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Mizuno: The hottest irons on the PGA Tour for players not under contract

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If Tour pros could play any set of irons with no contract restrictions or obligations, what would they use?

In the world of professional golf, which is heavily influenced by profit, we’d usually never get that answer. But this year, due to a number of factors including Nike’s exit from the golf equipment industry, numerous players are left without commitments to a particular brand. That means more golfers than ever are playing irons of their choice.

Based on our photos from the Arnold Palmer Invitational, and recent weeks, it appears many of those players without iron contracts are deciding to play Mizuno irons.

In recent years, there was usually between 1-3 sets of Mizuno irons in the bag at most PGA Tour events. At this week’s Arnold Palmer Invitational, however, there are 8 players using a set of Mizuno irons. Even more interesting is that 75 percent of them are using or testing the same Mizuno iron model: the JPX-900 Tour

Related: Learn more about the JPX-900 Tour irons

Here’s a list of all the PGA Tour players currently using Mizuno irons at the Arnold Palmer Invitational, as well as links to each player’s full WITBs.

Brooks Koepka

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Sam Saunders

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Billy Hurley III

  • Mizuno Iron Model: JPX-900 Tour

Lucas Glover

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Roberto Castro

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Jim Herman

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Kevin Chappell

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Vijay Singh

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  • Mizuno Iron Model: JPX-900 Tour (built this week), most recently MP-4
  • Full WITB: Vijay Singh WITB 2017

We spotted Vijay Singh with Mizuno JPX-900 Tour irons in his bag on Monday. On Wednesday, however, he was bagging Mizuno MP-4 irons. It will be interesting to see what he decides to use going forward, but it’s likely it will be stamped with the Mizuno brand name.

Paul Casey

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See what GolfWRX members are saying about the Mizuno JPX-900 Tour irons in our forums.

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64 Comments

64 Comments

  1. Stephen Finley

    Jan 8, 2018 at 8:14 pm

    I’m sure the feel is terrific. I’ve hit and competed with several different Mizuno models over the years, and their rep is well-earned, IMHO. But have you seen the top line on the various versions of the JPX? You could land a plane on it. I really just _hate_ this direction with modern irons.

    • Emmanuel

      Jun 17, 2018 at 9:56 pm

      The top line on the jpx hot is large but then again, those were designed for high handicap players. All brands have sets like that.

  2. Vince

    Aug 25, 2017 at 6:53 pm

    Just bought the JPX 900 forged with XP105 stiff shafts ( what a buttery feeling club ! ) traded an almost new set of Titleist AP 2’s 716’s . I kept my Volkey sand wedges. All of my #’S were off the charts compared to my AP2’s . Very solid club !!! Thanks Mizuno 🙂

  3. Andy

    Jul 12, 2017 at 12:49 am

    I have mp-14s and 54s funnest even for a 10 hc. Can’t beat the feel and the shots are so satisfying. I have played PRGR, Data 601s, and they are awesome but the there is nothing like an mp-54. Also game Bridgestone j38 double pocket cavities, but they were not as consistent as the 54s. I can’t game the 14s anymore, but they sure were a great iron. I still take them out at times but I cannot weiled them like I used to. I still get a few awesome shots with them and I still say wow.

  4. Panther

    Mar 30, 2017 at 4:20 pm

    Hard time deciding weather ship my MP-29’s down to the desert, or the 712MB’s. Need to have something down there to fly light and exit the airport quickly, too many Id*ots sucking up oxygen when I travel down to the valley.

  5. James Darnell

    Mar 20, 2017 at 9:35 pm

    I am going back to my mp54 irons, when I sell these Apex Pro 16 irons. Nothing hits like a Mizuno

  6. tlmck

    Mar 19, 2017 at 10:50 pm

    I’m sticking with my homemade Maltby TE’s which replaced my MP52’s. Just nothing else on the market like them for size, shape, forgiveness, feel, etc. although Titleist CB would be a close second.

  7. Sully

    Mar 19, 2017 at 1:27 pm

    Does this surprise anyone? Mizuno makes the best feeling irons and TM makes the best performing woods. That is why if you let a pro choose without endorsement you see Mizzy irons and TM woods in the bag. The funny thing though is that performance wise irons haven’t really changed in years. I played a round recently with my old ’95 King Cobra Oversized irons while my MP-64s were in transit and they may have been 1-2 yards shorter (Same DG S300 shafts in both) and thats it. The feel was the only difference.

