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First Hit: Callaway Big Bertha Alpha 815 and Double Black Diamond Drivers

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Some golfers need a driver with a low center of gravity, while others need a driver with a higher center of gravity. Callaway’s two new Big Bertha Alpha drivers are designed to help both types of players.

The Big Bertha Alpha 815 ($449) and Big Bertha 815 Double Black Diamond ($499) use two distinct shapes and three forms of adjustability to help golfers dial in the launch, spin and shot shape that will give them maximum distance. They’ll be in stores November 13.

The hallmark of the two new drivers is the inclusion of Callaway’s Gravity Core technology, which allows golfers to adjust each driver’s center of gravity (CG) lower or higher in the clubhead.

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It works like this: Insert the Gravity Core with its heavy side down (closer to the sole) and the driver will produce less spin. Position the Gravity Core with its heavy side up and the driver will produce more spin.

More spin? “Who needs that,” you might be saying.

According to Evan Gibbs, Callaway’s manager of performance analysis, plenty of golfers.

Callaway debuted the Gravity Core in its 2014 Big Bertha Alpha driver. While it wasn’t as popular as the company’s 2014 Big Bertha driver, it was an important fitting tool for many golfers on the PGA and European tours.

[quote_box_center]“If 90 percent of the players were in the low-CG position, we’d say, ‘we don’t need this mid-CG position,’” Gibbs said. “But the split was about even. That validated that there was value in having this Gravity Core.”[/quote_box_center]

It’s not just better players, however, who can benefit from a higher CG.

[quote_box_center]“Some people need a little big higher CG in order to generate enough spin,” he said. “And if a player tends to contact the ball high on the face, they tend to lose ball speed with a low-CG club.”[/quote_box_center]

Big Bertha Alpha 815

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The new Big Bertha Alpha 815 brings the Gravity Core to a driver that is much more forgiving than the 2014 Big Bertha Alpha. It’s built on a 460-cubic-centimeter chassis that’s similar to the 2014’s Big Bertha driver, with a large profile at address that boosts its moment of inertia (MOI) to make it more forgiving.

The Big Bertha Alpha 815 also has a Forged Composite crown that makes it surprisingly low spinning for its level of forgiveness — unless the Gravity Core is in the “up” position, that is.

Big Bertha Alpha 815 Double Black Diamond

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The Double Black Diamond has all the technology the Alpha 815 has, but as its name indicates it was designed for experts. The low, forward CG position that allows it to be so low spinning also makes it the company’s least forgiving driver for 2015. In other words, golfers should steer clear of the Double Black Diamond if their main goal is to improve performance on mishits.

According to Gibbs, the Double Black Diamond is about 100 rpm lower spinning than its predecessor, the 2014 Big Bertha Alpha, and it adds more forgiveness to shots hit high on its face. That’s partly thanks to the company’s new RMOTO technology (also used in the Alpha 815), which is a new geometry on the inside of the club head that allowed engineers to remove about 3 grams of weight from the face and place it lower and deeper in the head to improve MOI.

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Visually, the Double Black Diamond has a rounder, more opened appearance than the 2014 Big Bertha Alpha at address that should resonate with better players.

Enough talk, where are the numbers?

I had a chance to test the Big Bertha Alpha 815, the Double Black Diamond and Big Bertha V-Series drivers at Callaway’s Ely Callaway Performance Center in Carlsbad, Calif., on a Doppler Radar launch monitor to see just how different the three drivers would perform.

Each of the drivers was hit with the same shaft and had nearly identical measured lofts. Each driver was also tested with the same shaft, a Mitsubishi Rayon Second-Generation Diamana D+ 70TX at 45 inches.

Testing process: I hit about six shots with each club in the following order: V-Series, Double Black Diamond and Alpha 815. I then hit about five more shots with each club and they were hit in the same order. The outliers – those one or two shots that were radically different from the eight or nine other shots – were then deleted to create these averages below.

The Numbers

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The numbers explained

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Don’t walk away from this story thinking that the Double Black Diamond is Callaway’s best driver for 2015 because of my experience. What’s important is to notice the distinct performance of each head.

V-Series

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V-Series is Callaway’s most forgiving 2015 driver, with a CG that is higher and more rearward than the other drivers in the line. For most golfers, this will translate to more consistent ball speeds across the face, but it will also contribute to the lower launch and higher spin that I saw in my testing.

Alpha 815

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This will likely be Callaway’s most popular driver, both at retail and on the professional tours, because of its balanced design. My numbers show its ability to launch the high with a fairly low amount of spin and still retain a high level of ball speed on mishits.

Double Black Diamond

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Most golfers won’t be a fit for a Double Black Diamond, but when they are the results will be fantastic. With nearly identical builds, the Double Black Diamond was an average of 9 yards longer than the V-Series thanks to its higher launch and lower spin.

How did they perform on mishits?

I saw a ball speed variance of 4.4 mph with the Double Black Diamond. That doesn’t sound like much, but it was by far the worst of the three models. The Alpha 815’s ball speed variance was a mere 3.3 mph, while the V-Series was just 1.7 mph.

Shafts and Specs

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The Alpha 815 driver will be available in lofts of 9, 10.5 and 12 degrees and comes stock with Fujikura’s Motore Speeder 565. The Double Black Diamond will come in lofts of 9 and 10.5 degrees with Aldila’s Rogue Silver 60 shaft.

Click here to see what GolfWRX Members are saying about the new drivers in our forum.

Don’t like those offerings? Callaway is offering the following 13 shaft options at no upcharge:

  • Mitsubishi Rayon Bassara 42
  • Mitsubishi Rayon Bassara 52
  • Matrix Ozik White Tie 50
  • Aldila Rogue Silver 60
  • Matrix Ozik Black Tie 70
  • Fujikura Motore Speeder 565
  • Fujikura Motore Speeder 665
  • Fujikura Motore Speeder 765
  • Second-Generation Mitsubishi Diamana S+ 62
  • Matrix Ozik Red Tie 60
  • Mitsubishi Rayon Fubuki ZT 60
  • Mitsubishi Rayon Fubuki Z 50
  • Aldila Tour Green

The Alpha 815 comes stock with 7-gram and 1-gram interchangeable heel-and-toe weights, while the Double Black Diamond comes stock with 5-gram and 1-gram weights. Moving the heavier weight to the toe of the club will create more fade bias, while moving it to the heel of the club will create more draw bias.

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Both drivers also use Callaway’s new Opti-Force hosel, which is slimmer than previous versions yet still compatible with 2014 driver models. It’s 3-degree range of adjustability (2 degrees up, 1 degree down in 1-degree increments) also includes two independent lie angle settings: neutral and upright (more draw bias).

Click here to see what GolfWRX Members are saying about the new drivers in our forum.

