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Charl Schwartzel’s drilled-out Miura irons: A builder’s perspective



We see plenty of cavity back irons on the PGA Tour. Most of these irons have been strategically designed to position weight and center of gravity to maximize performance. Spotted this week at the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am: a nonconventional set of “cavity backs” in the form of Charl Schwartzel’s drilled-out Miura MB-001 blade irons.

As first reported by’s Andrew Tursky, Charl, an equipment free-agent, bought the irons online, and after tinkering with them (obviously, Charl is a true gear nut), he felt the irons were just a bit too heavy at D6 swing weight and wanted to bring them down to around D3. These number will seem quite arbitrary to some, so to help explain swing weight, we have a short video below

Now, the question comes down to why would he drill out the irons instead of just having the clubs built to his desired spec?

In the case of Miura irons, a company founded in Japan. The iron head weights are heavier than others on the market because Japan spec irons are generally built to shorter lengths than their North American counterparts. The clubheads are noticeably heavier in the shorter irons and wedges (see chart below), which is why we see more holes in the pitching wedge vs. the longer irons.

Since the MB-001’s are a solid muscle design with no badges or weight ports in the head, there is no other way to remove the mass needed to hit a lighter swing weight for Charl—unless Miura was to produce a set heads at a lighter weights by grinding off mass during the final production steps before final finishing.

Head weight specs 3-PW starting at 245g at the 3-iron.

As a result, when built with heavier tour weight shafts (anything 110g or above) and at a standard North American length (37″ – 7 iron, or longer), the clubs will end up being heavier than what would be considered standard swing weight (usually between D1-D4). Let me please point out that in the golf club manufacturing world there are very few standard practices or measurements beyond the USGA ruler and swing weight scale. Although the phrase “standard clubs” is still common nomenclature, it applies very little to the custom club building world. 

Beyond adding mass to the grip end of the club to counteract the heavier weight of the heads, a practice known as counterbalancing, the only other option is to drill mass out of the clubhead (see full video above for further explanation). Charl reportedly did the drilling himself when fine-tuning the clubs and after a few holes got them right where he likes them.

Based on the thickness of the iron muscle and the amount of mass removed from each head (roughly six grams), these holes have no effect on the performance of the irons (but have probably killed any potential resale value on the open market—bearing in mind that last part is tongue in cheek). If Charl wins another major with these, who knows what they would be worth.

Other examples

This process of drilling out mass has also been referred to as “porting,” and club builders have been doing it for a long time. In the case of wedges, porting not only helps reduce clubhead weight, but can also help (in a very, very small way) remove mass from lower in the head to raise the CG. It’s the exact reason Callaway introduced this design feature in the original PM Grind and continues with the design philosophy today in the JAWS MD5.

With Bryson’s wedges being more than 1″ over standard length, weight had to be removed from the head.

We don’t recommend you start drilling holes in your irons and wedges just yet and suggest seeing a professional club builder to help you sort out your specs and get you dialed in. For more pictures of the clubs Charl Schwartzel is using this week, head to the GolfWRX forum: Charl Schwartzel – WITB 2020 AT&T Pebble Beach


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Ryan Barath is part of the Digital Content Creation Team for GolfWRX. He hosts the "On Spec" Podcast on the GolfWRX Radio Network which focuses on discussing everything golf, including gear, technology, fitting, and course architecture. He is a club-fitter & master club builder with more than 17 years of experience working with golfers of all skill levels, including PGA Tour players. He is the former Build Shop Manager & Social Media Coordinator for Modern Golf. He now works independently from his home shop and is a member of advisory panels to a select number of golf equipment manufacturers. You can find Ryan on Twitter and Instagram where he's always willing to chat golf, and share his passion for club building, course architecture and wedge grinding.



  1. craig adams

    Mar 12, 2020 at 12:42 am

    Charles golf game has holes in it. He’s out of the top 200? A golfer as talented as he is shouldn’t have to tinker with clubs. Manufacturers should be throwing their clubs at him. Did his game go sour since moving to PXG? Why do golfers change a winning combination? Look at Westwood and Jiminez; been playing with Pings all their career.

  2. Eldrick

    Feb 20, 2020 at 3:38 am

    Looks like his Gapr low is a glued non adjustable one.

  3. Nack Jicklaus

    Feb 12, 2020 at 1:02 am

    He should have just drilled all the way through the faces like the old “Hammer” driver. Boom!!!!!!!!!!

