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The biggest switch Justin Rose made this week…that no one will notice

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Gold medal and a 99. Justin Rose has been in a 2017 TaylorMade TP ball with that stamping (or version) for almost five years. In following this compelling equipment story closely, I started to realize that there are certain markers to look at when a player like Rose switches anything.

Let’s be really clear here, besides Tiger Woods, there is no one on tour as in-tune with his equipment as Rose. I have had conversations with those who work with Rose, and the stories are very Tiger-like. Noticing minor grip size differences, RPM rates in the minutia, wedge flight windows down to the foot. It’s nuts. The reps on tour earn every nickel of their pay when they get a club in Rosey’s bag.

So here we are, the rumors of the switch are all over the place, speculation of the why and how is running wild. Let’s forget about the business side and just deal with the gear for a minute.

Knowing Justin’s equipment as I do, I know that there are things to track when big changes happen. In this case, I noticed new iron shafts, significantly different iron shafts. KBS C-Taper 130X to a Project X 6.5 in 4-PW, 52, and 56. 

This tells me two things: He is trying to find controllable spin, and a golf ball switch might be going down.

Being the golf junkie that I am, I watched intently this morning to see if there was a close up of his golf ball. Low and behold, BOOM. As he stood up to his 5-wood chip off of the green I saw exactly what I was looking for: A 2019 TaylorMade TP5 ball.

As I mentioned before, I know exactly how hard it is to get anything in and out of Rose’s bag, let alone his security blanket. The 2017 TP ball is one he ascended to No. 1 with, won a gold medal, and for a good while, was arguably the best iron player in the game (until TW checked back in).

Justin Rose is a player who narrows ball performance down to the difference between a 10-footer and a 6-footer. It’s not a distance thing or even a wind thing. It’s down to his ability to shape all of his shots into a 6-foot bucket. Point is, the ball he had was doing that for him, so to switch into the TP5 ‘19 suggests that it’s not only better, but this ball—in combo with the new irons, shafts, etc.—Rose has found something that feels like home…but only better.

In this case, beyond ball speed increases across the bag (by nature of the new tech), my hunch tells me that he is cutting spin on mishits to tighten dispersion.

We have yet to hear from anyone on the ground or involved with his testing, so stay tuned to see what transpires, but this is the biggest switch he is making in my opinion.

Justin Rose WITB

Driver: TaylorMade SIM (10.5 degrees @ 8.5)
Shaft: Mitsubishi Kuro Kage XTS 70 TX

3-wood: TaylorMade SIM Max (15 degrees)
Shaft: Mitsubishi Kuro Kage XTS 80 TX

5-wood: Cobra SpeedZone Tour (16.5 degrees)
Shaft: Mitsubishi Diamana D+ 80 X

Irons: TaylorMade P730 (4-PW)
Shafts: Project X 6.5

Wedges: TaylorMade MG2 (52, 56 degrees), Titleist Vokey Design Prototype K Grind (60 degrees)
Shafts: Project X 6.5 (52, 56), Proto Hi-Rev 135X (60)

Putter: Axis1 Rose
Grip: Flat Cat Svelte

Ball: TaylorMade TP5 ‘19 (No. 1)

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Johnny Wunder is the Director of Original Content, Instagram Manager and Host of “The Gear Dive” Podcast for GolfWRX.com. He was born in Seattle, Wash., and grew up playing at Rainier G&CC. John is also a partner with The Traveling Picture Show Company having most recently produced JOSIE with Game of Thrones star Sophie Turner. In 1997 Johnny had the rare opportunity of being a clubhouse attendant for the Anaheim Angels. He now resides in Toronto, On with his wife and two sons. @johnny_wunder on IG

13 Comments

13 Comments

  1. Pw

    Mar 7, 2020 at 10:22 pm

    Decent article until you said he was arguably the best player in the world until TW checked back in…. that’s hilarious.

  2. Benny

    Mar 7, 2020 at 7:40 am

    Mr Coz is onto something. Peter Kostas tweeted PXG and Honma let go their players due to poor results. Not sure if this is true but when these outside OEM’s want to grow they need hungry players ready to fight tooth and nail. Maybe JR was let go from bad play after the first year?

  3. Petercybulskipp

    Mar 6, 2020 at 1:12 pm

    Is this not just another TM fluff piece?