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94 Comments

94 Comments

  1. A.West

    Aug 19, 2016 at 3:02 pm

    Two years later – I just bought this driver on Amazon from Calloway. Alpha 815, Speeder 565 regular flex shaft, 10.5 loft. Great deal, under $150, replacing my Calloway Costco “X hot” set driver, which apparently isn’t really an X hot driver after all. Tried out the Alpha 815 on my SkyTrak LM I’ve got a swing speed of maybe 91-92 mph, getting a carry distance of 210 to 230. Accuracy no worse than my prior driver, possibly more stable and more supportive of confidence. Feels and sounds a bit better. The adjustability will be fun to experiment with.

  2. richard

    Aug 6, 2015 at 10:24 am

    I just put a dbd in play yesterday. I have been using my trusty r11s tp for a few years now and just hadn’t found anything I liked better, including last year’s alpha which I tried but quickly sold. However, the new (now old!) 815 dbd was great, a very noticeable performance improvement, at least for me. I can’t tell if the club is longer, although my drives were at least as long as they normally are, but what I really noticed was the good trajectory, and most of all, the lack of sidespin…All my drives were pretty much where I wanted them with little sidespin. The one bad drive I hit (last driver of the day) didn’t go very far, but even that one was straight although it felt like it wanted to hook like crazy…but it stayed just barely off the fairway in good shape. So while the new 816 might be even a little better, for now I think callaway has put out a great product in the 815 dbd…

  3. Marc Dodd

    Nov 13, 2014 at 5:09 pm

    Rumour has it that the 815 stands for august 2015, when this driver will go and be replaced by another driver

  4. Pingback: Golf Clubs – Our Selection | Romney Warren Golf Club

  5. alex

    Oct 21, 2014 at 12:44 am

    cant wait for the callaway 616 irons to come out and the new PRO U2 ball from callawy too

    • jim

      Oct 25, 2014 at 6:12 pm

      ya I use to like callaway not any more probably going to buy the 915

  6. Desmond

    Oct 19, 2014 at 10:24 am

    The V Series is NOT a lower launching club, not in lofts over 10.5. The 9 degree is a different animal with slightly different characteristics for stronger players. That will launch/spin lower.

    I use the 10.5 V Series head, and in the stock shaft, it launches high with a positive angle of attack. With the Fuji 565 Shaft, I need to add +1 of loft to receive similar results.

  7. Swingblade

    Oct 13, 2014 at 12:27 pm

    Perhaps I am missing something. I could find no test data regarding dispersion. With the G30 tests dispersion was one of the main factors to evaluate. It seems only distance matters here. Since the PGA recently released the numbers relative to how few pros actually birdie from the rough, it seems it is time for us normal golfers to figure out that the fairway is what matters. Period. 10 or 15 yards longer is not a big plus if the ball is in the rough.

  8. Mr Poopoo

    Oct 3, 2014 at 8:57 pm

    Black is the new white, blue, orange, red…

    • JOEL GOODMAN

      Oct 8, 2014 at 8:07 pm

      I AM CURIOUS AS TO THE RESULTS WITH A NORMAL PLAYER THAT HAS A 90 MPH SWING SPEED. ALSO HOW SOON WILL CALLAWHAT DROP THESE AND BRING OUT IT;S NEWEST GREATEST MOST FANTASTIC REMARKABLE NEXT THING DRIVER—I would guess–next month and these will go on sale at half price. Its all just so much horse manure for the average golfer who will not, cannot, and would not buy a new driver every other month.

      • Sammy Moon

        Oct 9, 2014 at 9:30 am

        If you feel that way, why even waste making the comment?

      • Desmond

        Oct 19, 2014 at 10:26 am

        Buy the V Series in the 10.5, cut the stock shaft to 45 inches, and have fun. Too many people worry about price. Find your driver.

        • David

          Nov 10, 2014 at 10:21 pm

          Ahhhhh Desmond. That is the most sensible advice I have seen on a golf website for a number of years. You are absolutely correct.

  9. Mr Poopoo

    Oct 3, 2014 at 8:57 pm

    Looks like the Alpha I’ve been eyeing is due for another price cut soon.

  10. Boat

    Oct 3, 2014 at 8:17 pm

    The most important factors for ALL drivers are ballspeed and launch angle. I’ve seen all types of testing on different launch monitors and real life testing where the difference between 2000rpm and 3000rpm on well struck shots is 3 yards, but in most cases is around 1.9 yards. If you are hesitant to believe me, simply check out Justin Rose’s Driver video by Rick Shiels on YouTube and have a close look at his numbers. Simply adjusting your spin loft in your own swing is the easiest and cheapest way of lowering spin if it really bothers the golfer that much.

    • marcel

      Oct 16, 2014 at 7:26 pm

      i would trust Justin Rose as he hits near identical shots.

  11. Chris C

    Oct 3, 2014 at 7:43 pm

    Thank you for your test results. That said, I am disappointed that you did not add the BB and Alpha to your test. The results might have shed some light regarding whether newer=better.

    • Zak Kozuchowski

      Oct 3, 2014 at 10:37 pm

      The only way to know is to do your own testing. Everyone is different.

      • Martin de Porres

        Oct 5, 2014 at 3:14 am

        Zak, any chance you know the head weight for the 815 aplha and the titleist 915 drivers.

        • Zak Kozuchowski

          Oct 7, 2014 at 9:23 am

          Martin,

          The DBD has a total weight of about 330 grams, while the Alpha 815 has a total weight of about 320 grams. That should put the head weights in the 200-to-205 gram range, with the DBD being a few grams heavier.

  12. Golfraven

    Oct 3, 2014 at 6:06 pm

    I find the head cover and the crazy release cycle most interesting. Otherwise I am stocking with the new 915 – bring it on.

    • mhendon

      Oct 3, 2014 at 6:37 pm

      Yeah I like the retro head cover but I doubt its real leather like an Iliac.

  13. RAT

    Oct 3, 2014 at 4:11 pm

    when will they have the Saturn model ready?

  14. Dave S

    Oct 3, 2014 at 1:41 pm

    Robocop’s driver?

  15. MHendon

    Oct 3, 2014 at 1:04 pm

    Here’s the thing my fellow WRXer’s. The USGA and R&A agreed to a COR limitation of .830 all the way back in 2002 that went into effect in 2006. No driver legal for tournament play shall exceed that. This lead to a theoretical smash factor of 1.5 however not truly achievable under real life conditions sense you would need launch conditions of 0 degrees and 0 RPM of spin to achieve it. Every ball speed has an optimal launch angle and spin rate to achieve maximum distance. Knowing this once one maxes out they’re launch conditions there is no more room for improvement through equipment. Also maxing out your launch conditions is next to impossible unless you have a very consistent tour like swing. In other words you can buy every new driver that comes out and you’re still going to suck unless you practice.