  8. Tom

    Mar 18, 2017 at 10:53 pm

    interesting

  9. Egor

    Mar 18, 2017 at 10:57 am

    My current set is JPX900 Forged with Project X LZ. Best irons I’ve had out of TMAG RBZ, MP-29, MP-59. I’m a 12HI and play 6-8 times a month. Great irons, great shafts for me.

  10. Ian

    Mar 18, 2017 at 12:25 am

    You know you’re struggling when you have to list a senior tour player to bolster numbers.

  11. Daniel Lux

    Mar 17, 2017 at 7:39 pm

    I’m shocked brooks is playing these irons they are as spiny and horrible as titleist I doubt he’ll settle on them.

    • Steve

      Mar 17, 2017 at 11:15 pm

      “These irons don’t fit my swing. They’re complete trash.”

      Dumbest comment of the thread award goes to you.

      • S Hitter

        Mar 18, 2017 at 7:21 pm

        LOL

      • Dan lux

        Mar 18, 2017 at 7:30 pm

        http://m.imgur.com/XAo2Tf4

        Mizuno irons are right in line with titleist how many hard swinging bombers does titleist have? No matter what shaft you put in them anything over 100mph for a 6 iron produces ballooning amounts of spin. And brooks hasn’t exactly been Lighting it up right now

        • D-Lux D0ucheb4g

          Mar 19, 2017 at 3:18 am

          Your shot dispersion is terrible, thank you for letting us know that.

          I’m pretty sure Brooks Koepka would greatly benefit from having a highly skilled, highly intelligent and insightful person like you giving advice. 🙂

    • Lc

      Jul 13, 2017 at 1:33 pm

      Going back and reading comments and I see this….”Shocked brooks is playing these irons they are as spiny and horrible as titlest I doubt he’ll settle on them.” LMAO!!!! Only won the U.S. Open with them.

    • Emmanuel

      Jun 17, 2018 at 10:00 pm

      Shocked? He just won 2 U.S. Opens with them. I’m sure he’s quite happy with them.

  12. Bert

    Mar 17, 2017 at 7:38 pm

    Used to play MP14’s and then MP37’s. Sure wish I could play them again. 72 and RA makes you play graphite and something more forgiving. Don’t like any of the new so called forgiving irons, still play the 2008 TM Tour Burners. Maybe I’ll try the JPX900’s.

  13. Prime21

    Mar 17, 2017 at 6:26 pm

    Mizuno has always made GREAT irons. Hopefully they can stay afloat.

    • Tom

      Mar 17, 2017 at 8:12 pm

      I donno…. the MX series was a bust

    • cgasucks

      Mar 18, 2017 at 9:39 am

      They’ll be fine…you do know they make other sports stuff as well. From what I know, they have a strong foothold in baseball equipment.

  14. Acemandrake

    Mar 17, 2017 at 6:12 pm

    Miura fanatics: Where are the Miura users on tour?

  15. Dan

    Mar 17, 2017 at 5:41 pm

    Like Mizuno a lot and went in expecting to buy the JPX Hot Metal irons. I ended up buying the Srixon Z565. Always remember to get a fitting before buying!

  16. Daryll

    Mar 17, 2017 at 5:35 pm

    I have played all types of irons and no other surpasses Mizuno. Have 4 different sets in my golf room. Have a set of Callaway CF16 and they are long and go high and that is good for me. Also tried the Titleist MB-T and they fly high and feel good. I was using the Nippon 880 AMC shaft. I do like the Nippon family of shafts. Have tried almost every shaft I could get my hands on. For a heaver shaft the the modus tour 130 has a great feel. Any questions or comments just email me.
    Respectfully,
    Daryll

    • Michael

      Mar 18, 2017 at 10:09 am

      With all respect Daryll, why can’t you settle on what works best for you or is it a little OCD stuff with golf equipment? I can get that way about my cars so I understand.