  4. Matt

    Mar 6, 2020 at 10:43 am

    If he’s this particular about his equipment it makes one wonder why he would sign a big multi-club contract with a company like Honma that would seem to lack the resources necessary to meet his expectations. I’m honestly shocked there aren’t a lot more equipment free agents on tour, especially those who have plenty of money made and are particular about their equipment.

  5. Tom Newsted

    Mar 6, 2020 at 7:16 am

    I do find it interesting that Honma got kicked out so quickly. This is clearly not a sponsorship issue but an issue of Justin wanting the absolute best tools for his game. I just wish I could be as exacting as he is and be able to tell the difference between spin rates and feel. Then again that is one of the reasons he gets paid to play and I still pay to play. The only thing I can say about his gear is those Project X shafts are the same shafts I play and they are fantastic.

  6. bobbygolf

    Mar 6, 2020 at 5:32 am

    The difference is so minute it’s more about confidence and what’s going on in his head. I’d like to see a placebo test where the new ball is marked as the old one and vice versa and due to the many factors involved during play, he wouldn’t know the difference.

  7. Kerk

    Mar 6, 2020 at 2:06 am

    Honma bits the dust…overpriced anyway….

  8. Nate

    Mar 5, 2020 at 7:13 pm

    My hunch, project x spin a little more than c-taper for me = 2019 tp5 spin less and he is just trying to keep the same.

  9. Curious

    Mar 5, 2020 at 3:57 pm

    Why does he have a 15 degree 3 wood and a 16 degree 5 wood?

  10. James

    Mar 5, 2020 at 3:32 pm

    When is Adam Scott’s 2015 Pro V1 going to be talked about?

  11. Jafar

    Mar 5, 2020 at 2:14 pm

    Nice to see the KuroKages, they work really well in fairways

  12. William Boulton

    Mar 5, 2020 at 1:42 pm

    What happened to his contract with Honma?
    Was it 1 or 2 years?

    • M.Coz

      Mar 6, 2020 at 4:10 am

      It is believed that he broke the contract as in mot complying with the agreement which likely just severed him from any monies that he was supposed to be paid. He may have to pay some back if he was paid in advance in some way. Sergio did something similar with Callaway. His problem started with the Callaway ball which went thru some very bad problems with inconsistencies in it’s manufacture some of which became public. As a producer they couldn’t deny the issue and Sergio was able to move on from the ball he was originally hired to promote. how his club deal disappeared could have had something to do with that. Apparently Callaway let me leave without any fighting. Interestingly these two guys 10 years ago was the backbone to the TaylorMade staff and they have both left within a short time of each other and then both backed out of the their next equipment deals in less than 6 months of each other.

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Equipment

Wunder: I’ve hit THESE new drivers this year…and this is what I think

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During this lockdown, I have done quite a few “Friday Q & A’s” on my IG, and one of the questions I get asked constantly is “have you hit this?” That, and “whaddya think?”

So, in the spirit of organizing my brain, it seemed like the right time to share what new drivers I have actually hit this year…and this is what I think.

Now, it needs to be said that there is a lot of new gear out there, but, to be honest, I’ve only actually hit a select few enough to actually build an opinion. “Enough” in this case is at least 20 balls. Some of these sticks I tested during our pre-launch preview with the OEMs, at the PGA show, a friend has one, or I actually have it in the bag.

Here we go.

TaylorMade SIM

Setup tested: SIM 9 @8.25 w/ Mitsubishi Chemical Kuro Kage XTS 70TX

LOOKS: The best way to describe how SIM looks behind the ball is “comfortable.” TaylorMade has always made drivers that just look correct. The lines are clean, the shape inspires playability, and I dig the paint job. They hit a home run with this one for sure.

FEEL: Best sound out there in my opinion. Heavy, dense, and if you get one dead-nuts center, it lets you know. The feel at contact is just as TaylorMade drivers have always done, center strikes feel like Thor’s hammer and mishits don’t kill your good vibes.

VS THE M5: I get asked this a lot. I loved the M5. Still do. To be honest the two drivers data wise were legit apples to apples. The only difference is my stock shot with M5 was a low spin straight ball and with SIM its a slight draw with a touch more spin and slightly lower launch. I prefer that.

OVERALL: In my opinion, the TaylorMade SIM is the cool kid in high school for 2020. Last year it was F9 followed closely by M5. TM knocked it outta the park on this one.

TaylorMade SIM Max

Setup tested: Sim Max 9 @8.25 w/ Mitsubishi Chemical Kuro Kage XTS 70TX

LOOKS: It has a bit more of a longer face at address, which makes the head appear shallow which inspires a bit more confidence to turn it over. That’s the main thing I noticed with MAX. Other than that its a tried and true TM shape.

