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The most important fitting elements for distance

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The desire for more distance lives strong in almost every golfer, and nowhere is the desire for more distance stronger within golfers than with the driver. While keeping the ball in play is a key element for playing well, hitting the ball as far as possible also has its perks.

As much as everyone wants to hit the ball 300 yards, there is one cold, hard fact that all golfers have to accept. The single greatest contributor to distance is clubhead speed. Plain and simple, those with the highest clubhead speed hit the ball farther. Just how important is clubhead speed to distance?

For each 1 mph increase in clubhead speed with a driver, carry distance increases by 2.8 yards.

That doesn’t sound like much when you think about only a 1 mph increase in clubhead speed, but it is. The next time you play with a golfer whose driver clubhead speed is 10 mph faster than yours, when the two of you walk to your balls in the fairway you’re going to be 28 yards behind him. That means he also will be hitting 2, 3 and sometimes 4 clubs less into the green for the approach shot. And that’s just for a 10 mph difference in driver clubhead speed.

But don’t get discouraged if you are clubhead speed challenged. Thanks to advances in the custom club fitting technology and the fact that many golfers play with drivers for which they were not correctly fit, within most golfers resides the chance for more distance, not just with the driver but with all the clubs in the bag. When it comes to game improvement through an increase in distance, gaining more distance with the fairway woods, hybrids and irons can have more of a positive effect than gaining distance with the driver.

What are the club fitting specifications that have the most effect on maximizing distance for golfers?

As with each of the game improvement factors, through our research we have been able to identify which fitting specifications have a major effect (“A effect” specifications) and others which have a medium effect (“B effect” specifications) on distance. In addition, some of the fitting specifications show their effect for distance more with one segment of the clubs than with others. In the chart accompanying this article, we have identified which fitting specs have more of a major “A Effect”, which have a medium “B Effect” and which have no effect on distance.

The “A Effect” Fitting Specifications for Distance 

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Clubhead Loft Angle

With most of the clubs in the bag, the lower the loft angle on the clubhead, the farther the golfer will hit the ball. However as golfer clubhead speed decreases, the loft angle that generates the most distance may be higher than what you’re playing. This is because each golfer’s best loft for maximizing distance with the driver has to be matched to the golfer’s clubhead speed and their angle of attack into the ball.

The higher the clubhead speed and more upward the angle of attack, the lower the driver loft should be to optimize the golfer’s potential for distance. And the lower the clubhead speed and/or the more downward the angle of attack, the higher the loft of the driver must be to optimize distance.

The technicians at TrackMan have compiled a series of charts that reveal the optimum launch parameters for distance for different combinations of driver clubhead speeds and angles of attack. The charts below reveal TrackMan’s findings for the optimum launch parameters for TOTAL distance to incorporate a balance between carry distance with a flat enough angle of descent to encourage good roll after landing.

The way the following TrackMan data is used to fit for optimum distance is to find whatever combination of driver loft and shaft will result in launch parameters that are as close as possible to TrackMan’s optimum launch parameters for each combination of clubhead speed and angle of attack.

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With respect to each golfer’s optimum loft for maximum distance, fairway conditions must always be considered. As the fairways become more firm and conducive to more roll of the ball after landing, each golfer’s optimum driver loft will be lower by 1 to 3 degrees than their optimum loft depending on the golfer’s clubhead speed and angle of attack.

Serious golfers who play multiple courses with different fairway conditions are wise to keep two drivers in their full complement of clubs, one which has a loft fit to deliver maximum carry distance and a second one with a lower loft to encourage more roll after landing. When playing courses that are wet, lush or have longer grass, the use of the higher loft/maximum carry driver will be better. On courses that are dry, firm and have shorter grass, the lower loft driver will deliver the most distance.

For all golfers, lower loft in the irons will result in more distance. However, lower loft in the irons can bring a decrease in shot consistency. The best way to benefit the most from a distance fitting standpoint with lower loft irons is to be smart about your set makeup. Become aware of the iron loft below which your shot consistency drops significantly. Use hybrids or fairway woods up to that loft, and then irons from that point down.