  17. Miuralovechild

    Mar 17, 2017 at 4:10 pm

    Not surprised really. Mizzy was #1 on the PGA tour for 12 years in a row. Some guy came along and wanted to get paid; everyone else wanted to get paid also. Their reign was over!! Probably the safest choice for anyone looking for a great forged iron. No gimmicks, and their heads seem to keep the same size, shape, and weight. I’ll take them any day over the bigger OEM’s in the industry.

  18. John Ineson

    Mar 17, 2017 at 2:59 pm

    Been a forged Mizzy guy for a very long time, so no surprises in your report. But I have Miura cavity backs as my scoring irons (CB201s, 7-9), and, when you hit ’em right, there’s something about the sound of that Miura click that says, “You don’t have to look up. It went where you wanted it to.”

  19. Jason

    Mar 17, 2017 at 12:19 pm

    Just got a set of of the JPX 900 Hot Metals. Price wasn’t an issue and hit all three and with the hot metals the ball was just flying off the face. The forged felt a bit clunky and the tour was nice but maybe a little too much for my 12 handicap. Paired them with the Modus 105s (LOVE THEM!) and some MCC plus 4’s and i’m itching for the courses to open

    • Cory

      Mar 21, 2017 at 10:51 pm

      Almost got the same setup as you bro! Instead of the Modus 105’s, I got the KBS C Taper Lites 110 grams. Same grip as well!

  20. Dat

    Mar 17, 2017 at 12:02 pm

    If I was going to buy a set of irons this year, it would be the 900 tours.

  21. Dan Weitzel

    Mar 17, 2017 at 11:34 am

    I have built multiple sets this year with the 900 Forged long irons and the Tour short irons. A little different feel with the Forged (Boron) version but they are much more forgiving for the average player in the longer clubs. See your custom guy and try this route rather than the Tour irons all the way.

  22. golfraven

    Mar 17, 2017 at 11:31 am

    Was looking at the MP-25s but let see what Titleist comes up next with.

  23. Sam

    Mar 17, 2017 at 11:20 am

    I play two year old forged 850’s and the 4 some I play with have all hit them and ask me to leave them to them when I pass. We play two sums for lunch once a week and my partner plays out of my bag because no matter what shot he hits he just flat love’s the feel.

    • Mike

      Mar 19, 2017 at 10:39 am

      Ebay is your friend’s friend.

      • cgasucks

        Mar 24, 2017 at 10:10 am

        Craigslist is even a better friend…no shipping or customs, or foreign exchange BS.

  24. Mark

    Mar 17, 2017 at 10:42 am

    Quality clubs for quality players. Simple as that.

  25. Peter

    Mar 17, 2017 at 10:38 am

    Great news for Mizuno. Probably not that surprising for the better amateur golfers around the world who already know that Mizuno make the best irons.

  26. Zach

    Mar 17, 2017 at 10:33 am

    I absolutely love my JPX 900 Forged irons. Nothing felt anywhere close to the soft buttery feel. I will upgrade to the Tours when I wear out my current set.

  27. cgasucks

    Mar 17, 2017 at 10:15 am

    Not surprised..when I started golf in 2000, Mizuno has stated at the time that they’re the #1 irons on the tour…then one day, TM started to give tee up money to non-staff players to use their irons and drivers and has been that way for a long time. I hope Mizuno goes back to being the #1 irons on tour again.

  28. Tom54

    Mar 17, 2017 at 9:38 am

    Loved the mp-29s back in the 90s and thought they were best out there. Have not tried Mizuno irons for a while. My quirk with them is I wish they would have stuck with the old “M” as their logo. Don’t know what the new one means at all. Looked much more classy with old logo that’s just me

    • Steve

      Mar 17, 2017 at 5:34 pm

      “For many years, Mizuno had used a distinctive large “M” logo. This logo was integrated into the stripes on the sidewall of many of its baseball and running shoes, but due to a trademark issue and the feeling that the Mizuno “M” was deemed too similar to the Adidas three stripes, a more modern Mizuno logo was needed that would also signify the company’s expansive views.”

      “The Runbird—a beautiful, free-flowing, graphic emblem of the Mizuno brand—is more than just a logo, adorning shoes, clothes and gear. Instead, the Runbird symbolizes Mizuno’s roots in the Japanese concept of its universal approach to sports with unlimited space and energy.”

      There ya go.