    • Thomas Beckett

      Oct 4, 2014 at 4:10 pm

      Wrong again MHendon. The maximum theoretical smash factor is 2.0. All things being constant increasing the mass of a driver head 10% will increase smash factor approximately 1.7%. Assuming a perfect strike, if enough mass could be added to a driver to offset the efficiency lost by dynamic loft a smash factor higher than 1.5 is possible without violating .83 COR limit.

      • MHendon

        Oct 4, 2014 at 9:18 pm

        Ok thomas you are suggesting using a club much heavier or stronger lofted than anything on the market. I couldn’t find the article I got my original information from or I would post the link but I couldn’t find anything suggesting a theoretical smash factor of 2.0. I did find this that suggest the posibility of a smash factor slightly over 1.5 but it’s not practical. http://www.tutelman.com/golf/ballflight/smashfactor.php

        • Thomas Beckett

          Oct 5, 2014 at 12:03 am

          Wrong again MHendon. I was responding to your incorrect statement you have once again passed off as a fact. You wrote the USGA and R&A imposed a .83 COR limitation which is sort of true, it’s actuall.822 with a tolerance to .83 but I let you slide on that one. Followed by,”this lead to a theoretical smash factor of 1.5 however not truly achievable in real life.” That is also incorrect on both statements. I never claimed my argument to be practical, just possible. Pings G30 is 20 grams heavier than my driver and in testing I’ve found it to have about 3 to 4% higher smash factor so I would say my argument is practical and you are wrong as usual. A change in any varaible of club mass, ball mass, COR, or contact point changes smash factor. People like you MHendon once protested that the earth was flat. A practical driver beating 1.5 smash factor may not happen in your lifetime but it is possible. It’s mathematically possible so open your mind to the possibilities or be bound by your limitations.

          • MHendon

            Oct 5, 2014 at 1:51 pm

            What are you a lawyer Thomas looking for every possible angle to prove your case. Clearly my initial statement was made based off tournament legal equipment not what is theoretically possible and impractical. Once again I don’t know where you’re getting your information but I’ve posted a link to some of mine along with getting some of my information from Frank Thomas the former USGA technical director. So Thomas if you’re going to try and discredit me how about providing some proof other than your own words.

          • Thomas Beckett

            Oct 6, 2014 at 1:26 am

            Sorry MHendon, I’m not a lawyer, im an engineer in the aerospace industry, but that really has no bearing on the matter. Before we go any further I suggest you read your source more carefully as it disproves every point you have made. Arguing with you reminds me of an old saying,” you can lead an ass to water but you can’t make him drink it.”

          • mhendon

            Oct 6, 2014 at 7:04 pm

            So Thomas you’re making a point that you can theoretically achieve a smash factor of 2.0 with a metal ball bounced of a perfectly flat metal surface fixed to the ground. So what does that have to do with golf. Seams to me you’re making an irrelevant point just for the sake of argument. Thanks anyway but I’ll take a beer!

          • Dan

            Oct 8, 2014 at 5:51 pm

            I liked the bickering between you two, and just wanted to chime in and say that, I have seen a smash factor of 1.52 on a launch monitor, and the player was using a 909 D3, with an upgraded shaft. I can’t comment on any of the variables that go into this formula such as ball or head weight, club head or ball speed. I just remember very clearly that I was told 1.5 was perfect and what I saw was better than perfect.

        • Ian

          Jan 6, 2015 at 11:57 pm

          I’m a scratch sr am player. I’m using a ping g30 with swing speed around 104mph. I can rev it to 110mph but that’s not game speed. I frequently see smash factors of 1.52 on TrackMan. In fact, I did it today!

    • Adam

      Oct 10, 2014 at 5:00 pm

      My goal for a smash factor is 1.5 – 1.52 If you’re getting up there, figure out the best shaft for your release/swing bc you should be smoking it.

      Currently swing the Alpha (2014) and it’s a beat stick. Went with the X-flex Fubuki and will likely change to something better for me. (Lower kick point, etc…) Compared to my old gamer, dropped about 500-600 RPM in spin which took my distance an extra 20+ yards.

      Not gonna shell out for these by any means, but for my first Callaway driver I cant think they’re hitting anything but home runs here. Very much enjoy the BB Alpha and the Gravity Core is a game-changer for sure.

    • marcel

      Oct 17, 2014 at 12:30 am

      Smash factor is Club head speed translated into ball speed right after the impact. the ball speed will be affected by elements but that has not been taken into consideration. Only the speed after leaving club where launch conditions and spin has little impact. As the ball is not constantly propelled, spin and the drag will result for ball to drop and continue its travel on the ground until stopped.

      Jack Nicklaus said that to hit ball further you need either swing faster or swing better… so you can hit ball farther if you slow down and control swing and impact better. so in theory the driver that reduces spin will allow hit the ball farther without increasing smash factor.
      also the ball has to be relevant to the club speed to not deform excessively ball which in turn wont travel farther due to imperfect flight properties.

  16. Grant

    Oct 3, 2014 at 11:33 am

    I’ve been thinking about the complaint that many (including myself) have about the cost of new drivers, and the major OEM constant releases of new equipment. At first glance, it’s crazy for us to play upwards of $450 every 6 months to have the latest and greatest from our favorite companies only to have them release something “better”. But then I thought about the other sport that I play: ice hockey. Just like drivers from Callaway, TaylorMade, etc., companies like Reebok, Easton, Bauer, and CCM come out with new flagship hockey sticks twice yearly, and the prices for them are in the $279-$320 range. The only difference is that these sticks break after some use, so players go through 5+ sticks a season. Those that aren’t willing to hand over the big $$$ for the top end stuff buy older models at discount, or less expensive sticks. And that’s just one piece of equipment that gets updated pretty frequently from those companies.

    My point: I was mad at the golf industry, but then I realized that this happens in all sports, and marginal gain can only be achieved with frequent launches and a lot of reps (repetitions) on new products by pros and joes. Just me coming to peace with where my money goes.

    I’ve been playing the Callaway RFX for the last two-ish seasons, but I’ll go through a testing process at a club fitter to see what new club/shaft technologies work best for me next season.

    • steve

      Oct 3, 2014 at 8:28 pm

      You make a point. But doe’s it apply to basketball? Baseball a good quality glove can last years or the worlds most popular sport soccer. I think it is based on case by case or sport by sport

    • Brandon

      Oct 3, 2014 at 11:24 pm

      I’m a Hockey player also and have asked myself would a new $300 stick help me get more goals in a game compared with my 1 year old stick, absolutely not. I had a similar awakening with Golf. A new $450 driver will not help me shoot lower scores which at the end of the day is why I play Golf. It sure is fun to buy new Golf equipment but:)

      • marcel

        Oct 16, 2014 at 7:33 pm

        its so easy to jump on the equipment band wagon and keep on spending… or get a golf coach and improve with stick you playing. BTW good on your ice hokey game. big fan here!!!

