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Callaway (finally) launches new Apex MB and X Forged irons

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It’s been a long time coming for the release of Callaway’s new Apex Muscleback (MB) irons to the public. It was all the way back in January of this year when we first spotted Apex MB irons. Patrick Reed was testing the irons, and Rory McIlroy — before he joined TaylorMade’s staff — was testing a raw, prototype version of the clubs. Since then, the new Apex MB irons have popped up in the bags of other tour players, most notably Danny Lee (full set) and Phil Mickelson (8-PW).

Finally, Callaway has officially launched the Apex MB irons.

Along with the Apex MB irons, Callaway has also announced that it’s releasing another highly anticipated set of irons that are made for better players: the new X Forged, which we’ve only recently spotted in the bags of Phil Mickelson (3, 5-7) and Sang-Moon Bae (full set).

Callaway 2013 X Forged (left) vs. 2017 X Forged

Callaway 2013 X Forged (left) vs. 2018 X Forged

Callaway’s X Forged irons — first released in 2007, then in 2009, and not again until 2013 — are on a lengthy release rotation, far from the company’s Apex line that gets a new model at least every two years. The X Forged name, possibly due to that few-and-far-between release schedule, has garnered a cult-like appreciation from better players over the years, so this new release of X Forged irons will certainly be significant for those long-time fans.

Find out below what’s new and improved about the Apex MB and the X Forged irons compared to their predecessors, and see what GolfWRX members are saying here.

Callaway Apex MB ($1,299.99)

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Callaway’s Apex MB irons are the product of direct feedback from the company’s Tour staffers, according to Luke Williams, Director of Product and Brand Management at Callaway. Forged from 1025 Carbon Steel, the irons are unapologetically made for the best players in the world, and they’re designed with the needs and wishes of Tour players in mind.

These blade irons have the shortest blade lengths, the thinnest soles and the smallest overall heads in the vast line of Callaway irons. They’re designed for maximum workability, for tour-desired turf interaction, and to cut through the thick rough that tour players face week-in and week-out.

CallawayApexMBSpecsGolfWRX

With what Williams calls “classic lofts,” the irons are designed for players who know their distances and place more importance on consistent distances than hitting the ball farther. That means the clubs have weaker lofts than any of the other irons in Callaway’s lineup, and the single-piece forgings are not juiced with distance-enhancing technologies.

These irons, which are made with “20V” grooves and “optimized CG (center of gravity),” are for players who strike the center of the club consistently, and who want complete control over spin and trajectory.

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Callaway’s Apex MB irons (2-PW, AW), with a Chrome finish, will sell for $1,299.99 starting on November 3 in both right- and left-handed options.

See what GolfWRX members are saying about the irons in our forums.

Callaway X Forged ($1,299.99)

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While the new X Forged irons are also designed for Tour players and better amateurs, these irons aren’t “as intimidating” as the Apex Muscleback irons, according to Williams. That’s because, although they’re also single-piece forgings, the blade lengths are slightly longer, the overall head shapes are slightly larger, and they are cavity-back irons made for a bit more forgiveness.

CallawayXForged2017specsWRX

Like the Apex MB irons, the soles of the X Forged irons are built for the turf interaction that’s desired by Tour players, and the head profiles are tour-inspired. The lofts are slightly stronger throughout the set than the Apex MB, but are still weaker than the game-improvement style irons in Callaway’s stable. That means better players will see the ball launch in the “desired window,” according to Williams.

Callaway 2017 X Forged (left) vs. 2017 Apex MB

Callaway 2017 X Forged (left) vs. 2017 Apex MB

The X Forged irons are “triple net forged,” according to Callaway, and they have progressive CGs with 20V grooves on the face.

Sets of X Forged irons (3-PW) will hit stores on November 3 in both right- and left-handed options, and they will also sell for $1,299.99.

See what GolfWRX members are saying about the irons in our forums.

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Andrew Tursky is the Editor-in-Chief of GolfWRX. He played on the Hawaii Pacific University Men's Golf team while earning a Masters degree in Communications. He also played college golf at Rutgers University, where he graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism.

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65 Comments

65 Comments

  1. Stephen Finley

    Nov 7, 2017 at 11:12 pm

    MB: just friggin’ _woof_.

