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

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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…

Drivers

  • 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.

Irons

  • 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.

Wedges

  • 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

Putter

  • 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 - www.golfplacementservices.com Insta - golf.placement.sevices Twitter @BMRGolf

33 Comments

33 Comments

  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…”

    • Nate

      Apr 11, 2018 at 5:03 pm

      Mizuno makes some pretty darn playable wedges. If someone offered me a new set of free mizuno wedges and told me I had to play with them, I highly doubt I would be having issues getting up and down with them, especially hitting a wedge out of a bunker… I think you could hand a good golfer any wedge in the sand and see positive results… That being said, Mizuno wedges are not considered to be the pro’s choice when compared to vokey or muira.

  5. HDTVMAN

    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.

    • RS

      Mar 30, 2018 at 5:15 am

      If you golf in college $400 is not a lot of $ for a putter that will last 5-10 years. Really, cmon now.

  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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Equipment

Brooks Koepka’s Winning WITB: 2018 PGA Championship

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Driver: TaylorMade M3 460 (9.5 degrees)
Shaft: Mitsubishi Diamana D+ 70TX

3 Wood: TaylorMade M2 Tour HL (16.5 degrees)
Shaft: Mitsubishi Diamana D+ 80TX

Driving Iron: Nike Vapor Fly Pro (3)
Shafts: Fujikura Pro 95 Tour Spec X-Flex

Irons: Mizuno JPX-900 Tour (4-PW)
Shafts: True Temper Dynamic Gold Tour Issue X100

Wedges: Titleist Vokey SM7 (52-12F, 56-10S, 60-08M)
Shafts: True Temper Dynamic Gold Tour Issue S400

Putter: Scotty Cameron Tour Only T10 Select Newport 2

Golf Ball: Titleist Pro V1x

Grips: Golf Pride Tour Velvet Cord (Midsize) with one wrap of 2-way tape and one wrap of masking tape

Related

See more pics of Koepka’s clubs and shafts here.

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Ben Kern WITB: 2018 PGA Championship (only PGA Club Pro to make the cut)

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Driver: Titleist TS3 (9.5 degrees)
Shaft: UST Mamiya Attas G7

3 Wood: Titleist TS2 (16.5 degrees)
Shaft: Aldila Rogue Black 95 MSI 80X

Driving Iron: Titleist 718 T-MB (3 iron)
Shaft: KBS Tour Hybrid Prototype 95X

Irons: Titleist 718 AP2 (4-PW)
Shafts: True Temper Dynamic Gold Tour Issue X100

Wedges: Titleist Vokey SM7 (50, 54 and 60 degrees)
Shafts: KBS $-Taper 120

Putter: Scotty Cameron T5.5M

Golf Ball: Titleist Pro V1

WITB Notes: We photographed Kern with an Odyssey O-Works Red Marxman putter early in the week, but based on photos during the event, he switched into a Scotty Cameron for competition. 

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Equipment

Blade vs. Mallet putters: What the top-50 players are using (OWGR and SG: Putting)

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“Blade versus mallet” is becoming more of a relevant argument over the past several years as more and more PGA Tour pros are opting for mallet putters with higher MOI (moment of inertia, a measure of forgiveness) instead of the classic Anser-style putters that most pros once employed. But, exactly how many top golfers are actually using mallets instead of blades now?

That’s what I wanted to find out. In order to do so, I simply looked up the top-50 golfers in the Official World Golf Rankings (OWGR) and went through recent Getty Images (as close to August 9, 2018 as possible) to determine whether they’re currently using a blade or mallet putter. I then repeated the process with the current top-50 golfers in Strokes Gained: Putting as per PGA Tour’s website on August 9.

What’s the point of this? Well, each golfer is different and you should definitely get fit before making a putter purchase. But to me, it’s just interesting to see how many top golfers and great putters are using mallets compared to blade-style putters, and how any stigma surrounding mallet putters is all but gone. Heck, even Tiger Woods recently switched to a mallet-style putter.

Note: Using an Odyssey rep’s suggestion, I classified Phil’s Odyssey No. 9 putter as a “modified blade,” as well as a few other blade-style heads that have MOI-raising designs i.e. Patrick Cantlay’s Cameron Concept, Ricky Barnes’ and Anirban Lahiri’s No. 9-style heads, and Billy Horschel’s PXG. So these putters were included in the “blade” category. If you disagree with calling these modified blades, I understand. 

Let’s get to the numbers.

