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Are hybrids on the way out?

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Generic Hybrid

By Chris Nickel

GolfWRX Contributor

Archilochus said “The fox knows many things, but the hedgehog knows one big thing.” Sometimes you want a fox and sometimes you want a hedgehog. Sometimes you’re not sure, so you want them both!

Golfers of all levels have long struggled with what exactly to do with the long-iron conundrum. There is an inevitable transition from woods to irons, but for anyone not named Tiger, Rory or Jack, there has not been a consistent answer.

Even more limiting were the choices… It was basically a 2 iron or 5 wood; or the choice between looking like a “player” and looking like someone who couldn’t hit a 2 iron. Essentially, you did not bag a fairway wood beyond a 3 wood unless you did not have the ability to hit a long iron. If fact, during the Nicklaus and Palmer era, players carried 1 and 2 irons almost exclusively.

Tour pros of today, however, have the benefit of rotating multiple clubs in and out of their 14-club lineup depending on the set up of a particular course.  You’ve seen Tiger and Rory win majors with 5-woods in the bag and you’ve also seen Tiger dissect a British Open course relying heavily on long irons. Pros don’t need a “do everything” tool like a spork, when they can simply choose a spoon or a fork depending on the situation. However, for the average golfer, this golf club roulette is a cost prohibitive tactic.

Click here for more discussion in the “Equipment” forum. 

Even better for the touring professional is that all of the options cost exactly the same: nothing. Pros can add a club, drop a club, swap shafts, regrip and it’s all on the house. Some courses play firm and fast and place a premium of placing tee balls in the fairway (think Oakland Hills, Baltusrol and the Lake Course at Olympic Club). In this situation, a 2-iron makes it easier for a player to shape shots from right-to-left or left-to-right. But is very difficult to hit a long iron extremely high, and therefore hold firm greens. A tour player is more likely to find a long par-3 or a reachable par-5, both of which might call for a high, soft approach shot.  In this instance, a 5-wood with a thinner face (higher ball speeds and longer carry distance), and lower CG (higher trajectory) fits the bill. 

Trevino’s famous quip that “not even God can hit a 1 iron” reminds us that even golf’s greatest players can struggle to hit their long irons consistently. Enter 1975 and Cobra’s baffler. With a patented railed sole-plate design, this club broached a new category and set the stage for future hybrids.

In 2002, TaylorMade debuted its Rescue Series (with some guidance from TV analyst and former player Gary McCord), which offered both a hybrid and fairway model. Originally designed to replace the hard to hit long irons, these clubs offered a lower CG, higher MOI and more consistent ball speed than the irons they replaced. The lower CG (Center of Gravity) promoted a higher initial trajectory and a higher overall ball flight. For players who struggled to elevate the ball, it was a situation where physics was working in their favor!

Moment of Inertia (MOI) is a measure of a club’s resistance to directional change at impact. The higher the MOI, the less a club will twist on off-center strikes and the straighter the shot will be. Unfortunately, for the better player, older hybrids also tended to have closed faces and heel weighting. Translation: Das ist ein hook machine.

Again, the industry adapted and one company in particular, Sonartec, received publicity money simply could not purchase. Todd Hamilton used the company’s 17-degree Sonartec Md hybrid (bent to 14 degrees) in several crucial situations to defeat Ernie Els in a four-hole playoff in the 2004 British Open. Unfortunately for Sonartec, the company didn’t have the infrastructure to capitalize on this newfound and unexpected onslaught of demand. They had the figured out the most difficult part of the equation: knowing how to make hybrids that worked for the best players in the world. However, through missteps big and small, they never again got the question just right.

The real validation for hybrids came when many touring pros decided to drop their 2 and 3 irons in favor of some type of hybrid/long iron replacement.  In 2004, Darrell Survey Company reported that 7 percent of consumer golfers used a hybrid. By 2007, over 65 percent of pros carried at least one hybrid during the season. In 2011 Mark Wilson routinely carried two hybrids (Ping i15 – 17-degree and 20-degree) and at the 2011 Transitions Championship there were 127 hybrids in play. Not bad for an event with 144 players.

Heck, even Tiger has played a more forgiving cavity back in 2012, a 3 iron that is bent to the loft of a 2 iron. In preparation for this year’s British Open, Tiger put a Nike VR_S Forged 3 iron in the bag to be his fairway-finding precision instrument at Royal Lytham.

