More than just a cool slogan on a hoodie, the words “I play golf” have had such a strong impact on me throughout my life.
Like any kid growing up, I had a variety of interests… but ultimately, sports ran my life. Whether it was watching or playing, I lived for basketball during basketball season, football during football season, and baseball during baseball season. But ever since I could walk, I took a strange liking to golf in particular, and it never had an “off-season” to me. In the spring, summer and fall months, I went to the range (often forcing my mom to videotape my swing for hours), to the golf course with my dad, or hit pitch shots in my backyard until sunset or long after. In the winter, I chipped on the carpet in our living room, or I swung a golf club in a mirror working on my positions. I was obsessed with the game.
Often times, however, it was a personal obsession; something I kept to myself. Kids can be cruel, and playing golf was more of a reason to be ridiculed than praised for me while growing up. So I always told people “I play basketball,” or “I play football.” Rarely did I say, or at least say proudly, “I play golf.”
But as time went on, and I went from playing golf in junior events, to high school matches, to playing golf in college, I started saying it more and more proudly. My college peers, probably from all of the student-athlete gear I’d wear to and from class, knew I played a sport at Rutgers. They’d ask, “what do you play; baseball or lacrosse or something?” And I’d answer, “No, I play golf.”
I was being borderline cocky with my answer, if we’re being honest. I liked playing Division I golf, plus I had worked so hard to get there I felt entitled to that bravado. It also felt good to not hide my passion for golf amongst my peers anymore like I did when I was younger. Some people even thought it was pretty cool I played golf.
A funny thing happened my junior year while on the golf team at Rutgers, however. A tumor popped up into my spine, and the back spasms were so bad I needed immediate surgery. Back surgery at 20 years old is far from ideal for anyone, but as a collegiate golfer with big aspirations, it could have meant the end of my career. And it almost did.
I was forced, both physically and by my doctors, to red shirt my senior year. That meant I did not in fact play golf. For awhile, I couldn’t even stand to putt, let alone work on my swing at the range. “I play golf.” Maybe those are words I’ll never say again, I thought at the time.
Sometime during my senior season, however, I began swinging the golf club again. Then I started playing golf again. Then I started scoring pretty well during practice rounds, and I felt I was “back.” But this time around, I had a new appreciation for the sport that I’ve always loved.
After graduating from Rutgers, and with a year of eligibility still left to play collegiately, I took my (mostly diminished) talents to Hawaii; a Division II school called Hawaii Pacific University. When people asked me at HPU what sport I played, I proudly — not with embarrassment, apprehension, or some unwarranted cockiness — told them “I play golf.”
The words “I play golf” may have different meanings to you, depending on your perspective. Actually, I had a swing coach one time who would repeatedly ask me, “Do you play golf swing or do you play golf?” to which I’d answer “I play golf.” But, to me, the words “I play golf” on this hoodie represent a lifelong relationship with golf that went through ups and downs, but today I’m proud to be a golfer, and I’m proud to have the opportunity to play the game I love most. And to anyone who gets made fun of — kids, adults, whomever — for playing golf, I say screw em; be proud of who you are and what you love. Life’s too short to be ashamed of yourself, and golf truly is the greatest game ever played, isn’t it?
Rory McIlroy WITB (2020 ZOZO Championship)
Driver: TaylorMade SIM (10.5 @8 degrees)
Shaft: Fujikura Ventus Black 6X (45.5 inches, 59.25 lie, D4)
Irons: TaylorMade P7MB (3-PW)
Shaft: Project X Rifle 7.0 (6.5 in PW)
Wedges: TaylorMade MG2 (54-10SB, 60-08LB)
Shaft: Project X Rifle 6.5
Putter: TaylorMade Spider X Copper (34.25, 2.5 loft, 70 lie)
Ball: 2019 TaylorMade TP5 (#22)
Grips: Golf Pride Tour Velvet Cord (58R 1+1, logo down)
GolfWRX Spotted: 2021 Mizuno ST-Z and ST-X drivers on USGA Conforming List
When it comes to drivers, Mizuno isn’t usually the company that comes to the top of mind for many golfers, but starting with the ST-190, and then the ST-200 series in 2020, they have quickly changed the perception of their metal woods thanks to wins on tour and more players choosing to put them in play—most recently Brandt Snedeker as a non-contracted player.
