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Opinion & Analysis

PGA Tour Players With Surprisingly Average Clubs

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I’m just as guilty as the rest of you guys. All those WITB posts come up each week at the tournaments and I comb through looking at all the eye candy. Those prototype driving irons, custom weld-neck putters, and exotic stamped wedges get all the heart-eye emojis flowing, don’t they? What I find most interesting is not the Porsches, however, but the Pintos.

These guys play golf for a living. Dropping $5,000 on a custom putter means nothing to them in the long run. Just shaving one stroke off their week’s showing can net 10 times that much or more in some cases. But if and when you find something that suits you perfectly, smart people don’t mess with it.

Steve Stricker’s Putter

I know Steve was sporting a Cameron at the PGA Championship last week, but he’s done that before on some rare occasions and went back to old reliable. This “jalopy” is one of my favorites for two reasons:

  1. I’m on a bit of a putting kick at the moment
  2. Steve Stricker is widely regarded as one of the best putters on tour.

The longtime Titleist-staffer could probably have any Scotty Cameron he wanted, but he’s rocking the old-school, Odyssey White Hot #2 with loads of lead tape on the bottom. You can currently pick up one of these bad boys for under $50 easily on the used market, but can you roll it like Steve? Doubtful. Dude is fourth on tour (FOURTH!) in total putting and makes over 90 percent of his putts (452 for 500) inside 10 feet. That’s insane. See Stricker’s Full WITB.

Hideki Matsuyama’s Driver

Man, that thing is roached. If I showed up to my local course with that bad boy, it’d probably draw quite the reaction. I could probably hear everyone thinking, “Oh, I got this dude, no problem.” If I could rock it half as good as Hideki (he’s 22nd on tour in driving distance at 304.3 yards and 11th in strokes gained off the tee), I’d be laughing all the way to the bank, too… even if I did pause long enough for a cigarette at the top of my backswing… See Matsuyama’s Full WITB.

Henrik Stenson’s 3 wood

Ah, the Callaway Diablo Octane…released in late 2010. By tour standards, it belongs in the Smithsonian at this point. If it helps you win the Open Championship, an Olympic silver medal, and become the European Tour player of the year all in the same year, though, it stays in the bag until you feel compelled to change it. Period. See Stenson’s Full WITB.

Most of Padraig Harrington’s Bag

The 3-time major winner has quite the quiver doesn’t he? At least in this 2016 version.  He features a mostly Wilson Staff bag, including a putter that can currently be had for 100 bones brand new. Sprinkle in a TaylorMade AeroBurner driver and Ping Eye 2 Gorge wedge and you may not have a masterpiece in the eyes of a lot of GolfWRXers, but if it pays the bills, who cares? See Harrington’s Full WITB.

What are your favorite WITBs? Any long-standing clubs in your bag that you never see yourself parting with? Comment below, but the first person who says, “It’s not the arrow” loses 1,000 points.

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Peter Schmitt does not profess to be a PGA professional or to be certified at...well...anything much in golf. Just another lifelong golfer with a passion for the game trying to get better every day, the definition of which changes relatively frequently. Peter is a former Marine and a full-time mechanical engineer (outside of the golf industry). He lives in Lexington, KY with his wife and two young kids.

50 Comments

50 Comments

  1. Peter Schmitt

    Aug 21, 2017 at 11:32 am

    As if on cue, Henrik rides the mighty Diablo 3 wood to victory at the Wyndham the same week this gets posted. The best part? He didn’t even carry a driver. Boom!

  2. Indian

    Aug 21, 2017 at 3:31 am

    It’s not the arrow it’s the….oh, whoops.

  3. TG

    Aug 19, 2017 at 7:45 pm

    They don’t pay for clubs though so why would they “drop” 5000 on a putter…

  4. Ryan

    Aug 19, 2017 at 7:07 pm

    Adam Scott’s irons are still pretty old. Titleist 680 MB’s from 2005. If his lofts are standard, it’s even crazier. PW at 48*!! That’s pretty awesome to me

  5. Jesper Pickering

    Aug 19, 2017 at 1:49 pm

    Sometimes the pure joy of a shiny new toy is all it takes for me to buy new gear. Will it perform better? Properly not, just like my new pair of jeans aren’t better than the old ones. BUT they look and feel danm good…until a cooler pair is on display in the shop window ????

  6. Mark

    Aug 19, 2017 at 9:13 am

    Sold a Scottsdale answer years ago for $1,900. Read here recently that they now bring $120. I have one in the garage. And what about the Wilson 8802, armour img5, geo low of nicklaus, faldos taylomade viii?