  4. Ima Fitter

    Feb 10, 2020 at 5:02 pm

    Love it! You don’t need to spend a ton of money on a new set of irons. As long as they are forged and you like the appearance, pre-owned irons can be fit to your swing. Change the loft & lie, change the shaft, change the grips…any qualified club builder can make them work for you.

  5. Benny

    Feb 8, 2020 at 8:02 pm

    Great catch Wrx and article. Charl left PXG a while ago. But truly suprised he couldn’t get a set directly and have them custom grinded. Anyways great details and love the comments fellas.

  6. bob stelben

    Feb 8, 2020 at 3:01 am

    Good video on swing weights. Can you explain tipping of the shaft and the reasons or advantages/disadvantages?

  7. Steve

    Feb 7, 2020 at 3:23 pm

    I thought Schwartzel was a PXG guy? Guess I am mixing up who Parson’s friends are. And I agree….drilling holes in Miura irons is like adding your own touch up paint to the Mona Lisa. To each his own, I guess.

    • Funkaholic

      Feb 7, 2020 at 4:55 pm

      I doubt a pro is bagging those Miuras for status, he is going to play the grooves off of those babies, appearance is for weekend hackers.

  8. Donn Rutkoff

    Feb 6, 2020 at 3:17 pm

    Palmer probably drilled out hundreds of clubs. Tinkering was common. To suit your own swing.

  9. Fergie

    Feb 6, 2020 at 12:33 pm

    Drilling Miuras like that is, well, blasphemy. He should just get it over with and get CB’s.

    • Funkaholic

      Feb 7, 2020 at 4:53 pm

      CB’s are not the same idea at all, he is reducing swing weight, a CB redistributes weigh to lower in the head making raising MOI and them easier to launch.

  10. Mike Cleland

    Feb 6, 2020 at 10:32 am

    I grew up playing D5 S/W clubs with standard lengths. Does any manufacturers make heavy headed clubs or do they just shove weight down the shaft & change the center of gravity. All my clubs are covered with lead tape. Any suggestions?
    PS: I really enjoy your blogs

  11. jgpl001

    Feb 6, 2020 at 3:50 am

    Nasty workmanship on a quality blade

    He appears to be missing the drilled effect of hs old pig’s……

  12. Dennis

    Feb 6, 2020 at 1:28 am

    Do all the pros go for swingweight instead of MOI-Matching?

  13. Gurn

    Feb 6, 2020 at 12:19 am

    Those Miuras need that treatment like a hole in the head

  14. bill bourne

    Feb 5, 2020 at 8:01 pm

    Does drilling out the backs affect the overall thickness spec?

    • JP

      Feb 6, 2020 at 8:32 am

      Huh? Overall thickness spec? What is that?

      • Tim Armington

        Feb 7, 2020 at 7:54 am

        You dont know what a thickness spec is??? Wow.

        • Funkaholic

          Feb 7, 2020 at 4:56 pm

          Ha! This guy doesn’t know what thickness spec is!

          • maroon

            Feb 8, 2020 at 4:32 am

            I know but it has nothing to do with golf 😉

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Coming out of the haze: What to expect from the OEMs in the second half of 2020



As we slowly come out of the lockdown haze, it’s going to be interesting to see which OEMs are primed to come out swinging. From where I sit, there are a few companies that either kept the foot on the pedal or found new ways to interact with the masses. I have been tracking the major companies for different reasons, and I am optimistic on most fronts. Now, it needs to be said that everyone has been keeping the respective momentum going in their own ways—this has been a challenge for everyone, so this analysis is simply a commentary on what may come in the second half of the year.

Many good folks were either furloughed or laid off during this lockdown—that’s where we all lost. It needs to be acknowledged that we are talking about golf here, but the underlying reality of this is still devastating. I so look forward to getting into the trenches with these folks again either back where they were or at new companies.

TaylorMade became educators…and kicked off live golf again

Big giant club company or big giant marketing machine…it doesn’t matter what you label them as. TaylorMade Golf, in my opinion, turned the heartbreak of stalling one of the biggest first quarters in company history into an opportunity to start talking…and teaching. With the help of the tour team and TM athletes, TaylorMade focused hard on talking to us all during the lockdown. With multiple initiatives through social media, the Driving Relief event, and the tour staff engaging way more than usual. I believe TM created a runway to start moving quickly once stores and pro shops open up again.