  2. Mat

    Nov 7, 2017 at 3:05 pm

    Looks like OEMs are starting to settle into 33/37/41/45 for the long haul on 7/8/9/P.

  3. Scott

    Oct 23, 2017 at 10:05 pm

    Wonder how the X Forged will compare against mizzen jpx 900 forged? I really like the feel I have with my mizzies but I’ve always loved Callaway

  4. Tom Duckworth

    Oct 20, 2017 at 6:03 am

    The new X Forged clubs look way better than the older ones much more put together on the back side. First set of Callaways I have like the looks of in some time. The blades are OK a blade is a blade I guess. I think I like the MP-18s better but I would think they would play just the same as any other blade iron.

    • OB

      Oct 20, 2017 at 9:54 am

      If they “look way better” then they must be better because the look of your WITB is half the game.

  5. AB

    Oct 19, 2017 at 10:59 pm

    TM came out with their fake ‘forged’ P790s…. and now Cally with their mystery forgings. What’s happening?

  6. jgpl001

    Oct 18, 2017 at 5:02 pm

    Both look really good

    MB’s so like the mp69’s, unreal..

    • 2putttom

      Oct 23, 2017 at 1:57 pm

      ya ya ya Mizuno has a lock on look a likes.

  7. Kool Aid

    Oct 18, 2017 at 12:05 am

    No cup face?

  8. finish it

    Oct 18, 2017 at 12:04 am

    Andrew Tursky is the Assistant Editor at GolfWRX. He played on the Hawaii Pacific University Men’s Golf team while earning a Masters degree in Communications. He also played college golf at Rutgers University, where he graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism.
    ————-
    ….. and he forgot to ask where the forging is done ….lol

    • Thomas A

      Oct 18, 2017 at 2:11 pm

      Lol. Like any company is going to admit where their club heads are made.

      • OB

        Oct 20, 2017 at 9:55 am

        Then we must assume the forging was done in Bangladesh for ¢¢¢¢¢¢ ….

    • AB

      Oct 19, 2017 at 10:57 pm

      If the clubs are expensive forgings by Endo as has been suggested ,without proof, then Cally should proudly declare it.
      If not, and the clubs are forged in Bangladesh for a couple of dollare each then I can understand why they would want to keep it secret.
      All the forum gearheads are so proud of their Japanese-made clubs and know all about the forging factory in which they are made.
      If Cally keeps it a secret then we must suspect the worst… and they are overcharging for inferior forging with their name on the clubs to exploit the gullible golfers.

  9. Miz

    Oct 17, 2017 at 11:26 pm

    Who stole my MP-69 designs

  10. MB

    Oct 17, 2017 at 9:27 pm

    “Classic” lofts they say, yet the 9 iron is at 42, then the PW at 47, and then an AW at 51????? NOT classic at all. lol

  11. Milo

    Oct 17, 2017 at 3:17 pm

    Meh, no reason to upgrade my 13s, actually been thinking about getting some Maltbys to try out.

    • etc.

      Oct 17, 2017 at 5:50 pm

      But the Maltby forged clubs will not feeeel the same as the Cally MBs or X-Forged…. and then there is the staaaatus. Do you really want to bag Maltbys when they have never won a tournament? After all, you are what you own.

      • Milo

        Oct 17, 2017 at 6:50 pm

        I probably would of bought the maltby DBM forged if i knew about them when i purchased by 13s. I like the look of the DBM forged. If i needed status i would get PXG irons, haha.

      • 2putttom

        Oct 17, 2017 at 10:25 pm

        say’s a guy gettin round town on a skate board

  12. Luke

    Oct 17, 2017 at 2:26 pm

    Was confirmed that these are forged at the Endo Forging House. The creme de la creme of forging.

    • LenG

      Oct 17, 2017 at 2:52 pm

      Anti-MAGA Callaway clubs. No wonder they are so expensive and useless.

    • Jim T

      Oct 17, 2017 at 9:06 pm

      I want Tursky to tell us where the clubs were forged and finished. You say “confirmed” but by who? It’s Tursky’s job to be open and transparent in his reporting on a most important question.

    • 2putttom

      Oct 17, 2017 at 10:27 pm

      ya stepped in what?