  7. BIG STU

    Aug 19, 2017 at 2:21 am

    I have been saying it for years and most folks do not listen. BTW the model of Odyssey Stricker uses is a copy of a old Ping Zing 2. What would surprise most is the age of the equipment used on the Champion’s Tour. I have always been of the addage of using what works no matter the age or brand

  8. Elf

    Aug 18, 2017 at 11:48 pm

    Cool aicle. I’ve often assumed Odyssey (etc) replaced inserts for the pros though they tell we mortals it isn’t possible for them to do. Stricker’s insert looks way too clean (compared to the rest of the club) to be original IMO.

  9. rex235

    Aug 18, 2017 at 10:46 pm

    Bobby Nichols won the Dow Jones Open ($60K) with a $5 putter.
    Never saw anything in Bob Charles bag other than a Bullseye.
    Bullseyes have won Majors in 5 different decades. Even Nicklaus used one for a US Open win.
    Nicklaus’ 3 wood was in his bag for 30+years.
    Oldest club in my bag? -27 years 19 Degree Taylor Made Tour Cleek II.
    Strickers putter epitomizes the adage “If it ain’t broke….”

  10. Dude

    Aug 18, 2017 at 10:10 pm

    What about Rory McIlroy’s Nike irons. H he should go back to them since he won with them.

  11. Iman

    Aug 18, 2017 at 8:25 pm

    Don’t forget Adam Scott with his 690.MB iron set. By tour standards, it belongs to his grand-grandfather.

  12. Walt

    Aug 18, 2017 at 5:00 pm

    Looking more closely at the sole of the White Hot and that’s gotta be lead tape plastered to the sole.
    Also, the plastic face insert of his old putter has got to be slightly worn on the sweet spot making it slightly concave-ish and cups the ball, ya think?

    • Todd

      Aug 19, 2017 at 8:41 pm

      FYI lead is about 50% heavier than stainless steel, so 2 strips of lead is equal to 3 strips of equivalent steel. So next time you see lead tape you will know.

  13. Walt

    Aug 18, 2017 at 4:55 pm

    Real golfers don’t change their equipment when the OEMs bring out their ‘new’ models. It’s because they don’t find fault in their equipment. The challenge is within their body, mind and the golf course. That’s how real golf is played.

    • Caddy

      Aug 18, 2017 at 5:59 pm

      Nailed it.

      • Walt

        Aug 18, 2017 at 6:16 pm

        And if a golfer continuously doubts his equipment they cannot swing with confidence.
        I’ve golfed with people who cursed their equipment when they screw up and when it’s obvious the problem is within themselves. They refuse to see it or admit it.
        Such people can never be wrong because in their minds they are perfect and successful men. They cannot face their failure and direct their anger against their clubs to hide from their incompetence.
        I jokingly told one such golfer that he’s not good enough to blame his clubs, and he got very angry at me. Never again because these types are dangerous.

        • Vic

          Aug 18, 2017 at 10:50 pm

          This is GolfWRX for c’sake man not psych 101.

          • Walt

            Aug 19, 2017 at 1:01 pm

            Just sharing my experiences and my conclusions about some bad golfers and their club hate. I love my clubs because they behave exactly as I expect them to perform. What’s your problem?

  14. Ben Jones

    Aug 18, 2017 at 3:49 pm

    Still going back to the Bullseye to fix my putting woes.

    • Walt

      Aug 19, 2017 at 1:03 pm

      Bullseye is a pure putter uncompensated for an inconsistent putting stroke and bad impact. It’s a test of your putting stroke control. All the other fancy putters are intended for golfers who want their putter to do the putting for them.

  15. peter collins

    Aug 18, 2017 at 3:04 pm

    I am after a Odyssey Black Series i #7 Putter (2008)
    I tried the club pro’s and putted the best i have for a long time.
    Has a forum member got one for sale, or know where i can get one from please.

  16. Don

    Aug 18, 2017 at 2:35 pm

    Corey Pavin still uses a bronze bull’s eye. Makes Strick’s Odyssey just a youngster. Love to know Corey’s putting average. He’s one of the shortest drivers on tour and can still compete.

    • Peter Schmitt

      Aug 18, 2017 at 2:45 pm

      Oh man. I used to idolize Corey Pavin back in the day. I thought I was so cool when I bought a set of Cleveland VAS irons!

      • Dave C

        Aug 18, 2017 at 10:58 pm

        Did those not look like hossle rocket makers?

  17. Ben Jones

    Aug 18, 2017 at 2:02 pm

    Lee Trevino winning the 74 PGA with a 15 year-old blade putter he found in some lady’s attic. Priceless! Just love the old clubs that keep us going. I still game a Fast 10 3-wood. Its the shaft and the pure looking head. Old Adams stuff is great.

  18. George Walker

    Aug 18, 2017 at 1:50 pm

    Where is Brandt Snedeker’s putter? I have one similar to his and I believe it’s my last.

