Odyssey’s red-hot Jailbird has created a gear conundrum

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A decade after it was initially launched, Odyssey’s Versa Jailbird putter has was the most well liked membership on Tour this season.

Jonathan Wall/GOLF

Welcome to Wall-to-Wall Tools, the Monday morning gear wrap-up by which GOLF tools editor Jonathan Wall takes you thru the most recent traits, rumors and breaking news.

Double-edged sword

Tools success on the PGA Tour could be a double-edged sword. In a single vein, Keegan Bradley’s win on Sunday on the Vacationers Championship secured back-to-back wins for Odyssey’s Versa Jailbird putter. That’s the excellent news. The not-so-great information is Jailbird was initially launched a decade in the past when Versa’s black-and-white alignment system burst onto the scene.

In “tools years,” a decade can generally really feel like a century, relying on technological developments. Fortunately, with a giant help from world-renowned placing coach Phil Kenyon, Versa made a return to the gear house earlier this 12 months — however the Jailbird head form didn’t make the minimize.

Whereas Bradley saved the top form related on Tour, the recognition of the Seven and Twelve mallets made Jailbird a lineup casualty.

It’s widespread observe for tools reps to maintain outdated product on board for sure execs, however with restricted house on the truck to deal with the products, there’s normally a degree the place even previous putter fashions — like Jailbird — get the hook.

It virtually occurred again in January when Joe Toulon, Callaway’s PGA Tour supervisor and a former Odyssey rep, was sifting via putters drawers on the truck and occurred upon a single Versa Jailbird head.

“The journey via the truck was extra to see what we wanted and didn’t want to begin the 12 months [at the American Express],” Toulon instructed GOLF.com. “I keep in mind discovering the Jailbird head and pondering to myself, man, this hasn’t been that in style of a head, particularly recently. However with Versa coming again, I simply determined to depart it on the truck.”

One week later in La Quinta, California, Toulon acquired a textual content from Rickie Fowler with a request to have an Odyssey Versa Jailbird constructed to match caddie Ricky Romano’s wand — all the way in which right down to the 17-inch SuperStroke grip and slab of lead tape on the only that helped it obtain a particular really feel.

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Fowler rapidly discovered his stroke on the greens and the requests began coming from different execs for the “Rickie Fowler putter.” A kind of construct requests got here from Wyndham Clark, who rolled putts with Fowler’s Jailbird simply months earlier than besting his buddy with virtually the very same putter construct on the U.S. Open.

If Fowler’s success set issues in movement for a Jailbird resurgence, Clark’s maiden main win broke the dam.

“It was simply destiny how [Fowler’s putter request] occurs randomly like that,” Toulon mentioned. “The requests have been coming since then at an unimaginable tempo. In the event you add up all of the requests we’ve gotten for this putter, it’s a minimum of 100.”

To place the quantity into perspective, Toulon requested Barry Lyda, Johnny Thompson and Steve Mata, three of Callaway’s longest-tenured Tour reps, to recall the final time the corporate acquired so many requests for a selected putter construct. The final consensus was Rocco Mediate’s Odyssey’s White Sizzling XG Sabertooth following an unimaginable showdown with Tiger Woods through the 2008 U.S. Open.

The distinction is Mediate’s putter was a part of Odyssey’s present lineup on the time — and Jailbird is most definitely not. Which brings us to the conundrum Odyssey is at the moment coping with following Bradley’s win in Connecticut: Provide and demand.

“The powerful factor is we don’t have heads proper now,” Toulon mentioned. “There are a couple of examples the place we have been in a position to spotlight the advantages of our Versa know-how and get a participant into a distinct head form. However for gamers who need an actual copy of the putter, it’s been tough. I feel we solely have one left on the truck after Vacationers.”

Along with the top, the Microhinge insert discovered within the Jailbird utilized by Fowler and Clark isn’t almost as widespread because the Jailbird with Odyssey’s in style White Sizzling insert. In different phrases, the putter everybody desires is a licensed unicorn.

To fulfill demand, Toulon confirmed Odyssey is actively working with its suppliers to have extra Versa Jailbirds constructed, however while you’re coping with gamers who want one thing now, creativity is vital.

“For the second, we’re attempting to redirect them to one thing completely different from our Versa line or one other counterbalanced possibility. It’s a copycat enterprise and Tour. When gamers see one thing that’s profitable, they’re going to ask questions as to why it’s working — and request it.”

Whereas the putter construct has been red-hot on Tour, it’s additionally having a second on the secondary market the place a used Jailbird putter lately offered for over $3k with the identical 17-inch SuperStroke grip that performs a job in producing the counterbalanced really feel gamers are gravitating in direction of.

The excellent news for weekend golfers is Odyssey has a solution for the dearth of Jailbird putters. A tweet from their social media account confirmed pre-orders are coming this week — an indication that Toulon and crew won’t must take care of the availability headache for an excessive amount of longer.

If you possess arguably the most well liked membership in golf, it’s necessary to provide the folks what they need.

Need to overhaul your bag for 2023? Discover a becoming location close to you at True Spec Golf.

JWall

Jonathan Wall

Golf.com Editor

Jonathan Wall is GOLF Journal and GOLF.com’s Managing Editor for Tools. Previous to becoming a member of the employees on the finish of 2018, he spent 6 years masking tools for the PGA Tour.



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