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14-year-old hybrid in play at Q-School

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TaylorMade Old Rescue Hybrid

Australian Steve Allan finished first at the PGA Tour Q-School 12 years ago. He’s back at the Q-School Finals this year at PGA West in La Quinta. Calif., armed with a club that predates his Q-School win — a TaylorMade Firesole “Rescue” Hybrid with a “Bubble” shaft that was introduced in 1999.

Take a look at the almost 15-year-old technology Allan brought with him to the PGA Tour Q-School Finals this week at PGA West in La Quinta, Calif., as well as the photos below of what a Firesole Rescue looks like when it still has its paint and its stampings intact.

Click here to see more photos from Q-School, and Click here for more discussion in the “Tour/pre-release equipment” forum.

Click here to see more photos from Q-School, and Click here for more discussion in the “Tour/pre-release equipment” forum.

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Zak is the Editor-in-Chief of GolfWRX.com. He's been a part of the company since 2011, when he was hired to lead GolfWRX's Editorial Department. Zak developed GolfWRX's Featured Writer Program, which supports aspiring writers and golf industry professionals. He played college golf at the University of Richmond (Go Spiders!) and still likes to compete in tournaments. You can follow Zak on Twitter @ZakKoz, where he's happy to discuss his game and all the cool stuff that's part of his job.

22 Comments

22 Comments

  1. Dennis Clark

    Jul 8, 2014 at 2:07 pm

    If you’ve made it to the final stage of Q school good chance your equipment is working pretty well.

  2. Straightdriver235

    Jul 2, 2014 at 10:13 pm

    I don’t get it. What is the deal? There’s many old clubs superior to the newer ones. These pros are generally paid to play stuff, but many serious players use old equipment quite effectively. You are pretty much a fool if you are buying clubs not two or three years old at the least. My Sonartec 18* hybrid is older than this, well used… and looks much better. It has always striped the ball, so why would I want to change it? I was using a Tommy Armour Ironmaster from the late 1930s until recently. I simply found it better than any other putter I ever tried.

  3. hawkeye3743

    Jun 18, 2014 at 6:42 pm

    HMMM, so newer is always better. And that old Bubble Shaft was a great shaft, too bad they quit it. I have a few new heads. Probably worth Millions if he is a success. LOL

  4. West

    May 2, 2014 at 12:35 pm

    Wow, I’m just amazed at the fact he still uses the same shaft after all these years, in a stiff-flex no less. Also, that club face looks way closed? Anyways, to each their own, no “right” way to play the game…

  5. Max

    May 1, 2014 at 12:58 pm

    I still have on of those, in brand new condition. Never played it but will give it a try the next time.

  6. Walter

    Apr 22, 2014 at 1:37 pm

    I’ve been playing mine for years and when it started to look like this one I sanded the head. Looks awesome.

  7. grexa

    Nov 29, 2012 at 12:20 pm

    It shows the confidence in the equipment a player is comfortable with. It also shows how it’s the indian, not always the arrow.

  8. Tom McCarthy

    Nov 29, 2012 at 12:10 am

    Still playing my Taylormade Rescue club I bought on an American Express points promotion about 12 years ago. What a great club!

  9. 3putt18

    Nov 28, 2012 at 5:59 pm

    I had 2 of these clubs. I sold them both last year. They were/ are great clubs.

  10. northhighlandway12

    Nov 28, 2012 at 1:11 pm

    Someone correct me if I’m wrong, but, weren’t the majority of clubs, way back in the birth days of golf,
    wooden shaped heads with lofts that resembled todays 7-irons, 6,5, etc. Why are people calling hybrids, new technology?

    • Shallowface

      Dec 16, 2014 at 7:52 pm

      You’re right, and we’re certainly headed back in that direction.

      I don’t think we’re too far from the day where the only iron in an average player’s bag will be a sand wedge. Everything else will be a hybrid of some sort.

      The long iron just wasn’t a good idea for most. I enjoy shopping thrift stores, and every now and then I’ll see a ladies forged blade two iron from the 1960s.

      What were they thinking?

  11. Dalton

    Nov 28, 2012 at 11:46 am

    I wish today’s hybrid’s were all as small profile as this original. I’ve still got one of these in my attic. May be time to break it back out!

  12. Omar R.

    Nov 27, 2012 at 10:04 pm

    needs to go to continental golf

  13. Greg M.

    Nov 27, 2012 at 6:19 pm

    maybe this hybrid is to Steve as the 7 iron is to Tin Cup! …old reliable

  14. Mike D.

    Nov 27, 2012 at 5:43 pm

    The groove rule doesn’t apply to clubs with less than 24 degrees of loft.

  15. Jake03331

    Nov 27, 2012 at 4:51 pm

    @Rick, the grooves back in 1999 were not of the same design as more recent years and those no banned under the “conforming groove” debate. Most irons still rocked V grooves, so this club would be good to go.

  16. Rick

    Nov 27, 2012 at 4:46 pm

    What about the recent rule on the grooves shape?

    Is this “Rescue” still conforming?

  17. Rus

    Nov 27, 2012 at 2:24 pm

    It looks like he lost the H/C in 2000… Put an old sock or somethin on it!

  18. CA

    Nov 27, 2012 at 12:22 pm

    +100000000000

  19. John

    Nov 27, 2012 at 10:36 am

    Says a lot about my addiction of buying into new equipment frenzy…My wife is absolutely right, I’m an idiot.

    • purkjason

      Apr 21, 2014 at 1:00 pm

      Haha … it’s the opposite in my house. My wife will always buy the new crap. Whereas I’m cool with my reliable Maltby Equipment.

      • Shallowface

        Dec 16, 2014 at 7:46 pm

        That Maltby gear is some of the best you’ll find anywhere. Great design through sound engineering principles.

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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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