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Buyer Beware

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Just like many of us here at this site, we enjoy trying to build our mini collections of golf equipment and trinkets that we deem necessary or desirable. Many times we spend ungodly amounts of money for golf stuff that never even touched the hands of anyone famous in the golf world. Other times, we get the special opportunity to obtain something tangible that once belonged to a John Daly, Tiger Woods, Bobby Jones or Nick Faldo.

Enter one Mr. Henry Campbell. Henry, like many golf fans, was lured in by some very collectible Nick Faldo golf memorabilia items that he discovered for sale on the internet. Sometimes, these types of deals just seem too good to be true. In this case, at least in the short term, they were true. As time unraveled , these expensive and highly collectible items, honestly purchased by Henry were fleeting and on their way back to their original and rightful owner.

Many of you, if you surf golf related or putter related websites with any regularity, may already know of Henry’s sad story. It’s a costly one for sure. So, before you drop your last two weeks paycheck on that sweet Scotty Cameron prototype putter that some tour player had owned for a time or even gamed on tour, buyer beware.

Most of us are just average golf joes, just searching for that little bit of golf history or a certain golf collectible that catches our eye and at the same time trying to hide that same expensive purchase from the wife. Heck, even tour pros covet some of these types of golf items. Take Davis Love III for example in a story published on PGAtour.com. Davis even admits he would like to own Tiger Woods’ putter. In fact, who wouldn’t like to? A man of his means freely admits, he can’t fathom dropping that kind of coin for that flatstick. Davis said, “I’ve paid over $1,000 for putters,” Love said. “I’m caught up with it, too. I’m buying Brad Faxon’s and Ben Curtis’ and David Duval’s. I can’t afford Tiger’s. Too expensive. They’ll go 8, 10, 12,000 bucks. They had one set they were trying to get $29,000 for the set of four of them or something.” So, just like us, Davis spends his evenings drooling over Cameron putters that he views on eBay, of all places. “Type in Scotty Cameron on eBay,” Love said. “You’ll be shocked. Shocked. There’ll be sometimes over 1,000 items.” However, Davis gets a lot of really sweet putter swag just for gaming a Scotty. In fact, I would bet the farm he could get Scotty to make him anything he wants with a simple call on the cell phone. Heck, he might even have Scotty’s number in his phone. The rest of us? We have to bust out the cash via different channels, and none as direct as Davis Love III has.

Which leads me back to Henry’s plight. Henry purchased a lot of Nick Faldo’s personal stash of golf equipment, as well as some of Nick’s personal golf memorabilia.

Read on as I interviewed Henry about this whole debacle. You see, all of this stuff, which was legitimately purchased, was purportedly stolen from Nick Faldo, thus tossing a huge monkey wrench into Henry’s prized and very expensive golf collection. I spoke with Henry via e-mail and he answered some questions about having to give up a collection that he paid over $20,000 dollars for. The next time you go to purchase something collectible and expensive, think twice about creating a webpage and sharing it all with the world. Honest buyers might just be better off keeping these said purchases to themselves and the basement carpet.

How did you get into collecting golf equipment and such?

I have played golf for 20 years and always liked putters in particular. After I got my first Cameron about 5 years ago, I soon discovered there was a big collector’s scene, so I started to follow some of the websites. I then got my first limited edition, then a second and it all exploded from there. After a year or so, I decided I was most interested in real tour putters, so I started to focus on those.

Where did you make the majority of your purchases?

To begin, on eBay, but later more through direct contact with collectors via various websites. The Nick Faldo putters started on eBay too. By chance, I played at a corporate golf event the Monday following the 2006 WGC event in the UK at the course it was played. Nick Faldo was the host and played a hole with each group. He had an old Del Mar 3.5 in his bag, which I liked the look of. About 3 weeks later a black DM 3.5 appeared on ebay and the seller said it was Faldo’s. I contacted the seller and asked if he would send it for authentication to Scotty if I won it. I won it, he sent it and Scotty authenticated it as Faldo’s. The seller then contacted me and told me he had some more stuff, and over the next number of months I bought a bunch more putters as well as some memorabilia.