    • Peter Schmitt

      Aug 18, 2017 at 2:47 pm

      Sned’s and G-Mac’s putters were both on my short list. Ultimately I went with Steve’s because he’s just such a good putter. But yeah, those are both worthy contenders…

    • Rossie

      Aug 19, 2017 at 1:57 am

      Don’t forget Ryan Palmer either. He gamed an old Odyssey dual force rossie ii up until recent. He also still uses ap2 710’s.

  19. TeeBone

    Aug 18, 2017 at 12:32 pm

    As long as Tour players are paid to play equipment, we’ll never know what they would use if they were free to choose whatever they feel is best. But at the end of the day, “it ain’t the clubs”.

  20. Rogerinnz

    Aug 18, 2017 at 12:16 pm

    Nothing wrong with a Great Odyssey Putter.
    Just bought a set of Eye 2 irons this week.
    Flashy vs Functional.
    I recall a Futura thrown into a pond… not an Odyssey…

  21. larrybud

    Aug 18, 2017 at 12:00 pm

    There’s just very little wiggle room for technological enhancements. Drivers are maxed at .860 COR, and balls are maxed (which is why pga driving average hasn’t moved in a dozen years).

    That’s why we see pretty new colors and other things such as adjustable clubs (which IS a great innovation, but mostly for fitters rather than any real improvements which will make a player shoot a lower score.

    In a way, club fitting has hurt the new market. Once you get fitted for a driver, there’s really no reason to get a new one unless the club wears out or your swing changes significantly enough warrant a new fitting. The marketing hype of “longer off the tee” is just that.

  22. OhioGolfDude

    Aug 18, 2017 at 11:44 am

    Fun article Peter! Don’t forget the history of Brandt Snedeker’s bag. Not sure what he’s gaming now, but I know last year at the AT&T Classic Pebble Beach he still had the old TM SuperFast in the bag along with a really old Odyssey Rossie. As for Hideki’s driver, yeah it’s pretty baked but definitely still a viable option. A lot of Cally staffers used the GBB until Epic came out. It only takes a quick view of the WITB section to see some older hangovers, like former Nike staffer Kyle Stanley sticking with an old Covert 5 wood in an otherwise all Titleist setup.

  23. Jim McIntosh

    Aug 18, 2017 at 11:16 am

    I feel really good if I have the newest clubs in my WITB and everybody else has old junk. I want the latest in technology to help my game because I don’t have time to practice hours per day. If it’s new it’s improved and I want the best in my bag. Besides I can sell my old stuff easily for new clubs.

  24. Steven Crowder

    Aug 18, 2017 at 11:03 am

    Nothing wrong with the Aeroburner driver. It’s only 2 years old. I like it better than my 2017 M2.

  25. xjohnx

    Aug 18, 2017 at 10:27 am

    Definitely looks like the entire bottom of Hideki’s GBB was colored with a Sharpie. Wondering if that was something Srixon recommended or demanded or if he’s just expressing himself through art.

  26. Johnnylongballz

    Aug 18, 2017 at 10:13 am

    When I find the putter that I make 492 out of 500 from inside 5 feet I will never change putters again. Until then ……. well, you know.

  27. Holly Sonders

    Aug 18, 2017 at 9:44 am

    Exactly when has a tour pro ever paid $5k for a custom putter?

    • Peter Schmitt

      Aug 18, 2017 at 10:41 am

      5k was a purposely outlandish number. I wasn’t trying to say that they DO spend that much. Frankly I have no idea how much they spend and I don’t need to. I’m saying that even if they DID spend a stupid amount of dough on a club that takes one or two strokes off their rounds, it’s still a big time net positive for them. When guys stick with clubs that are over ~3 years old or so (normal for us but ancient for a tour pro), there’s a reason…

      • Barry

        Aug 19, 2017 at 9:59 am

        What the heck is wrong with you? Would you ever say something like that in real life?

        • Steven Crowder

          Aug 19, 2017 at 2:18 pm

          I would. Don’t know about the other guy.

        • Bester

          Aug 19, 2017 at 4:29 pm

          Golf aint real life it’s better.

    • Jim McIntosh

      Aug 20, 2017 at 1:48 pm

      Can you see your feet when you are putting?

  28. JayG

    Aug 18, 2017 at 9:40 am

    IF IT AIN’T BROKE, DON’T FIX IT

    • ActualFacts

      Aug 18, 2017 at 10:33 am

      Exactly!!! Step down to the developmental professional golf tours and I’m sure you’ll see a lot more “surprisingly average” bags. The OEMs gear their marketing strategies towards folks like us (WRX’ers) who crave the latest and greatest by keeping their endorsees fitted and filmed with all of the new-new. Those same your pros could go out with equipment that’s 20 years old and perform just as well. It’s not the equipment. Those guys and gals really are that good.

