When well-known golfers make a move to a new equipment sponsor, prototype clubs often follow.
Take, for example, the recent signings of Rickie Fowler by Cobra-Puma Golf and Rory McIlroy by Nike Golf. In his first year with Cobra, the company made Fowler a set of prototype muscleback irons that he played during the 2012 season. A learning process between Fowler and the engineering team ensued, which saw the company create a set of AMP Cell Pro irons for 2013 that went into the company’s catalogue, as well as in Fowler’s bag.
Last year, McIlroy spent the majority of the season tinkering with prototype versions of the company’s VR_S Covert Tour driver. Those efforts between McIlroy and the Nike team are evident in the design of Nike’s new Covert 2.0 driver, which McIlroy has been using since last fall.
This week at the Northern Trust Open, recent Adams Golf signing Ernie Els was spotted with a set of Adams XTD Tour irons, which will be a surprise to many golf equipment enthusiasts. The XTD’s are best categorized as game-improvement irons, and different in just about every way from the Callaway Razr X Muscleback irons Els used as a member of Callaway’s Tour Staff.
Unlike the Callaway musclebacks, one-piece irons that are forged from 1020 carbon steel, the XTD irons are a much larger two-piece design with 450 stainless steel faces and 17-4 stainless steel cast bodies. The bodies and faces are connected with Adams’ “Cross Cavity,” which moves the center of gravity of the clubs more rearward for added forgiveness. The design also includes a “Pressure Piston,” a structure that is mechanically lodged between the faces and cross cavities to improve the sound and feel of the irons.
Above: Adams’ XTD irons (left) and Els’ prototype version, which have a custom satin nickel chrome-plated finish. Click on the photos to enlarge them.
Els’ prototype irons are slightly different, but still have all the technology offered in the retail XTD irons. They’re about 10 percent smaller, with less offset, particularly in the long irons, and are milled from 17-4 stainless steel. But just as in the off-the-rack XTD irons, the faces are brazed to the iron bodies. That allows for the thin faces that make way for the company’s Cut-Thru slot on the irons’ soles, which gives the irons the higher launch and added ball speed Els wanted.
Mike Fox, director of global product marketing for Adams, said listening to the feedback from players like Els is part of the decision-making process that helps the company create new models. Right now, only the four-time major champion can get a set of XTD Tour irons. But history has shown that an Els-inspired Adams iron could be in the works and in the hands of average Joe’s sooner rather than later.
Billy Horschel WITB 2021 (April)
Driver: Titleist TSi3 (9 degrees)
Shaft: Project X EvenFlow Riptide 65 6.5 TX
3-wood: Titleist TSi2 (15 degrees)
Shaft: Project X HZURDUS Smoke 70 6.5
5-wood: Titleist TSi2 (18 degrees)
Shaft: Project X HZURDUS Smoke 80 6.5
Irons: Titleist 620 CB (3), Ping Blueprint (5-PW)
Shafts: True Temper Dynamic Gold Tour Issue X100
Wedges: Titleist Vokey Design SM8 (52-12F, 56-10S, 60-08V @62)
Shafts: True Temper Dynamic Gold Tour Issue S400
Putter: Ping Sigma 2 Tyne
Jimmy Walker spotted testing L.A.B. Blade, graphite putter shaft at Valspar Championship
The putting green at a PGA Tour event is always full of interesting things as players get ready for the week ahead, and this week at the Valspar Championship in Palm Harbor, Florida, is no different.
One of the biggest trends in golf is technology-packed graphite shafts for putters, and we continue to see them in more players’ bags week after week. Louis Oosthuizen had a BGT Stability Tour in play last week at the Zurich Classic, and this week, we spotted 2016 PGA Championship winner Jimmy Walker working with a L.A.B. Blade putter fitted with an LA Golf Shafts Prototype graphite putter shaft.
Although we don’t have the specs of the exact shaft Jimmy is using, LA Golf shafts are well recognized as being one of the leaders in creating ultra-stable graphite shafts for the tour’s biggest hitter Bryson DeChambeau, who not only uses their Texas Rebar shafts in his irons but also a specially designed shaft for hit putter too.
As for Jimmy, this is an interesting move since one of the bright spots of his 2021 stats is his putter where he currently ranks 40th on the PGA Tour in strokes gained: putting.
Bridgestone launches special First Tee edition e6 ball
Bridgestone Golf has launched a special First Tee edition e6 golf ball, with a portion of the proceeds going directly to First Tee, a youth development organization that helps kids and teens build their strength of character through golf.
The special First Tee edition ball is available now exclusively through PGA Tour Superstore and comes in both white and optic yellow color codes.
“We’re very pleased to offer this special First Tee edition e6, exclusively at PGA Tour Superstore. For decades, First Tee has done very fine work, helping young people learn and grow through the game of golf, building strong individuals and communities. It is an honor to create a dedicated product where the proceeds from the sales will bolster their charitable endeavors.” – Dan Murphy, President and CEO, Bridgestone Golf
As a reminder, the e6 is the longest-running model in Bridgestone’s current lineup. The latest model, new for 2021, features a larger, softer core in design for a more responsive feel added distance for moderate swing speed players.
The new design, which is specifically tailored to modern players who value a ball that provides a very soft feel at impact, retails for $21.99 per dozen.
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Billy Horschel WITB 2021 (April)
Driver: Titleist TSi3 (9 degrees) Shaft: Project X EvenFlow Riptide 65 6.5 TX 3-wood: Titleist TSi2 (15 degrees) Shaft: Project X HZURDUS...
Louis Oosthuizen WITB 2021 (April)
Driver: Ping G400 (9 degrees @8.75) (D4) Shaft: Fujikura Ventus Blue 6 S (45 inches, tipped 1.5 inch) 3-wood: Ping G425 Max (14.5...
Garrick Higgo’s winning WITB: 2021 Gran Canaria Open
Driver: Titleist TSi3 (9 degrees) Shaft: Fujikura Ventus Blue 3-wood: Titleist TS2 (15 degrees) Shaft: Fujikura Pro 2.0 Tour Spec Hybrid:...
Marc Leishman, Cam Smith winning WITBs: 2021 Zurich Classic
Marc Leishman WITB Driver: Callaway Epic Speed Triple Diamond DS (10.5 degrees loft) Shaft: Fujikura Ventus Black 7 X 4-wood: Callaway Epic...
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