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What equipment are college golfers using? We polled 61 coaches to find out…



Editor Andrew Tursky and I decided to set out to better understand what brands college players are using. In order to gather statistics, we created a survey and collected the following data from coaches:

  • What level of golf do you coach?
  • Do you coach men’s or women’s golf?
  • What best describes your attitude towards equipment?
  • Is it ethical for coaches to accept money from club manufacturers?
  • Among the top 5 players on your team, what drivers do they play?
  • Among the top 5 players on your team, what irons do they play?
  • Among the top 5 players on your team, what wedges do they play?
  • Among the top 5 players on your team, what putter do that play?
  • Among the top 5 players on your team, what golf ball do they play?

The survey was created using Survey Monkey and then placed on my business Facebook account. The survey was completely optional. In 48 hours, 61 college coaches responded to the survey. Of them, 78.6 percent of them coach Division I, 8.2 percent of them coach Division II, and 13.1 percent coach either DIII, NAIA or NJCAA. Of the respondents, 77 percent coach men’s golf, while 23 percent of the respondents coach women’s golf.

Of the respondents, 64 percent believe it was ethical for coaches to accept money from club manufacturers, 99 percent believe that players should play whatever they want, and 87 percent preferred that the product should be fit properly. Only 1 percent (one respondent), suggested that they try to influence players and their equipment decisions.

In terms of different equipment played by the top 5 players at these schools, here’s what we found out…


  • 10 schools reported exclusively using TaylorMade
  • 3 schools reported exclusively using Titleist
  • 1 school reported exclusively using Ping
  • 1 school reported exclusively using Callaway

For the other respondents, we examined the percentage of players on each team using product:

  • 42 percent TaylorMade
  • 23 percent Callaway
  • 17 percent Titleist and Ping
  • PXG, Bridgestone and Nike combined made up 1 percent.


  • 7 schools reported exclusively using Titleist
  • 2 schools reported exclusively using TaylorMade
  • 2 schools reported exclusively using Callaway
  • 2 school reported exclusively using Ping
  • 1 school reported using exclusively Wilson Staff

For the other respondents, we examined the percentage of players on each team using product:

  • 30 percent Titleist
  • 20 percent Ping
  • 16 percent Callaway
  • 14 percent TaylorMade
  • 9 percent Mizuno
  • 4 percent Srixon
  • 3 percent PXG

Please note Miura, Cobra, Bridgestone and Nike were also mentioned, but made up less than 3 percent combined.


  • 12 schools reported using exclusively Titleist
  • 2 schools reported using exclusively Callaway
  • 1 school reports using exclusively Mizuno
  • 1 school reported using exclusively Ping

For the other respondents, we examined the percentage of players on each team using product:

  • 34 percent Titleist
  • 21 percent Cleveland
  • 18 percent Ping
  • 16 percent Callaway
  • 9 percent TaylorMade
  • 2 percent rest of manufacturers


  • 8 schools reported using exclusively Scotty Cameron
  • 6 schools reported using exclusively Odyssey
  • 3 schools reported using exclusively Ping
  • 1 school reported using exclusively Bettinardi

For the other respondents, we examined the percentage of players on each team using product:

  • 34 percent Scotty Cameron
  • 24 percent Odyssey (including Toulon)
  • 19 percent Taylor Made
  • 17 percent Ping
  • 2 percent Edel
  • 2 percent Bettinardi

Golf Ball

  • 32 schools reported using exclusively Titleist
  • 3 schools reported using exclusively Bridgestone
  • 1 school reported exclusively using TaylorMade
  • 1 school reported using exclusively Callaway

For the other respondents, we examined the percentage of players on each team using product:

  • 33 percent Titleist
  • 27 percent TaylorMade
  • 25 percent Callaway
  • 10 percent Bridgestone
  • 5 percent Srixon
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Brendan is the owner of Golf Placement Services, a boutique business which aims to apply his background in golf and higher education to help educate players, their families and coaches about the process! Website - Insta - golf.placement.sevices Twitter @BMRGolf



  1. ChipN'Run

    Mar 19, 2018 at 8:08 pm

    Possibly of interest to the golf merchandising crowd.