  29. rogerinnz

    Mar 17, 2017 at 9:26 am

    So no real suprises that it;s Mizuno !!
    In the 1990’s it was the same!!

  30. Tom54

    Mar 17, 2017 at 9:26 am

    I played mizuno mp-29s back in the 90s and thought they were awesome clubs. I’m sure today’s models are nice too. Just wish they wouldn’t have switched the “M” logo to that strange looking thing they use now I know it’s just a quirk but I wish they went back to old logo

    • Brian

      Mar 20, 2017 at 9:35 am

      I personally like the contemporary Running Bird logo more

  31. Tom

    Mar 17, 2017 at 9:14 am

    so no contract = Mizuno JPX 900 irons for 8 players. I hope players mentioned above have a good season with these irons in their bag.

  32. PK

    Mar 17, 2017 at 8:55 am

    Interesting regarding the Mizuno irons but just as interesting is the fact that all these players on this list are using M1/M2 drivers.

  33. Feel the Bern

    Mar 17, 2017 at 8:47 am

    Don’t expect to see any left handers on this list. For shame, Mizuno. For Shame.

    • Wizardofflatstickmountain

      Mar 17, 2017 at 9:36 am

      Lefties make up between 5-7% of golfers in the IS.do not know what percentage of lefties there are in Japan.

      It’s reasonable that a company would fish where the fish are, wouldn’t you say?

      http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2003-04-18/features/0304180048_1_lefty-golfers-left-handed-judi-pavon

    • joro

      Mar 17, 2017 at 10:35 am

      I just got a set of Leftie MP900 Hot Metal Irons and they are amazing. I have 5 thru lob with an M2 Driver, no contract,lol. As club maker and repairman Mizuno has always been the top quality in my opinion and when you are working on clubs you find out what is quality and what is not. I have Callaways, TMs, and other “top of the lines”,,, no comparison.

    • JThunder

      Mar 17, 2017 at 5:40 pm

      I feel your pain, lefties. My mom makes up one of your sinistro numbers.

      In an era when golf companies are wailing and gnashing their teeth about “decline” in right handed golfers, you can surely understand how the capitalist solution is to disenfranchise the 5%. Corporate America tends to dump products that “only” sell at a 10% level, etc.

      There is no easy solution. You could find a way to surgically implant the long-lost heart (or conscience) into capitalism. You could try to find a way to make left-handed clubs more profitable. This might involve drafting masses of lefties into golf, or long-term breeding of the recessive gene (which is 50/50 right-left). Or find someone to pull a Ned Flanders and create a Left Hand Golf club OEM and Superstore. My first suggestion is preferred since it might improve more things too.

    • Marc Anderson

      Mar 18, 2017 at 8:16 am

      JPX900 Hot Metal, JPX900 Forged &
      MP25 irons are available in LH.

  34. mr b

    Mar 17, 2017 at 8:47 am

    900 Tours are the best iron i’ve hit. waiting on my tax refund to get a set and upgrade my 63’s. stoked!

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Whats in the Bag

Jimmy Walker WITB 2020

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  • Equipment accurate as of the Farmers Insurance Open

Driver: Titleist TS3 (8.5 degrees @ 7.75, C1 SureFit setting)
Shaft: Fujikura Ventus Blue 6 X

Fairway wood: Titleist TS3 (18 degrees @ 17.25, C1 SureFit setting)
Shaft: Mitsubishi Tensei CK Pro Blue 90 TX

Irons: Titleist 620 CB (3), Titleist 620 MB (4-PW)
Shafts: True Temper AMT Tour White X100

Wedges: Titleist Vokey Design SM8 WedgeWorks (54-M, 60-04L), Titleist Vokey Design SM8 (64 degrees)
Shafts: True Temper Dynamic Gold Tour Issue X100

Putter: L.A.B. Directed Force 2.1T

Grips: Golf Pride Tour Velvet

Ball: Titleist Pro V1x

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Equipment

What It’s Like: TaylorMade Golf’s “The Kingdom”

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One of the best parts of this job, beyond the people we get to meet, is the facilities. All of the core OEMs have a “place” that is exclusive, away from anything normal, and you gotta know someone to get a ticket in.