It wasn’t long ago that Tiger was on the wrong side of hybrid history. The iconic shot of the 2009 PGA Championship victory was  Y.E. Yang’s approach on the 18th hole of the final round. The club — 3-hybrid. Yang was 210 yards away in the left rough.  An ominous cluster of trees sat before him, but Yang pulled off the shot of his life. He knocked a towering shot stiff (6 feet to be exact), buried the birdie putt and went on to become the first Asian born player to win a major. In doing so, he also ended Tiger’s perfect record in majors when leading after 54 holes.

If you could hit a hybrid like that, what else could you possibly want? Or more importantly, what else could you possibly need?

Between 2004 and 2011 this segment of the equipment market exploded and OEMs vied for market share. Hybrids had become the SUV of the golfing industry. Everyone and their mom had their version, and OEM’s continued to refine designs and aesthetics to attract different styles and types of players. And they were successful — wildly successful. In the end, they were perhaps too successful. As more and more players put hybrids in their bags it became increasingly clear what these clubs could do, but more importantly what they couldn’t do.

Since its inception, the hybrid has suffered from an identity crisis — not entirely a fairway wood and certainly not an iron. The hybrid, aptly named, was to fit somewhere along this continuum. It looks like a wood, but is supposed to be hit like an iron. Some hybrids were larger and more robust. Some were thinner and sleeker. Some were geared to higher handicap players (think Adams OS series) and some to competitive amateurs and pros (think Taylor Made Rescue TP and Titleist). Some performed a bit better if you hit down on it like an iron and some preferred a shallower sweeping impact. Regardless, a majority of offerings did exactly what they were designed to do: hit the ball higher, offer increased forgiveness and give players some better options out of the rough and awkward lies.

Now, they’re on their way out… or should I say, down. Better players and high-ball hitters have come to realize that while hybrids hit the ball higher and land softer, they don’t do a good job in windy conditions nor do they offer the ability to work the ball nearly as well as long-iron replacements.

An example of popular long-iron replacements that are finding their way into the bags of PGA Tour players are: the Callaway X Utility, the Bridgestone J33 Airmuscle, the Mizuno MP Fli-Hi (and the recently released MP-H4) and the “Tour Only” Titleist 712U.

Click here for more discussion in the “Equipment” forum. 

 

Moreover, the “long-iron replacement” category is quickly becoming the cool kid on the block. Trends move and as evidenced by recent OEM offerings, and consumers are talking and OEM’s are listening. Advanced Computer-aided design or CAD coupled with a focus on increased ball speed (thin face technology which approaches the .830 COR barrier) make these clubs immediately relevant in the bags of competitive amateurs and pros. When you analyze clubs like the X Utility and MP-H4, the COG is comparatively lower (thus promoting higher launch) than irons in the same class (Mizuno MP series, Callaway X Forged, etc.).  That is, an MP-H4 3 iron will have a lower COG (higher ball flight) than an MP-64 3 iron or similar players irons.

However the COG is higher than a standard hybrid, the result of which is a more penetrating trajectory and an increased ability to impart right-to-left or left-to-right curvature. For the same reasons a muscleback is easier to work than a game-improvement iron, these long-iron replacements offer more maneuverability than their hybrid counterparts. The COG location, in conjunction with minimal offset and optimal turf interaction, make these clubs an extremely viable option for the better player whom never got comfortable with the traditional hybrid.

Perhaps the starkest difference between the two is the look from address. Hybrids, for all intents and purposes, look like metal woods after being hit by the shrink ray. They are narrower from crown to rear and offer finishes which are in line metal woods.  Graphite shafts have become standard on hybrids and many shaft companies now have hybrid specific shaft offerings in a variety of launch, spin and weight profiles. 

The long iron replacements, on the other hand, tend to look like swollen irons.  The toplines are generally thicker (although they continue to get thinner: see Titleist 712U, Callaway X Utility, Mizuno MP-H4), their soles are wider and cavities tend to be larger. Also, steel shafts come standard and finishes are largely polished chrome or satin (standard for irons).

If we really want to oversimplify the conversation, hybrids are metal-woods with a twist and long-iron replacements are irons with a twist. Hybrids are more forgiving, higher launching and on average, offer higher ball speeds and thus more distance.  Long-iron replacements exhibit increased workability, more forgiveness than typical long irons and ball speeds that are now approaching those of standard hybrids. 

As the game and equipment continue to evolve, we’ll see more and more long-iron replacements in the 3 and 4 iron slots rather than traditional hybrids, especially in the bags of competitive amateurs and professionals. However, I wouldn’t be at all surprised to see better players return to a traditional 5 wood or 17-to-18 degree hybrid.  Having a club, which consistently carries 230 to 245 yards  is a must if you are going to hit short par-5s in two or navigate long par-3s. Moreover, if you are going to use a 3 wood with less than 15 degrees of loft, you’ll probably find yourself relying quite a bit on a club to fill this gap.

