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Cameron Champ cracked his driver right before teeing off on Sunday

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Golf’s new sensation, Cameron Champ, triumphed at the Sanderson Farms Championship over the weekend, and he did so without the ideal preparation on Sunday afternoon. The 23-year old arrived on the range ahead of Sunday’s final round with a four-shot lead attempting to land his maiden PGA Tour title, and 30 minutes before his tee time the American cracked the head of his PING G400 Max driver.

Champ may have just a handful of appearances on the PGA Tour so far, but he has already made a name for himself with his incredible raw power. At his opening event of the season at the Safeway Open, Champ lead the field in both average club head speed (129.66 mph), and ball speed (192.67 mph). To put those numbers into perspective, the top average in both categories for the 2017/18 season was 124.67 mph from Keith Mitchell for club head speed and 182.22 from Trey Mullinax for ball speed.

The Californian, by all accounts, dealt with the adversity excellently. According to Golf Channel’s Justin Leonard, Champ calmly asked his father to retrieve a backup club from his car, casually saying, “Don’t worry, not a rush, I’m not going to hit it until the third hole.”

Champ lead the field in two of his opening three rounds for strokes gained off the tee, and cracking the head of his trusty driver just before the off on Sunday looked to be far more costly than Champ had imagined, as he saw his four-shot lead evaporate over the front nine in Mississippi.

However, Champ kept his head and rattled off five birdies in his last six holes to take the title by four. Speaking after his round, Champ commented on his shock at the incident, and the difficulties he faced because of it.

“It was very unexpected. Then my backup is my old one I have that week. I didn’t bring a new driver head. It was an older one from my previous driver. I know the weighting was just a little bit off, so just tried to hit as many balls as I could on the range with it just to get used to it a little bit. I tried to manage it. Obviously I knew mostly today was probably mixed with nerves and adrenaline and just trying to find my tempo and my swing and whatnot.”

Manage it he did, with Champ leading the final round in driving distance and proving that he is not just a sensation with the driver, but also very adept at dealing with adversity.

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Gianni is a freelance writer. He holds a Bachelor of Arts as well as a Diploma in Sports Journalism. He can be contacted at gmagliocco@outlook.com. Follow him on Twitter @giancarlomag

13 Comments

13 Comments

  1. The dude

    Oct 30, 2018 at 3:57 pm

    How do you crack the top??

  2. Tom

    Oct 30, 2018 at 1:54 pm

    Crown suffered structural failure? Sounds like a design flaw or QC issue!

    • geohogan

      Nov 9, 2018 at 9:57 am

      Jamie Sadlowski had to have specially made clubheads with less COR. He cracked off the shelf clubheads after a few shots. At those speeds shaft tips (0.335 inch diameter) will also break relatively quickly.

  3. dat

    Oct 29, 2018 at 4:01 pm

    typical WRX’r

  4. Tom54

    Oct 29, 2018 at 3:05 pm

    At nearly 130 mph swing speed he may need to have several drivers on hand. Wonder what the max speed is when these drivers are put through their tests. Glad to see him get his first win.

  5. ~j~

    Oct 29, 2018 at 2:52 pm

    Happens to the best of us. ????

  6. Rick

    Oct 29, 2018 at 2:29 pm

    “F#$%K”!!!!!!!!!

    -Ping

  7. Peter

    Oct 29, 2018 at 1:19 pm

    Isn’t this exactly why tour trucks are there?

    • Tim

      Oct 29, 2018 at 1:31 pm

      Tour trucks usually pull out wed or thurs. Some stay around longer especially at majors and it also depends on the length of drive to next event.

    • Chris

      Oct 29, 2018 at 1:32 pm

      The tour trucks usually leave after Wednesday.

    • mlb

      Oct 29, 2018 at 3:04 pm

      A tour truck would have made no difference. The kid is strong

  8. Greg V

    Oct 29, 2018 at 12:10 pm

    So, what was his old driver?

    and if you are Cameron Champ, why not travel with a spare head.

    • Johnny Penso

      Oct 30, 2018 at 4:18 pm

      Probably an old McGregor persimmon driver because, according to some here at WRX, it’s almost as long as a modern driver, it’s the ball that made all the difference back in the day.

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Equipment

WRX Spotlight Review: TaylorMade M5 fairway Rocket 3

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Product: TaylorMade M5 fairway Rocket 3

Pitch: The TaylorMade M5 fairway Rocket 3 is a stronger-lofted version of the standard TaylorMade M5 3-wood. The Rocket is 14 degrees. The standard M5 is 15.