  13. Jerry

    Oct 17, 2017 at 12:32 pm

    Bounce on both sets?

  14. Jim T

    Oct 17, 2017 at 11:32 am

    “Forged from 1025 Carbon Steel” ….. “triple net forged” …. “Forged 18” …..
    Okay, Tursky, now tell us where were they manufactured, where were they forged?
    No mention here or on the WRX main forum. Seems like nobody knows.

  15. Dat

    Oct 17, 2017 at 11:19 am

    Take $300 off those prices and MAYBE they will sell.

    • etc.

      Oct 17, 2017 at 5:52 pm

      But that $300 is what Cally will pay Tiger for playing their clubs.

  16. Scott

    Oct 17, 2017 at 9:19 am

    I’ve always liked Callaway. I’d try the x forged to compare against my miz jpx forged which I’m happy with.

  17. Tim

    Oct 17, 2017 at 9:06 am

    More Callaway product?!?!??

  18. Ian

    Oct 17, 2017 at 8:33 am

    Blades have changed little in what the last 30 or 40 years?
    So basically zero RnD and they still try sell them for $1300

    • 2putttom

      Oct 17, 2017 at 10:37 pm

      oh ye of little faith. Google and research and get back to us.

      • Ian

        Oct 18, 2017 at 3:45 am

        Lol if you think these will do anything different

      • LD

        Oct 18, 2017 at 9:38 am

        Are you seriously stating that there is new “tech” in blades? SMH

        • Thomas A

          Oct 18, 2017 at 2:14 pm

          Forging processes have improved to allow for stricter tolerances. So yes, there is “tech” in new blades.

          • LD

            Oct 18, 2017 at 3:20 pm

            Forging processes have not improved dramatically in 40+ years. You bought that marketing trash hook, line, and sinker.

            • 2putttom

              Oct 18, 2017 at 9:44 pm

              ” Not only did this 5th forging step improve the density consistency of the raw forgings, which in turn tightened the +/- weight tolerance of the raw forgings, but this additional forging step further reduced the number of internal voids and improved the consistency of the grain structure of the carbon steel. “

              • etc.

                Oct 18, 2017 at 10:14 pm

                Tell them about that “soft buttery feel” after the 5th forging step…. which requires more ‘soaking’ in the furnace to keep the forging temperature up….. or do they only do the ‘custom’ forging for the pro’s who endorse the clubs?!!

                • 2putttom

                  Oct 23, 2017 at 2:06 pm

                  etc checked in with Mr. Wishon.

                  Tom Wishon October 20, 2017

                  The 5th forging step is to hit the head after the flashing is removed one more time with a die that packs the steel more densely and reduces the final flashing to a very small and narrow line of material that is removed very easily from the outer edges of the head. So not only are there fewer and much smaller voids in the grain structure of the steel which makes the raw forgings MUCH more consistent for weight but it also reduces the amount of grinding to clean up the heads to prepare them for machining and plating. That results in more shape consistency of the heads.

              • LD

                Oct 19, 2017 at 6:06 am

                They added another die (5th) to the process. Nothing new under the sun. The rest of that statement is marketing gibberish.

                • 2putttom

                  Oct 19, 2017 at 9:00 pm

                  etc good question and one to research I’ll ask Mr. Wishon. LD oh wow… do you have some info to share that will support your mood?

    • Dave

      Oct 20, 2017 at 10:01 pm

      You know what they could do? Make the chrome and nickel plating thicker so they never get wear spots. That’s about the only thing that could improve the mizunos/endos/etc.

  19. Dj

    Oct 17, 2017 at 8:32 am

    $1300 for a set of blades? Hard pass

  20. ibogeyalot

    Oct 17, 2017 at 8:22 am

    these companies want people in golf , yet are still charging over 1,000 for clubs! it is insane!

    • Thomas A

      Oct 17, 2017 at 11:01 am

      These clubs aren’t exactly aimed at people just being introduced to golf.

    • Grandpa Gord

      Oct 20, 2017 at 4:37 pm

      The only people playing golf nowadays is the “baby boomers” born between 1945 and 1966…. because they are retired or near retired and they have all the money and time to play. These expensive clubs are aimed for that market because the next generation, the X-generation, is too poor to play golf. They are squeezing the last $$$$ out of the dwindling golf club market before the Big Collapse takes full effect…. and you better believe it’s happening now.