Let’s face it, with the social media presence, the most robust tour staff maybe ever, and the driver everyone seems to have reserved for the top big stick of 2020, what’s not to be confident about? On the flip side, a company that big could have really taken it on the chin hard, but how they handled the lockdown—from my chair—was fun to watch and will ultimately ensure a quick restart. There is something to be said about having guys like Trottie, Adrian, and Hause in the fold informing and keeping things fun.

Rumor has it new irons are dropping in the fall/winter, which could spell two awesome bookends to a bittersweet 2020.

PXG leaned in

Why online sales for all OEMs spiked is no mystery. Boredom, desire, and a credit card are keys to any great online buying experience, but PXG made certain that if you were not a buyer previously, you may be now.

The price tag has always been a key topic with Bob Parsons’ Scottsdale-based company. It’s no secret that the clubs aren’t cheap, but during this lockdown, they did multiple strategic initiatives to not only crank up direct-to-consumer buying but also expand the PXG conversation into different areas, namely fashion.

Price cuts across the board started early and, rumor has it, enabled PXG to achieve sales numbers unlike any other period in the company’s short history. Yes, cutting prices helps unit sales, but in the case of PXG, it brought in the club customer that ordinarily shied away from PXG for financial reasons and ultimately made them buyers. That’s where PXG seems to shine, once they finally get you in, they are very effective at keeping you in the family. Mercedes-Benz AMG is like that: once you have had a taste of the Kool-Aid, it’s hard to go back to Hawaiian Punch.

In addition to the aggressive price-cutting, PXG fashion, spearheaded by President Renee Parsons, launched a new collection that is designed and manufactured by PXG. Fashion in times like these is always a risk from a financial standpoint, but this launch has been on the calendar since the BOY and the current lockdown did not disrupt that. It speaks to the confidence that Bob and Renee have in what they are doing. Now, is it a guarantee that PXG garments will fly off the shelves? No. but that’s not the point, it’s the fact that this current climate didn’t scare them into pivoting or holding off.

Point to this pick is PXG looks healthy coming out of this and it was possible to believe that perhaps this would have taken a toll on the custom fit brand. There is even a commercial produced during lockdown to attract even more club builders to the fold. Not normal behavior in times like these, but is anything that PXG does normal? No, and that’s what makes them fun to talk about.

The company also released its Essential Facemask with 50 percent of proceeds going to Team Rubicon.

Ping was quiet…but don’t be fooled

Yes, they did some rare social media engagements with Kenton Oates and the tour staff, which were fantastic. But the real magic here was the quiet way in which Ping slipped into 2020 and the mystery they have in hand and what’s to come next.

There hasn’t been really any new Ping product in a good while, and I anticipate a big winter for the Solheim crew. Sometimes, silence is golden and from what I can gather, what Ping has coming in irons and woods will be yet again a launch that gets people talking.

Ping from a business standpoint is a company that gets one percent better every year. Never any dramatic shifts in strategy or product. It’s always good, it’s always high-performance, and it’s always in the “best of” category across the board.

Watch out for them over the next six to nine months…a storm is brewing. A good one.

Cobra introduced the “Rickie iron”

Cobra Rev 33 Irons

Compared to 2019 and the runaway success that was the F9 driver, Cobra Golf seemed to cruise along in the first quarter of 2020. The SpeedZone metal wood line was an improvement tech-wise from the F9 but seemed to get lost in the driver launch shuffle with an earlier release—and frankly everyone in the industry took a back seat to TaylorMade’s SIM.

It’s not placing one stick over the other actually, I have been very vocal about my affections for both, it’s just some years, the story around a club can generate excitement, and if the club is exceptional, boom. Cobra was that cool kid in 2019.

What Cobra decided to do in the downtime is slowly tease and taunt with a “Rickie Fowler” iron. Players blades aren’t typically the driving element of any business model, but what Cobra did was introduce to a beautiful yet completely authentic forging that will not only get the gear heads going nuts but also entice the better players to start looking at Cobra as a serious better players iron company. No small feat.

Point is, Cobra has generated buzz. It helped that Rickie’s performance at Seminole was just short of a precision clinic. Beyond the Rev 33, its rumored Cobra has a new players CB coming and some MIM wedges.

It should be an exciting last half for the Cobra crew.