Our take on the TaylorMade M5 Rocket 3

“WOW, you really hit that 3-wood like a rocket!”

” Not like a rocket… an actual Rocket!”

The beloved 3-wood. A favorite club of both average golfers and pros alike, a club that many will hold onto well after what some might consider their “best before” date. But with new options and improved technology, these old faithfuls are getting the boot quicker for a lot of reasons including the ability to better dial in a fit and help minimizing misses.

Since making a club faster off the middle is becoming more and more difficult thanks to the limits set forth but the USGA, OEMs are changing the way we think about clubs and putting a greater focus on decreasing dispersion and optimizing misses. TaylorMade is doing this with TwistFace, which was originally introduced in drivers a generation ago, and has now been included in the M5 and M6 fairway woods.

I got to spend some time with the knowledgeable crew at TaylorMade Canada in their new indoor facility just north of Toronto (lets call it Kingdom North) In that time, we went through a driver fitting, and then to the new M5 fairway woods to try and replace one of my oldest faithfuls: a 14-degree SLDR Tour Spoon. To say I have a unique ability to elevate a fairway wood is something that even my fitter was a little surprised by. My numbers with my cranked down to 12 degree (measured) fairway off the deck were good but could be improved. I can hit it both ways (as much as a 6-handicap can actually claim that) but my trusted go-to shot is a slight fade with some heel bias contact because of my swing. I am willing to sacrifice some distance but usually hit it where I want.

What I saw at the end of the fitting was a club that produced longer shots along with a tighter dispersion without having to make or to try and make any changes to my swing. The final fit was a 14-degree “Rocket” M5 fairway set to 12 degrees. It beat out my SLDR by a total of nine yards, which is an increase of just over a total of three percent, including an additional six yards of carry.

To say I was honestly surprised would be an understatement. The SLDR TS is a club that the first time I hit it I went WHOA! Low spin, workable, looks exactly how I want that club to look (small and compact). You can see from the numbers below when it works it works.

Why does TwistFace work?

Let’s explain and get a little deep in the technology weeds for a second. Bulge and roll is not a new concept. In fact, it would be a lie to claim that all OEMs haven’t done something similar to this is the past or played with these two variables to help golfers hit better shots. Fact: Every OEM optimizes the bulge and roll on their clubs to increase speed and maximize performance. Tom Wishon actually had a line of woods at one point that went the other way had VERY limited roll from the top tine to the sole. With this design, more loft on the bottom of the head helped players who miss low or need help elevating the ball off the deck increase launch and spin. It worked. Cobra also has what it calls E9 technology to tweak bulge and roll to help maximize the speed and forgiveness of their woods. It also works.

What makes TaylorMade’s TwistFace different is that it is the most aggressive iteration of this bulge and roll tweaking yet, and by introducing it into the fairway woods and hybrids, it’s proving to be a winner — even for this now-proven wrong skeptic.

At the end of the day, the M5 Ti “Rocket” was a measurable improvement over my previous 3-wood. Now it would be disingenuous to say “if you aren’t using TwistFace in your fairway woods you’re not maximized,” but if you are someone that struggles with fairway wood dispersion and looking to find some extra distance for taking on par-5s, taking a look at the new M5 and M6 fairway woods as part of your next fitting should be very high on your list.

 

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Forum Thread of the Day: “Low handicapper switching to game improvement irons”

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Today’s Forum Thread of the Day comes from jasonTel3 – a low handicap player who plays blades but who has had his head turned by game improvement irons. According to jasonTel3, every ball was hit straight when testing out a set of Ping G400’s at a simulator, and he’s been asking fellow members for advice on whether he should make the move to GI’s.

Here are a few posts from the thread discussing jasonTel3’s conundrum, but make sure to check out the entire discussion and have your say at the link below.

