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Inside the TaylorMade Tour Truck: What are the equipment changes being made for The Masters?

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For equipment junkies, there’s nothing cooler than tales from inside the tour trucks.

Chris Trott from the TaylorMade Tour Truck joined Two Guys Talkin’ Golf live from The Masters yesterday to discuss the latest equipment changes by Dustin Johnson, Rory McIlroy, Justin Rose, Tiger Woods and more.

Audio was, as co-host Andrew Tursky put it, “sub-par and not in the good golf way,” so we’re collecting a few of the choicest morsels here.

On what the TaylorMade Tour Truck has been busy with this week

“A lot of wedges…heel grinding…getting the bounce right. Getting that channeling in the high toe for the bunkers…UDI 2-irons, UDI 3-irons.”

On Justin Rose’s new wedge

“Hi-Toe…launches it lower and spins a little more, but it’s got a sole that’s extremely versatile. Guys, like Justin Rose, that’s who I’ve done a lot of wedges for these past few weeks. He’s looking to find a grind that exactly works in the 64. He’s got the 60 right…he’s just tweaking the 64 a little, and I think the reason is he tweaked it to 62 in Houston last week, so when you take the loft off, that changes the bounce characteristics. So as a result, we’ve just deepend out that channel a bit…not too much, because obviously you need if for the fairways, which are cut into the player, but it’s enough to give it a bit more bounce out of the traps, which allows hit to hit certain shots. This flows back into his iron game, because it allows him to be more aggressive into pins when he knows he has a wedge that’s as versatile as we’re getting.”

On Jason Day’s switch to P730 irons

“Change in spin rates and descent angles into greens and just control with the spin [these are the reasons] he’s gone to the 730. He feels his can control the spin a bit more. He’s changed the lie angles a little bit…flattened them off a touch…People go, “that’s a big change.” It is a big change, but the thought, the detail, the measuring an remeasuring, the checking, the rechecking…the getting everything right, the TrackMan combination. That is a well-thought out tactical change….these things don’t just happened, it’s stuff that’s worked on and thought out….The shafts are Dynamic Golf X7s. That’s the same shaft he’s played.”

On the TW Prototype iron process

“It’s an ongoing project. I haven’t been involved in that project, but I know the engineers are working with him and enjoying getting his feedback…I know there’s been some findings as to what he needs that is quite different to what we’ve made. I think it’s a learning process for everyone, and we’re still on it…but it’s moving along. I don’t think it’ll be long before we have something else coming out here for him to test.

“We keep it to a very few people working with him on that. You get to see these guys and ask the questions, and there are certain things that he had, as you touch them, that are how he wants. And there are certain sights that he gets that are how he wants…but it’s a process…we went in there with what we might have put someone into to start, and then as we learn more about what he wants, what he likes to see, it’s a back-and-forth…but it’s been exciting to have the front-row seat.”

On Tiger Woods’ shaft change to the Tensei CK Pro Orange

“It was done off-site last week…there must be something he likes on that. I was actually around doing the Rory change when he went to Tensei Orange…it’s a counterbalanced shaft. You can add a bit of weight into the head, which in turn gives you, which gives you a bit more mass at that end of the golf club, which gives you a bit more speed. So, I’d be guessing that that’s what Tiger has done.

“When you go between the [Tensei] White and the Orange, this difference is counterbalanced versus non-counterbalanced. You can take the swingweight, which is the balance point, up, therefore it can give you more speed. It’s what we saw with Rory, and he gained five or six miles per hour on that…but for Tiger, he’s gone from a non-counterbalanced shaft to a counterbalanced shaft, so he’ll have to put a bit more weight in the head, which will give him more speed. It’s a nice shaft if you can handle all the weight, and I imagine he now feels like he’s got the speed, he’s gotten fit, and he’s got the feel back…and that’s the change he’s gone to.”

On Tiger ever switching to the Hi-Toe

“I know he’s had interest in Jason Day’s…Jason Day changed driver lengths, and I know they talked a lot about that, and he’s also shown an interest in Jason Day’s Hi-Toe…those top guys, they all talk…so I certainly expect that phone call to test out that Hi-Toe.”

On wedge stampings

“A lot of it is the personal touch…some of the guys request it…I think it’s nice and unique…but it also helps us identify. The stamping isn’t just for them…If you notice with the…Rahm stuff: Some of them get “Rahmbo” some of them get “JR”…we’re often working on things, and the only way to differentiate between grinds is to put a stamp on there.”