This morning, with the update of the USGA and R&A conforming equipment lists, we are getting a sneak peek at what Mizuno will have in store for 2021 with the release of the ST-Z and ST-X drivers.
What we know
Based on the information provided in the USGA submission by Mizuno, the ST-X will only be available in right-handed (10.5 and 12-degree lofts), while the ST-Z will be available in both right (9.5 and 10.5 degrees) and left-handed (9.5 degrees only).
Based on the images from the USGA list and our experience with the Mizuno product line, it appears that the ST-Z is the next step in the evolution of the standard ST200 with no adjustable CG but with a customizable weight in the back of the head.
We haven’t seen any images of a moveable weight driver in this new ST series, so it could be that the G-woods are getting phased out in favor of more internally biased weighting, but since those types of drivers often take a bit more time to get just right, it could be a matter of time before a “G” type driver hits the list.
As for technology, it has Mizuno’s standard wave to create flexibility behind the face, an adjustable hosel, and based on the images, more carbon fiber used around the head compared to previous generations, especially on the sole. I would also expect to hear a new face material or design story to complete the package and to boost MOI and ball speed.
Based on the image from the USGA list and our experience, it appears that the ST-X is the next step in the evolution of the ST200-X driver, which is the lighter weight, more upright, and draw-biased driver from Mizuno. Don’t think draw bias always means it’s for higher handicaps either, because Mizuno staff player Chris Kirk got along very nicely with his out on the Korn Ferry and PGA Tours in 2020, including a win.
The tell-tale sign is the more heel biased weight in the back of the driver and what looks to be some sort of textured area to create “visible technology” towards the heel of the clubhead.
Beyond being draw-biased, when it comes to technology, it shares a lot of similarities to the ST-Z with Mizuno’s standing wave to create flexibility behind the face, an adjustable hosel, and more carbon fiber used around the head compared to previous generations, especially on the sole, and in the case of the ST-X, on the sole.
We don’t have any information on the release of these new drivers, but considering Mizuno didn’t adjust product release schedules in 2020, I would imagine it will be doing the same in 2021, and we can expect to hear more about these ST drivers either late 2020 or early into 2021.
To see what other golfers are saying about the newly spotted Mizuno ST-Z and ST-X drivers, check out the GolfWRX forums and join the discussion: GolfWRX – New Mizuno drivers spotted on USGA Conforming List
5 hybrid vs 5 iron – GolfWRXers discuss
In our forums, our members have been discussing the logic behind removing their 5 iron from their bag. WRXer ‘rwl’ asks whether any fellow members have experiences doing so, and WRXers have been sharing their thoughts and experiences in our forum.
Here are a few posts from the thread, but make sure to check out the entire discussion and have your say at the link below.
- RobertL.: “I replaced my 5 iron with a 5 hybrid. I find it far easier to hit than my 5 iron. I also took my 6 iron out of the bag, so now my longest iron is a 7. I now carry a 3, 4, and 5 hybrid since they’re so much easier to hit than long irons. Makes a big difference for this senior golfer.”
- JohnKHawk: “For last 2 seasons I’ve played with a Cobra F9 5 hybrid. It’s 24 degrees & gaps perfectly between Cobra OS 3-4 hybrid at 20.5 degrees & Apex19 6 iron which is 26.5 degrees. The 5 iron was just getting to be to undependable. Misses with the 5 hybrid were more playable than the 5 iron. Use what works best for your game.”
- Abe21599: “Never a bad idea to have both a 5i and 5h options in the trunk, just gotta watch lofts.”
- nitram: “I know it sounds so “old man” but if you want to make a change in your 5-iron slot and can’t seem to get along with a hybrid, give the 9-wood a try. You may be pleasantly surprised.”
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