  • balls_deep: “My first thought is to say don’t do it.. but then if you’ve hit them, liked them, and the numbers were right, it could be a good option. A friend I play with uses G400 and they have too much offset for my liking. I also don’t like that you can see the cavity on the 4 and 5 iron. Top line is actually very nice for a SGI iron. I just read the Ping Blueprint article on Golf Digest where they were talking about how some players hit small heads better. I definitely fall into that category. That said, I just ordered a set of i210 to try as I had really good luck with the i200 and should never have sold them. Have you tried the newer I series? IMO it’s GI help in a players look with an acceptable sole width. Long story short though – if you felt comfortable and the fit was right, why not try them? If you don’t work the ball a ton, I don’t see any issue with it. High and straight is a good way to go!”
  • hammergolf: “I’ve been playing Ping G25’s for 6 years. Still can’t find anything I like better. I can hit any shot I need to whether it’s my stock draw, fade, high, or low. And when I hit it a little thin, or on the toe, it still lands on the green. My thought is why play golf with a club that will punish you for mishit when you can play one that will help you.”
  • azone: “Everyone has an opinion, and here is mine. If you are/have been a good ball striker with a sound mental game, your mind will keep writing checks your body may not be able to cash as you get older or don’t practice enough. Those “ugly” forgiving irons look beautiful when a miss ends up on the green, and you are putting– not in rough or deep in a short side bunker. Those irons won’t be AS ACCURATE as, say, a blade, BUT if you aren’t as dependable as in the past, your results will be better. I used to keep two sets of blueprinted irons; blades for practice and CB for play. I play with guys that have cashed checks playing…and they don’t care how ugly the iron is.”
  • Jut: “As a decent player (and ball striker) and a sweeper/picker (I could hit off of a green and not take any landscape with me), I’ve found much success with the F9s (which, with the wide sole, are very similar to the G410 irons). In the past 4 years I’ve gone from Mizuno MP-68 to Callaway Apex CF16 to Ping i500 (a brief and bad experience) to the Cobra F9’s. For what it’s worth, the Cobras have been the best of the bunch by far.”

Entire Thread: “Low handicap going to game improvement irons”

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Equipment

WRX Spotlight: Stitch headcovers

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Product: Stitch headcovers

Pitch: From Stitch: “Your game should match your style. At Stitch, we aim to merchandise our line of products so you can easily put together items that not only match your bag and what is it in it, but also match your style and personality. We want to make it easy for you to have a unique and color-coordinated golf bag. We have designed unique products that have defined color schemes so that choosing which items to put in your bag becomes easier. We aim to provide you with various looks, mixing and matching our head covers to give you confidence that the purchase you make for your bag will take you to the course in style. Let us help you dress your game.”

Our Take On Stitch Headcovers

Stitch is a relatively new company – founded in 2012. The company initially only created premium headcovers but has grown into so much more, with all sorts of golfing accessories now on offer on their site StitchGolf.com. Their bags, in particular, are now some of the most popular amongst golfers, with the quality and uniqueness provided leading multiple Tour players to sport them in tournament play.

That sign of quality in the bags bodes well for what the company was founded on – their headcovers. Stitch provides both leather and knit headcovers in a variety of designs that do as good a job as any in covering the needs of all golfers.

Stitch describes the companies Monte Carlo headcover as being their “classic, timeless design”, and for those looking for that vintage style to add to their set up then they can’t go wrong with this headcover. A mainstay in the likes of multiple tour winner Paul Casey’s bag, the Monte Carlo headcover, as with all of the companies leather covers, is hand-crafted from 100% leather and is both water and stain resistant. The cover comes in four color codes: Black, White, Navy and Red, and at $68 is the most affordable of all their leather headcovers.

Other options in the leather department range from their intricately designed Camo cover which comes in a multiple color design, as well as Stitch’s tribute to “The King”, through their Arnold Palmer headcover.

The AP cover comes in a minimalist black with white stripes for a classic feel, but it also comes in a white color code decorated with red, white and yellow stripes which, for myself at least, looks even more alluring. Part of an exclusive collection, the only issue with the AP cover is that only those located in the U.S. are currently eligible to get their hands on one. But for those in the states, the company is now offering a set of three AP leather covers for $128 instead of $298 should you use the code APLEATHERS on their site.

From their Tour Racer, USA, Shamrock and Bonesman editions, Stitch provides a great choice when it comes to their leather covers, and as previously mentioned, all are hand-crafted from 100% leather, water and stain resistant and will assure an excellent fit on your clubs.

Stitch also provides knit headcovers which contain not only excellent designs but also the same quality which has gone into their leather covers. All of the companies knit covers are made from Techno Wool, which is 100% acrylic and designed in order for your clubs to stay entirely dry. Another feature of the knit covers from Stitch is their smart fit design which ensures all of the covers retain their shape over a long period, as well as providing for a cover that will reliably stay on your club.

The knit covers from Stitch cost $68 ($72 for the limited AP cover), and there are currently seven different designs available to choose from over at StitchGolf.com. The leather covers are, unsurprisingly, a little pricier, but still very affordable, ranging from $68-$98. The covers deliver in both style and performance, and for a relatively new company, it speaks volumes that the likes of Jim Furyk, Paul Casey, Bryson DeChambeau and many more tour pros are now sporting the company’s creations.

 

 

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