Vertical Roll Radius (Driver more than fairway woods and hybrids) 

All drivers, fairway woods and hybrids are designed with a horizontal radius across the face called “bulge,” as well as a vertical radius called “roll.” Since the advent of 460cc volume drivers, the vertical roll radius has become a more significant factor with regard to launch angle and distance.

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The static loft of all clubheads made with a vertical roll radius is always measured in the geometric center of the face. The taller the face height and the greater the roll radius, the higher the loft will be at the top of the face, and the lower the loft will be at the bottom of the face in relation to the static loft of the head as measured in the center of the face.

Back when Drivers were 160cc, 200cc and even 250cc in volume, typical face heights were in the area of 36mm to 40mm (1.45 to 1.6 inches) tall. The average face height among today’s 460cc drivers is 53mm to 55mm (~2.1 inches). Yet many companies still use the same 10-inch roll radius used when driver face heights were much shorter. In today’s larger size drivers, this can result inasmuch as a 6-degree difference in loft from the top to the bottom of the face.

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Thus when golfers hits the ball a little higher or lower on the face of a modern 460cc driver with a 10-inch roll radius, their launch angle can be adversely affected and a loss of distance can result. Golfers who have used drivers made with a much reduced roll radius (~20-inch roll) and fairway woods with virtually no roll (~30inch roll) have found their distance is much more consistent over the course of the impact position mistakes that happen to all golfers.

Clubface Design

Since the 1990s, the design of the clubface has become a very significant factor with respect to shot distance. Higher COR (coefficient of restitution) face design has contributed significantly to shot distance since it first appeared with the introduction of titanium drivers in the early-to-mid 1990s. Its advent prompted the USGA/R&A to enact a rule to restrict COR of all clubheads in 1998 to a maximum COR measurement of 0.830. In 2002, the COR test was replaced by the CT (Characteristic Time) test as the means to measure the spring face conformity of clubheads. A maximum CT measurement of 257 µsecs (microseconds) is now the limit with the rules of golf. While virtually all drivers today have been maxed out for their face CT, three things still exist within the design of the face that can offer more distance for golfers.

  • Few driver heads are made with the CT at the 257 µsec limit of the rules of golf. Plus/minus manufacturing tolerances commonly occur such that conforming drivers exist today within a range of CT 225 to CT 257. For a golfer with a 100 mph driver clubhead speed, that random difference in CT can mean a carry distance difference of 5 to 6 yards.

Finding a driver head closer to the CT limit is far easier said than done. Few companies sort their driver heads by CT or by face thickness. From the few that do, this is an option for golfers to squeeze out the most distance possible with their driver. And test hitting driver after driver on a TrackMan or FlightScope to find the one with a maximum smash factor (ball speed ÷ clubhead speed) of 1.495 requires a very patient golf store salesperson or clubmaker!

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Above: Measuring face thickness with an ultrasonic thickness gauge.

While there are companies that offer the service of CNC machining the face of existing drivers thinner to increase the CT, this at best is a risky proposition. I’m not aware that any of these companies perform an actual CT test after machining the face, so golfers will not know if the service resulted in their driver becoming non-conforming or whether the thinning of the face was done to a point that could cause a possible failure of the face in play.

  • When it comes to the search for more distance, it is not all about the driver. While the first high COR fairway woods, hybrids and irons were developed by non-major companies several years ago, over the past few years, other companies also learned how to design the faces of fairway woods, hybrids and irons to deliver as high of a CT/COR as a driver. Significant distance increases are available when properly fit into higher COR fairway woods, hybrids and irons.

Achieving more distance from face design is not restricted to center hits. Some clubhead models, chiefly drivers, are designed with a variable thickness face (VTF) construction. If properly designed, the loss of distance from off center hits with a VTF face can be quite small. While a VTF is not significant in smaller face clubheads, such as fairway woods and hybrids, drivers and irons designed with a VTF exist which will offer a significant increase in off-center hit distance. At the end of the day, when it comes to golfers who want/need more distance, they’ll take that increase in distance anyway they can, even from off center hits!