You can listen to the full conversation here.

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  1. Zach

    Apr 5, 2018 at 11:37 am

    That mean Rose is effectively carrying 5 wedges? Or does he have it gapped out for 4?

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pga tour

K.J. Choi WITB 2018

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Equipment is accurate as of the 2018 Valero Texas Open (4/18/2018).

Driver: Ping G400 Max (9 degrees)
Shaft: Graphite Design Tour AD DI-6x

Driver: Ping G400 Max (9 degrees)
Shaft: Ozik Matrix MFS M5 60X

3 Wood: Ping G400 (14.5 degrees)
Shaft: Graphite Design Tour AD DI-7x

5 Wood: Ping G400 (17.5 degrees)
Shaft: Graphite Design Tour AD DI-8x

Hybrid: Ping G400 (22 degrees)
Shaft: Atlus Tour H8

Irons: Ping G400 (4-PW)
Shaft: Nippon N.S. Pro Modus 3 Tour 120X

Wedges: Ping Glide 2.0 (50-12SS, 54-12SS, 58-10)
Shaft: True Temper Dynamic Gold Tour Issue S400

Putter: Ping Sigma G Wolverine T
Grip: Ping Pistol

Putter: Ping PLF ZB3
Grip: Super Stroke KJ

Putter: Ping Sigma Vault Anser 2
Grip: Ping Pistol

WITB Notes: We spotted Choi testing a number of clubs at the Valero Texas Open. We will update this post when we have his 14-club setup confirmed. 

Related:

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

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Accessory Reviews

I tried the great Golfboarding experiment… here’s how it went

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Corica Park Golf Course is not exactly the first place you’d expect to find one of the most experimental sports movements sweeping the nation. Sitting on a pristine swath of land along the southern rim of Alameda Island, deep in the heart of the San Francisco Bay, the course’s municipal roots and no-frills clubhouse give it an unpretentious air that seems to fit better with Sam Snead’s style of play than, say, Rickie Fowler’s.

Yet here I am, one perfectly sunny morning on a recent Saturday in December planning to try something that is about as unconventional as it gets for a 90-year-old golf course.

It’s called Golfboarding, and it’s pretty much exactly what it sounds like: an amalgam of golf and skateboarding, or maybe surfing. The brainchild of surfing legend Laird Hamilton — who can be assumed to have mastered, and has clearly grown bored of, all normal sports — Golfboarding is catching on at courses throughout the country, from local municipal courses like Corica Park to luxury country clubs like Cog Hill and TPC Las Colinas. Since winning Innovation Of the Year at the PGA Merchandising Show in 2014, Golfboards can now be found at 250 courses and have powered nearly a million rounds of golf already. Corica Park currently owns eight of them.

The man in pro shop gets a twinkle in his eyes when our foursome tells him we’d like to take them out. “Have you ridden them before?” he asks. When we admit that we are uninitiated, he grins and tells us we’re in for a treat.

But first, we need to sign a waiver and watch a seven-minute instructional video. A slow, lawyerly voice reads off pedantic warnings like “Stepping on the golfboard should be done slowly and carefully” and “Always hold onto the handlebars when the board is in motion.” When it cautions us to “operate the board a safe distance from all…other golfboarders,” we exchange glances, knowing that one of us will more than likely break this rule later on.

Then we venture outside, where one of the clubhouse attendants shows us the ropes. The controls are pretty simple. One switch sends it forward or in reverse, another toggles between low and high gear. To make it go, there’s a throttle on the thumb of the handle. The attendant explains that the only thing we have to worry about is our clubs banging against our knuckles.

“Don’t be afraid to really lean into the turns,” he offers. “You pretty much can’t roll it over.”

“That sounds like a challenge,” I joke. No one laughs.

On a test spin through the parking lot, the Golfboard feels strong and sturdy, even when I shift around on it. It starts and stops smoothly with only the slightest of jerks. In low gear its top speed is about 5 mph, so even at full throttle it never feels out of control.

The only challenge, as far as I can tell, is getting it to turn. For some reason, I’d expected the handlebar to offer at least some degree of steering, but it is purely for balance. The thing has the Ackerman angle of a Mack Truck, and you really do have to lean into the turns to get it to respond. For someone who is not particularly adept at either surfing or skateboarding, this comes a little unnaturally. I have to do a number of three-point turns in order to get back to where I started and make my way over to the first tee box.