FEEL: Like its sibling, it has a nice solid hit audibly at the impact. So, overall its apples to apples with SIM. However, due to the front weight missing on the MAX, the actual strike doesn’t feel AS meaty as SIM. Not a negative necessarily just something I noticed.

VS M6: Both of these sticks I launched a bit too high versus the weighted versions. That’s why they never got any serious consideration to actually put in play.

OVERALL: As a high launch, more forgiving option, it’s an ace.

Callaway Mavrik Sub Zero

Setup tested: Sub Zero 9 w/ Mitsubishi Chemical Tensei Blue AV 65TX

LOOKS: To my eyes, the newer versions of the Callaway drivers have looked a bit more compact than its competition. To me, this always looked “low spin” for whatever reason. The Mavrik has the same shape which is good.

FEEL: They really fixed the sound. The Epic Flash sounded like a pop can to me, and the Mavrik Sub Zero sounds like a sledgehammer. The good thing here is the sound now matches up with what the hit feels like. I think the Mavrik is the best feeling driver Callaway has made since Epic.

VS EPIC FLASH SZ: To me, a complete improvement on all fronts. Sound, feel, and performance for me were all substantially better. Now I must say that the Epic Flash Sub Zero was a great driver, I always got great numbers out of it, but the sound took me out of it. I’m sure there isn’t that much difference audibly between the two, but in this game, even something minor can represent so much. Sound to me is huge.

OVERALL: In all honestly, I haven’t given a Callaway driver a real hard look to actually put in the bag since Epic. The sound got louder wit Rogue and Epic Flash. The Mavrik SZ  however is a fantastic driver and will def get some more testing out of me.

Cobra SpeedZone

Setup tested: Cobra Speed Zone 9 @8.5 w/ Fujikura Ventus Black 7X

LOOKS: The F9 was a winner on all fronts. The only critique I had was optically it looked like the driver was a little too fade biased. The SZ with its milled in top line gives it softer look at address and for me, softer lines mean more workability, just what my eyes tell me.

FEEL: As with F9 and the earlier mentioned SIM, the Speed Zone sounds EXACTLY how a driver should sound. It has a very heavy hit audibly and that’s across the face. I love the sound of this driver.

VS F9: Apples to apples, it’s the same. Beyond the optics, it feels, sounds, and performs like the F9. Not a bad thing though, the F9 was the driver of 2019 in my opinion.

OVERALL: Nothing wrong with repeating an already awesome driver. SpeedZone will stand up to anything out there. If I’m being fair, I think F9 elevated things in 2019, and this year the competition caught up to it. Changes nothing about how good this driver is.

Cobra Speed Zone Xtreme

Setup tested: Cobra Speed Zone Xtreme 9 @8.5 w/ Fujikura Ventus Black 7X

LOOKS: Like the other drivers in this higher MOI category, it looks a little longer heel to toe.

FEEL: No different than the SpeedZone, sounds great, the impact is solid across the face, and even thin shots feel solid.

OVERALL: The Xtreme is the sleeper hit of 2020 and I’ve heard the fitters love this thing. It’s by far the easiest to hit and overall good time of any driver on this list. Is it longer? No. But is it Xtremely (no pun) playable and competitive? Hard yes. It’s a blast.

PXG Proto

Setup tested: PXG Proto 9 w/ Graphite Design Tour AD IZ 6 TX

LOOKS: Slick. Like all PXG gear, the look is there. The matte crown and elegant lines make it very pleasing optically. I also appreciate that although it’s designed to look high tech. The lines inspire playability, and who doesn’t love a driver that looks like a stealth bomber?

FEEL: I only hit about 20 balls with the PXG Proto in the short time I had with it, but, wow, did this thing surprise me. The sound oddly enough is a bit higher-pitched than the others on the list but for whatever reason, it’s not a distraction. It actually adds to the experience of the hit. I typically detest that, but this sound matched up with the solid hit I was getting. I’m not sure if this is the final version since its a limited tour proto but what is happening is definitely interesting.

VS GEN2: It’s just better. Feels better, sounds great, more playable across the face. The Gen2 did one thing better than everyone else, it destroyed spin. The problem I had was control. The PXG Proto is still low spin but with the new 4 weight system (no intel on the tech yet) seems to add quality launch to the low spin profile and puts the player in a situation where very few to any sacrifices are made.