Shaft Weight/Total Weight 

The weight of the shaft controls the total weight of the golf club more than any other component. Using a substantially lighter-weight shaft to deliver lighter total weight clubs can allow most golfers to increase their clubhead speed, and from it, experience a reasonable increase in distance.

The key is how much lighter the new shafts are than the previous shafts. For the majority of golfers, the shaft weight decrease must be at least 20 to 25 grams or more before a clubhead speed increase is seen. Our years of research shows that as long as the swing weight is well matched to the golfer’s tempo and strength in the lighter shafted club(s), for a total weight decrease of 25 grams, an increase of 2 to 3 mph in clubhead speed can be seen.

Remember, for each 1 mph increase in clubhead speed with the driver, carry distance increases by 2.8 yards. Increase your clubhead speed by 2 to 3 mph with a lighter shaft and the distance increase can be worthwhile.

The “double edge sword” that accompanies a significant decrease in shaft weight is whether the golfer can avoid an increase in off-center hits from what is now a much lighter total weight in the club(s). Any increase in off-center hits can erase the distance increase that can come from a lighter shaft weight/total weight. The key is then to find the right swing weight (headweight feel) for each golfer to go with the lighter shaft weight/total weight.

The more forceful and aggressive the downswing, the higher the swing weight typically needs to be to offset the tendency of a much lighter total weight to cause the more aggressive swinger to become more inconsistent in their swing timing and on center hit performance.

Click here to read Tom’s three-part series on shafts — what you need to know to choose the right one.

Driver and Fairway Wood Length  

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The old adage, “the longer the club length, the higher the clubhead speed” only happens for golfers who have a later/very late unhinging of the wrist-cock release on the downswing. Each golfer achieves their highest clubhead speed the moment they complete their release of the club on the downswing. From that point on, the clubhead speed drops.

In addition, the longer the length of the club, the higher the moment of inertia of the fully assembled club will be. And the higher the MOI of the club, the more stress the club puts on the golfer’s swing path and release. Add one more undesirable effect that comes with longer club lengths – for virtually all golfers, the longer the length, the more they hit the ball off-center.

For golfers with an early-to-midway release, as well as golfers with below average golf athletic ability, going longer with the driver to achieve more distance often results in the opposite effect – a loss in distance due to no increase in clubhead speed with an increase in the number of off-center hits.

From our fitting research, the golfers we have found who have the greatest chance of gaining distance from a longer length are those with a smooth tempo, late release, good sense of swing timing and rhythm and a slightly flatter swing plane. If you fit this description and you are in search of more distance, by all means have a go with a 46-inch or 47-inch driver! If not, and that means if you lack two or more of the above swing characteristics, you’ll do a lot better with a driver no longer than 43.5 to 44 inches (men) or 42 to 43 inches (women).

Swing weight/MOI of the Clubs 

The swing weight (aka head weight feel) of each golfer’s clubs have a key influence for on center-hit consistency and can also affect the swing path, release and angle of attack —  all of which can have a significant effect on shot distance.

If the swing weight is too low for the golfer’s transition force, downswing aggressiveness and overall strength, the golfer will have a tendency to fight their swing tempo consistency. Too low of a swing weight for the more aggressive swinging golfer can also bring about more tendency to do one or all of the following:

  • Swing over the top, or outside in
  • Swing with more of a downward angle of attack
  • Release the club too early

From this can come more off center hits and a higher level of shot inconsistency, all of which can adversely affect shot distance.

Conversely, if the swing weight is too high for the golfer’s natural swing tempo and strength, a loss in clubhead speed can occur along with too much movement and a loss of balance in the swing, each of which can also contribute to a loss of distance. Finding the right swing weight (head weight feel/MOI of the fully assembled clubs) is more often than not a trial and experimentation process.

