How many putters do you have in the time-out closet? More than any other club, a slump can see a putter relegated and another brought back into service. Even the pros resort to the time-out closet, most notably Dustin Johnson, who is regularly seen with a handful of putters during practice rounds even if he goes with his gamer most weeks.

You’ll also see articles on a putter change, the standard “it seems to be working” note accompanying the equipment news but how real is it, and does it last? We’ll take a look at this using Strokes Gained Putting to see if the data backs up.

This is a first for us, digging deep into the stats and seeing if the anecdotal evidence matches the empirical, so let us know if you enjoy this, and let us know what we should look into next?

Jon Rahm with the 2-Ball Ten
Jon Rahm with the OG Rossie S
Jon Rahm with the OG #7S

From 2021 to 2022, Jon Rahm has had an interesting putter story. After making the jump to Callaway, the Odyssey 2-Ball Ten made its way into his first bag after changing out of Taylormade. This lasted halfway through 2021, when he changed to a White Hot OG Rossie S. There was a lasting improvement, and the Rossie became his gamer for the rest of the 2021 season.

This continued until a short slump in 2022 – the results were coming, but the putter wasn’t working for a couple of tournaments.

At Riviera for the Genesis Invitational, nothing was working. So for the 4th round, Rahm made the unexpected putter change, putting an OG #7S in the bag that he had been trying in previous weeks. The results were immediate, with +2.44 Strokes Gained Putting in that final round, two strokes better than his 2021/2022 average.

It stayed in the bag one more week, but the improvement didn’t last and the Rossie was back the week after.

The Rossie got hot as the season progressed, with Rahm finishing the season strong with wins at the Open de España and the DP World Tour Championship, backed by a strong putting performance.

Looking back over the 2022 season, the round-by-round stats show a small slump, resulting in the change, and without lasting improvement a swift change back.

Taking a longer-term look, the effect of putter changes can be seen. Although it might seem marginal, at the top level those margins make the difference between a missed cut and a victory. There was a general improvement when he switched to the Rossie, and the #7S didn’t deliver any improvement, even though his putting wasn’t dramatically worse.

So, does a putter change make a lasting difference? Debatable. Can a time-out shake you out of a putting funk? Maybe.

In reality, with any putter, over time your performance will likely normalise to your overall ability. But with confidence influencing putting more than any club, don’t be afraid to mix things up… You might find a new gamer, or remind yourself how much you enjoy your current putter!

Credit to Data Golf for the fantastic data repository for professional golf, and Jonathan Wall and the rest of the Fully Equipped Podcast team for the the inspiration for this.

Next time, we’ll be expanding this study looking into Collin Morikawa… Statistically not the strongest putter, and not averse to jumping from blade to mallet.

Comment below with your thoughts or any suggestions of future topics!

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