OVERALL: I was a fan of Gen2. No doubt. But it never flat out beat M5, F9, or SIM. The Proto has elevated PXG’s driver game. I don’t think its a matter of whether or not the driver stands up with the irons, I believe PXG is on the right track to having a driver that eliminates any “yeah, but…” to the conversation. That’s a huge leap since Gen1. These guys are trending hard.

I hope this was helpful.

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What GolfWRXers are saying about the final version of Bryson DeChambeau’s LA Golf ‘Texas Rebar’ wedge shafts

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In our forums, our members have been discussing the final version of Bryson DeChambeau’s LA Golf ‘Texas Rebar’ wedge shafts. The look of the ultra-stiff shafts, which originated from Bryson wanting a “graphite shaft that was stiffer than the Dynamic Gold X7″, has impressed our members who have been praising the final version and sharing their thoughts on the concept.

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

  • QuigleyDU: “Awesome.”
  • My2dogs: “Really coming out with some great new stuff.”
  • HateTheHighDraw: “MMT 125TX are absolute fire, but these must be much stiffer.”
  • Robkingasu: “Sweet!”

Entire Thread: “Bryson DeChambeau’s LA Golf ‘Texas Rebar’ wedge shafts”

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Should I move to heavier iron shafts? – GolfWRXers have their say

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In our forums, our members have been discussing the strategy of moving to heavier shafts in irons. WRXer ‘Z1ggy16’ has been making swing changes lately, and the transition has been most challenging for his iron play. ‘Ziggy16’ says:

“Been making some swing changes lately, most notably working to really shallow my club into the downswing. I’m finding that I’m doing this well with my heavy wedge shafts and driver, but I’m struggling a bit in my irons. My strike pattern with my wedges is pretty good, but the irons are a bit all over. Driver is 80g raw, wedges are 132g raw, irons 120g raw. I don’t think I want to go any stiffer, but is there a chance I’ve “outgrown” this weight and need to move to something a bit heavier to help keep these feels going through my set? No idea what swing speed is at this point, but my 7i is normally a smooth/comfortable 175-180 for me.

I really like the feel of my Accra Tour Z Xtreme 475 and my S400’s in the GW-LW. I’m kind of leaning maybe soft stepping modus 120TX or X100’s.. Heck maybe even S200 straight in? Normally I’d just get a fitting, but with Rona still going around, I’m not than keen on it. 2020 is the year of the self fit for me. FWIW, I used modus 120TX 2xSS in my GW & SW last year and that was pretty good feeling. Perhaps a touch too soft… they seemed to really whip/bend hard when hitting from the rough on full swings.”

Our members discuss whether they feel a switch to heavier shafts in the irons will have the desired impact.

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

  • Pepperturbo: “You’re not alone. Regardless of age, some of us swing better with heavier shafts. I went from 70g driver and 85g 3wd graphite shafts to 58g Ventus shaft in driver and 70g Ventus shaft in 4wd. In irons went from 130g X to 120g 6.0 PX steel shafts which lasted about fifteen years. Then last year made another downward weight change to Steelfiber (steel & graphite) 110g Stiff shafts, lightest I have ever played. Keep in mind as you transition, changing shaft weight is not the only answer. Increasing swing weight can make up for shaft weight. Though I really like them in 6-3i, not thrilled in SW-7i, so just ordered heavier Steelfiber i125g shafts for my PW-7i blades.”
  • Jeff58: “As someone who has gone through and continues to work on what sounds like a similar situation, your ideal iron shafts will likely change. Where they change to isn’t possible to predict with any degree of accuracy. Don’t change your current irons without knowing. It’s frustrating, expensive, and you won’t have any clubs while they’re being changed out. Instead, get a single club from dealsandsteals or similar and experiment with that. Also, the only relevant experience is outdoors under your actual turf conditions. Indoor and mat use can be grossly different.”
  • Red4282: “Just depends on your tempo and load and preferences tbh. My numbers are about identical to yours; I play 77g in the driver and 125 in the irons. I don’t think I could go lighter than 125.”
  • gvogel: “I have a set of hickory clubs. Of course, hickory shafts are darn heavy, maybe 150 grams or so. I probably hit straighter shots with the irons, and particularly hit better shots with the niblick (wedge). Driver and fairway woods, not so much. That might be a stupid insertion into an intelligent thread, but heavier goes straighter, lighter goes longer. You can go heavier, and it helps in transition, but don’t go too stiff.”

Entire Thread: “Should I switch to heavier iron shafts?”

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