  21. Carmen Sandiego

    Oct 17, 2017 at 8:03 am

    I could have sworn they said they were going to release the MB’s in raw finish….Another chrome blade. Hrmph.

    • Matt Schulze

      Oct 17, 2017 at 11:19 pm

      There is a raw finish as well.

      • Sam

        Oct 18, 2017 at 12:35 pm

        Will they release a raw version? Will that be limited quantities? Where did you hear this? I’m interested in the raw finish set.

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Equipment

See what GolfWRX Members are saying about Mizuno’s new ST-180 driver

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Mizuno has recently released a new ST-180 driver that we spotted on Tour at the 2017 RSM Classic. The company’s “wave sole” technology makes an appearance for the first time in a Mizuno driver; the design is used to push weight low and forward to reduce spin rates, and the construction contracts and expands during impact to increase energy into the golf ball. The result is a lower-spinning driver, especially for those who hit down on the golf ball, and increased ball speeds across the face.

The ST-180 drivers have a new Forged SP700 Titanium face insert that allows the faces to be made thinner — saving weight from the face while increasing ball speeds — and they feature what the company calls a “Internal Waffle Crown” that saves weight to help shift CG (center of gravity) low and forward in the head.

There’s a slew of custom shafts available for no upcharge. The stock grip is Golf Pride’s M31 360, and the drivers are selling for $399.99, available in stores now.

Below is a collection of early feedback from GolfWRX members, and make sure to join the full discussion. See more photos of the ST-180 driver here.

Note: The posts below have been minimally edited for grammar and brevity.

GolfWRX Members comment on the new Mizuno ST-180 driver

TeeGolf: I’ve seen the ST180 driver [in person] and it looks like it sits perfectly square to me. And this is coming from someone who has been playing a Titleist driver set 1-degree open for the past 3 years. It doesn’t look closed at all. 

trhode: I’ve been playing the M2 all year. In comparison at address, the ST is very closed. I had 3 customers look at it yesterday too and they all had the same reaction: closed. That being said, I did play 18 on the simulator and hit some monster drives. The head, with the Raijin shaft, seems to be just a little lower spin than my TaylorMade M2. The blue finish doesn’t bother me either. 

akjell: Hit this yesterday at the Mizuno demo day yesterday at Eagle Ridge in Gilroy, CA. Far from a hook machine but definitely a bomber. The Mizuno’s reps put me in a Mitsubishi Tensei White 70X and I could hit this this driver on a string possibly a bit better than my M1. Of the Mizuno drivers of late, this has to be the best one.

odshot68: Ordering it today. Was fit and played a round with it. Optimal launch and spin. Tensei Blue 70x at 9.5 degrees. This is definitely not left bias; first Mizzy driver ever.

nmorton: Hit this today and it’s going in the bag. Just a classic head shape that suits my eye. Been messing around with a number of drivers over the past year and haven’t singled one out. Last long term driver I had was the 850. The ST checks all of the boxes for me…looks great down by the ball, sounds solid and performs as good as any other. What really sold me was how well slight mis-hits performed. I had the 12.5 dialed down so it definitely sat open a bit. Didn’t hit the fairway but it looks sharp as well. 

evoviiiyou: Had a chance to test the driver with a couple shafts last night. The head is definitely deeper than the JPX900 and the footprint seems bigger from he set up position, very confidence inspiring like the JPX900 but a little improved. Finish and graphics are very similar to the 900 which is very nice if you like the satin Mizuno blue and I do love it just like the satin black I recently had done to my JPX driver and 3 metal. 

regiwstruk: My current gamer is a Titleist 917D3, and this is definitely replacing that. I used a JPX 900 from November 2016 through June 2017 — biggest differences are the sound and that the distance is up there with at least one of the leaders in the market. Anxious to see how it does on the course! 

Paul065: It is high launch, low spin yes but I wouldn’t say it was targeted at the average golfer. It’s basically their version of Callaway Epic Sub Zero. Rory used the Sub Zero. 