The Titleist train chugged on

I mean, what else is there to say about Titleist? They are as American as apple pie, have a stranglehold on multiple tour and retail categories, and one of the best front offices in golf. The company is a well-oiled machine.

So what do I expect from them in the last half? Well pretty much what I would expect on any other year, solid player-driven equipment. A metal wood launch is coming, the SM8 was a huge hit in stores and on tour, and the ball portion is the biggest 800-pound gorilla in golf.

It was also nice to see a little more social media interaction beyond the traditional. Aaron Dill has been very active on the social media front and a good portion of the tour staff, namely Poulter, JT, and Homa were proactive in engagement. Might seem trivial to some, but specifically, Titleist and Ping are not super active in the organic interaction game, so it was nice to see both companies dive into the fold.

Cleveland/Srixon should have a lot to look forward to

Let’s be honest here, 2019 was a quiet year overall for Srixon. Shane Lowry won The Open, but in the golf mainstream it was a leap year for them in regards to any launches. The anticipation from me personally of what is to come is quite strong. I adore the irons. I have yet to meet one I didn’t love, and fitters across the country will speak to that in sales. The Srixon iron line has become a popular yet-sort-of-cult-classic among fitters and gearheads and rightly so. They are phenomenal.

The recently teased picture of the new driver on the USGA site more or less teased us of what is to come for the overall line. New Cleveland wedges are coming shortly and the golf ball has always been a solid component to the Huntington Beach company.

As much as anyone in the market, I believe Srixon could finish the year with some serious momentum going into 2021. The irons and ball have always been firestarters. My only wish for them, selfishly, is a more aggressive tour strategy in regards to landing one of the perennial top 10. It seems like a dumb thought, but I have always felt Cleveland/Srixon was always a serious hitter that at times seems to get lost in the conversation. Having a big gun on staff or a couple of them will remedy that quickly.

Callaway has an eye on big things for the golf ball

Callaway, a company that seems to do it all well, was actually a bit quiet since the lockdown started. After a solid release of the Mavrik line and some momentum in the golf ball area, I’m sure this lockdown probably felt like a kick to the shin.

However, this company is shifting in a good way. The idea that they were a golf club company that happened to make golf balls is slowly turning into a company with multiple major components that stand alone. TaylorMade is on a similar shift, and honestly it’s very interesting to watch. Do I think that anyone will ever catch Titleist in the ball category? No, I don’t. All of these mentioned golf balls are ridiculously good, but 75 years of trust and loyalty are hard to compete with. But that’s not the point, Callaway is a monster company that takes the golf ball conversation very seriously, and I believe this will serve them very well coming out of this craziness and help the momentum going into 2021.




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Tour Edge EXS Pro Forged irons launched



Tour Edge is expanding its better player targeted EXS Pro line with the addition of the all-new EXS Pro Forged irons—a tour-inspired design developed with multi-material technology, and looks to match.

Just like the limited edition EXP Pro driver, the EXS Pro Forged irons utilize the highest quality materials and processes to deliver a golf club built for the most discerning players. The goal of designer David Glod was to produce the most forgiving distance iron possible in a player-preferred package and the EXS Pro Forged live up to the lofty challenge.

 “As a club designer, I love player iron designs that are as beautiful as they are playable. These three designs were made to be irons that are drooled over by the core golfer, not only in looks and feel, but in how they perform.” David Glod – Tour Edge Lead Designer

“I believe that the milled forged iron connoisseurs out there are going to be very impressed with the playability we were able to combine with a traditional forged feel.”

Inside the Exotics EXS Pro forged irons

The EXS Pro Forged cavity iron is constructed of Japanese S25C mild carbon steel to offer an extremely soft feel to the golfer. After the forging process, the faces are CNC milled to precise tolerances and the grooves are designed to maximize performance throughout the set. The CNC milling of the EXS Pro doesn’t stop at the face either—the cavity is designed to boost MOI as much as possible in the compact clubhead, so the back of the club is also CNC milled to offer the thinnest face possible without sacrificing feel.

Speaking of feel, the term forged can be overused in the world of golf club construction with some lesser companies only stamping precast pieces once and calling them forged, but the EXS are not those clubs. The S25C club heads are triple-forged (struck 3 times at very high-pressure) to offer a thinner, stronger clubhead that allows the designer to push more mass to the toe and heel weight pads for more forgiveness and more consistent ball speeds across the face. To further improve feedback, the iron has an acoustic engineered cavity insert consisting of a polymer and a dampening gel to provide the best possible sound and feel.