Name several of the items that you really liked in your collection?

I liked the signed Open 2000 menu (see pic on email), and the following putters:

Del Mar 3.5

Classic V TeI3 proto

S. Cameron Del Mar 3

But a bunch of them, say 8 or 9 were really nice pieces and worthy of a place in any collection.

How did you come to find out you had unknowingly purchased Nick Faldo’s personal items?

I was in the United States on business and got a call on my cell phone from Nick Faldo’s manager. He told me the putters had been stolen, along with other stuff from Faldo’s home in Florida.

How were they stolen from him?

There is a dispute about whether they were actually stolen. The best information I have is that the putters were given to a contractor as partial payment for work done on the property. A former Nick Faldo employee handled this arrangement. Nick Faldo later disputed that he had agreed to this.

The story may not be as simple as I was first informed. I now know that these putters were in his garage and were all tarnished and some were corroded, and needed repair or even restoration. I now doubt these were really part of his “special collections” which were mostly in his A/C den. Some of the special collection were also stolen, but I never saw any of those.

Did his manager or agent stumble across your website?

No idea. Nor how they got my phone number, but I suspect it was from Scotty Cameron, because I sent all the putters to Cameron for authentication and he must have noticed the large number of Faldo putters coming through.

What were your options when you found out the stuff was “hot”?

I live in the United Kingdom, and the alleged theft occurred in the US. The most obvious option was to do nothing and wait for the legal process to complete. Given the international nature of the events, I would imagine there may be some complicated processes involved in retrieving them if I had been unwilling to give them up voluntarily.

Was there any additional contact with the individual that sold you the stolen items?

Yes. I contacted him and he told me how he had obtained them, which he believed was in good faith.

What did Nick Faldo decide to allow you to keep?

I returned about 15 putters to Nick, the Open menu and a couple of money clips and divot tools. Faldo eventually (about 9 months later) returned 3 putters, none of which were among my favorites. I contacted the manager to say I was disappointed, and he told me they would send some other collectible stuff to me. Nothing arrived, even after a reminder.

Are you still a golf collector, or have you decided not to engage in these types of items?

I am so sickened by the whole event I have decided to give up collecting and I am part way through selling my collection.

Were the authorities involved, or too busy to investigate such a crime?

I provided a lot of information to the Winter Park Police Department, and agreed to give an affadavit, but I have not been asked to do so. I believe the contractor is facing charges of grand larceny and is due in court this month.

How quickly were you expected to return the items to Nick Faldo?

I was not expected to return them – I did so voluntarily as an upstanding and honest citizen. I have been rather disappointed with Faldo’s manager and lawyer’s support. They have been more concerned with ensuring that Faldo is not portrayed as a bad guy than anything else. I asked them whether the items stolen were insured, but received no answer.

Approximately how much money did you lose in this endeavor?

A bit over $20,000 cost, but very probably $30,000+ in resale value.

I can’t help but think that Henry got the shaft here. I sent an e-mail to Nick Faldo’s representative and quite honestly, I did not expect a return reply. Much to my chagrin, he did reply, but he didn’t really offer any information or even answer the questions that I asked. This was the extent of the Faldo press office’s reply, “In response to your email, Nick had a number of items of memorabilia stolen – not only putters, the list also included highly prized personal effects spanning his 30 year golf career. All of the stolen goods were sentimentally valuable to Nick and irreplaceable. The matter was referred to the police and a conviction has now been secured. As far as Nick is concerned, the matter has now been laid to rest.” Me? I was hoping that Nick Faldo’s press office would be willing to give me some more specific details on the theft, the accused (who was later convicted), but I guess they chose not to share this information with me.

Since Nick Faldo got all of his stuff back, and because one Henry Campbell was completely above board and honest, it is laid to rest on Nick’s end. On Henry’s end he is over $20K poorer and with very, very little to show for it. Understandably, Henry is quite soured by the whole circumstance and even more soured that according to Henry Campbell , Nick Faldo did not uphold his end of the bargain to allow him to keep more stuff, or even provide him with some sort of monetary compensation. Or better yet, with all of Nick’s golf connections, hook up Henry with some cool tour putters, that probably wouldn’t cost Nick a dime to obtain. Henry went way beyond what most people would even do; especially after spending over $20K on what he thought were honest golf purchases for his collection.