  17. Mike

    Oct 3, 2014 at 10:16 am

    So do the people bickering about life cycles really want Callaway and TM to come out with a driver every two years like other companies? The funny thing is that those people would hate it if it happened. Everybody wants more choices, it is fun and brings buzz to the golf industry and this website. Get over it.

  18. Dave

    Oct 2, 2014 at 10:03 pm

    I agree with you Steve. Every year it’s longer and straighter moved this or that around. Basically reinventing the wheel with a new paint job. Most good golfers can hit anything. It’s the Indian not the arrow. If people want to waste their money on stupid marketing go ahead their money. I don’t care personally buying something and then it being outdated 6 months later. However, if one is wise enough like stated above one can get a decent deal on an outdated driver. The technology may change but its going to be very marginal at best. Until the powers that be let the club manufactures do something outside the rules nothing new will happen of any magnitude. Thus the longer and straighter marketing bull some fall for. To each their own.

  19. benseattle

    Oct 2, 2014 at 6:23 pm

    I think we should all thank Callaway for having the courage to blow right by that ancient old $400 milestone and jack up the prices…. because they can. $449 and $499 for more of the same old “12 yards longer” crap is going to appeal to a handful of 60-year-old grandpas with money to burn who just happen to be gullible enough that They’ll Believe Anything.

    I suggest you do what I did earlier this spring. Take your current gamer into a launch monitor and compare it with the four or five hottest, latest, most technically-advanced of the new models and then compare the numbers. If you really do pick up 5, 10 or 15 yards with a 2014 model… well, congratulations. But more likely you’ll discover what I did: that none of the new stuff is significantly superior in either distance or dispersion when compared to my current gamer. In fact, the 2014 products should be embarrassed: my current driver is a relic from 2006, the MacGregor MacTec!

    (Still, I can’t help but be tempted the renowned Ping G20 that’s now on sale everywhere for all of $179!)

  20. Desmond

    Oct 2, 2014 at 6:01 pm

    I find the results with the V Series as a bit odd … in stock setup, at 10.5, I find that club launches high with a tad too much spin, but piercing.

    With the 10.5 and the Speeder 565, I find the club launches lower (that’s expected with the shaft), and I must loft up to 11.5. With that combo, I get screamers.

    I question the results with the V Series because I think that club takes a little bit of work to get accustomed to it. It is a different look and setup than the 815 drivers. A different feel, look, etc.

    I’m not surprised that the BBV spins more, just the low launch … surprising, and not in line with what I’ve found in the 565 Shaft. That makes me think familiarity will breed better launch numbers.

  21. ImRight

    Oct 2, 2014 at 3:47 pm

    When people stop buying the new clubs that come out every few months maybe clubs companies will stop with that marketing plan. It’s really getting out of hand though. I remember when I played in HS in the late 90’s and there was one wood and iron line release a year.

  22. Russell

    Oct 2, 2014 at 1:38 pm

    How about the dispersion between the drivers? Which one was more accurate? Which one was the most spread out? How different were they? They don’t normally put these numbers in reviews and I’m not sure why. It’s not all about swing speed and distance. It’s about control. Tell me which one performed better by hitting it closer to the line or target out of the 10 or so swings. How close to that line did it deviate?

    This would be the helpful data needed to make an informed purchase in addition to the data already presented here.

  23. Marco

    Oct 2, 2014 at 11:12 am

    Aldila Rogue…no upcharge?? I liiiike !!!!

  24. Evan

    Oct 2, 2014 at 8:45 am

    Keep drinking the Kool Aid! Transformer era of golf club design, not sure I was too far off when I said that months ago. There are no performance gains, just releasing clubs every 3 months to generate more revenue. BTW, premium shafts do not mean premium results. Wake up and stop wasting your money!

    • Robeli

      Oct 2, 2014 at 12:37 pm

      Agree. Go buy almost any 2012 driver at dirt cheap specials and you will get very close the same results as these drivers. The year 2012 was very good year for drivers. I still play mine from 2012 and keep hitting these new ones every time I get the chance, and none of the 2013 or 2014 made that big a difference to justify a change.

  25. SBoss

    Oct 2, 2014 at 7:52 am

    The company’s like Callaway and TMAG don’t realize how destructive they are to their own brands. The consumer confusion factor alone is not worth it. It’s hard to keep all of their offerings straight.
    Ping and Titleist deal with consumers in a planned, straightforward manner. We know that Ping has an “I” series and a G series. They have a logical number sequence and a predictable release schedule. When I buy a G30 driver, I know the G35 will be out in 2 years. They will do what they can to upgrade performance in that 2 years. Same goes for Titleist.
    Callaway is a copycat company, trying to knock off TMAG with their product release strategy. Essentially, they’ve knocked off a lousy strategy. Brilliant. The CEO should be shown the door and they need to get back to connecting with customers and a predictable release strategy that actually shows some respect for the customer. More product does not equate to BETTER product.

    • Bob

      Oct 4, 2014 at 1:06 pm

      Too bad PING released the G25 last year and released the G30 this year. Doesn’t look like a 2 year cycle to me. Your G35 will be released next year as well. Also, the only reason why Titleist waits every 2 years is because they have that little white ball you lose every round so they don’t have to release clubs. PING doesn’t have a 2 year cycle anymore.

  26. Large chris

    Oct 2, 2014 at 2:40 am

    Not very relevant but I played with an absolutely terrible golfer a couple of months ago who was admiring my x2 hot. He was thinking about getting it as an upgrade from his xhot. He was never anywhere near a fairway and either topped or skied everything.

    • ron

      Oct 2, 2014 at 9:52 am

      You’re right.. not relevant at all!

      • Largechris

        Oct 3, 2014 at 1:44 pm

        Probably not relevant to Americans that is, but to us Brits we call that sort of thing ‘ironic’

  27. ryan

    Oct 2, 2014 at 12:45 am

    they are really crazy.. almost every month I’ve heard that Callaway new clubs. I sold the callway x2hot pro driver few months ago. I surely think it was a brriant choice..
    now my ping i25 driver longer and more forgiving than x2hot pro.. bye callway..

  28. J

    Oct 2, 2014 at 12:29 am

    Hideous. Still not touching a 450+ dollar driver with someone else’s wallet…

    It’s exhorbant and ridiculous.

    • Gonzo

      Oct 2, 2014 at 12:34 am

      Some people want the best and will pay large sums of money for it. Others can wait 2 years and get it for 199 or less

  29. Charles

    Oct 1, 2014 at 10:38 pm

    I AM IRON MAN

  30. Jimmy

    Oct 1, 2014 at 10:28 pm

    Not impressed with the names but the shaft selection is nice ill stick w my g30 and motore speeder ts 7.2 combo

  31. LB

    Oct 1, 2014 at 10:02 pm

    Well written article with the numbers to back up the tech. Nice job Zak.