The best way to do this is to build a test club for the golfer which has all of the golfer’s correct specifications for length, loft, lie, face angle, shaft and grip style/size – but which is made with no weight added to the clubhead yet. The golfer then hits shots while weight is added to the head, a little at a time until the on center shot results are more consistent and the golfer begins to indicate their swing tempo feels more consistent and easier to repeat.

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The “B Effect” Fitting Specifications for Distance

The concept of the B Effect specifications on each of the game improvement factors is to say that on their own, each of these specifications may not bring about much more than a subtle improvement. However, if any of the B Effect specifications are poorly matched to the golfer in his/her current clubs, it then is more likely the change in the B Effect specifications can offer visible improvement.

Keep in mind that in combination, the proper fitting of several to all of the B Effect specifications can add up to be almost as important as some of the “A Effect” specs on a game improvement factor.

Clubhead Center of Gravity (CG) Location 

The most significant effect that the clubhead center of gravity has on distance is a negative effect – when impact with the ball is not in line with the vertical plane through the CG, the off center hit that results will cause a moderate to significant loss in distance. Therefore, from a distance standpoint, any fitting changes that result in more consistent center contact (length, shaft weight, total weight, swing weight better fit to the golfer’s swing characteristics) are key to the relationship of the CG to shot distance.

The other relationship that clubhead CG can have to distance is the effect of the CG on the launch angle of the shot, versus the golfer’s clubhead speed and angle of attack. For some golfers, using a lower CG clubhead can increase the launch angle to a point that for the golfer’s clubhead speed and angle of attack, the higher launch angle results in more carry distance.

This is one reason why many golfers hit a hybrid longer that has the same length and same loft as an iron.

Shaft Flex and Shaft Bend Profile 

A change in the overall stiffness (flex) and/or the bend profile (distribution of stiffness over the shaft’s length) can result in a distance increase or decrease for some golfers. However, the only ways that a distance increase from a shaft flex/bend profile change this can happen is if:

  1. The flex/bend profile change results in a more optimum launch angle and/or spin for the golfer’s clubhead speed and/or angle of attack than the shaft played previously by the golfer.
  2. For some golfers with a more refined or specific sense of feel for the bending action of the shaft, a change into a shaft that falls right in the wheelhouse of feel for the golfer will result in the golfer now swinging the club more freely, more unrestricted and with more of a full free release that brings about a higher clubhead speed and with it, more distance.

Iron Length

Changes in the length of the irons have far less of a direct relationship to shot distance than do length changes in the driver or the woods. The reason is because unlike drivers and woods, the current standard lengths in irons are within 0.5 inches of what the standard lengths for irons were for past decades. For most golfers, a proper fitting for iron length ends up making the irons within an inch or less different in length than the industry standards.

Our testing over the years with respect to iron length has shown that virtually no golfer experiences a clubhead speed change from a change in iron length of 0.5 inches. Only for some golfers will an iron length change of 1 inch begin to result in a consistent change in clubhead speed. It is typically only when irons are made more than an inch different in length for a golfer that visible increases in shot distance for the same iron loft occur. Not very many golfers end up playing with iron lengths that are more than an inch different from what they played previously.

Hence length fitting in the irons is much more of a factor for on center hit improvement and overall swing tempo/rhythm consistency.

Set Makeup

The manner in which a change in set makeup results in a possible change or improvement in distance is by replacing hard to hit clubs with clubs that allow the golfer to hit the ball more consistently and more solid for the same loft. The most typical example for how a change in set makeup affects overall distance is when the golfer gets rid of one, two or more of the low loft irons to be replaced by hybrids or high-loft fairway woods.

