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Mickelson using an RBZ 3 wood in China

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Many GolfWRXers speculated that Mickelson was playing a 3 wood of some sort with a slot on the bottom at the World Golf Championships-HSBC Champions in China. While the club appeared to be a black-painted TaylorMade RBZ fairway wood, the photos were inconclusive, leading to theories that the 3 wood was actually using a soon-to-be-released Callaway product.

We’ve learned that Mickelson is indeed using an RBZ 3 wood in China, albeit a heavily modified one. It is bent 11.5 degree and includes a lighter-than-normal shaft for Mickelson as well as a lot of lead tape to lower the center of gravity.

Not Mickelson’s, but an example of a black-painted RBZ

How do we know? Frequent GolfWRX poster and Callaway Senior Vice President of Marketing Harry Arnett confirmed it in the forums. Read his post in its entirety below, in which Arnett rewards a GolfWRX member for discerning from photos that Mickelson was using an RBZ 3 wood with a prize, and provides other members with a dozen HexBlackTour golf balls.

Click here to read the thread in its entirety.

Callaway_HarryA:

“First of all, these guesses here were awesome. And I am going to make our R&D and product guys read this thread because there were some killer ideas/concepts you guys threw out. Should have known that the dark knights of club ho-edness could come up with some cool stuff.

Here’s the answer, and I think it will surprise many of you. But like I said when we jumped into this and as part of our mission to be a “different” company, a new company, we are going to do things differently and be more straight shooting and transparent.

About two weeks ago, Phil said that the HSBC at Mission Hills isn’t a course where he can hit driver at all. He doubted he would hit driver on any of the holes. He wanted to play a high COR fairway wood there because he wanted a club that went farther than his current 3 wood but not as far as his driver. He knows we have one coming and he asked to play one of our prototypes. Unfortunately we are not ready to launch this product yet and didn’t have the right lofts in left-handed for him.  Our primary interest is supporting our players at all times so we told him to play whatever he wanted until he thinks we have the best possible product for him which we believe we will have imminently. This is pretty much standard operating procedure for us. Not well known to many is that Phil has one of the most flexible equipment contracts of any top player and has played other equipment from time to time during his relationship with us, and is well within his right to do so.

That, gentlemen, in Phil’s hands, is a modified RBZ 13 degree, bent to 11.5, “driving 3-wood.” Phil painted her up matte black because he thought that looked cool, put in a lighter shaft than normal so he could actually launch it in the air, and put a crap load of lead tape on the bottom of it to move the CG location so it could actually get up in the air. Result? He has a mini driver that’s good for 290 [yards] off the tee, right between his current 280 3 wood gamer and his 305 driver. Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you, Phil Mickelson, the Crowned Prince of this Forum and club junkies everywhere.

SethPistol gets the win. Seth, HashtagChad will be reaching out to you to pick/claim your prize.

Everyone else who played? Since nobody’s a loser with the new Callaway, we’re going to send you all a dozen HexBlackTour golf balls. HashtagChad will DM you for your address.

Thanks for playing. Tip your waitresses on the way out….

ps: we have a product coming that will instantly replace this FrankenFairway in his bag…”

Click here to read the thread in its entirety.

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Zak is the Editor-in-Chief of GolfWRX.com. He's been a part of the company since 2011, when he was hired to lead GolfWRX's Editorial Department. Zak developed GolfWRX's Featured Writer Program, which supports aspiring writers and golf industry professionals. He played college golf at the University of Richmond (Go Spiders!) and still likes to compete in tournaments. You can follow Zak on Twitter @ZakKoz, where he's happy to discuss his game and all the cool stuff that's part of his job.

10 Comments

10 Comments

  1. Mike Kotter

    Aug 11, 2013 at 3:01 am

    Actually, looking at my friend’s pic of Phil’s bag it appears to say X HOT or HOT X and it didn’t look lime green on the back of the head it looked Denver Broncos orange. Which is my only doubt that it’s a RZR. I think personally the RBZ 3 wood is the best club I have ever hit. It jumps off the face well, unlike anything else I have hit. Better than the R1 in my opinion.

  2. Mike Kotter

    Aug 11, 2013 at 2:46 am

    I looked in Phil’s bag at the PGA Championship at Oakhill In Rochester during the 1st round. In fact it was on hole 2 & I swear he has a Calloway RZR 3-wood. I have the TM-RBZ driver, 3 wood, & 5 wood. I understand that last year he hit the TM-RBZ but as of Aug 8, 2013 he is swinging a RZR. I had plenty of drinks before He tee’d off that day but I was right behind Bones when I saw it in his bag. Is this thread old news & if so could you point me in the direction of the most current info? Whatever he is hitting, if it is the new RZR 3 wood bent to 11.5 he is hitting it well. I’m sure it was the same club he hit at Muirfield because he didn’t have driver in his bag. I beg everyone their pardon if I am wrong on this. I don’t think I am breaking any news here but I have yet to find any info newer than this message board as of yet.

