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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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8 Comments

8 Comments

  1. Jason

    Nov 17, 2018 at 1:00 am

    Not to be that guy but 16.5* is a 4 wood

  2. Mat

    Aug 28, 2018 at 4:48 pm

    I love when guys take the time to paint their gear.

  3. Francis

    Aug 13, 2018 at 2:45 pm

    Do most club pros have access to proto/unreleased clubs?

    • Billy Bob

      Aug 13, 2018 at 4:25 pm

      For big events like this, yes.

    • MnPro

      Aug 28, 2018 at 5:49 pm

      Depending on your relationship with the rep normally we do. We have had the TS2 and TS3 stuff for about a month now

  4. steve

    Aug 13, 2018 at 1:39 pm

    Re horizontal strips of lead tape on wedges… probably 2-3 strips at the flange. The lead would nominally raise the CofG to reduce the height trajectory. Since lead is about 30% heavier than steel the added mass would be insignificant where it is located. To effectively raise the CofG Kern should have put the lead tape on the top line.

    • Robert B

      Aug 13, 2018 at 3:57 pm

      Ny guess is he was just adding weight to the head to change swing weight. I’ll ask, when I see him.

    • Gordo

      Aug 28, 2018 at 10:47 pm

      Need a ton of lead tape to change the flight. Prob so much it would be detrimental to the shaft performance. It’s purely to get the swing weight to his personal preference.

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Equipment

Titleist to release Vokey SM7 Wedges in Slate Blue finish

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Vokey-SM7-Slate-Blue

Titleist has announced that its Vokey SM7 wedges are to be released in a Slate Blue finish from January 31.

The new finish on the SM7 Slate Blue wedges is applied like a standard PVD finish, but according to the company, the finish contains a unique material and involves a time-intensive process, the combination of which provides a finish that will possess maximum durability.

Speaking on the addition of the State Blue finish to the SM7 wedge range, master craftsman Bob Vokey stated

“Very often wedge finishes can be beautiful, but they won’t last. At the same time, the most durable finishes often aren’t stunning. Slate Blue combines the two. Not only will golfers love their wedge when they see it in the shop, the finish will last through the course of normal play.”

As with all of the Vokey SM7 range, the State Blue is available in 23 loft, bounce, and grind options for both right and left-handers.

The stock set-up for the Vokey SM7 State Blue features a Nippon Modus3 125 shaft and custom BV Wings New Decade Multi-Compound Black Grip. However, the wedges will also be available for customization on Vokey.com.

The Vokey SM7 State Blue hits retail stores on January 31 and will cost $199.99.

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Equipment

Rickie Fowler makes the switch to TaylorMade TP5/X

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It all started with what appears to be an internal email sent by Taylor Made CEO David Abeles that was posted online last week….

“We are preparing to make one of the most significant announcements in company history – a new addition to our athlete team that will light up the industry and enhance the impact of our brand like never before. Please stay tuned. You will hear from us in a couple of weeks!”

The buzz and speculation that ensued in the GolfWRX forums was nothing short of a Gear Junky FBI-esque investigation. The rumors of who and why covered everyone from Phil, Brooks, LeBron, Steph Curry and I even think former President Obama got tossed into the mix. The code word around Taylor Made was “Project Orange”…kinda love them taking a page from the Lucas Film here.

DRUM ROLL…..As of 8:30AM PST, Monday the 19th of January, the news is now official. Four time PGA Tour winner and World #13 Rickie Fowler has signed a multi-year Ball and Glove Contract with Taylor Made. Fowler will make his first start with the new set up this week at Torrey Pines for the Farmers Insurance Open.

“It’s been fun to see what the ball can do. Extra yardage on irons, more spin around the green. One less club for me into many holes is a pretty big advantage, too. What more do you want?”

—Rickie Fowler

Now, I realize this announcement may not seem as sexy as a full bag deal or a Callaway to TaylorMade Mickelson switch.

However this signing is important for TaylorMade for two main reasons.

  1. It shows the market that TaylorMade has a ball that performs well enough to attract someone like Fowler who has been a staunch Titleist loyalist almost since birth.
  2. In a market that has been and is still dominated by Titleist, its Taylor Mades first big shot across the bow that they are serious about golf ball innovation and are not hanging their hats on Metal Woods.

The Gear Dive’s Johnny Wunder spoke late last week with Rickie and Director of Golf Ball R&D Eric Loper on how this whole thing came to be.

See what the members are saying in the forums and join the discussion.

Below is the audio interview.

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Equipment

New Srixon Z-Forged irons: “The most compact, workable irons” in company history

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Srixon Z-Forged irons, described by the company as being “designed for the ultimate ball-strikers yet engineered to perform,” are to hit retail stores on February 1.

The new release from Srixon feature two sharp lines at the back of the club, one from the toe and one from the heel, forming its double curve design which aims to provide golfers with a soft feel in a crisp, explosive profile.

Forged from a single billet of soft 1020 carbon steel, the Z-Forged irons, are designed to offer players with an exceptional amount of feel throughout all shots.

Srixon’s Z-Forged irons also contain an updated Tour V.T Sole which is designed to provide more consistent ball striking while keeping the versatility to execute every type of shot.

Speaking concerning Srixon’s Z-Forged Irons, Engineering Manager Dustin Brekke, stated

“The new Z-Forged irons are the most compact, most workable irons in our line. They were created to give professionals and advanced amateur golfers confidence to hit every shot, while featuring a sole that glides through the turf for better contact and stable spin under any condition.”

The Srixon Z-Forged officially launch on February 1 and will cost $142.85 for a single iron, $999.99 for a seven-piece set, and $1,142.84 for an eight-piece set.

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