Bottom line for Distance Fitting

  • Most golfers of all handicap levels are playing with drivers and fairway woods second that are too long for their swing ability, which cause a higher level of swing inconsistency and adversely affect distance.
  • Most golfers who shoot low 80s and higher are not playing with the optimum driver length, loft and face angle for their clubhead speed and angle of attack, and for the predominant fairway conditions they encounter.
  • Many golfers have not found the best combination of shaft weight and swing weight that will achieve the highest level of swing consistency and clubhead speed for their ability.
  • Most golfers may not gain much distance with the driver, but they can gain significant distance using higher COR fairway woods, hybrids and irons that are also properly fit for length, loft, lie, face angle, total weight, swing weight and grip feel/size.
  • Precisely finding the correct shaft stiffness design is typically more important for distance for very skilled players with a late release than it is for average ability players.
  • Wise set makeup selection will increase the consistency of achieving maximum distance for more of the clubs in the bag.
  • Committing to a good physical training regimen that focuses on flexibility and core strength is a proven way to increase clubhead speed and from it, distance.

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Tom Wishon is a 40-year veteran of the golf equipment industry specializing in club head design, shaft performance analysis and club fitting research and development. He has been responsible for more than 50 different club head design firsts in his design career, including the first adjustable hosel device, as well as the first 0.830 COR fairway woods, hybrids and irons. GolfWRX Writer of the Month: February 2014 Tom served as a member of the Golf Digest Technical Advisory Panel, and has written several books on golf equipment including "The Search for the Perfect Golf Club" and "The Search for the Perfect Driver," which were selected as back-to-back winners of the 2006 and 2007 Golf Book of the Year by the International Network of Golf (ING), the largest organization of golf industry media professionals in the USA. He continues to teach and share his wealth of knowledge in custom club fitting through his latest book, "Common Sense Clubfitting: The Wishon Method," written for golf professionals and club makers to learn the latest techniques in accurate custom club fitting. Tom currently heads his own company, Tom Wishon Golf Technology, which specializes in the design of original, high-end custom golf equipment designs and club fitting research for independent custom club makers worldwide Click here to visit his site, wishongolf.com

10 Comments

10 Comments

  1. Rudy Villanueva

    Mar 17, 2016 at 11:35 pm

    What about grip size Will a standard size grip increase your swing speed over a mid size grip

  2. Scooter

    Jan 9, 2015 at 7:41 pm

    Tom,

    Im 6’0″ I currently game a 44.75″ driver is it possible thst with my driver and irons the swing weight is not “heavy” enough I currently play everything at D4 but I get the sensation that I never feel the club head.

  3. ur mom

    Oct 23, 2014 at 4:40 pm

    ur mom

  4. Double Mocha Man

    Feb 24, 2014 at 11:59 pm

    Tom, you didn’t mention anything about grip weight or grip sizes. I swing a very light driver built for increased swing speed. To further lighten the driver I swapped the 48 gram grip for a 25 gram. A significant lightening of the overall club. It gave the head of the driver seemingly more heft. And I would think larger grips would slow down the swing, no matter what size one is comfortable with. Thoughts?

  5. Tom Spargo

    Jul 24, 2013 at 6:04 pm

    Great Article educating all golfers on critical factors of fitting.

  6. Joe Golfer

    Jul 22, 2013 at 3:23 pm

    I ALWAYS enjoy the articles by Tom Wishon.
    So informative, and always giving me info to dwell on.
    I was surprised by the difference between Carry and Total distance on that Trackman chart. Seems every ball gets 50 extra yards of roll. They must be playing on courses with awfully short grass. Definitely not the Kentucky Bluegrass often found on Midwestern golf courses.
    Also interesting info on the driver face “radius roll” allowing such a difference in loft, depending on where the ball is hit on the face. I guess that’s why Wishon’s own line of clubs reduces the “roll” on the face to accomodate for this factor.
    Thanks again, Tom, for another very informative article. It’s nice that you put all the time and research into these articles, without bias.
    I recall seeing a Wishon article elsewhere on the adjustable hosels, how it was supposedly impossible to change loft without changing lie angle, and how great the disparities were between listed loft on the club and the actual loft, sometimes as much as six degrees if memory serves me. I’d love to see that article on this website, but it did name the OEM companies, so it would be making some big name companies very unhappy.

