler’s 17-inch SuperStroke Tour 3.0 putter grip

If you were to put a percentage on how many amateurs you think should switch to a counterbalanced putter – of those who are currently using a standard putter…how would you describe that?

SS: Probably, for the everyday golfer, I would say somewhere close to 30-to-50 percent would benefit immensely from getting into something like that where, not just having the counterbalance, but also more of a mallet-style head with slightly more forgiveness on it.

But yeah, overall, I think it would help a lot of people get rid of those wristy, hand-manipulated strokes, and get them more into a pendulum, body-controlled stroke style.

Is there anything they can do, you know, some people might not want to go get their putter rebuilt, or buy a new grip, or buy a new putter. Is there a quick trick you can use to counterbalance a putter? Maybe lead tape on the end of the grip, or anything like that?

SS: I guess the simplest DIY trick would be to grip down the putter a little bit and put some lead tape around the top of the grip.

Not that I would really advocate that, but you could counterbalance any putter just simply by going to a local club pro, get them to extend the shaft, put a new grip on there and that will already do a lot of the work for you.

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He played on the Hawaii Pacific University Men's Golf team and earned a Masters degree in Communications. He also played college golf at Rutgers University, where he graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism.



  1. Kuch is the MAN

    Jun 26, 2023 at 1:22 pm

    Jimmy Walker didn’t stay very long with the overpriced and over-hyped Lamb Crafted by Tyson Lamb. What this boutique putter and ball markers are going for is HIGHWAY ROBBERY.

  2. Pingback: Odyssey announces new Jailbird 380 limited edition putters - Fly Pin High

  3. Pingback: Odyssey announces new Jailbird 380 limited edition putters – GolfWRX

  4. Mike

    Jun 23, 2023 at 4:16 pm

    Also great for tapping down imaginary spike marks along the line and helping keep the ball going towards the hole. Old rules did not allow that.

  5. Dat Dude

    Jun 23, 2023 at 2:54 pm

    Those are not large sheets of lead tape. If you put your “readers” on you can detect the two seams of lead tape. It might take 2-3, inch wide pieces of tape to achieve it. Once the tape is applied use something like a muddler or your fingers to press the seam and it will blend together.

  6. DB

    Jun 23, 2023 at 12:10 pm

    Jailbird head has always been under-rated. They should have brought that head into the Tri-Hot 5k line, the Toulon line, etc.

    However didn’t all the putter companies offer the counter-balanced thing like 10 years ago? As I recall they didn’t sell that well and they eventually stopped offering them.

    • Brandon

      Jun 23, 2023 at 10:52 pm

      Was definitely trendy about 10 years ago. I had a 38 inch TaylorMade ghost for a few years. Wish I had kept it around. Using a white hot og 7 bird now, which is the most similar current offering to the jailbird.

  7. Jordan

    Jun 23, 2023 at 11:28 am

    I just want to know how i can get large sheets of lead tape like that.

    • D

      Jun 23, 2023 at 12:00 pm


    • chip75

      Jun 23, 2023 at 5:05 pm

      You can get 1 foot squares of lead sheet on Amazon, but as the other chap said it’s several pieces on Rickie’s putter.

  8. Troy West

    Jun 23, 2023 at 10:47 am

    For those curious and Dont want to spend $1k you can buy the INAZONE CB 400 COUNTER BALANCE PUTTER head at Diamond Tour Golf for $20. It’s 400g (mine came in at 395g) so you won’t need a sheet of lead tape either.

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Spotted: TaylorMade Qi10 driver joins Qi10 LS on USGA conforming list



This is the time of year when most of us are searching for photos and details on next year’s golf equipment. Fortunately, what appear to be TaylorMade’s new drivers have made it onto the USGA conforming list. Last week, we reported on the Qi10 LS driver (which Rory McIlroy put in play at the DP World Tour Championship). This week, TaylorMade’s Qi10 has appeared on the “List of Conforming Driver Heads.”

TaylorMade has chosen “Qi10” as the driver name and as of now, there are two different models that are approved for play by the USGA. The folks in Carlsbad aren’t giving out any official information on the new clubs, but we can speculate some things from the photos we have seen.