Henry is an honest man and he says, “the main point I would make is that I gave these back 100% voluntarily, based on it’s the right thing to do.” Nick Faldo’s manager then promised me that Nick Faldo would show his gratitude. Not sure that I have seen it yet.

This sounds like an extremely tangled web, and it is not my intention as the author of this story to paint a poor picture of Mr. Faldo. I would just like this story to air so that the rest of us “average joes” with some money burning a hole in our pocket don’t waste our last hard earned dollar buying a stolen, used on tour, collectible putter. I personally own several Scotty putters myself, my prized one being the Inspired by David Duval putter which I will never part with. Hopefully David Duval doesn’t contact me wanting it back. Seriusly though, the whole Scotty Cameron collecting scene, no matter how cool it is to many people, has a darker side to it as well. Unfortunately, this story is just one of those dark sides, stolen tour used Cameron stuff (as well as other golf memorabilia), sold to an unsuspecting buyer/collector as a legitimate sale.

It’s too bad that Henry now feels that these items may have been given to the contractor in good faith, although others he saw were not, but all of them got swept up in the same process. “Suffice it to say,  I think my Camerons had probably been given in good faith by Faldo’s former employee and I have lost them because of disputes between that individual and Nick Faldo. I really regret giving them back at all.

So the next time you see a highly collectible putter or a collectible golf related item on eBay, remain skeptical, do some additional research, and buyer beware before you plop down that hard earned $2500 (or more) on that item. You just might be paying for something you shouldn’t be buying the first place. Like Henry, you’ll be the one regretting giving it all back.
 

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19 Comments

19 Comments

  1. tonylynam

    Dec 31, 2011 at 9:25 am

    Is Faldo that broke that he had to use some of the putters to pay for work completed on his grounds to the contractor? That part is fishy. Bottom line is that Henry had no obligation to return anything and did so as the “honorable” thing to do. Faldo was under no obligation to do anything for Henry, but should have done so because it was the “honorable” thing to do. So much for being a Knight these days.

  2. Austin Young

    Dec 14, 2011 at 11:53 pm

    This all makes me sick to my stomach. This has been said above, but I’ll reiterate it. Faldo could have used his contacts to have Cameron, Grace, Bettinardi, Mills, anyone for that matter, make Henry any putter he wanted. He could have asked Cameron, who apparently was aware of the situation, and in my opinion had no business interfering, make Henry five handmades. Guys like us, me, Henry, some of you, save our money and wait for the opportunity to buy a tour or high end putter, which by the way are far superior to anything of the rack. Pros have unlimited access to as many Cameron Circle T’s as they want, and for free. Faldo is a prick, and a dishonest prick at that it sounds like. Henry, I have to say I would have never returned his stuff, but you did what you felt was right, assuming a legend would return the favor. Unfortunately being a great golfer doesn’t make you a great person.

  3. DoubleDawg

    Feb 26, 2009 at 6:42 pm

    Henry probably gave the putters back because he was afraid that if he didn’t, he’d one day find himself innocently sitting in a Las Vegas hotal room when suddenly O.J. Simpson and Nick Faldo are busting down the door, guns drawn, to “retrieve” Nick’s stolen memoribilia.

    On the serious: Henry might want to get in touch with the prosecuting authorities about getting restitution from the guy being prosecuted for the theft of the memoribilia. Also, if Faldo received insurance proceeds for the “theft” of this stuff, the insurance company might be the rightful owner of it, particularly if a bill of sale was executed in exchange for the payment of the proceeds.

  4. P LaGregor

    Feb 26, 2009 at 1:19 pm

    I’m not sure how it translates into international law, but I am pretty sure that if Henry had no idea they were stolen and purchased them legitimately, then he has no obligation to give them back. Seems like Faldo (or his manager) gave some non-specific promise to persuade Henry to return the goods and then basically said “F-you” once they got them back. Great example for children everywhere! If you are honest, you DON”T get rewarded. Well, done Henry, you are a truly honest man. I don’t know Faldo, nor the whole story, but this really makes him look like a a**hole!