That being said, the days of hybrids replacing 3 and 4 irons are going the way of where tight jeans and boy bands should have already gone. In the end, the demise of the hybrid will not be because of what it does well; rather because of what it was never designed to do well. More wolf… less hedgehog.

Click here for more discussion in the “Equipment” forum. 

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I didn't grow up playing golf. I wasn't that lucky. But somehow the game found me and I've been smitten ever since. Like many of you, I'm a bit enthusiastic for all things golf and have a spouse which finds this "enthusiasm" borderline ridiculous. I've been told golf requires someone who strives for perfection, but realizes the futility of this approach. You have to love the journey more than the result and relish in frustration and imperfection. As a teacher and coach, I spend my days working with amazing middle school and high school student athletes teaching them to think, dream and hope. And just when they start to feel really good about themselves, I hand them a golf club!

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21 Comments

21 Comments

  1. Mad-Mex

    Oct 13, 2015 at 4:04 am

    Checked the calendar to make sure this was not a April 1st joke,,,, it was a joke of an article tho,,,,

  2. Marc P.

    Sep 30, 2015 at 11:27 am

    Do not believe what anybody says. They’ll have to pry my 21* & 24* Ping i20 Hybrids off of my dead hands. Nothing gives me more confidence and the assurance of hitting the green within 180-210 yards better than hybrids.

  3. Richard

    Sep 27, 2015 at 1:17 pm

    What is the British Open? Please get it right. Sloppy.

  4. cody

    Sep 18, 2015 at 2:31 pm

    Thank you captain obvious. Did you know that the easiest way to enter a room is through a door??

  5. Laurence of Arizona

    Sep 11, 2015 at 1:01 pm

    Hybrids, for me have been a great addition. My best hybrids, are equipped with heavier stiff shafts (80-85 grams), to eliminate the dreaded hybrid hook. Light soft shafts ruin Hybrids! Playing Arizona courses where “off the fairway” is death, I find hitting a hybrid at a par 5 is FAR more accurate than long irons, (which I actually hit pretty good) or Fairway woods, (which I really don’t like)! even if I don’t/can’t reach it, as least I’m not in bad trouble!

  6. david langley

    Sep 3, 2015 at 10:25 am

    if you get fitted for the correct shalft and swing weight knock down shots into wind can still be just as easy, i have a Taylormade R11s 2 hybrid (which i have set up on its high loft setting) and its great. plus if it is a super windy day i can switch it onto its lowest loft setting and that takes 2 degrees of loft off. This club is now the oldest (since 2011) and most reliable club in my bag!

  7. Tom Allinder

    Aug 20, 2015 at 8:32 am

    I am a 0.5 handicap and find these new utility irons still very hard to hit. The hybrids fly higher and longer and are much more forgiving. The best long iron replacement I ever had was the Mizuno T-Zoid Fli hi. IT was easy to hit, got way up in the air easily. The only drawback on them (I had an 18, 21 degree) was that after a while the faces bowed in and they had to be replaced. Can’t find them anywhere now…

  8. Eric

    Aug 4, 2015 at 6:22 pm

    I bagged the MP fli-hi’s 4 and 3, when I bought them used on a whim 3 years ago…I absolutely loved the accuracy, workability and could flight them, something I couldn’t do with hybrids was well. My hybrid became my 5 wood (set to 16 degrees), which I hit about 235. I never carried a fairway wood as I preferred to swing everything like an iron, I just could not get consistent with a fairway wood. The Mizzy’s led me to trade in my whole set for the new Mizzy MP H5’s (long irons 5-3 are just like the fli-hi’s). I’m in love with these long irons, they’re as easy to hit as a mid iron. I reshafted the 3 iron with a hard stepped regular and added noticeable height to that club, without lost of distance. I can hit a low hook with the 3 iron and roll the ball out 250 under the right conditions. My 3 iron is my 225 club and I now have a cally 5 deep as my 240 club (250 plus teed up), it’s like a mini mini driver. The new equipment is like cheating, they make me a better player than I really am…

    I’ll likely never play a hybrid again, for the better player (4.8 index), technology has made the hybrid obsolete in my opinion. I agree, for better amateurs and pros, hybrids are on the way out. I play a lot of mini tour events (am division) and I see a lot of these new iron replacements in the bags of players, way more than hybrids…

  9. Nutz4putters

    Aug 4, 2015 at 9:02 am

    Interesting article. I wouldn’t consider myself a ‘better player’ but I’ve found that hybrids typically hook like h*ll for me – I can’t seem to keep them from going left. Sadly, I’ve been laying up vs. trying to gun a longer club, so I’d love to find a hybrid that was less inclined to hook. I’ve got two old sonartec md 18 and 21, while they are better and straighter than any hybrid I’ve hit, they are kind of lousy out of the rough with their long leading edge. Someone mentioned 7 woods coming back, maybe I need to look at the higher lofted fairway woods. Didn’t Callaway carry fairway woods up to an 11 wood at one point?