    • MHendon

      Oct 2, 2014 at 12:36 am

      I’m not so sure about those numbers. Two of the three drivers have a smash factor above 1.5 which would imply there COR is above the legal limit of .830

      • Rich

        Oct 2, 2014 at 8:57 pm

        Give me break. Really? A company the size of Callaway is going to 1. Produce a driver that is non conforming and 2. The USGA and R&A are going to let them sell it? Are you smoking weed or something?

        • MHendon

          Oct 3, 2014 at 12:46 pm

          Exactly… That’s why I said I wasn’t so sure about the numbers supposedly produced by these drivers at the beginning of the article.

          • Rich

            Oct 3, 2014 at 7:31 pm

            Ok then. Explain to me why a 0.830 COR limit means smash factor maxes out at 1.50?

      • Thomas Beckett

        Oct 4, 2014 at 5:01 pm

        1.5 smash factor is not a usga imposed limit nor is it a barrier. COR is just one of the variables that affects smash factor. Here is the formula
        SF = Vball / Vclubhead = 1 + e / 1 + m/M cos(loft) * (1 – 0.7*miss)
        e=COR
        m=ball weight
        M=club mass

        • Thomas Beckett

          Oct 4, 2014 at 5:02 pm

          Hopefully that will help your argument and educating process for MHendon.

          • MHendon

            Oct 5, 2014 at 1:34 pm

            Well thank you Thomas I see you got your information from the same place I did. To be clear the theoretical 1.5 smash factor is based off what is considered tournament legal equipment. Yes you can get above the magical 1.5 but it would require a much heavier club head than anyone makes at a very strong loft say about 5 degrees. Hence the real world limit meaning what a human can achieve using tournament legal equipment is approximately 1.494. That’s why the numbers listed on these drivers seem suspect to me.

          • Thomas Beckett

            Oct 6, 2014 at 11:47 pm

            There are several places that talk about smash factor but I used your source because I was hoping you read it, I was wrong in that respect or perhaps you don’t understand. What I found interesting about your source was the chart showing approximately what driver head weights would be necessary to break 1.5 smash factor. I could only find a weight limit on the ball therefore if you you use the formula you provided from your source the theoretical smash factor is 2.0 and a 1.5 smash factor can be broken. If the goal were to simply get the highest smash factor with legal equipment to break a 1.5 smash factor it could be done easily, but to do it practically without current performance loss is another story. My only objective is to point out your incorrect assumptions passed off as facts to other people. Read your research if you actually do any and work the formulas before you comment.

          • Leslie Chow

            Oct 7, 2014 at 2:57 am

            I’ve enjoyed this thread so I decided to do some research of my own. I was curious if MHendon was full of hot air or if 1.5 was the barrier. Thomas, after looking at the formula I figured that if breaking 1.5 SF were possible it is going to take a golfer using the heaviest head on the market with the lowest loft and lightest golf ball. Since a heavier ball produces less resistance to drag it will be longer companies maxed out the legal limit of the ball so ball weight is a constant. As far as the loft and weight of the club that sounded like long drivers would have the advantage because their driver heads are reinforced to withstand massive impacts and what I found was that there are quite a few long drivers that have broken 1.5 smash factor on trackman and their data is all over the Internet. Rather than provide a list of all the sources I would like to produce the easiest and the link is Ping.com. The opening video with Bubba Watson hitting his tour 44.5″ Pink G30 driver with a legal COR, MHENDON focus, hits the drive with clubhead speed of 120.8 and a ball speed of 184.5 giving him a smash factor of 1.5273. So Thomas it turns out your theory on the heavier ping drivers producing higher smash factors and breaking 1.5 SF is not only mathematically but actually possible is in fact CORRECT and therefore with extreme pleasure I can once again say . . . WRONG AGAIN MHENDON.

          • mhendon

            Oct 7, 2014 at 1:20 pm

            Hey my old buddy Leslie. Read the link I posted above. It clearly states a PGA pro using tournament legal equipment can best hope for a COR around 1.47. Your are providing information from an equipment company looking to sell their equipment based off one of their tour players impact data. The INDEPENDENT article above states any smash factors above 1.5 are most likely equipment measuring errors. My information comes from very credible sources I am not a physicist nor a mathematician and don’t claim to be. So you guys are trying so hard to discredit me you’re grasping at straws. But in the end you’re trying to discredit my sources which are supposed experts.

          • Thomas Beckett

            Oct 8, 2014 at 3:54 pm

            Nobody is trying to discredited your source MHendon, only the limited and finite manner in which you are applying the information your source provides. All the information to prove 1.5 SF is not a limit is in your sources article but for some reason you still cannot comprehend its contents so here is an email response to a question I asked your source directly if exceeding a 1.5 Smash Factor is possible. Directly from your source MHendon here is Daves response.

            Sure!
            “Tournament legal” will require a COR of no more than 0.83. (If that
            were not the case, higher smash factors would be easier to get.)
            Let’s also factor in that the ball is 46 grams. (Lower weight gives a
            higher smash factor, BUT you’ll get less distance from the ball for a
            given launch velocity. So nobody even tries to do that.)
            When you plug that into the equations, you can get a full 1.5 smash
            factor from a head of 214g at a 5 degree loft. For 1.52, the head
            weight is close to 230 grams.
            Hope this helps.
            DaveT

            In conclusion to settle this once and for all with you MHendon, what Dave is saying is that for a driver head weight of 214g and 5 degrees of loft or at 10 degrees of loft and 229g of head weight, both achieve a 1.5 SF, any increase in weight or decrease in loft breaks a 1.5 SF. One thing that is pretty important distinction to make in the SF formula isn’t the actual loft of the driver, rather the dynamic loft at impact thats used in the calculation so its possible for a driver heads with 5 and 10 degrees to both be at the same dynamic loft at impact. When factoring in the golf ball weight for calculation of SF, the assumption is being made that the ball is at the max legal weight but a lighter ball will improve smash factor. Its entirely possible for a long drive club with 3 to 5 degrees of loft or a “short driver” with 9 degrees of loft to have enough head weight to exceed a 1.5 SF using equipment available today. The reason I mention the short driver is because it requires a lot more additional head weight to obtain a proper swing weight and would be very easy for someone with the right impact conditions to achieve a SF above 1.5 but the tradeoff would be less club head speed due to the shorter shaft. Since the game of golf is about distance and direction, from a practical application to distance smash factor is just one of several variables a golfer can change as each golfer is different and for some a lighter head sacrificing SF but significantly increase club head speed maybe more beneficial whereas a golfer with a lot of speed and poor direction might try to increase SF with a shorter heavier club which maintains distance through better contact to make up for the loss in club speed due to the shorter shaft. As I stated in my earlier post and confirmed by your source , the theoretical smash factor limit is 2.0 and the smash factor limit is governed only by the variables in the formula and is not 1.5 as you have claimed.