  5. Gary W

    Feb 26, 2009 at 2:35 am

    If I remember correctly, at least in some states Henry is not obligated to return the putters because he is a bona fide purchaser. Faldo has to go after the contractor or whoever stole them. Likewise tho, Faldo does not have to compensate Henry if Henry choose to return those putters. I agree with Jason that the thought of paying for your stolen putters may just sicken Faldo’s mind. I don’t expect Faldo to show too much appreciation, although I would be impressed if he did.

    Now Davis Love III is a rich guy. If he’s unwilling to pay 10k for a putter, think twice before you do.

  6. Trevor

    Feb 25, 2009 at 5:04 am

    I would have told them to stick it up their you know what and told them to come get the putters…or he should have started talking in a foreign language when they first contacted him and hung the phone up. That is shitty I am sorry to hear this from a person who coul get any cameron he wanted get henry a special tour cameron made for him hell a couple after all he did give back your PRiZED pieces. Henry got hosed!!!

  7. chas

    Feb 25, 2009 at 1:03 am

    I would have demanded proper documentation…police reports, pics, item descripitions, etc., before simply “giving” up on a 20k investment. I strongly make the point it is NOT an investment to buy equipment designated as “tour” authentic. It would and is so easy to rip off a willing participant right down to the signed letter of authenticity by Scotty himself. Gimme a break…they would have handed me the check for what I spent before any of those clubs left my eyesight. All you guys knocking Faldo, don’t hate the player hate the game. The guy could flat out play in his prime. I’m with DL3 all the way. Those so called Tiger models are NEVER worth the dime some fool is willing to pay.

  8. Cy

    Feb 24, 2009 at 7:39 pm

    I think it’s a bit funny there are posters here claiming $20k is something Faldo can afford. Are you his accountant? Do his tax returns? Jason O is dead on, Faldo shouldn’t be responsible for paying someone for stuff that was stolen from him. Fact is the business law says stolen items bought in good faith are the property of the buyer, so while it was honorable for Henry to return them, he has no legal grounds to ask for compensation nor expect it.

    I just think it’s ridiculous most of you think $20,000 means less to Faldo than it does to you. But then again, that’s a common attitude in the States today, that somehow those with money value it less than those without it, therefore they should be willing to give it up. That’s downright stupid on so many levels…

  9. B Taylor

    Feb 23, 2009 at 12:44 am

    Jason,

    The least Faldo could do is contact Henry personally and at least give thanks to him. If insurance paid Faldo, then yes Faldo should pay Henry. Why would Faldo be entitled to basically 2 payments (the putters & the insurance check). Faldo could probably have Cameron make him replacement putters. If he could do that, maybe send Henry either the original or the new putters. I think a lot of things could have done to “fix” this that would have been better for Henry. Afterall, Henry can’t call Cameron and have another of these putters made…but Faldo can.

  10. Owais

    Feb 22, 2009 at 1:02 am

    Faldo is an idot. I wish Henry had kept the putters. Faldo doesnt deserve a dime of the stuff back.

  11. Stephen Y

    Feb 21, 2009 at 1:32 pm

    Whilst Nick is under no legal obligation to compensate Henry for anything if his putters were genuinely stolen, Henry’s painting of events leads one to believe that not everything was from the robbery and it would appear that Nick or his management team have been forthcoming with Henry. Henry has done the decent thing and offered them voluntarily. Unfortunately if he had kept them and allowed the legal process to run its course Nick would have had to be legally obliged to explain which were given away and which were indeed stolen and Henry might not be in the position he is in now. Perhaps if anyone from Team Faldo reads Golf WRX they should make amends and offer up something that money alone can’t buy.

  12. Gary G

    Feb 21, 2009 at 6:48 am

    I bet if you were the one to lose 20K on the deal you might just be singing a different tune. Irregardless, you have to give props to Henry doing the right thing. Hopefully Nick gets word of this and will pass on a bit more gratitude for his good deed.