    But, we have no information on:
    * Shaft models and flexes
    * Actual models of irons and woods

  2. Tom Medlin

    Mar 9, 2018 at 6:10 am

    Memories from the University of Maryland, mid 60’s. Our coach had an affiliation with US Royal, we were supplied with their ball for each match. They had a ” different ” dimple pattern that resembled that of a 1930’s ” mesh “‘ I don’t think anyone actually used them.

  3. jack baker 3

    Mar 2, 2018 at 10:47 pm

    Most golfers including college, play not whats best for them, but what the herd uses. Generally if you pay a loy of money for something its always the best.

  4. Jimmy Ray

    Mar 2, 2018 at 10:48 am

    How would you like to be at that school that uses exclusively Mizuno wedges: “OK, guys, our colors are orange and blue, so we’re ALL gonna use these sweet blue Mizuno wedges, not to win tournaments, but to look cool. I don’t care if you can’t get out of a bunker with any of the grinds, just shut up and let me count my payoff cash…”


    Mar 2, 2018 at 10:45 am

    Hey, have TaylorMade give me a seven figure check and my dog will use their equipment!

  6. Ben Jones

    Mar 1, 2018 at 5:22 pm

    We used to get 6 balls of our choice or 9 of the ones that the school budget covered. That Nicklaus yellow ball was horrible.

  7. Gomer’s Pile

    Feb 28, 2018 at 11:35 pm

    These guys need to get paid ASAP. They are so talented and do so much for our game. This is golf in its purest form. NCAA tournaments should have $100,000 purse minimum. Take from the rich sports and give to the poor. These golfers need cash more than football and basketball players.

    • ProD1

      Mar 1, 2018 at 12:58 pm

      That’s exactly what is happening. Basketball and football revenues subsidize all other sports for the vast majority of big time programs.

    • Thomas Murphy

      Mar 2, 2018 at 12:05 pm

      ??? they need more cash? purses? doesn’t that make it less pure? football and basketball have TV contracts and big donors. Every other sport is a leach and should be grateful.

  8. DaveyD

    Feb 28, 2018 at 10:27 pm

    It appears that Taylormade has the favoured drivers, but Titleist leads the iron/wedge/putter parade.

  9. Matt

    Feb 28, 2018 at 9:24 pm

    Those ball numbers should scare titleist like crazy….

  10. glfhsslr

    Feb 28, 2018 at 8:27 pm

    The players get clubs either free, or PUD pricing, Super cheap….a cameron per say is only like $180 total

  11. mr3puttz

    Feb 28, 2018 at 7:34 pm

    Wow thats a lot of Camerons. I guess college kids have a bit more cash than I remember having around.

    • Lk

      Feb 28, 2018 at 8:10 pm

      Not to sound snide, but it wouldn’t surprise me if over 75% of D1 college golfers grew up in a country club.

  12. Brian

    Feb 28, 2018 at 7:31 pm

    No ball retriever or manual score counter?!

  13. Aaron

    Feb 28, 2018 at 4:45 pm

    Am I understanding the numbers correctly? Some schools “exclusively” use specific brands for different types of clubs? How likely is it that five players from one team all use TM drivers? Five players from another school all use Titleist irons?

    More recently I’ve heard of schools signing with one specific brand. But I’ve never heard of five players on any team all agreeing to use one brand of driver and another brand of irons.

    Or am I misunderstanding something?

    • Judge Smeills

      Feb 28, 2018 at 10:23 pm

      Not every school get deals or free clubs from every company

    • Brent

      Mar 1, 2018 at 12:32 pm

      Lots of schools sign with a brand and the coach receives a bonus if his starting players use that brand. Basically, some kids are forced into playing a brand.