TaylorMade Qi10 LS

This driver looks to replace the Stealth 2 Plus that is currently in the lineup. We will assume the LS is the lower spin model as it has a moveable weight on the sole up near the face. Moving weight forward (towards the face) usually shifts the center of gravity forward to lower the spin rate and launch angle. The weight and its adjustment have changed from the Stealth 2, and it looks like TaylorMade is using a similar sliding weight as in the Stealth 2 Plus fairway woods. A single screw is attached to the sole, and when a golfer loosens it, the weight slides towards the toe for more fade bias or towards the heel to promote a draw.

In front of the weight is TaylorMade’s Speed Pocket slot that helps keep ball speed up on shots struck low on the face. What looks like a single weight is on the back of the driver (away from the face) just like the SIM and Stealth models before. The sole still has the “Carbonwood” logo on it, and we can assume the sole plate, crown, and face will all be made from carbon fiber. Yes, the face is carbon fiber on the Qi10 LS, but it is painted blue instead of red, and we can be pretty sure that a revised Twist Face technology will be part of the design.

TaylorMade Qi10

If you need a little more spin, launch, and forgiveness, then the Qi10 driver might be a better fit than the Qi10 LS head. The standard Qi10 should replace the Stealth 2 driver that was so popular with us amateur golfers, as well as getting some play on tour.

The big difference between this head and the Qi10 LS is the lack of a movable weight on the sole. There is a smaller weight on the sole, near the heel of the driver, that adds a little draw bias to the head, but it is likely mostly used for dialing in the swing weight of the driver when it is built at the factory. This Qi10 looks to have a similar weight in the back of the driver, but it looks to be a little larger and takes up a little more space on the sole. This larger weight could add some stability and forgiveness, as well as helping increase the launch compared to the Qi10 LS.

You can also see more of the ring that goes around the driver — on the Stealth 2 it was called the Carbon Reinforced Composite Ring — that helps bring all of the carbon panels together. The ring looks to be larger than the one on the LS model, potentially moving more mass to the outside of the club head for greater MOI.

Both drivers look to be going with a gloss black finish and black and white accent colors. This will give them a more subtle look from the Stealth and Stealth 2 red that some people were not fans of. The blue carbon faces on the drivers blends in well, and I think will not be noticeable when you are out on the course.

A final note: Tiger Woods is rumored to be putting the Qi10 driver in play at this week’s Hero World Challenge, which he was spotted with at last week’s Bridgestone Golf commercial shoot. GolfWRX will certainly be keeping its collective eyes peeled.

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Whats in the Bag

Rory McIlroy WITB 2023 (November)



  • Rory McIlroy what’s in the bag accurate as of the DP World Tour Championship. 

Driver: TaylorMade Qi10 LS (9 degrees)
Shaft: Fujikura Ventus TR Blue 6 X

3-wood: TaylorMade Stealth 2 Plus (15 degrees @13)
Shaft: Fujikura Ventus TR Blue 8 X

5-wood: TaylorMade Stealth Plus (19 degrees @17.5)
Shaft: Fujikura Ventus Black 9 X

Irons: TaylorMade P760 (4), TaylorMade Rors Proto (5-9)
Shaft: Project X 7.0 (4-9)

Wedges: TaylorMade MG4 (46-09SB, 50-09SB, 54-11SB, 60-08LB)
Shafts: Project X 6.5, Project X 6.5 Wedge (60)

Putter: TaylorMade Spider X Hydroblast
Grip: SuperStroke Zenergy Pistol Tour

Ball: TaylorMade TP5x (#22)

Grips: Golf Pride MCC

More photos of Rory McIlroy’s WITB in the forums.

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Whats in the Bag

Min Woo Lee WITB 2023 (November)



  • Min Woo Lee what’s in the bag accurate as of the Australian PGA Championship. 

Driver: Callaway Paradym Triple Diamond (10.5 degrees)
Shaft: Fujikura Ventus Blue 6 X

3-wood: Callaway Paradym Triple Diamond (16.5 degrees)
Shaft: Fujikura Ventus Blue 10 X

Irons: Callaway X Forged UT (2), Callaway Apex MB (4-PW)
Shafts: True Temper AMT Tour White (2), True Temper Dynamic Gold Tour Issue X100 (4-PW)

Wedges: Callaway Jaws MD5 (50), Titleist Vokey Design SM9 (56-08M), WedgeWorks (60-T)
Shafts: Nippon NS Pro Modus3

Putter: Odyssey Tri Hot 5K Double Wide

Grips: Grip Master, Golf Pride Z-Grip Cord

Ball: Callaway Chrome Soft X

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