Top 50 players in the OWGR

 

Mallet (22-out-of-50): 44 percent

  • Dustin Johnson (No. 1 in the OWGR)
  • Justin Thomas (No. 2)
  • Justin Rose (No. 3)
  • Jon Rahm (No. 7)
  • Jason Day (N0. 10)
  • Henrik Stenson (No. 17)
  • Xander Schauffele (No. 19)
  • Webb Simpson (No. 20)
  • Tyrrell Hatton (No. 25)
  • Kyle Stanley (No. 26)
  • Kevin Kisner (No. 27)
  • Ian Poulter (No. 31)
  • Kiradech Aphibarnrat (No. 32)
  • Brian Harman (No. 33)
  • Charley Hoffman (No. 35)
  • Branden Grace (No. 36)
  • Pat Perez (No. 38)
  • Kevin Na (No. 41)
  • Daniel Berger (No. 43)
  • Ross Fisher (No. 46)
  • Luke List (No. 47)
  • Cameron Smith (No. 49)

Blade (28-out-of-50): 56 percent

  • Brooks Koepka (No. 4)
  • Rory McIlroy (No. 5)
  • Francesco Molinari (No. 6)
  • Jordan Spieth (No. 8)
  • Rickie Fowler (No. 9)
  • Tommy Fleetwood (No. 11)
  • Patrick Reed (No. 12)
  • Alex Noren (No. 13)
  • Bubba Watson (No. 14)
  • Paul Casey (No. 15)
  • Hideki Matsuyama (No. 16)
  • Marc Leishman (No. 18)
  • Phil Mickelson (No. 21)
  • Bryson DeChambeau (No. 22)
  • Sergio Garcia (No. 23)
  • Patrick Cantlay (No. 24)
  • Matt Kuchar (No. 28)
  • Tony Finau (No. 29)
  • Rafa Cabrera Bello (30)
  • Louis Oosthuizen (No. 34)
  • Satoshi Kodaira (No. 37)
  • Matthew Fitzpatrick (No. 39)
  • Thorbjorn Olesen (N0. 40)
  • Byeong Hun An (No. 42)
  • Gary Woodland (No. 44)
  • Haotong Li (No. 45)
  • Si Woo Kim (No. 48)
  • Zach Johnson (N0. 50)

Top 50 players in SG: Putting

Mallet (28-out-of-50 players): 56 percent

  • Jason Day (No. 1 in SG:Putting)
  • Greg Chalmers (No. 3)
  • Daniel Summerhays (No. 5)
  • Webb Simpson (No. 6)
  • Kevin Kisner (No. 7)
  • Justin Rose (No. 8)
  • Peter Malnati (No. 9)
  • Beau Hossler (No. 10)
  • Graeme McDowell (No. 12)
  • Dustin Johnson (No. 14)
  • Seamus Power (No. 15)
  • Brian Harman (No. 16)
  • Denny McCarthy (No. 21)
  • Tyrrell Hatton (No. 22)
  • Chesson Hadley (No. 23)
  • Derek Fathauer (No. 26)
  • Ben Crane (T27)
  • Nicholas Lindheim (T27)
  • Branden Grace (No. 32)
  • Austin Cook (No. 33)
  • Brandt Snedeker (No. 35)
  • Aaron Wise (No. 36)
  • Justin Thomas (No. 37)
  • Brett Stegmaier (No. 39)
  • Tiger Woods (T44)
  • Patton Kizzire (No. 46)
  • Brandon Harkins (No. 48)
  • Kiradech Aphibarnrat (No. 50)

Blade (22-out-of-50 players): 44 percent

  • Phil Mickelson (No. 2)
  • Alex Noren (No. 4)
  • Emiliano Grillo (No. 11)
  • Patrick Rodgers (No. 13)
  • Johnson Wagner (No. 17)
  • Brian Gay (No. 18)
  • Michael Thompson (No. 19)
  • Whee Kim (No. 20)
  • Billy Horschel (No. 24)
  • Hunter Mahan (No. 25)
  • Wesley Bryan (No. 29)
  • Jimmy Walker (No. 30)
  • Bud Cauley (No. 31)
  • Paul Casey (No. 34)
  • Michael Kim (No. 38)
  • Matt Kuchar (No. 40)
  • Martin Laird (No. 41)
  • Dominic Bozzelli (No. 42)
  • Ricky Barnes (No. 43)
  • Anirban Lahiri (T44)
  • Russell Henley (No. 47)
  • Rickie Fowler (No. 49)

For those keeping track at home, this means that 8-of-the-top-10 in Strokes Gained: Putting are currently using mallet putters. On the flip side, 3-of-3 major champions in 2018 used blade putters to win. Again, not exactly sure what this means. But it’s interesting.

What do you take away from these results?

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