Tommyj: I went down to Carls yesterday specifically to look at the ST180. I’ve read some comments that the face looks closed. When I picked it up it was in the 10.5D position and did look slightly closed but then looked perfectly square at 9.5D and also square at 10.5D which seemed sort of odd. The shape is not for me, I had a Cobra F6 and while the ST180 footprint isn’t that big its still substantial. I like blue on drivers and the ST180 has a real quality look to it with the matte finish, having said that I’m not sure I’d want to be looking at that shade of blue all the time. The sound was an absolute killer for me, it was completely unexpected because I always associate Mizuno with being traditional and understated… ST180 launch was lower than G400 in the neutral setting, about the same when I lofted the Ping down.  ST180 was noticeably lower than D2. Longest driver of the three was G400, followed by ST180 then D2. For me the ST180 had the widest dispersion with G400 being the most accurate (by a wide margin).

Discussion: Read more comments about the ST-180 driver here

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Spotted: Justin Rose is testing a new TaylorMade “Hi-Toe” wedge

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On Twitter today, Justin Rose posted a photo of a never-before-seen TaylorMade “Hi-Toe” 60-degree wedge. As the name suggests, it appears the toe portion is raised; we’ve seen this high-toe design from other manufacturers, and the benefits of those designs included increasing face area on open-faced shots, and shifting CG (center of gravity) to where it’s more beneficial for wedge play (likely higher for more spin and a lower flight).

The wedge is also stamped with “MG” to suggest it’s a “milled grind” wedge, much like TaylorMade’s popular wedge line that’s in stores now. There also appears to be slots behind the face, likely to also shift CG to where it’s deemed more beneficial.

Talks of a TaylorMade wedge with a high-toe design were actually started by Dustin Johnson a few weeks ago in a press conference. His full comments on that wedge are above, and you can join the discussion about the wedge in our forums.

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GolfWRX Exclusive: Patton Kizzire speaks on first PGA Tour win, WITB, new 718 irons

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Patton Kizzire nabbed his maiden PGA Tour win at last week’s OHL Classic, outlasting a late charge from Rickie Fowler. He raised his first Trophy with a bag full of Titleist equipment and a Titleist ProV1x.

Following the event, our Andrew Tursky had a revealing chat with Patton about the win and the clubs he used to do it.

GolfWRX: When you’re leading down the stretch, are you leaderboard watching? Does a big name like Rickie Fowler chasing you have any effect on your mentality/gameplan?

Patton Kizzire: For most of the tournament, I try not to look at the leaderboard. I took a long look on 15…and I just wanted to make sure nobody was ahead of Rickie and closer to me, and I just went from there.

GolfWRX: Do you get defensive or less aggressive down the stretch? Are you aiming away from pins, or are you ‘head down, keep it going’?

PK: It’s all situational. On difficult holes, maybe [I] play a bit more conservatively. I certainly wasn’t willing to take any chances with a three-stroke lead. I was playing the percentages. I maybe didn’t hit the best shots of the tournament there toward the end. The beginning of the back nine — 12, 13, 14 — were not my best tee shots. But I certainly wasn’t trying to play defensive. I was trying to play aggressively to conservative targets.

GolfWRX: Were there a lot of nerves coming home down the stretch?

PK: It was a little nerve wracking, but it wasn’t my first time in contention. I was able to draw on some of my near-misses, especially the Safeway Open last year. I was in a very similar spot on the weekend on Sunday, and I didn’t get it done, but I was able to look back at that and learn a little bit.

GolfWRX: It looks like you don’t do a whole lot of switching. You’ve still got a 913 Hybrid in the bag and a putter that’s been in the bag for years, too. What does your testing process look like when Titleist comes out with new equipment?

PK: Titleist has been really consistent for me since I was 15…I’ve played Titleist equipment almost exclusively since I was 15 or so. Every year it seems they come out with something new, and I have so much trust in it. It’s a pretty seamless transition. I don’t switch much. I try to put the new irons in play, the new driver, the new woods.

But something like a hybrid, you kind of have a club you fall in love with over the years, and I’ve been a little bit hesitant to switch that. The new balls, the new woods, the new irons are pretty easy for me to get into. And the Vokey team…have done such a great job with wedges”

And I have to mention the putter. The Scotty Cameron GoLo putter has been in my bag for about five years. And I owe a lot of my success to putting.