  13. Steve

    Feb 20, 2009 at 10:30 pm

    I think the point is, that Faldo got off easy because Henry was so cooporative. It would have been a nice gesture for Faldo to show some appreciation here.

    Personally, I would have told Faldo to go pound sand, and let the legal system take it’s course. If I were forced to return them, then so be it. Of course personally, I would never spend 20 large on a few putters, but I do think Henry got the shaft here.

  14. Trevor Green

    Feb 19, 2009 at 1:10 am

    $20,000 is a ripple in the pond for Faldo, he should have certainly made it up to Campbell, atleast in a monetary way if nothing else

  15. Ian Tessier

    Feb 19, 2009 at 12:01 am

    I agree with Jason O.
    I feel bad for Henry and I wish he had slept on his decision to return the items for a little while longer. Perhaps he would have received advice to simply keep his collection and let the “powers that be” try to come and get it.
    But, as Jason points out it’s a little much to expect the Faldo camp to feel sorry for him.

  16. Ryan

    Feb 18, 2009 at 3:35 pm

    Maybe next time Faldo should be a little smarter with who he lets in his house. I dont just let anyone in my house and guess what? My putters just dont mysteriously walk off. Sounds like Faldo needs to get a brain. Henry did a glorious thing that is rarely found in society today and then the millionair golfer stiffs him. If Faldo doesnt want to pay Henry like the above poster states, how about taking Henry out for 2 or 3 rounds of golf? This way Faldo gets to keep his precious money(except for the rounds of golf) and putters. Sounda like a fair resolution for all. Gold Bless you Henry 99.9% of the world wouldnt have given anything back. It’s refreshing to hear of your good heart.

  17. Scott

    Feb 18, 2009 at 3:29 pm

    This is just wrong…Henry didn’t have to do a thing..he could have kept the whole lot and been in the right…he paid for them. But he did’nt, Henry did what most people don’t (the right thing) and that is what Faldo should have done (the right thing) but he didn’t. He should have tried to make Henry whole by using his name for Henry and he didn’t. A few phone calls and Faldo could have gotten Henry whatever he wanted. Faldo is as bad as the guy who ripped him off!

  18. Kevin K

    Feb 18, 2009 at 8:59 am

    Whatever, Nick Faldo is a tool. If these were truely his prize possessions then he shoud have indeed rewarded Henry for the return of his stuff. Not many like Henry in the world, and Faldo says some of it is irreplacesable. Well that should mean that money should be no object, and we all know that Faldo had plenty of that. Like I said, just another rich snobby tool.

  19. Jason O

    Feb 17, 2009 at 3:29 pm

    It sure does sound like you’re trying to paint a poor picture of Faldo. Henry DID get the shaft, but Faldo should not be responsible for making him whole again. Come on….Pay me for your stolen putters that I bought!! Just ridiculous.

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Whats in the Bag

WITB Time Machine: Scottie Scheffler’s winning WITB, 2022 Masters

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At the 2022 Masters, Scottie Scheffler delivered a steely Sunday performance to capture the green jacket in the 86th contesting of the tournament. Beginning the final round with a three-stroke lead, Scheffler was steady all day, tallying a final-round 1-under 71 to finish three strokes ahead of Rory McIlroy.

Here’s a look at what Scheffler had in the bag two years ago.

Driver: TaylorMade Stealth Plus (8 degrees @7.5)
Shaft: Fujikura Ventus Black 7 X

3-wood: TaylorMade Stealth Plus (16.5 degrees @15)
Shaft: Fujikura Ventus Black 8 X

Utility: Srixon Z U85 (3)
Shaft: Nippon Pro Modus3 Hybrid Tour X

Irons: Srixon ZU85 (4), TaylorMade P7TW (5-PW)
Shaft: True Temper Dynamic Gold Tour Issue X100

Wedges: Titleist Vokey Design SM8 (50-12F, 56-14F, 60-06K)
Shafts: True Temper Dynamic Gold Tour Issue S400

Putter: Scotty Cameron Special Select Timeless Tourtype GSS Prototype

Ball: Titleist Pro V1

Grips: Golf Pride Tour Velvet

More photos of Scottie Scheffler’s WITB in the forums.