  3. Blopar

    Dec 22, 2012 at 11:36 am

    You must be blind Petter!

  4. Petter

    Dec 18, 2012 at 1:42 am

    Why is he using a right handed club…?

  5. Vint

    Dec 3, 2012 at 8:50 pm

    I would love to know how and where he put the lead tape. The club is so light I couldn’t feel the clubhead. I tried adding tape into the recessed part of the sole to no avail. After 3 layers of tape I had to put it away.

  6. MJ

    Dec 2, 2012 at 11:18 pm

    Callaway: “Do you really have to use RBZ?”

    Phil: “I can paint it black.”

  7. Lee H.

    Nov 20, 2012 at 3:31 pm

    11.5 Deg Fairway Food…

    Exotics just released the XCG6 line of Drivers and Fairway woods. They do, in fact, have a 11.5 degree fairway wood. I hit it a week or so ago at a local golf shop. Great feel to it. This could in fact replace my current Driver later next year if I still struggle with a new Driver I am getting.

  8. phil04

    Nov 6, 2012 at 4:43 pm

    Why would Phil not use this magic Rocketballz 3 wood bent to 11.5 deg in the majors in 2013.? His contract is fluid with Callaway, and 290 yards in the fairway works everytime !

  9. tlmck

    Nov 4, 2012 at 2:39 am

    I would buy a 10.5 or 11.5 degree 3 wood and ditch my driver if available. I have never quite gotten used to the 460cc driver heads. With the right shaft, I could probably hit it as far as the driver.

  10. Derick

    Nov 2, 2012 at 8:22 pm

    I couldn’t post since I’m a new member to this site. I knew Lefty wasn’t using a new callaway Fairway wood, since Callaway hasn’t released them yet. It looked alot like a RBZ 3wood all taped up to counter the weight and to get alot of loft to get it in the air farther for Lefty…

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pga tour

Ian Poulter WITB 2018

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Equipment is accurate as of the 2018 Honda Classic (2/20/2018).

Driver: Titleist 917D2 (9.5 degrees)
Shaft: Mitsubishi Tensei Orange CK 60TX

3 Wood: Titleist 917F2 (16.5 degrees)
Shaft: Matrix Ozik TP7HDe 7X

Hybrid: Titleist 816 H2 (21 degrees)
Shaft: Aldila Tour Green ATX85H TX

Irons: Titleist 716 T-MB (4), Titleist 718 AP2 (5-PW)
Shaft: Project X LZ 130 7.0

Wedges: Titleist Vokey SM7 (52-12F, 56-14F, 60-04L)
Shaft: Project X LZ 7.0 (52), True Temper Dynamic Gold Tour Issue S400 (56, 60)

Putter: EvnRoll Tour ER
Grip: Odyssey Pistol

Putter: Rife Antigua Island Series
Grip: Odyssey Pistol

Ball: Titleist Pro V1x

Related:

Discussion: See what GolfWRX members are saying about Poulter’s clubs. 

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Equipment

10 interesting photos from Wednesday at the Honda Classic

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From our featured image of Rory McIlroy putting in a different kind of work on the range in the pre-dawn hours of Wednesday morning, to shots of Tiger Woods’ similarly early pre-pro-am range work, to some intriguing shots Patrick Reed’s prototype Bettinardi putter, GolfWRX has plenty of fantastic photo content from PGA National.

Here are some of the best shots from Wednesday.

Tiger Woods at work prior to his crack-of-dawn pro-am tee time. Gentleman in the foreground: You do know that as the sun has not yet risen, you do not need a hat to aggressively combat its rays, right?

“My feet do not look like that at impact.”

All eyes on the Big Cat…except those focused on the live video on their cell phone screens…

Let’s take a closer look at Patrick Reed’s yardage book cover. Yep. As expected.

Do you think these two ever talk?

It looks like Captain Furyk already has some pre-Ryder Cup swag in the form of a putter cover.

If you’ve ever wondered why Rickie Fowler selected these interesting locations for his tattoos, this may be the answer: Visible when he holds his finish.

We’ve got a Pistol Pete sighting!

Patrick Reed’s droolworthy Bettinardi Dass prototype.

Fun fact: Wedges double as magnetic putter cover holders, as Jon Curran illustrates here. Healthy application of lead tape, as well, from the tour’s resident graffiti artist.

Wednesday’s Photos

Discussion: See what GolfWRX members are saying about the photos in our forums.

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Accessory Reviews

Review: FlightScope Mevo

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In 100 Words

The Mevo is a useful practice tool for amateur golfers and represents a step forward from previous offerings on the market. It allows golfers to practice indoors or outdoors and provides club speed, ball speed, smash factor, launch angle, spin rate, carry distance and flight time.