GolfWRX: Do you ever look to switch out your putter, or do you just kind of love that one and it works for you?

PK: I’ve toyed around with other putters here and there, but I always go right back to the GoLo. For whatever reason, maybe because I’ve used it so long, it just seems like what a putter should be. I feel really comfortable with it. I always gravitate back to the GoLo.

GolfWRX: What makes the wedges a good fit for you?

PK: The way they go through the turf. I like to have a strong leading edge to go through the turf. And the lob wedge needs to perform well around the greens and in the bunker. I’ve really been hitting my bunker shots well with my new 60 degree. I have different versions of the same wedges. Aaron [Dill] does great work in the truck. He kind of tweaks it here and there for me, and they perform like expect them to.

GolfWRX: How often do you switch out wedges?

PK: I get a new 60 degree the most…every four or five tournaments. New 56 and 52 every six to eight tournaments. I try to keep that 60 degree sharp. If we get to a course with firm greens and my wedge doesn’t have the bite that I want it to have, I’ll definitely give the Titleist guys a call.

GolfWRX: What kind of grind do you have on that 60?

PK: We call it the “Dufner grind.” I saw Jason Dufner had one like that about a year ago, and I told Aaron, “I want one like that.” I don’t know what the grind is, but it’s really good for me. [Note: The grind is a modified K grind.]

GolfWRX: One last question… How do the 718 irons look and feel different than the 716 irons?

PK: They don’t look a whole lot different. They’ve been holding their flight better in the wind. I’m able to get the long irons up in the air a little bit. That’s something I look for, being able to control the trajectory. I kind of imagine the shots that I want to hit, and the 718s are coming out on the flight that I want them to.

The good folks in New Bedford, Massachusetts, were kind enough to furnish us with some details about Kizzire’s setup.

Titleist tells us Kizzire switched to from the 915D4 driver to the 917D3 the first week it was available at the Quicken Loans National last year. He switched to the 718 irons to start the 2017-18 season at the Safeway. After missing the cut at in Napa, he has finished T10 (Sanderson Farms), 4th (Shriners Hospitals Open for Children) and then won the OHL Classic.

Titleist Tour Rep J.J. Van Wezenbeeck had this to say about working with Kizzire.

“Patton likes traditional look throughout his bag but needs vertical help with his angle of attack.  A 10.5 degree 917D3 helps him with launch but still controls his swing.  The shaft is based on a platform he had success with us early in his career and he really loves the feel.”

“The 917 F2 was a perfect fit for Patton early on.  He loved the ball speed and having a 16.5 allows him get great launch out of a club he has had trouble with in the past.  Titleist Tour Rep Jim Curran worked extensively on finding him a shaft that felt good, was the proper weight, and yet still launched the way Patton wanted. Tour Blue 95 fit the bill – and Patton has been in it for a year.”

“Patton loves the look of traditional irons and the 718 MB fit the bill for his look and his desire to control flight.  Now, as he moves up through his bag, he has multiple options in 718 which really helps his game. He moves to 718 CB at his 5 and 6 irons, and then carries the 718 T-MB at 4-iron which helps gapping and ball flight at the top of his set.”

Vokey Design Wedge rep Aaron Dill regarding Patton’s wedges:

“Patton has a old school approach to wedge selection.  When he finds a wedge he likes he will rarely make a switch. He doesn’t blame the wedge for poor or mishit shots. His technique is smooth and accurate with mid to high ball flight. His 52 and 56-degree wedges have been in the bag for a while now, and his 60 has changed a little keeping the width but changing the bounce angle for conditions. He likes an old school look which is why we add offset to his 60.”

Kelley Moser on Kizzire’s Cameron GoLo:

“Patton has been using a Scotty Cameron GoLo model since his mini tour days. The one he is currently using was a backup that was made for him when he first earned his PGA TOUR card. He had a stock shaft and silver head version that he used for a long time, but he wanted to shake it up a little so we made him one with a black shaft and a dark finish. He loved it and after his victory said he’s pretty sure this one is in the bag permanently.”

Many thanks to Patton for the talk and the folks at Titleist for sharing some insights on the newly minted PGA Tour winner’s WITB.

You can see Kizzire’s full WITB here

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