Now about ball speeds and technology: The 3- 6-irons in the EXS Pro Forged cavity have a concealed 10g tungsten toe weight to push more mass away from the hosel and make the clubs more forgiving on heel and toe misses in the longer irons. This is similar technology to irons that are priced much higher in the market.

Availability, Specs & Pricing

The new Exotics EXS Pro Forged irons will be available for purchase on June 1, 2020 through select Tour Edge retailers and custom club fitting locations.

The stock shafts are: True Temper Elevate Tour VSS Pro—available in regular and stiff flex—as well as True Temper Dynamic Gold 105 in R300, S300.

The stock grip will be the Golf Pride Tour Velvet 360.

$149.99 per iron.

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New limited-edition Tour Edge Exotics EXS Blade irons and wedges unveiled



Tour Edge Exotics EXS blade irons

Tour Edge has unveiled its new limited-edition “Straight From the Tour Van” Exotics EXS Blade irons and wedges featuring forged designs with CNC milling.

Per Tour Edge, the Exotics EXS Blade irons combine “tour-level inspired looks and feel with advanced materials and innovation to produce the most forgiveness and distance possible in a player’s iron.”

Each iron and wedge are individually milled from carbon steel and “engineered for players who look for the ultimate in control and shot shaping.”

Tour Edge Exotics EXS blade irons

The new Tour Edge EXS Blade irons feature a narrow sole, a thin top line, and a beveled leading edge and square toe design. The irons also contain a shorter blade length and a cambered top line in a bid to provide golfers with a more compact scoring iron.

Tour Edge Exotics EXS blade irons

Designed with advanced CAD technology and pure milled forging, the new additions from Tour Edge feature micro-cavity face and scoring lines that are all individually CNC milled and designed to offer maximum responsiveness and control.

Tour Edge Exotics EXS blade irons

Fully USGA conforming, the blades are CNC milled on both sides, which aims to offer golfers a club that has extremely tight tolerance and consistency from iron to iron.

Tour Edge Exotics EXS blade irons

The clubs feature Japanese S25C carbon steel, which is chrome plated with a dual finish. The irons contain a high polish and a satin finish in all the milled areas of the clubhead.

Tour Edge Exotics EXS blade irons

The sole of the EXS Pro Blade iron head features a rounded radius on the leading edge of the clubhead – a design which seeks to significantly reduce drag and turf interaction through impact to provide ultimate consistency on every shot.

Tour Edge Exotics EXS blade irons

Specs, Availability and Pricing

  • Stock Shafts: True Temper Elevate Tour VSS Pro: R-flex, S-flex, True Temper Dynamic Gold 105: R300, S300
  • Grip: GolfPride Tour 360
  • Price: $149.99 per iron
  • Availability: June 1, 2020

Tour Edge Exotics EXS Blade wedges

Designed from Japanese S25C Carbon Steel, the new blade wedges from Tour Edge are individually CNC milled on the face and grooves in design to create maximum spin from advanced groove engineering.

Tour Edge Exotics EXS blade wedges

The EXS Milled Forged wedges utilize dual-groove construction, with the lower loft (50° – 52°) wedges designed with deeper, narrower grooves while the higher lofts (54° – 60°) have wider grooves.

Tour Edge Exotics EXS blade wedges

The Exotics EXS Blade wedges feature a Center of Gravity (CG) that has been moved up in the clubhead with a milled-out center design. The milled-out center on the wedges leads to more weight being positioned both up and down in design for greater distance control on shots higher and lower on the face.

Tour Edge Exotics EXS blade wedges

The EXS Pro’s sole grind on the new blade wedges seeks to reduce bounce from the heel and toe for greater versatility when hitting a variety of shots, especially from difficult lies. 

Tour Edge Exotics EXS blade wedges

The blade wedges contain a Flare Toe design which places the center of gravity higher in order to provide for lower launch and more spin. A chamfer was also added to the trailing top line of the wedge for a slightly thicker top line that moves weight up without affecting the aesthetics of the top line at address.

Tour Edge Exotics EXS blade wedges

As with the blade irons, the wedges are 100 percent conforming to the USGA rules.

Specs, Availability and Pricing

Stock Shafts: True Temper Dynamic Gold 115 Wedge Flex

Grip: GolfPride Tour 360

Price: $149.99 per wedge

Availability: June 1, 2020

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