    • Jack

      Oct 5, 2013 at 12:03 am

      I noticed the 50 yard rolls too. Although the distances seem to be optimal distances.

  7. Brian

    Jul 22, 2013 at 9:40 am

    Nice arcticle. Most interesting to me was the characteristic time, manufacturing tolerances, and their effects on smash factor. I can just see the club fitters’ faces at my local golf shop if I were to show up to the hitting bay with 5 of the exact same driver!

    Tom, are there manufacturers notorious for having higher or lower tolerances on the CT? Too bad that ultrasonic thickness gauge costs upward of $1k, otherwise I’d be at the golf shop tomorrow measuring every club I could get my hands on.

    • Tom Wishon

      Jul 26, 2013 at 12:22 pm

      There really are no ways to determine if there are companies that maintain a tighter tolerance on the COR/CT of their drivers other than as you said, to own a thickness gauge and drive the retail sales people nuts as you sit there and check each face of the same brand and model against each other ! And I am sure that would make you popular in any retail golf store ! HA!

  8. angga prasetya

    Jul 20, 2013 at 3:06 am

    Great article Tom!! My driver and fairway woods have been fitted, currently using 44.75 inch driver, and i’m in the search of “my perfect” iron & hybrid shaft. Lately i have tried using a aerotech 80gr stiff iron shaft to my hybrid, and suprised it fit perfectly with my swing. So should i change my ns pro 950 gh regular to the same shaft as my hybrid? thanks Tom.

    Angga

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Equipment

American Express, Abu Dhabi Golf Championship Tour Truck Report: BK to Srixon? MCA has a ton of new shafts, Rickie goes graphite

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TaylorMade

Most of the big action for Team TaylorMade is taking place in Abu Dhabi with Rory and Tommy in the field. After extensive weeks of testing, this is what they have in the bag this week

Tommy Fleetwood WITB

Driver: TaylorMade SIM2 (10.5 degrees @8.5)
Shaft: Mitsubishi Diamana DF 70 TX (tipped 1 inch, 44.75 inches)

3-wood: TaylorMade SIM2 Rocket 3 (13.5 degrees)
Shaft: Mitsubishi Diamana DF 70 TX (42.5 inches)

5-wood: TaylorMade SIM2 (19 degrees @18.5)
Shaft: Mitsubishi Diamana DF 80 TX (41.25 inches)

Irons: TaylorMade P7TF (4-PW) 
Shafts: Project X Rifle 6.5

Wedges: Callaway MD5 Jaws Raw (52-10S, [email protected], 60-08T)
Shafts: True Temper Dynamic Gold Tour Issue  S400

Putter: Odyssey White Hot Pro 3
Grip: SuperStroke Mid Slim 2.0

Grips: Golf Pride Tour Velvet Cord (D, 3W, 5W, 7W, and wedges), Iomic Sticky @12:30 (irons)

Ball: TaylorMade TP5x ’21 Proto

Rory McIlroy WITB

Driver: TaylorMade SIM2 (10.5 degrees @8.5)
Shaft: Fujikura Ventus Black 6 X (45.5 inches, 59.25 lie, D4)

3-wood: TaylorMade SIM2 (15 degrees @13.5)
Shaft: Mitsubishi Tensei CK Pro White 80 TX (43.25 inches, 58 lie, D4)

5-wood: TaylorMade SIM2 (19 degrees @ 18.25)
Shaft: Mitsubishi Tensei CK Pro White 90 TX

Irons: TaylorMade P7MB (4-PW)
Shaft: Project X Rifle 7.0 (6.5 in PW)

Wedges: TaylorMade MG2 (52-09SB, 56-12SB, 60-08LB)
Shaft: Project X Rifle 6.5

Putter: TaylorMade Spider X Copper (34.25 inches, 2.5 loft, 70 lie)

Ball: 2021 TaylorMade TP5x (#22)

Grips: Golf Pride Tour Velvet Cord (58R 1+1, logo down)