    • Dave B

      Aug 10, 2015 at 9:07 am

      I have the same issue with hybrids. As my handicap has dropped from the mid 20’s to now down in the upper teens (which means on a good day 85, on a bad day 93), I am finding that I hook my hybrids like there is no tomorrow. I have an Adams Black 19*, and I have both 4hy and 5hy Callaway RzrX HL’s.

      It has gotten to a point where I can’t aim far enough right, and unless I’m about 160 yards away from the green, I don’t feel comfortable at all, because I just know it’s going left.

      Coincidentally my irons are straighter than ever; so I don’t believe this is a swing path issue.

    • John

      Aug 24, 2015 at 8:40 am

      Hey, Nutz.

      I’m a 5 handicapper and have had the same trouble with hybrids for years. I recently picked up a brand new Adams red hybrid on ebay for less than half the retail price and can honestly say I’ve never hit anything straighter. There is an option to move the weight from the centre to toe or heel, depending what shape you’re after. I find neutral works great. Might be worth giving one a try.

  10. Duncan Castles

    Nov 18, 2014 at 8:37 am

    Two years on, I’m not convinced this has proved accurate even for professionals and elite amateurs. Select the right hybrid design and you can have all the standard benefits – and have the ability to work the ball left and right, high and low.

  11. foxrock

    Sep 13, 2013 at 5:53 pm

    Very good summary of advent and, possible, decline of the hybrid. i never really got the hybrid. Its positives – forgiveness, height, distance, etc – are better delivered by fairway woods while its negatives, well articulated in the article, are inherent in its mongrel conception. Therefore I think the hybrid will decline and higher fairway woods return (the 7 disappeared but is returning eg Ping G25) along with the ‘swollen’ long irons.

  12. Doc

    Feb 12, 2013 at 2:47 am

    For pros, your article may be on target. Since 99% of all posters on these golf blogs don’t make their living ‘playing’ the game of golf, we can still use the hybrids forgiveness and keep distance in our bag plus have a ball that sticks better than long irons for us.

  13. Pugster22

    Nov 26, 2012 at 9:48 pm

    Quote from the article, “Better players and high-ball hitters have come to realize that while hybrids hit the ball higher and land softer, they don’t do a good job in windy conditions nor do they offer the ability to work the ball nearly as well as long-iron replacements.”

    The average to high handicap player, which makes up about 80% or so of all golfers, just want to hit the ball high and straight. This golfer is not looking to work the ball or worry about hitting a hybrid in the wind.

    Hybrids are not “on the way out” for the great majority of golfers.

    I am a low handicap player (2.3) and I love my hybrids.

    • Rimrock

      Dec 1, 2012 at 9:25 am

      excellent points Pugster22. Long putters, hitting a golf ball further, golf supplements, etc. MONEY MAKERS! That is all they are! I occasionally play with a member of our club and he admits he is a “new equipment” junkie and he thinks it will improve his game which it hasn’t.

  14. tlmck

    Nov 17, 2012 at 5:39 pm

    For years I carried a driver, an 18 degree fairway wood(used to be called a 4 wood), and then 3-PW, SW, LW. I now carry driver, 18 and 21 degree hybrids, and 4-GW, SW, LW. For my game, I just never needed to fill the gap between driver and 18 degrees. I taught myself how to hit stinger shots with my driver and 18 degree clubs long before anyone ever heard of Tiger. I also have no trouble working the ball with my hybrids.

  15. Tony

    Nov 17, 2012 at 2:18 pm

    PING got this right with the G2 HL models. The 2HL is still in the bag.

  16. Josh Read

    Nov 16, 2012 at 9:31 pm

    So basically these “new” irons are sleeker looking (or in Tiger’s case) ARE just game improvement irons right? So what’s the new technology?

  17. jerry bollinger

    Nov 16, 2012 at 6:14 pm

    you almost said it, but the answer is what is right for you ! unless you are a pro, you will have to spend a lot of cash or find the right club for the distance you need. most of us can get a lot of shots from a 18*,19* or 20* hybrid. pretty nice stick and not all that much cash ………….

  18. Brian Cass

    Nov 16, 2012 at 1:07 pm

    Love the look of the 712u from Titleist. I will be grabbing a 4 iron if/when they come out.

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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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