  14. Joe

    Feb 28, 2018 at 4:38 pm

    Pro V’s suck and are over priced. TP5 TP5X and Chrome Soft Chrome Soft X are by far better golf balls.

  15. James T

    Feb 28, 2018 at 3:29 pm

    I am curious why coaches would think it’s ethical to accept money from manufacturers???

    • Thomas A

      Feb 28, 2018 at 4:38 pm

      How do you think football and basketball coaches get paid? Big East basketball coaches were paid millions by Nike, most of the time more than doubling their school salary. Happens at every school.

      • James T

        Feb 28, 2018 at 5:51 pm

        … still doesn’t make it ethical. I played college golf and if my coach had told me to play anything other than what I was playing I’d be pissed. Though I did appreciate the brand new sleeve of Titleists before every match.

        • Jack

          Mar 6, 2018 at 11:10 pm

          Well if I got a real custom fitting and free new clubs, it would be actually beneficial to my game and I’d do it. Just shoving off the rack clubs to players would definitely be unethical.

          This of course comes down to the same dilemma (to a lesser extent but still exists) for college players not being paid. Like basketball, they are amateurs and don’t make money. But really they should be paid directly by the brands rather than the brands paying the schools. What does amateur status really matter? That they can play in amateur tournaments? The NCAA just needs to changes their rules to allow pro student athletes to compete. It’s pretty simple if not for the school money grab and greed.

  16. Drive for Dough

    Feb 28, 2018 at 2:32 pm

    Don’t even play Titleist but will be the first one to say that they make the most solid equipment outside their Drivers.

    Not surprised by the breakdown tbh.

  17. Stump

    Feb 28, 2018 at 2:23 pm

    Can you break out the numbers for women golfers?

  18. Roger

    Feb 28, 2018 at 2:04 pm

    Those numbers are close for un-sponsored golf balls. Love to see that!

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Rory McIlroy’s putter builder speaks on his winning TaylorMade Soto proto



It’s no secret that Rory McIlroy’s biggest weakness has historically been with his putter. But ahead of the Arnold Palmer Invitational, which he won by two shots, McIlroy made a putter switch and ended up with just 100 putts for the week — the lowest in his PGA Tour career. He also finished first in the field in Strokes Gained: Putting, and put on a putting display for the ages on Sunday to shoot 64 (he birdied 5 of the final 6 holes).

Related: Rory’s Winning WITB from the 2018 Arnold Palmer Invitational 

What’s so special about this putter? To figure that out, I spoke with TaylorMade’s International Tour Director Chris Trott, who worked directly with McIlroy on building his new putter.

Trott explains that McIlroy showed up to Bay Hill “with a different kind of confidence” that week. His caddie, Harry Diamond, showed up to the TaylorMade Tour Truck on Monday night (McIlroy wasn’t on site Monday) with a previous putter of McIlroy’s — a Scotty Cameron that he won multiple majors with, according to Trott — and he wanted to have a new putter built that matched up with the specs of it. “He came with a plan and he wanted to be on spec,” says Trott. So the TaylorMade team sent Harry off to the hotel Monday night with a TaylorMade TP Soto with no face insert, one with an insert, some other variations, and they sent him back to the hotel with a few Spiders, as well, according to Trott.

But since Trott says that McIlroy liked the feel of his previous gamer, Trott thought it was best to send a request back to TaylorMade’s offices in Carlsbad for a TP Black Copper Soto with a midslant neck and a Suryln insert in preparation for McIlroy’s arrival the next day. “Nine out of 10 times we already have a head with the insert in it [inside the tour truck], but this putter is so new,” says Trott. “It’s not even out yet.”

Trott says McIlroy showed up to the Tour Truck the next morning, but he “wasn’t enamored” with the options, although he did fancy the solid face Soto. Here’s the photo notes that Trott took of the solid-faced Soto that McIlroy liked.