That’s what the “What It’s Like” series is about. Those certain OEM places with no doors open to the public. Those places that if you happened to sneak in, there is no way you can Fletch your way around into two steak sandwiches and a bloody mary.

I never admit this, but I used to manage a night club in Los Angeles called Les Deux (it was cool for a minute). It was a fun although soul-sucking endeavor but the thing that made the experience stick out was the exclusivity of it. If you got in by knowing someone, greased the door guy (me), or got invited, it was four hours of awesome. Yes, it’s a lame example, but there is, unfortunately, something about getting to the other side of a closed door that is just awesome.

TaylorMade Golf’s Kingdom is location No. 1, and as you would expect, it’s nothing short of pure golf ecstasy.

My Experience

I have been to TaylorMade HQ quite a number of times, and typically those visits involve time at what I call the gear junkie mecca (short of Tiger Woods’ garage or the Nike Oven graveyard now called Artisan) AKA The Kingdom.

The coolest thing about it is how subtle the location is. Located just steps away from the front door of TM HQ (and a very random corporate basketball hoop) sits a small-yet-elegant building that if you didn’t know was there, you would fly past it. Once you pull into the side parking lot, unload your sticks, and head to the door, there is still that feeling of “will they actually let me in?”

Here’s the thing. The best (all of them) have been in here. To test, practice, hang out, get fit, get wowed to potentially be on staff and everything in-between. A schmuck like me should get nervous, but then it happens, the door opens and you are not only let in but you are greeted by the master of ceremonies and a man I truly adore Tom “TK” Kroll.

With the passion to match not only yours but anyone else who walks in, he makes sure every nuance is seen and experienced. From the lobby with current TM athletes on the wall to the locker room with your custom locker that sits next to an exact replica of Tiger’s bag. There are snacks, extras shoes, gloves, swag, coffee, beer, and all your wildest dreams…and we are barely in the facility.

From a 35,000 foot view, The Kingdom has everything a golfer would ever want, need, or wish for. Starting with Duane Anderson’s putter studio that has tested thousands of strokes from players ranging from a 20 handicap to Rory McIlroy. The data compiled in this room is staggering. We did a video (link below) that gives you the full rundown.

There are three (one with an Iron Byron for testing) main inside hitting bays with all the bells and whistles you would assume. TrackMans, cameras, big screens, fresh gloves hanging on the wall, and a club fitting matrix with every TM combination you could think of.

The outside hitting area is heaven on earth. There is no other way to describe. Huge hitting area with multiple styles of grass, lies, pins, etc. Any shot you would need to hit can be recreated here on grass with a ball flying into the air and not into a screen. My favorite area is the Flick Tee. In honor of the great teacher and longtime TM staffer Jim Flick. Its tucked up high and privately in the corner of the range under a tree and this may sound ridiculous but you can almost feel Mr. Flick standing there with you as you look out onto the facility. I get goosebumps just thinking about it.

As mentioned, the man who manages your experience is Tom Kroll. He’s about as respected and beloved as anyone in the industry and for good reason. You combine passion with service you get an awesome human to hang out with. Everyone that has been through these doors has a TK story, which includes a chuckle and a smile.

I chatted with him recently about The Kingdom, and this is what he had to say.

JW: Walk me through how The Kingdom came to be what it is now? Basically origin to current day…

TK: Back in 1994, I was in R&D, running player testing, and we needed to find our own testing range. We built our headquarters in Carlsbad in the 1990s and added the range in 1998. Only robot, cannon and player testing were done at the start. Once in a while, a tour or staff pro would come out and test, but it was all operated from one building. At the time, what’s currently the clubhouse at The Kingdom was actually a maintenance building. But in 2010, The Kingdom was reimagined to the layout we have now.

Over the last three years I’ve been at The Kingdom, we’ve added GEARS, Quintic high-speed cameras, and a Foresight simulator bay. We transformed the putting lab with a Perfection Platforms articulating floor and SAM technology. Last year we resurfaced the main tee, redesigned and dedicated the Flick Tee, underwent a complete renovation of the short game area with new bunker complexes, redesigned the targeting downrange, and developed a par-3 routing. We partnered with Kurt Bowman Design, a longtime designer under Jack Nicklaus.