It also has a video capture mode that will overlay swing videos with the swing data of a specific swing. It is limited in its capabilities and its accuracy, though, which golfers should expect at this price point. All in all, it’s well worth the $499 price tag if you understand what you’re getting.

The Full Review

The FlightScope Mevo is a launch monitor powered by 3D Doppler radar. With a retail price of $499, it is obviously aimed to reach the end consumer as opposed to PGA professionals and club fitters.

The Mevo device itself is tiny. Like, really tiny. It measures 3.5-inches wide, 2.8-inches tall and 1.2-inches deep. In terms of everyday products, it’s roughly the size of an Altoids tin. It’s very easy to find room for it in your golf bag, and the vast majority of people at the range you may be practicing at won’t even notice it’s there. Apart from the Mevo itself, in the box you get a quick start guide, a charging cable, a carrying pouch, and some metallic stickers… more on those later. It has a rechargeable internal battery that reaches a full charge in about two hours and lasts for about four hours when fully charged.

As far as software goes, the Mevo pairs with the Mevo Golf app on your iOS or Android device. The app is free to download and does not require any subscription fees (unless you want to store and view videos of your swing online as opposed to using the memory on your device). The app is very easy to use even for those who aren’t tech savvy. Make sure you’re using the most current version of the firmware for the best results, though (I did experience some glitches at first until I did so). The settings menu does have an option to manually force firmware writing, but updates should happen automatically when you start using the device.

Moving through the menus, beginning sessions, editing shots (good for adding notes on things like strike location or wind) are all very easy. Video mode did give me fits the first time I used it, though, as it was impossible to maintain my connection between my phone and the Mevo while having the phone in the right location to capture video properly. The only way I could achieve this was by setting the Mevo as far back from strike location as the device would allow. Just something to keep in mind if you find you’re having troubles with video mode.

Screenshot of video capture mode with the FlightScope Mevo

Using the Mevo

When setting up the Mevo, it needs to be placed between 4-7 feet behind the golf ball, level with the playing surface and pointed down the target line. The distance you place the Mevo behind the ball does need to be entered into the settings menu before starting your session. While we’re on that subject, before hitting balls, you do need to select between indoor, outdoor, and pitching (ball flight less than 20 yards) modes, input your altitude and select video or data mode depending on if you want to pair your data with videos of each swing or just see the data by itself. You can also edit the available clubs to be monitored, as you will have to tell the Mevo which club you’re using at any point in time to get the best results. Once you get that far, you’re pretty much off to the races.

Testing the Mevo

I tested the FlightScope Mevo with Brad Bachand at Man O’ War Golf Center in Lexington, Kentucky. Brad is a member of the PGA and has received numerous awards for golf instruction and club fitting. I wanted to put the Mevo against the best device FlightScope has to offer and, luckily, Brad does use his $15,000 FlightScope X3 daily. We had both the FlightScope Mevo and Brad’s FlightScope X3 set up simultaneously, so the numbers gathered from the two devices were generated from the exact same strikes. Brad also set up the two devices and did all of the ball striking just to maximize our chances for success.

The day of our outdoor session was roughly 22 degrees Fahrenheit. There was some wind on that day (mostly right to left), but it wasn’t a major factor. Our setup is pictured below.

Outdoor testing setup with FlightScope X3 (foreground) and Mevo

The results of our outdoor testing are shown below. The testing was conducted with range balls, and we did use the metallic stickers. The range balls used across all the testing were all consistently the same brand. Man O’ War buys all new range balls once a year and these had been used all throughout 2017.  The 2018 batch had not yet been purchased at the time that testing was conducted.

Raw outdoor data captured with range balls including metallic stickers. Mevo data (blue) and X3 data (orange) were both generated from the same exact shots.

You’ll notice some peculiar data in the sand wedge spin category. To be honest, I don’t fully know what contributed to the X3 measuring such low values. While the Mevo’s sand wedge spin numbers seem more believable, you could visibly see that the X3 was much more accurate on carry distance. Below is a quick summary of the percent differences between each of the parameters as presented by the Mevo and the X3 in our outdoor session when separated out for each club. As previously mentioned, though, take sand wedge spin with a grain of salt.

Table showing the percent difference of each parameter between Mevo and X3 grouped by club (outdoor testing).

The first thing we noticed was that the Mevo displays its numbers while the golf ball is still in midair, so it was clear that it wasn’t watching the golf ball the entire time like the X3. According to the Mevo website, carry distance, height and flight time are all calculated while club speed, ball speed, launch angle and spin rate are measured. As for the accuracy of the measured parameters, the Mevo’s strength is ball speed. The accuracy of the other measured ball parameters (launch angle and spin rate) is questionable depending on certain factors (quality of strike, moisture on the clubface and ball, quality of ball, etc). I would say it ranges between “good” or “very good” and “disappointing” with most strikes being categorized as “just okay.”