Matthew Wolff WITB

Driver: TaylorMade SIM2 Max (10.5 degrees @9)
Shaft: Graphite Design Tour AD TP 7 TX

3-wood: TaylorMade SIM2 Titanium (15 degrees)
Shaft: Graphite Design Tour AD XC 8 X

Irons: TaylorMade P7MC (3-PW)
Shafts: Project X 6.5

Wedges: TaylorMade MG2 (50-09SB, 56-12SB, 60-09LB)
Shafts: True Temper Dynamic Gold Tour Issue X100

Grips: Golf Pride ZGrip Cord (+3 double-sided tape)

Putter: TaylorMade Spider X Proto (33 inches, lie at 70, 3.5 loft, D4)
Grip: TaylorMade Red/Black

Ball: TaylorMade TP5 ’21 PIX

Other TM news 

Doc Redman put the new Aldila Ascent Red 70 TX in his SIM2 (60 TX pictured below).

Sepp Straka put the new MCA Kaili White 60 TX in his SIM2.

Titleist

The Fujikura Ventus Red trend continues with Russell Henley moving from his KBS TD to Ventus Red 7 X in a TSi4.

Tyler Duncan was testing a custom K Grind lob wedge. He was inspired by Kevin Na’s win and looking at Aaron Dill’s pics on IG. Can you blame him?

Justin Thomas (Abu Dhabi) moved out of Ventus Red 6 TX (tipped 1 inch) in his TSi3 (9 degrees) into a Graphite Design Tour AD IZ 6 X. According to my source, JT was looking for a specific feel with the driver and also one that dialed in the launch windows on a little cutter he has been working on. We will keep you updated if it sticks or if any of the info changes.

Callaway

Akshay Bhatia put the new Apex Utility Prototype in play with a KBS Tour Hybrid Prototype 105 X shaft. Shay also put the new Epic Max LS driver (9 degrees @8.5) with a Project X HZRDUS Smoke Green “Hulk” 75G 6.5 TX.

Kevin Na tested Callaway’s Epic Max LS (9 degrees) with a Graphite Design Tour AD GP 6 X. No need to panic, that original Epic gamer ain’t goin’ anywhere till it keels over and dies.

Phil Mickelson was spotted testing a Fujikura Ventus Black 6 X shaft in a Mavrik Sub Zero. Not confirmed if it will indeed go in play.

Ping

Scott Stallings (non-staff) put a Ping G425 LST (10.5 degrees @11) driver in play with an MCA Kaili White 60 TX (tipped 1 inch @45.25).

Abraham Ancer (non-staff) also converted to the Ping G425 LST (9 degrees @7.75) with an MCA Tensei AV Raw Blue 65 TX (tipped 1 inch @45).

Cameron Champ lost his clubs en route to Palm Desert and the Ping Tour squad had to build a brand new set of sticks from scratch, top to bottom. Thankfully the gamers showed up and Cam was left with a fresh new backup set.

Srixon

Rumor has it that former world No. 1 Brooks Koepka has inked a deal with Cleveland/Srixon to play its Z-Star XV ball, ZX7 irons and Cleveland Zip Core Wedges. Koepka showed up to Palm Desert with a new set of irons with Tour Issue X100 shafts, a Srixon utility, and his trusty Nike Vapor Pro 3-iron and TaylorMade M5 driver with an MCA Diamana D+ Limited 70 TX shaft. We will continue to update to confirm or deny the rumors. Awesome news for Srixon and BK if true.

Cobra

Rickie Fowler made some significant changes to his bag coming into Palm Desert. The Cobra staffer put the REV33 MB’s back in the bag this time with a fresh set of Mitsubishi Chemical MMT 125 TX graphite shafts. Fowler, who has tested quite a few different shafts over the years, going from KBS C-Taper S+ to Tour Issue X100, loved the integrity of the MMT’s.

In testing, they tried a set that was soft stepped as well as the current set that is straight in. The overall takeaway was integrity on mis-hits and hitting a very specific flight window all while keeping spin the same. Fowler also had the new Cobra RadSpeed Driver in the bag with a Mitsubishi Tensei Orange 60 TX shaft.