Our superintendent Mark Warren and his crew have done incredible work with our current maintenance equipment, and I can’t wait to see the conditions after we deliver a brand new fleet of brand new Toro equipment. We structured a long-term partnership with Toro and Turf Star Western.

JW: What is the simple function of The Kingdom? 

TK: We still have the robot bay and R&D does development work almost every day. We are mostly a resource for the entire company: Global Sports Marketing (Tour), developmental pros and ams, AJGA standouts, our Crusaders (club professionals), and commercial teams. We host pre-lines to introduce new product to our at-large teams and training events. We’re even a PR resource, hosting media, social influencers, celebrities, and professional athletes.

We also act as a hub for our Crusaders. They send their members to us, and we wholesale back to the staff account. I’ll do a significant amount of corporate events, charity events and have had “Flicks at The Kingdom” where we set up a giant projector and our employees bring their kids, beach chairs and blankets to watch a movie out on the range. Really a fun and cool event.

JW: Give me three awesome stories or experiences from your time there that you are cool sharing.

TK: It’s tough to only pick three! From Reggie Jackson stopping by to Matt Ryan, Drew Brees, Aaron Rodgers, Albert Pujols, Mike Trout, Jake Arrieta, Zack Greinke, President Bush. Those may be the most haughty name drops of all time! What can I say, it is beyond the coolest job I have ever had! It’s truly tough to pick, but here are my three…

Story 1: Tiger was preparing to make his first PGA Tour start after fusion surgery and he just spends the day grinding out here. He was testing an early proto of the TW irons and to see how much speed he still had. There’s a sound that only he and maybe two or three others make when they center it up. That sound is something that goes through your body, I can still hear it. It sticks with you.

He’s playing old school lofts, which are three degrees weaker than any other tour pro, but the carry distances were still there, the windows he hits it through, holding it against the wind, flighting a 6-iron even ripping a 5-wood 275 yards. His feedback and ability to discern the most minute details working with the advanced teams developing the irons was fantastic to witness.

To come full circle, I played with him in the Southern Cal Amateur when he was 16-years-old and had a front-row to his 62 at Hacienda, I was keeping his scorecard so he has my autograph. To again be standing three feet from him while he goes through the process is just special.

Story 2: I’m going to put two guys in the same bucket (because The Kingdom is so magical, I hope the golf gods are okay with it). Rory now spends a day out here the week of Farmers–he has for the last two years, and with the U.S. Open there 2021, I think he’s a lock for the next few. He went through two sets of irons in a wind quartering off the right at 20-25 mph. The consistency of launch, speed and spin were shockingly close! It was one of the greatest ball-striking exhibitions I’ve ever witnessed. We handpicked the range after his day, it took us 10 minutes He’s also the most gracious, down to earth person.

Jon Rahm stops by five or six times a year. To watch his sessions in the putting lab, to see Duane show him what’s changing and getting Jon back to baseline and see his confidence, to the 4-iron flop shots after we tell our Seve stories. Jon is part of the family. His brother and dad came out before Jon and Kelly’s wedding. He’s one of the two or three others where the sound goes through you.

Story 3: Has to be Operation Game On (OGO). We have partnered with  Tony Perez for over 15 years, we are the cherry on top of a 6-10 week program where wounded veterans take lessons and the graduation is a fitting at The Kingdom. I had a dear friend, Joe Horowitz, who’s a golfer and a musician, here late one day and I mentioned the OGO guys were coming the next day. It’s Veteran’s Day and the Marine Corps Birthday. Not to mention Jon Rahm would be here for a last tweak before he left for Dubai. Joe shows me a video of him singing the national anthem at the Jaguars game a few weeks before, and we both say let’s do that for the OGO guys. I get in early and send an email to all employees to be on the tee at 9 a.m. sharp. We have the OGO guys arrive and Jon is hanging in the locker room. I’m stalling to get all the employees onto the tee through the side gate, I walk the boys into the bay and hit the roll up door. Outside are 250 employees cheering these guys on! Joe sings the anthem (goose bumps every time), then happy birthday to Jon and the marine corps. There’s fittings, a pizza truck, Jon Rahm signed U.S. Open staff bags for the OGO boys. Then, get this, Jon goes on and wins that week in Dubai!

JW: If you could change anything about the property or the experience what would it be?