          • MHendon

            Oct 8, 2014 at 6:02 pm

            LOL Wow Thomas I got to hand it to you. I think you’re more stubborn than even I am. I never would have even considered that by reducing the weight of the ball you could achieve a smash factor of 1.5 or slightly above while staying in the legal limits of equipment so I guess I’ll have to concede this one to you. However as you said know one would do that because the ball wouldn’t go as far. So at least maybe you will concede that my initial post that got this whole debate started is in fact valid. The numbers suggested for these three Callaway drivers are suspect because for one I doubt they where using a ball lighter in weight than standard and generally Callaway has been know for making lighter weight heads to try and increase speed. Although I will concede I don’t know the weight of these three heads. It’s been fun Thomas.

      • Dan

        Oct 8, 2014 at 5:57 pm

        Those are averages, you should work on your reading comprehension.

  32. hebron1427

    Oct 1, 2014 at 5:09 pm

    sooo….they made a big bertha alpha with different sole graphics?

    • CT

      Oct 2, 2014 at 12:46 am

      Yes. It’s the old we moved 3 grams of weight around to increase MOI just for you trick. Won’t be beating my alpha aftermarket shaft combo.

      Callaway turning into TM. Makes me sick!

  33. Don

    Oct 1, 2014 at 4:46 pm

    Meh. Looks like Callaway is going the route of Tour Exotics esthetics. Compare this with the new Titleist 915 and you can see how much of a toy this looks.

  34. SMH

    Oct 1, 2014 at 4:10 pm

    lmfao very sad and embarrassing, you can tell some TMAG hack is running the show over at callaway releasing all this new crap like they are

  35. Shawn

    Oct 1, 2014 at 4:02 pm

    I wish these weren’t blue.

    • enrique

      Oct 1, 2014 at 8:24 pm

      Are they blue? I thought it was the reflection of the sky but then saw some blue flake. It’s better not be blue. I never played the alpha because it was blue.

  36. billy

    Oct 1, 2014 at 2:33 pm

    SWEET!! Looks like most of the shaft upgrades are made for Callaway though. Sure they will be good, just hope they have all of them in fitting carts with all flexes.

    • Sean

      Oct 1, 2014 at 5:27 pm

      Authentic real deal shafts are what I’m told…….no “made for” junk.

      At $500 bills that’s the least they can do.

      Current Alpha working very well so I’ll be impressed if either of these models outperform it.

      Heard the Aldlia Rogue Silver shaft is the bomb but I’m not familiar with it…….yet!

      Good luck Callaway.

      • WILSON

        Oct 3, 2014 at 5:55 pm

        I hit it in a 915 D3, that club was absolutely the bomb. Blown away.

  37. Danny

    Oct 1, 2014 at 2:20 pm

    Holy crap, Callaway taking over Taylormade as kings of the new driver every month

    • steve

      Oct 1, 2014 at 3:50 pm

      What how can you not love a new driver every 3 months? Since my 975d I have been getting a new driver every year and adding 12 yards with each driver. Do the math started at 290yds with the 975d 15 years ago. 15 new drivers 12 added yards each. 15×12=180 more yards then the 975d. Holy crap i am hitting it 470yds. Love it, keep it coming

      • Bryan

        Oct 1, 2014 at 4:09 pm

        Well said!

      • mhendon

        Oct 1, 2014 at 7:13 pm

        and the bet part is that 975d was $399.99 15 years ago and you’ll be able to get this new Callaway for $199.99 in a year if you can stand to wait.

        • Rich

          Oct 2, 2014 at 9:02 pm

          You are just a troll now. You keep saying the same stuff on every new equipment story. If you’re not interested in the new equipment (you keep saying nothing is better than your 10 year old driver), then stop reading the equipment stories and move onto something else. Your comments were valid the first couple of times but now you’re boring.

          • steve

            Oct 2, 2014 at 9:39 pm

            You are the definition of a troll. You think the points of view are boring, but you respond to them to start argument. Who keeps reading something over and over they think is boring? Do you watch a tv show and complain how boring it is week after week. If you don’t like an opinion ignore or go away, time to grow up.

          • Rich

            Oct 3, 2014 at 7:33 pm

            Thanks Steve. You’re right, I should know better. Thanks for setting me straight.

          • Ty Webb

            Oct 4, 2014 at 12:07 am

            +1
            Couldn’t have said it any better Rich.

          • MHendon

            Oct 5, 2014 at 10:18 pm

            Hmmm where did I say my 10 year old driver is as good as the new stuff. I think what I was saying basically is you can get NEW golf equipment cheaper now than you could 15 years ago. Seams a little ironic to me because people keep complaining about the cost of the game. Hey but glad to know I have a fan Rich! Oh and my driver is only 3 years old.

        • Dale Doback

          Oct 4, 2014 at 9:37 am

          What’s the point of posting that MHendon? Its a no brainier that if you wait until a product is discounted or discontinued it will be cheaper. The 975d may have been 399.99 15 years ago but it’s resale value now is around $2.50. Maybe people should wait 15 years and then they could really get a bargain, good luck getting home on the short bus.

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Equipment

7 takeaways from an AWESOME equipment talk with Padraig Harrington

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Fans of golf equipment have long known that Padraig Harrington is one of us. Throughout his career, Harrington has been willing to test new products, make changes from week to week, and play with a bag of mixed equipment brands.

What equipment fans may not know, however, is just how brilliant of an equipment mind Harrington truly has.

Ahead of the 2023 Valero Texas Open, I caught up with Harrington to pick his brain about what clubs are currently in his bag, and why. The conversation turned into Harrington discussing topics such as the broader equipment landscape, brand deals in 2023, his driver testing process, why he still uses a TaylorMade ZTP wedge from 2008, square grooves vs. V-grooves, and using a knockoff set of Ping Eye 1 irons as a junior.

Padraig Harrington’s 2023 WITB

Below are my 7 major takeaways from the extensive gear talk with Harrington.

1) Padraig’s stance on equipment contracts, and why he prefers Wilson

Harrington is a longtime Wilson staffer, and although he supports the brand and uses their equipment, he doesn’t use a full bag of Wilson clubs. He finds Wilson’s understanding of a player’s need for flexibility to be beneficial to the player, and it’s attracting more and more professional players to the company (such as Kevin Kisner and Trey Mullinax).

“Wilson wants me to play whatever I’m comfortable with. It’s very important. They’re not a manufacturer that says, ‘We want you to play 14 clubs.’ There’s always a club you don’t like. That’s just the way it is. So Wilson is like, ‘We want you playing well and playing the best clubs for you.’