    • Bester

      Aug 19, 2017 at 4:28 pm

      My clubs I bought last year are broke now cause they don’t hit the ball straight and far anymore. Whats the matter with those useless clubs.

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Opinion & Analysis

Don’t be THAT guy at your corporate outing

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Today is the day. Your out-of-office email is up, and you’re fully prepared for an afternoon at the course. As a driving range pro, you think this day will be a gentle breeze. However, you are not prepared. You may not even realize it, but you are about to be that guy.

That guy… who is that guy? Well, I’m glad you asked.

He’s that guy at the range hours early instead of socializing at the breakfast. He’s that guy arranging the scramble lineup when he finally makes it to that breakfast. He’s the guy who finds himself reading a golf blog about a corporate scramble.

Hi, guy!

Now, let’s start this early in the morning. You’re in your closet carefully crafting your outfit for the day. Wait, wait, wait… let’s not start there. Therein lies the problem, guy. You aren’t composing an outfit, not today! An outfit is for Day 2 of your member-guest. An outfit is for that golf trip with your buddies. An outfit is for Bill Murray at the Pebble Beach Pro-Am (who, with those bell bottoms, is becoming dangerously close to that guy). 

I digress.

A corporate outing is for the muted colors sitting in the back of your closet. There’s no need to get flashy with your attire on this day. If your game is as good as your rangefinder magnet says you are, your game will be enough of the conversation; there’s no need to make your belt buckle one of them. White shorts are fine, but please, don’t be the guy wrapped in pants in 80-degree heat. I get it, you’re “more comfortable in pants” and “this new fabric is actually cooler than shorts.” Come on now, let’s save the pants for guys who aren’t playing for pro shop credit.

Obviously club-tossing, swear-wording and teammate-bashing are huge no-nos, but you already know that. Be encouraging on the course and give your teammates credit when they hit one down the middle, even if you drive it past them. It was still their shot that freed you up.

Most importantly, gauge the competitiveness of the team. Some people are there to win; some people are there for gin. If it’s clear that your team isn’t firing 14-under, kick back, relax and help your teammates improve. You’ll have your own chance. You can still get excited for the long drive, guy.

Speaking of the long drive, why is the prize for winning said competition so often a new driver? “You proved today how well you smash that driver, so here is a new one!” Sir, he likes his just fine. I think it’s safe to venture he’d rather stop the three-putt pars. Which also goes for the longest-putt prize. A brand new Odyssey White Hot! Just stop it. Pro shop credit… problem solved.

Speaking of problems, there’s a good chance someone in your group will have a massive one with their swing. As a guy, you’ll probably want to tell them they are “casting” and to try this “towel-under-the-arm drill.” Yes, it is completely fine to provide a tip, but only when warranted (or preferably, called upon). You can go from “guy who helped my short game” to “guy who destroyed my swing” with just a few too many hints.

One more thing. Don’t let any guy pull this move.

Let me paint a story. Your team approaches the green, you have two decent looks at birdie. Good for you! However, your team can’t decide. One is 15-feet straight up the hill. The other is an eight-foot slider. The team agrees the shorter putt is still the play.

“I’ll smack this 15-footer, just for fun,” your cheating teammate says. Followed shortly by, “unless it goes in, ha.”

Other than actually cheating, this is the most common and lame shenanigan I’ve seen in a corporate scramble. I’ve never forgotten the people that did it with me, and they won’t forget you.

Man, that got dark in a hurry.

Back to the fun stuff. You’ve mastered the clothing and seamlessly blended casual and competitive like Tom Brady in Uggs. All that is left now is to select your winning item in the pro shop. And this is where I leave my final tip. Go with something practical: gloves, golf balls. The last thing your wardrobe needs is another lime green shirt that you’ll want to wear in next month’s scramble.

Related: Pick three golfers to build your ultimate scramble team for $8 or less!

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The 19th Hole: Host Michael Williams plays Shinnecock Hills and reports back

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Host Michael Williams reports on his visit to Media Day at Shinnecock Hills, the site the 2018 U.S. Open, where he played the course. How are the current conditions? He weighs in on the Unlimited Mulligan Challenge made by Dave Portnoy of Barstool Sports that day, as well. Also, famed Architect David Kidd talks about how he created Bandon Dunes at the age of 25, and Steve Skinner of KemperLesnik gives his views on the health of the golf business.

Listen to the full podcast on SoundCloud below, or click here to listen on iTunes!

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TG2: What’s it like to caddie for Rory? GolfWRX Forum Member shares his experience

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Marine and GolfWRX forum member “djfalcone” explains the story of how he got to caddie for Rory McIlroy and Johnny Vegas through the Birdies for the Brave program, and how knowledgable Rory is about his equipment. Make sure to check out his full forum thread here.

Listen to our full podcast below, or click here to listen on iTunes!

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