TK: At TaylorMade, the relentless pursuit of improving is in our DNA. The Kingdom is no different. We’re constantly innovating and reimagining the downrange experience. From targeting, to conditions and turf types, we’re always nuancing and squeaking out ways to be better. One example, we’re designing each of our targets with a specific purpose. When players are testing at The Kingdom, we want them to feel that every shot has a consequence. So, we want to deliver a real-world experience in every testing situation. We went through a massive redesign last fall and are currently still working with the advanced research team on new ways to enhance our testing and fitting experiences to meet the way that players perform in competition.

When it comes to the overall experience, The Kingdom has transformed from a predominantly R&D and fitting facility to the most capable environment to test, measure and understand how equipment performs and how golfers interact with their equipment. I call it the ultimate truth machine. We help golfers at every level uncover the insights they need to improve. After each session, we’re going to know everything about the club, the player and the ball flight.

So we came from a place where we were mainly focused on research, fitting, and selling. Our goals have changed. Now we obsess over how to help golfers get better.

What would I change? If you’re curious and passionate about making change, the answers are out there. The first thing we do is listen. We’re going to change everything that needs to be changed in order to meet our goals. I have an incredible focus group to bounce ideas off of. To ask our tour pros, club professionals, and teachers for feedback on the design ideas and what they like and prefer is fortunate. We’re constantly learning, we’re constantly improving, and if there’s a better way do something, then we’re going to figure it out and do it.

JW: What does the kingdom look like in 10 years?

TK: We have a lot of incredible plans for new targeting, bunker complexes, and refining the purposeful design of the range and short game area. Beyond that, we have designs for new teeing areas, a new short game complex, adding another GEARS system and Foresight Simulator, along with other new technologies. I can’t disclose all we do, since the R&D guys get a bit jumpy when I start going on about all the cool stuff and high science! I don’t know exactly what The Kingdom looks like in 10 years as technologies and our understanding continue to improve, but I do know give me six months, and we’ll have done something new. Always grinding to get better!

JW: Tell me a little bit about your career at TaylorMade.

TK: 31 years is hard to do in a “little bit” but I’ll try to give you the Clif Notes! Bob Vokey ran our Tour department and had me running his repair shop in Vista after George Willett took a job driving the Tour truck for TaylorMade. I was refinishing wooden clubs and repairing clubs for the local country clubs. I told Bob I was going broke making $4.50 an hour and driving all over San Diego. I asked if he could get me a job at TaylorMade and I started on the custom line with Wade Liles! Get to work at 2 p.m., off at 1 a.m. and golf in the morning. It was the life! Not to mention, I was lucky enough to meet my wife who worked for the company.

I started our player testing and worked for the great Dr. Benoit Vincent–the smartest man I know. I was a pretty good player, and I played a bunch of USGA and national amateur events. But when I did a TV commercial, I lost my amateur status and made the decision to turn pro. I quit my job and started that journey. Our CEO wanted me to take a leavem and I said: “I need to be all-in on this.” I had two children, a mortgage, car payments and had to buy health insurance while getting through all three stages of Q School. I realized I was a better amateur than a tour pro. We had our third child, and then I got the sales rep job in San Diego. After 10 years of sales, I moved inside the building and the ran innovations department before taking over our metalwoods category when we hit our highest market share in history. I spent a few years in product creation, ran global experiential for a few years and then got the best gig in all of golf here at The Kingdom. Been here for three years, and we’re just getting started!

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Puma Golf teams up with Ernie Els in support of Autism Awareness Month

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Puma X Els Autism

April is National Autism Awareness Month, and Puma Golf has teamed up with ambassador Ernie Els in support of the Els for Autism Foundation.

Throughout April, Puma will donate a portion of every individual sale of the brand’s Ignite Pwradapt Caged shoes with the proceeds going towards the Els for Autism Foundation.

Puma X Els Autism

Every pair of Caged shoes sold this month will include a blue Els for Autism shoe bag and puzzle piece ribbon lapel pin – with the color blue and the puzzle pieces representing Autism Awareness.

Puma X Els Autism

The Els for Autism Foundation helps deliver and facilitate programs designed to serve individuals with autism spectrum disorder. You can purchase the shoes here.

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