“I am very comfortable with their irons. I’m very comfortable with their wedges, as you can see. They have an old hybrid 4 iron that I love. They have a new hybrid 4-iron that is too powerful. I put it in the bag last week and I had to take it out. The thing is, I use a 4-iron and a 5-wood. My 4-iron has to go somewhat relative to my 5-iron, and then I have to bridge that gap between 4-iron and 5-wood, so it has to do both. The new 4-iron was going 230 yards. My 4-iron goes about 215-235, maybe 240 on a warm day. And my 5-wood is like a warm-day 265 in the air, but I have no problem hitting it 235, so I can cross it over. But this 4-iron, the new version, it just went. I couldn’t hit the 215 shot with it; it’s just too powerful. That’s why I have the old 4-iron in the bag, but it does the job to bridge the gap…

“As players get more money, they’re less dependent on manufacturers. They need the service of a manufacturer – because, like I need to be on that truck and get things checked. But you’re seeing more players see Wilson as an attractive option because you don’t have to use 14 clubs. If you’re not happy this week with the putter; you know, Wilson has the putters, they have everything, but if you want to chase something else for a moment…remember, there’s two things you’re chasing. If you’re a free agent, it’s not good to be changing a lot. That is a distraction. But it’s nice to have the option that if somebody…like I feel Titleist has come out with a great driver. And I’m able to work my way straight into Titleist and say, ‘Hey, gimmie a go with that. Oh, this is a great driver, I’m going to use this.’ Wilson is aware of that. They want their players to be happy and playing well. Like it’s still 10 clubs, but it’s just not 14 and the ball.

“The irons are great, there’s no doubt about that. They’ve won the most majors. They make a gambit of irons. If you want to use a blade, they have the blade. If you want to use my iron, which is just a good tour composite, it has a bit of a cavity-back, you can do that. If you want to use the D irons that have rockets going off there, you can have them. Like the 4 iron, the one they gave me, it was a rocket! And guys are happy to carry driving irons like that, but mine has to match in with the 5-iron. It was just too high and too fast.

“So yeah, I think you’re going to see manufacturers go more of that way. Our players want to be independent, but the problem is that full independence is not great. You don’t want a situation where you’re turning up – as you see kids who make it into their first tournament, and the manufacturers start giving them stuff, and they’re changing. You don’t want to be the guy changing too much.”

2) The dangers of a 64-degree wedge

Although Harrington himself uses a Wilson Staff High Toe 64-degree wedge, he seldom practices with it. Here’s why he warns against it:

“The big key with a 64 wedge is DO NOT use it. No, seriously, do not use it. It’s a terrible wedge for your technique. That club is in the bag and it gets used on the golf course, and it gets used when it’s needed, but you don’t practice with it, because it’s awful. So much loft will get you leading too much, and you’re going to deloft it. Hit one or two shots with it, then put it away. You’re better off practicing with a pitching wedge and adding loft to be a good chipper instead of practicing with a lob wedge and taking loft off. A 64-degree wedge is accentuating that problem. It’s a dangerous club. It does a great job at times, but it certainly can do harm.

“It’s not bad having it in the bag for a certain shot, but it’s a terrible club to practice with. I literally hit one or two full shots with it, a couple chips with it, and that’s it. I know if I spend too long with it, I’ll start de-lofting.”

3) The interchangeable faces on TaylorMade’s ZTP wedges from 2008 were Padraig’s idea?!

I couldn’t believe it myself, but Harrington says that the idea for TaylorMade to offer interchangeable face technology on its ZTP wedges in 2008 was originally his idea…

“The TaylorMade is obviously attracting a lot of attention, but that was my idea! Myself and a consultant for Wilson, I got him to build changeable faces and he sold that to TaylorMade…that’s fully my idea. He sold that then to TaylorMade, and TaylorMade produced them, which I was happy about. But TaylorMade couldn’t sell them. You can’t get people to clean the grooves, so they weren’t going to buy a new face. Why have 400 faces at home? So I went out and bought these faces to make sure I had them for life. And I was home chipping a while ago, and I have a nice 58. I like the grind on that wedge, and the fact I can just replace the face and have a fresh face every three weeks, it’s just easy, so that’s why that’s in there.”

4) Driver testing isn’t all about speed

“The driver companies know I’m a free agent when it comes to drivers, so every time a new driver comes out, they’ll come to me and say, ‘Hey, would you have a look at this?’

“I will test everything, yeah, but it has to beat what I have in the bag. And Wilson’s new driver is the same. They brought out a new driver and it’s great, but I love the driver I’m using. So I say, ‘Look, guys, not only do you have to be as good as the incumbent, you have to be better, because I already know this and I’m familiar with it.’

“Wilson has built a very, very good driver. There’s know doubt about it. But I love the driver I’m using. And none of these manufacturers can build me a driver that’s better.

“Ball speed gets a driver into the conversation, and then you bring it to the golf course. So the driver has to be going as good as my current driver, and then I bring it to the course and see if I can hit the thing straight. I have gone down the road [of prioritizing speed]…I used a driver in 2014, and it never worked weekends. But it was fast. I used it for about six weeks I’d say – six tournaments – and I missed six straight cuts. It never worked the weekend. It was really fast on the range, but it just wasn’t good on the course.”

 

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5) Playing with knockoff irons as a junior

“I played as a junior for Ireland, under 18’s, and I owned half a set of golf clubs, and they were imitation Ping Eye 1’s. I borrowed the other half set off my brother. We had a half set each. I had the evens, he had the odds. In that tournament, there was a guy playing with Ping Berylliums with graphite shafts. They cost 1,900 pounds. Mine cost 100 pounds, and they were knockoffs. So I played, for my country, with a set of knockoffs. Before I used those knockoff clubs, I used a mixed bag of clubs. As in, I picked up whatever club they had. The 6-iron might go farther than the 5-iron. The 5-iron might go with a fade and the 7-iron might go with a hook, but I knew what my clubs did. Each club had a purpose.”

6) Using square grooves and V-grooves simultaneously

Square grooves – or “box grooves” – were outlawed by the USGA in 2010 because they were said to help golfers spin the ball too much. V grooves are said to provide less of an advantage because they restrict the sharp edges of the grooves, thus reducing the amount of friction imparted on the golf ball. Prior to the rule change, however, Harrington actually used both V grooves and box grooves, and he’d adjust his setup depending on the golf course.

“What’s interesting is, when the box grooves were around – very few people know this – I carried two sets of clubs at all times. I carried a V groove and a box groove.