 

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Equipment

Best irons in golf of 2024: Most technology packed

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In our effort to assemble the 2024 best irons, we have again compiled an expert panel of fitters to help you find out which of the 2024 irons is best for your game.

Ultimately the best way to find your personal best iron set is to work with a professional fitter using a launch monitor. The difficult part is a lot of people don’t have easy access to fitters, launch monitors, and club builders — so at GolfWRX, we have done a lot of the work for you.

We are in the era of not just maximizing distance but also minimizing the penalty of common misses for each player — this applies to irons just as much as it does with any other club in the bag. And of course, proper set makeup and gapping is essential. This is why, now more than ever, custom fitting is essential to help you see results on every swing you make.

We want to give you the tools and information to go out and find what works best for you by offering recommendations for your individual iron set wants and needs with insight and feedback from the people who work every single day to help golfers get peak performance out of their equipment.

Best irons of 2024: The process

The best fitters in the world see all the options available in the marketplace, analyze their performance traits, and pull from that internal database of knowledge and experience like a supercomputer when they are working with a golfer.

It’s essentially a huge decision tree derived from experience and boiled down to a starting point of options—and it has nothing to do with a handicap!

Modern iron sets are designed into player categories that overlap the outdated “what’s your handicap?” model, and at GolfWRX we believe it was important to go beyond handicap and ask specific questions about the most crucial performance elements fitters are looking at.

These are the best iron categories we have developed to help you determine which category is most important for your swing and game.

Best irons of 2024: The categories

2024 Best irons: Most technology packed

This is the “give me everything you got” list. These irons are the cream of the crop for offering technology to improve feel, distance, and ball speed. The great thing about the technology category is it’s not reserved for higher handicap golfers — it’s for anyone looking to get everything they can out of their game in an iron that also suits their eye.

Callaway Paradym Ai Smoke

Their story: At the core of Callaway’s new Ai Paradym Smoke irons is the Ai Smart Face. With the Ai Smart Face, these irons are designed to promote exceptional distance, tight dispersion into the green, and optimal launch in a modern construction. The new shape consists of longer blade lengths, thinner toplines, and optimized sole widths in a bid to create a forgiving, yet streamlined look at address. In addition, an all-new Dynamic Sole Design features a pre-worn leading edge with variable bounce that cuts through the turf with efficiency.

Fitter comments:

  • “That thing is an absolute rocket launcher. For the guy who flips at it, it’s perfect. It definitely launches lower spins less. it just goes forever compared to, you know, compared to a lot of them that we, that we tested.”
  • “I mean, it’s actually probably one of the cleaner-looking kind of game improvement irons. You know, some of them, they can get kind of beefy, but the look of that one that’s very appealing to the eye. The AI technology that Callaway has been using for a couple of years now, it’s generating a ton of ball speed for guys, but also at a point where they’re still getting a lot of peak heights on it. So it’s not like you feel like you’re just hitting bullets out there.”
  • “If a guy is looking to just hit it far, that’s probably the best thing out there. Callaway’s always had like crazy hot iron faces in that mid-size game improvement-type club. And this is just the next version of it. This thing is crazy fast. Shockingly, for how strong the lofts are, the ball still gets up in the air pretty good.”
  • “When it comes to pure technology the Paradym Ai Smoke iron has it all. Super computers helping engineers design the back of the face based on over 250,000 shots make it an amazing tech iron alone.”
  • “Classic Callaway story with face variability that is AI-driven along with material and design. Tons of tech. With Ai Smart Face and a hollow body design, they make it to the top as far as technology goes.”

For more photos/info, read our launch piece.

TaylorMade P790

Their story: Engineers utilized the variables of tungsten weighting, SpeedFoam Air, and internal mass — with an assist from AI — to precisely give golfers what they need in each iron. For example, launch and forgiveness in the long irons. More specifically, TaylorMade is using what the company calls FLTD CG (flighted CG) to strategically position CG throughout the set (lower in the long irons, higher in the short irons). CG is positioned almost a millimeter lower in the long irons compared to previous generations. In the shorter irons, the higher CG positions allowed engineers to dial in spin and promote accuracy.