Good thing Trott sent that request back to the office, though! The first words out of McIlroy’s mouth when he saw the new TP Black Copper Soto slant neck proto with the Suryln insert, according to Trott, were “Hmm, that’s nice.” But he wanted to tweak the specs. He wanted the putter an eighth of an inch shorter and 3-to-4 swingweight points lighter. Eventually, Trott also added 0.25 degrees of loft to the face compared to McIlroy’s gamer, and made it 1-degree more upright.

The new putter Trott concocted also had a Golf Pride Tradition grip on it, and McIlroy had him change it to a TaylorMade Red Cap Pistol grip.

So, McIlroy took to the putting green with the solid face Soto and the Black Copper slant neck proto with the Surlyn insert. After a few drills, McIlroy decided he liked the feel and look of the Trott concoction, and while he really liked the Black Copper finish, he did have concerns about how it would hold up in the weather.

In the end, McIlroy decided on the TaylorMade TP Black Copper Soto proto. Here are the photo notes that Trott took from inside the trailer while holding McIlroy’s (eventual) winning putter.

The numbers in the photo above mean the specs of McIlroy’s putter are as follows:

  • Weight: 508.3 grams
  • Swing weight: D1
  • Lie angle: 71.25 degrees
  • Loft: 2.75 degrees
  • Length: 34.25 inches

Here are photos that we shot of the putter on Tuesday of the 2018 WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play:

It’s safe to say McIlroy made the right decision for Bay Hill, and according to Trott, he’ll likely be sticking with the putter going forward. And if not, surely Trott and his team will be there with 7-10 more putter options for McIlroy to try out and hand-pick from. Must be nice to be Rory!

See what GolfWRX Members are saying about Rory’s putter in our forums.

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Spotted: Phil Mickelson’s Callaway Mack Daddy PM-Grind “2.0” prototype wedge



More than three years ago, Callaway released a Mack Daddy PM Grind — PM stands for Phil Mickelson — that had a raised toe section for a higher center of gravity. Mickelson liked the PM Grind wedges because the designs allowed him to get more spin on open-faced shots, and also because they created a low trajectory with more spin on square-faced shots, said Roger Cleveland in 2015.

Since 2015, Mickelson has been playing various lofts of Callaway Mack Daddy PM Grind wedges, and with various amounts of lead tape.

On Tuesday at the 2018 WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play event, however, we spotted a new Mack Daddy PM Grind “2.o” wedge in his bag that has a different look. Is this the introduction of a new wedge release from Callaway?!


We spoke to a Callaway representative who, in so many words, said this is just Phil being Phil and tinkering with equipment, not a product launch.

“This is a Phil-specific prototype version of the Mack Daddy PM-Grind Wedge,” said a Callaway representative. “We built it specifically for him. He likes to tweak his clubs, of course, and this is just an example of that. Always a tinkerer!”
We’ll be sure to update you on more information about the PM Grind 2.0 prototype wedge when we have it.
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Adidas launches special edition black Boost colorway



Adidas staffers will be collectively back in black at the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play this Thursday.

The company announced special edition black colorways for its Tour360, Tour360 Knit, and Crossknit 2.0 models, which players will wear, along with head-to-toe black, at the match play competition.

Adidas Tour360

“Boost changed the game for players when we brought it into our golf category,” said Masun Denison, global footwear director, adidas Golf. “Now with the introduction of this special edition colored Boost, golfers can add another style option to their lineup while still enjoying the benefits that only Boost can deliver.”

Adidas partnered with BASF to develop the proprietary Boost technology, which offers cushioning via highly elastic thermoplastic urethane (TPU) pellets that are then fused together with heat and molded into the midsole shape for each specific model. Adidas cites energy return, unmatched cushioning and comfort along with long-lasting durability as the key benefits of the technology.

Adidas Tour360 Knit

The special edition black Boost colorway is available now and will only be featured in the Tour360 family: Tour360 ($210), Tour360 Knit ($190), Crossknit 2.0 ($160). Supplies are limited.

Adidas Crossknit 2.0

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19th Hole