“Yeah, see, the box grooves were unbelievable out of the rough, spin wise, but if the rough got to a certain level, the ball would come out so low and with spin that it wouldn’t go very far. Your 7-iron coming out of this rough would only go like 140 yards and it wouldn’t get over any trees because it would come out so low. What I was doing was, if I got to a golf course with this sort of a rough, I’d put in a box groove 7-iron and a V-groove 8-iron. If I got in the rough and I had 170 yards, I’d hit an 8 iron and get a flyer, because the 7 iron wouldn’t get there depending on the lie. And I couldn’t get it over things. So if there were trees, you needed the V groove to get over the trees. A box groove wouldn’t get up in the air.

“No one else was doing it. I played with the box groove for a couple years before I realized that in certain rough, you need the V groove to get there. Hale Irwin played a U.S. Open seemingly with no grooves. Off the fairway it’s meant to make no difference. I would disagree, but that’s what the officials would say. But out of the rough you needed the flyers to get to the green. The V grooves were doing that for me. You get your flyer to get of the rough to get the ball there, but then if it was the first cut of rough, or light rough, or Bermuda rough, or chip shots, it would come out so low and spinny that you’d have no problem.

“I can’t believe that people didn’t realize that I was doing this two-groove thing all the time. I swear to you, you could stand here, you would not launch a 7-iron over that fence there if it was box grooves out of light rough, and V groove would launch over it. The launch characteristics were massively different.”

7) Blame the person, not the putter

Interestingly, Harrington, for all his tinkering, has only used a handful of putters. It turns out, there’s a good reason for that — although he’d like his current model to be a few millimeters taller.

“I used a 2-ball when it came out. Then I used a 2-ball blade, which I won my majors with. I always had a hook in my putts, so not long after I won my majors, I went to face-balanced putter because it helps reduce the left-to-right spin. I started putting really badly in 2013 and 2014 – I had some issues. And then come 2016-2017, I just said, look, I putted well with this putter. If I use this putter, I can’t go back and say it’s the putter’s problem. It’s gotta be me. So I went back to the face-balanced 2-ball blade because I’ve had good times with it. I may have only used 5 or 6 putters in my career.

“I’m really happy that I’ve got a putter that I know I’ve putted well with, and I don’t blame the putter. I can’t say that anymore. I don’t blame my tools, I blame myself if I miss a putt. So it comes down to…I know the putter works, then it’s me. Me, me, me.

“You know, I’ve toyed with using other shafts in the putter, and I will look at other putters, but things are askew to me when I look down. So I can’t have a putter with a line on it. It doesn’t look square to the face. I’ve never putted with a putter that has a line on it for that reason. I line up by feel. I know that putter works, I know it suits me, so that’s why I go with that…

“I prefer a deeper putter (a taller face). The one issue I have is I hit the ball too high on the face, but they won’t remodel the whole system to make me a deeper putter. I’ve tried some optical illusions to try and get it where I hit the ball more in the center, but I hit it high. It seems to be going in the hole so I’m not going to worry about it too much. But in an ideal world, if someone came along and said they could make the putter 3-4 millimeters higher, I’d be happy with that.”

See more photos of Padraig Harrington’s 2023 WITB here

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Equipment

TaylorMade survey on ball rollback finds everyday golfers massively against introduction of Model Local Rule

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In response to the USGA and R&A’s recent announcement that they plan on rolling back the golf ball for the professional game, TaylorMade Golf issued a survey asking everyday golfers to voice their opinion regarding the topic of golf ball bifurcation. Today, they are sharing the results.

Almost 45,000 golfers across more than 100 countries spanning a variety of ages, abilities and participation levels took the time to complete the survey and have their voice heard, with some of the major findings shown below:

  • To the best of your knowledge, do you agree with the proposed golf ball rule?
    • 81% No
    • 19% Yes
  • Do you think average hitting distances in professional golf need to be reduced?
    • 77% No
    • 23% Yes
  • Are you for or against bifurcation in the game of golf (i.e., different rule(s) for professional golfers versus amateurs)?
    • 81% Against
    • 19% For
  • How important is it for you to play with the same equipment professional golfers use?
    • 48% Extremely important
    • 35% Moderately important
    • 17% Not important
  • If the proposed golf ball rule were to go into effect, would it have an impact on your interest in professional golf?
    • 45% Less interested
    • 49% No impact
    • 6% More Interested

The results also show that 57 percent of golfers aged 18-34 years old would be less interested in the pro game should the rule come into effect, while five percent said they would be more interested.

“The goal of our survey was to give golfers the opportunity to voice their opinion on this proposed ruling as we absorb the MLR and its potential effects on the everyday golfer. We are grateful that nearly 45,000 golfers across the world felt the need for their voice to be heard. The overwhelming amount of responses show the passion, knowledge and care for the game our audience possesses. Each response and data point is being reviewed as we will utilize this feedback in our preparation to provide a response to the USGA and R&A.” – David Abeles, TaylorMade Golf President & CEO

You can check out the survey results in full here.

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Equipment

Spotted: Odyssey Tri-Hot 5K Three “anti-right” prototype putter

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Odyssey Tri-Hot 5K putters have really taken off on tour, and we have seen a handful of models in tour player’s bags. The latest version we spotted out on tour is a very unique design.

Odyssey makes this putter head with a standard flow neck that offers plenty of toe hang for golfers who prefer or need that weighting. This prototype has a long slant neck installed more near the center of the putter head that lets the toe sit slightly up in the air when held horizontally. This is pretty different since most putters sit with the toe hanging down towards the ground or are face balanced (face sits parallel to the ground). A full shaft offset looks to be achieved with the slant neck and the look at address is definitely different.

We spoke to Callaway PGA Tour manager Joe Toulon about the putter and he had the following to say

“On course [we had a player who] had a little push bias that didn’t necessarily show up in practice but it is something that he felt on course. So we wanted to build something that was a little easier to release and maybe not necessarily open the toe as much in the back stroke and not have to work as hard to release it in the through stroke. That was kind of designed to give a little offset and when you rested it on your finger it would rest toe up a little bit. We thought for that player it would help him square the putter face at impact rather than leave it open a little bit.

“It was more of a concept we had and will continue to work on it. When we had it on the truck and we were hitting some putts with it we noticed that you had to work really hard to push this putter. We wanted to make an anti-right putter. Just a fun little concept that we have an idea and work with our tour department to test things out.

“It isn’t something that ended up in a player’s bag but we learned some things in that process and will keep in mind for future builds and projects.”

The finish also looks to be a little different than the standard Tri-Hot 5K putter’s black and silver motif. The face and neck are finished in silver and the rear done in more of a blueish-gray tone. The White Hot insert looks to be standard and the sole still contains two interchangeable weights.

The shaft looks to be painted in the same metallic red as their standard Stroke Lab shaft, but we don’t see a steel tip section. Not sure if this putter has a full graphite shaft or painted steel.

Toe sitting slightly up

Check out more photos of the Odyssey Tri-Hot 5K Three Putter.

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