Jason Dufner put the new Aldila Tour Concept 60 TX in his Rad Speed Driver (70 TX pictured below).

Free Agents

Scottie Scheffler finally swapped out his TaylorMade P730’s for a brand new set of P7TW’s (5-PW). Like his older set, they come fully loaded with True Temper Dynamic Gold Tour Issue X100 shafts. Scottie did keep his Srixon Utility 3-iron and Z785 4-iron in the bag, however.

Newly minted free agent Ryan Moore showed up to the Desert with a bag only a true gear junkie could love. The six-company bag featured a TaylorMade SIM Driver, TSi2 3-wood, Srixon hybrids, Mizuno MP-18 irons, and Cleveland Zip Core wedges.

Paul Casey put the Titleist TSi3 driver in the bag with a Mitsubishi Diamana D+ Limited 70 TX shaft.

KBS seeded out a new Proto graphite shaft. The yet-to-be-named new edition to the TD line has a higher modulus material on the bottom third to increase stability and lower torque. The feedback with the original TD from players with fast speeds: it needed to be stiffer. This “newer version,” which will probably only come in the category 4 and 5, is very firm.

Patrick Reed went back to his Ping G400 LST driver—that’s all on that.

 

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Equipment

Rickie Fowler spotted with graphite iron shafts (Mitsubishi MMT) at The American Express

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When it comes to equipment stories, The American Express this week at PGA West is the gift that keeps on giving. Our newest scoop is that Rickie Fowler is taking after another Cobra staffer (aka “the big golfer”) and has made the switch to graphite shafts in his irons.

From the photos captured from his practice round on Wednesday, it appears that Rickie is using Mitsubishi Chemical’s MMT shafts in his custom and yet to be released Cobra Rev33 irons.

This is not the first time Rickie has switched iron shafts in the last 12 months. He was a long-time user of KBS C-Taper before switching to True Temper S400s, and now it appears he is looking at graphite as his next frontier.

This is a developing story and we are working hard on getting all the details and specs of this equipment change but for more pictures of Rickie from The American Express, check out the gallery below.

 

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2021 FootJoy HyperFlex with BOA

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FootJoy is celebrating its 75th year as the number one shoe in golf, and to celebrate designers are continuing to push the boundaries of comfort, support, and technology with the release of the all-new 2021 HyperFlex with BOA.

The HyperFlex is two years in the making and features a number of new technologies to provide the stability golfers require with the out of the box comfort they demand.

“They look and feel so athletic. They are super comfortable the moment you put them on.”
– Rafa Cabrera Bello

HyperFlex with BOA technology

WRAPID Fit Technology: BOA is a staple footwear technology, but the designers at FootJoy wanted to take its capabilities further and make it more comfortable. The result is an asymmetrical configuration that ensures a snug comfortable fit but reduces unwanted pressure on the top of the foot. It enables the shoe to move with you, wrapping your foot for complete security, all while providing powerful support through the swing.

Stratofoam Cushioning: This is a proprietary foam blend that is used in the midsole to offer the perfect amount of walking comfort while still providing the right amount of support to reduce fatigue.

OptiFlex outsole –  The design winds through the length of the sole to naturally flex as you walk and still offer torsion control through your swing when needed.

“This new outsole technology is designed to mimic the natural flexure of the foot, so not only are you getting a great walking shoe, but a shoe that will maximize the ground force throughout every movement in the golf swing.”
-Chris Tobias, Vice President, FJ Footwear.

Waterproof Technical Mesh Upper – The Hyperflex is going technical to maximize comfort by pairing a breathable knit mesh-lined upper with a waterproof membrane to regulate foot temperature in any weather while also keeping your foot dry.

Price and availability

The new Hyperflex with BOA, along with the standard laced model will be available starting February 1, and will be priced at $179.99 with the Wrapid BOA system and $149 for the traditionally laced model.

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