Fitter comments:

  • “Best combination of everything. The amalgamation of all irons on the market blended into one mathematically perfect design.”
  • “I think people recognize the name. It’s a very popular club. It stands up to every model in a category.”
  • “That’s the staple in the players distance category. It’s year-in, year-out. It’s tough to beat TaylorMade — they don’t go wrong with that iron, for sure. They make little refinements, but it’s almost like, yeah, just keep making little refinements. Don’t kind of mess that up just because the, I mean, it, it fits such a wide range of players and it’s just such a good iron that fits a wide, wide range of handicaps.”
  • “I think where TaylorMade kind of struggled over the past is getting that spin on the golf club, and I think each generation it just keeps getting better. I think they did an awesome job.”
  • “If it’s not our best-selling iron in the fitting center, it’s always like number two. It’s such a great, great performer across the board. And yeah, it just keeps getting better every year. It’s really awesome; crazy distance on that thing too.”

For more photos/info, read our launch piece.

Titleist T350

Their story: The new T350 irons are still built for maximum distance and forgiveness, but they were redesigned with a hollow-body construction that’s inspired by the T200. Like the T200, the T350 also uses Max Impact Technology behind the face to maximize speed and forgiveness, and dual-tungsten weights in the back cavity. The T350 irons are noticeably larger, and with thicker toplines, than the T200 irons for golfers who need the additional surface area and stability.

Fitter comments: 

  • “The T350 is super good. They definitely cleaned it up, cleaned up that topline a little bit and made it…a little bit more compact, a little bit smaller for sure.”
  • “You know, I think is one of those irons that maybe sometimes can get overlooked. I don’t know…some guys, they think ‘Titleist,’ they can’t hit it. If someone’s in this category, it’s always a club you’re gonna have.”
  • “So like this is the first one in that model that’s had like a forged face and, and, and, and I think that just improved the feel of it. Topline to me looks a little bit cleaner and, they do a nice job of hiding the offset doesn’t look quite obnoxious when you look down at it. I don’t know if it’s like the chrome that they put or whatever, but it looks a lot cleaner at address. The iron’s always been super easy to get up in here.”
  • “That type of customer, I know they all want to do is just hit it nice and far. But we’re seeing so many guys come in that just need help getting it airborne in that moderate kind of clubhead speed category. And this thing is probably, if not the easiest, one of the easiest irons in this category to launch. And I think that’s what makes it so great.”
  • “High launch is a key component to this iron. Clean look, with reduced offset and a better look for a players game improvement iron. Players are surprised that this is a game improvement iron based on the looks and package size.”

For more photos/info, read our launch piece.

Srixon ZX5 Mk II

Their story: MainFrame v2 was developed with an Automated Intelligence process, flex-maximizing variable thickness pattern of grooves, channels, and cavities carefully milled into the backside of ZX5 iron faces for high ball speeds. Not only does MainFrame boost COR, but it also repositions mass away from the face and into the toe and sole for a lower CG for easier launch, more consistency, and forgiveness.

Fitter comments: 

  • “I’m a big believer in the V-Sole. For high-speed guys who want a little forgiveness and are steep, it just doesn’t stick in the ground. Super soft and high launching. Not a ton of offset. It’s also been a good fit for moderate-to-high handicappers.”
  • “So I would say it, it kind of stands out in its category because it does launch higher than its competitors. It also sits in between some of the models, like, it doesn’t directly compete with a hollow cavity and it doesn’t compete with, like the Cobra King Tour. Like, it’s a degree stronger. For a forged iron, it performs great for us. The only problem is that it is a little bit light in a swing weight, so we have to be careful of who we fit.”
  • “It’s definitely one of our more popular irons for sure. You know, you get a guy who wants to play something small but still wants something more forgiving, and they don’t want kind of that full hollow body iron. I mean, that’s definitely one of our best sellers for sure. We’re seeing that a lot of combos — that’s a one iron that you can definitely combo with the ZX7 for sure.”
  • “I think a lot of guys like the concept of the V-Sole with them…If you’re talking an overall package, you know, for the guy that is looking for something clean. That’s a spectacular golf club. Good looks and good feel and great, you know, great performance, and it fits a lot of categories.”
  • “I think the one struggle a lot of companies have with that category is getting something to spin, so to try and give like guys so they don’t get those knuckleball shots or that fly out of the rough that goes 20 yards longer. I kind of think that that’s what I think makes that item so good is you get some spin on it, and I think it, it looks and feels good enough that like it, a guy that’s a mid-single digit can play it and be like, yeah, that’s good enough for me. But it’s also forgiving enough that a guy that’s in that kind of 12-to-15 kind of category if he wants to reach a little bit and play something that might look a little bit better. It just fits such a huge, huge range of players. I think it’s just awesome.”