We tee off and climb on. The fairway is flat and wide, and we shift into high gear as we speed off toward our balls. The engine had produced just the faintest of whirrs as it accelerated, but it is practically soundless as the board rolls along at full speed. The motor nevertheless feels surprisingly powerful under my feet (the drivetrain is literally located directly underneath the deck) as the board maintains a smooth, steady pace of 10 mph — about the same as a golf cart. I try making a couple of S curves like I’d seen in the video and realize that high-speed turning will take a little practice for me to get right, but that it doesn’t seem overly difficult.

Indeed, within a few holes I might as well be Laird himself, “surfing the earth” from shot to shot. I am able to hold the handlebar and lean way out, getting the board to turn, if not quite sharply, then at least closer to that of a large moving van than a full-sized semi. I take the hills aggressively (although the automatic speed control on the drivetrain enables it to keep a steady pace both up and down any hills, so this isn’t exactly dangerous), and I speed throughout the course like Mario Andretti on the freeway (the company claims increased pace-of-play as one of the Golfboard’s primary benefits, but on a Saturday in the Bay Area, it is impossible avoid a five-hour round anyway.)

Gliding along, my feet a few inches above the grass, the wind in my face as the fairways unfurl below my feet, it is easy to see Golfboards as the next evolution in mankind’s mastery of wheels; the same instincts to overcome inertia that brought us bicycles, rollerblades, scooters, skateboards, and more recent inventions such as Segways, Hoverboards and Onewheels are clearly manifest in Golfboards as well. They might not offer quite the same thrill as storming down a snowy mountainside or catching a giant wave, but they are definitely more fun than your standard golf cart.

Yet, there are obvious downsides as well. The attendant’s warning notwithstanding, my knuckles are in fact battered and sore by the time we make the turn, and even though I rearrange all my clubs into the front slots of my bag, they still rap my knuckles every time I hit a bump. Speaking of which, the board’s shock absorber system leaves something to be desired, as the ride is so bumpy that near the end I start to feel as if I’ve had my insides rattled. Then there is the unforgivable fact of its missing a cup holder for my beer.

But these are mere design flaws that might easily be fixed in the next generation of Golfboards. (A knuckle shield is a must!) My larger problem with Golfboards is what they do to the game itself. When walking or riding a traditional cart, the moments in between shots are a time to plan your next shot, or to chat about your last shot, or to simply find your zen out there among the trees and the birds and the spaciousness of the course. Instead, my focus is on staying upright.

Down the stretch, I start to fade. The muscles in my core have endured a pretty serious workout, and it’s becoming increasingly difficult to muster the strength for my golf swing. It is no coincidence that my game starts to unravel, and I am on the way to one of my worst rounds in recent memory.

Walking off the 18th green, our foursome agrees that the Golfboards were fun — definitely worth trying — but that we probably wouldn’t ride them again. Call me a purist, but as someone lacking Laird Hamilton’s physical gifts, I’m happy to stick to just one sport at a time.

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Equipment

Titleist AVX golf balls passed the test, are now available across the United States

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Titleist’s AVX golf balls first came to retail as an experiment in three markets — Arizona, California and Florida — from October 2017 to January 2018. AVX (which stands for “Alternative to the V and X”) are three-piece golf balls made with urethane covers, and they’re made with a softer feel for more distance than the Pro V1 and Pro V1x golf balls.

After proving their worth to consumers, Titleist’s AVX golf balls are now available across the U.S. as of April 23, and they will sell for 47.99 per dozen (the same as Pro V1 and Pro V1x golf balls) in both white and optic yellow.

According to Michael Mahoney, the Vice President of Golf Ball Marketing for Titleist, the AVX is a member of the Pro V1 family. Here’s a basic understanding of the lineup:

  • AVX: Softest, lowest trajectory, lowest spinning, less greenside spin and longest
  • Pro V1x: Firmer than the Pro V1, highest spinning and highest trajectory
  • Pro V1: Sits between the V1x and the AVX in terms of feel, spin and trajectory, and will appeal to most golfers

Different from the Pro V1 or Pro V1x, the AVX golf balls have a new GRN41 thermoset cast urethane cover to help the golf balls achieve the softer feel. Also, they have high speed, low compression cores, a new high-flex casing layer, and a new dimple design/pattern.

For in-depth tech info on the new AVX golf balls, how they performed in the test markets, and who should play the AVX golf balls, listen to our podcast below with Michael Mahoney, or click here to listen on iTunes.

See what GolfWRX Members are saying about the AVX golf balls

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