As for the calculated parameters of carry distance, height and time, those vary a decent amount. Obviously, when the measurements of the three inputs become less accurate, the three outputs will become less accurate as a result. Furthermore, according to FlightScope, the Mevo’s calculations are not accounting for things like temperature, humidity, and wind. The company has also stated, though, that future updates will likely adjust for these parameters by using location services through the app.

Now, let’s talk about those metallic stickers. According to the quick start guide, the Mevo needs a sticker on every golf ball you hit, and before you hit each ball, the ball needs to be placed such that the sticker is facing the target. It goes without saying that it doesn’t sound like a whole lot of fun to spend time putting those stickers on every ball, let alone balls that will never come back to you if you’re at a public driving range. Obviously, people are going to want to avoid using the stickers if they can, so do they really matter? Below is a table of data showing the percent difference between the Mevo’s data and the X3’s data of what we collected outdoors with a driver and range balls with and without the use of the stickers.

Table showing how the percent difference of each parameter changes between Mevo and X3 when you use the metallic stickers and when you don’t

The FlightScope website says that the metallic stickers “are needed in order for the Mevo to accurately measure ball spin.” We observed pretty much the same as shown in the table above. The website also states they are working on alternative solutions to stickers (possibly a metallic sharpie), which I think is wise.

Another thing we thought would be worth testing is the impact of different golf balls. Below is a table of data showing the percent difference between the Mevo’s data and the X3’s data of what we collected outdoors with a driver and range balls as compared to Pro V1’s. All of this data was collected using the metallic stickers.

Table showing how the percent difference of each parameter changes between Mevo and X3 when you switch from range balls to Pro V1’s

As shown above, the data gets much closer virtually across the board when you use better quality golf balls. Just something else to keep in mind when using the Mevo.

Indoor testing requires 8 feet of ball flight (impact zone to hitting net), which was no problem for us. Our setup is pictured below. All of the indoor testing was conducted with Titleist Pro V1 golf balls using the metallic stickers.

Indoor testing setup with FlightScope X3 (foreground) and Mevo

The results of our indoor session are shown below.

Raw indoor data captured with Pro V1’s including metallic stickers. Mevo data (blue) and X3 data (orange) were both generated from the same exact shots.

Below is a quick summary of the percent differences between each of the parameters as presented by the Mevo and the X3 in our indoor session when separated out for each club.

Table showing the percent difference of each parameter between Mevo and X3 grouped by club (indoor testing)

On the whole, the data got much closer together between the two devices in our indoor session. I would think a lot of that can be attributed to the use of quality golf balls and to removing outdoor factors like wind and temperature (tying into my previous comment above).

As far as overall observations between all sessions, the most striking thing was that the Mevo consistently gets more accurate when you hit really good, straight shots. When you hit bad shots, or if you hit a fade or a draw, it gets less and less accurate.

The last parameter to address is club speed, which came in around 5 percent different on average between the Mevo and X3 based on all of the shots recorded. The Mevo was most accurate with the driver at 2.1 percent different from the X3 over all strikes and it was the least accurate with sand wedge by far. Obviously, smash factor accuracy will follow club speed for the most part since ball speed is quite accurate. Over every shot we observed, the percent difference on ball speed was 1.2 percent on average between the Mevo and the X3. Again, the Mevo was least accurate with sand wedges. If I remove all sand wedge shots from the data, the average percent difference changes from 1.2 percent to 0.7 percent, which is very, very respectable.

When it comes to the different clubs used, the Mevo was by far most accurate with mid irons. I confirmed this with on-course testing on a relatively flat 170-yard par-3 as well. Carry distances in that case were within 1-2 yards on most shots (mostly related to quality of strike). With the driver, the Mevo was reasonably close, but I would also describe it as generous. It almost always missed by telling me that launch angle was higher, spin rate was lower and carry distance was farther than the X3. Generally speaking, the Mevo overestimated our driver carries by about 5 percent. Lastly, the Mevo really did not like sand wedges at all. Especially considering those shots were short enough that you could visibly see how far off the Mevo was with its carry distance. Being 10 yards off on a 90 yard shot was disappointing.

Conclusion

The Mevo is a really good product if you understand what you’re getting when you buy it. Although the data isn’t good enough for a PGA professional, it’s still a useful tool that gives amateurs reasonable feedback while practicing. It’s also a fair amount more accurate than similar products in its price range, and I think it could become even better with firmware updates as Flightscope improves upon its product.

This is a much welcomed and very promising step forward in consumer launch monitors, and the Mevo is definitely worth a look if you’re in the market for one.

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