For more photos/info, read our launch piece.

Ping G430

Their story: Billed as Ping’s “longest iron ever,” the G430 irons combine a lower CG with stronger, custom- engineered lofts and a thinner face that delivers up to two more mph of ball speed, per the company. At the heart of the new addition is the PurFlex cavity badge, an innovation that features seven flex zones that allow more free bending in design to increase ball speed across the face. In combination with a lower CG, the badge aims to contribute to a solid feel and pleasing impact sound.

Fitter comments:

  • “The best G.I. iron on the market. Easy to hit and launch while making great ball speed for distance.”
  • “The best iron in the game improvement category. High launch and packed with forgiveness on those off-center hits. It’s one of the easiest irons to hit. So easy to hit and look at for the average golfer.”
  • “Yeah, I mean, that’s definitely a go-to and in the matrix for sure. I mean, it’s just super easy to hit, super forgiving. They don’t mess that iron up.”
  • “Ping does a great job of building golf clubs. Their design is fantastic and it’s not for everybody, you know, it’s not the lowest-spinning club…but it sure is one of the most forgiving golf clubs and most consistent golf clubs. Ping G430 in that category of club, you can have something that a good player who needs a little help maybe can use because it’s consistent across the face, and you can’t do that with some of the other clubs because they’re not as consistent across the face for the ball speeds. It is a monster for us.”
  • “The best iron in the game improvement category. It’s one of the easiest irons to hit.”

Best irons of 2024: Meet the fitters

RELATED: Best driver 2024

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Equipment

Why Tony Finau is planning to play 2 drivers at the Masters

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Editor’s note: This is an excerpt of a piece we originally filed this piece for PGATour.com’s Equipment Report. You can read the full piece there. 

Now, for the 2024 Masters specifically, Finau is planning to put another Ping G430 LST driver into play, in order to help him on the right-to-left holes at Augusta. The second driver, which is set to replace his 3-wood, will measure about the length of his 3-wood, and it has 10.5 degrees of loft, according to Ping Tour rep Kenton Oates.

“Tony Finau, most likely, will be playing two G430 LST drivers this week; his gamer, and a new shorter 10.5 headed option,” Oates told GolfWRX.com on Wednesday. “In the ramp-up towards The Masters, Tony and his team discussed options to optimize his performance off the tee. In discussing the tee shots around Augusta and second shots, Tony realized he would never hit 3-wood off the ground, minus maybe 8 if it was soft and into the wind.

“With that in mind, we felt it would be worth exploring a driver built to more 3-wood specs – shorter, more loft, etc. We build the driver in Houston and Tony carried it to Augusta to test. Right away it was giving him the performance he was looking for, allowing him to hit a straighter shot off the tee, or even draw it easier than his gamer driver, along with the added forgiveness benefits of using a driver instead of a 3-wood. Tony potentially could use the little driver on 2-7-10-14-17-18, pending course and wind conditions.”

Since Finau’s stock driver swing is grooved for a cut shot, maybe it’s unrealistic that Finau will hit big sweeping draws with the new, second driver option. But, according to Finau, it’s still a useful option, especially since he won’t need the 3-wood much this week.

“The [second] driver really goes straight, so there’s just no fade on it,” Finau told GolfWRX.com. “The draw holes out here, you don’t really have to turn it over, you just can’t hit a fade. But yeah, I’m going with two drivers.”

Read the full piece on PGATour.com.

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