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Callaway XR and XR Pro Irons



Callaway ‘s new XR iron line, which includes the XR and XR Pro irons, uses the company’s new Face Cup 360 technology that improves ball speed and forgiveness for longer, more consistent iron shots.


Cup 360 technology was first introduced in the fall with the company’s hollow-bodied Big Bertha irons. The XR irons have a slimmer, cavity-back profile, however, and the XR Pro irons are even slimmer — some golfers would call them blade-like, or players irons. That made engineering the Cup 360 an even greater challenge.

The reason Callaway engineers went through the trouble?


Cup 360 works because it allows Callaway engineers to better control the face thicknesses of the irons, creating more ball speed on good shots, but especially on mishits. According to Williams, they particularly shine on shots struck low on the face.


While the XR Pro has a thinner topline and narrower sole, both irons also use Callaway’s Internal Standing Wave — a weight pad (see it in red above) that better positions the irons’ center of gravity (CG). Because the Internal Standing Wave is unattached to the iron’s face, it gives the face the freedom to flex more that Callaway’s previous irons.

XR irons

XR Product Shots-41 copy


  • Steel: $799
  • Graphite: $899

Design Features:

  • Cup 360 Face Technology
  • Internal Standing Wave for higher MOI and ball speeds
  • 2-piece construction that includes a dual heat treatment

Release Date: 2/20/15

XR Pro irons



  • Steel: $899

Design Features:

  • More compact, thiner top line and narrower sole width than XR irons
  • Cup360 Face Technology
  • Internal Standing Wave for higher MOI and ball speeds
  • 2-piece construction that includes a dual heat treatment

Release Date: 2/20/15

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He played on the Hawaii Pacific University Men's Golf team and earned a Masters degree in Communications. He also played college golf at Rutgers University, where he graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism.



  1. Don

    Nov 3, 2015 at 11:22 pm

    Spent about 2 weeks trying different heads and shafts. Both Titleists (AP1 and 2), RSi, Ping i, Mizuno, and the Callaway Apexes. Have owned Callaway X18s for 12 years and go by the mantra ‘you need to beat the champ for me to buy you’. My swing isn’t consistent enough for anything like a blade (am a 12 with hopes…) but didn’t find anything I hit well enough to take the plunge.

    I went last week and tried the poorly badged XR Pros (add me to the list of guys who hate the red and blue on the back). Oh. My. God. I hit my 7i about 170 yds, and I gained 10-14 yds with XR Pro. I don’t care about distance very much but I care about accuracy a lot, and these were also more consistent with their dispersion. I was back and forth between the Ping i and these, tried them both multiple times on different days (my fitting guy loved me coming back and coming back ; ) and went with the XR Pros. I completely share the concern about what you do when you get to the PW and you’re hitting it 150 – how the heck do you gap down to 100 yards with 3 wedges (or even 4)? Well, once I figure that out I’ll let you know. They’re coming in the next 2 weeks and I’ll take all 90 days to determine whether I can work with them or not. I hope so. Long and straight – for me, what a concept! ; ) Happy playing, guys.

  2. Kujan

    Apr 27, 2015 at 8:16 pm

    I looked over a number of irons today in Golfsmith and the Pros were my favorite. Smaller head and shorter in length than RSi2.

    • Kujan

      Apr 29, 2015 at 5:16 pm

      Oops my bad. Checked the store again after checking specs. I must have been looking at the RSi1. The RSi2 is compact like the XR Pro and the club length is the same. The RSi2 has a thinner top line.

  3. stephen

    Mar 18, 2015 at 6:37 am

    I just demo the xr pro yesterday what abeautiful club much nicer looking then the xhot 2. I currently have cg 16s and I know what I will be changing too the xr pro that’s for sure topline is not that thick and the sole was good with the interaction to the turf get your self fitted then you find out how good they are . they mightn’t suit every one but someone who wants to step into the players iron area its a very good glub to look at

  4. Kurt

    Mar 12, 2015 at 3:02 pm

    I hit the XR Pro irons a few times and was getting more distance than many of the other irons I was hitting and was pretty much ready to buy them. I starting looking around at the specs and noticed the loft or face angle was at least usually a few degrees steeper. For example, on the 7 iron, the Callaway XR Pro is 31 degrees while the Nike Vapor Pro is 35 degrees, the Pro Combo is 34 degrees, the Titliest AP1 is 32 degrees. When I was hitting, I was also hitting the two Nike 7 irons mentioned above and was getting about 10-15 yards extra carry with the XR Pros. Since the Nike XR Pro 6 iron is a 31 degree club, I guess this would be a more comparable club to hit XR Pro 7 iron.

    Is this some kind of little game they are playing so that when you compare various makes of irons the XR Pro’s will appear to travel a lot further?

  5. Rick

    Mar 1, 2015 at 7:02 pm

    Playing Callaway irons for all these years, I am used to a little wider soles. I’m with LB, they look better than the resent Callys.

  6. Rick

    Mar 1, 2015 at 5:50 pm

    I can’t wait to try these out. I have been using x14 irons since they came out. I keep hitting them well but now I’m getting older and have lost a half club or more in distance. I’m hoping these irons help me out. Sounds like they might even open up room for another club in the bag with the 6 iron being as long as a typical 5 iron. Just need to hit both models.

  7. Sd

    Feb 19, 2015 at 6:23 pm

    Compared the xr pro irons to the 714 titleist ap2 on trackman. The loft of the xr 7iron (31) is the same as the ap2 6 iron (31). The callaway goes 5 yards further. Great feeling club but let down by this need for distance. Writing 7 iron on a 6 iron club is not how distance should be gained.

  8. Dave

    Feb 19, 2015 at 5:38 pm

    I had just bought a set of X2hot Pro’s 4-AW, they are very good irons and solid, I have not put them into play yet however I made the mistake of hitting the XR and the XR Pro at GolfSmith today. Unbelievable feel at impact, it is like hitting an AP-1 in steel only more solid, with the same impact sensation and sound, similar distance and control to the X2hot, I F’d up again I am going for the 5-AW in the Pro model, I thought this was going to be a gimmick, IT ISNT! I am an 8-10 handicap so a descent player and I am falling for it again! (cheaper than boating but expensive), old Chinese proverb, THE PROOF IS IN THE TEST- take your wallet and trade in’s with you!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! and they are to my dislike .25 of an inch over on the X2hot for those interested in that model, the pro is 38″ 5 iron. Callaway has done a complete make over from just 3 years ago. It is remarkable really, I thought they were done!!!!!!!!!!!!

  9. David

    Feb 18, 2015 at 2:45 pm

    To the folks who are deriding these clubs without having hit them, here are the facts:

    1. The lofts and lengths of the standard set are the same as last year’s models. No gamesmanship there.
    2. The XR heads are actually an innovation in that the have a trampoline cup face adhered to a thin steel shell. The bottom of the club also flexes quite a bit. This is useful for amateurs, like me, who will miss low on the face.
    3. The shaft offerings are quite nice and are currently a free upgrade. I purchased a new set of XR irons with recoil 680s for less than it would have cost to reshaft my Mizuno JPX. My need to switch to graphite prompted my iron purchase in the first place.
    4. Distance gains are variable depending on how well you strike the ball. The better you strike it, the less distance increase you will see as compared to a standard set. However, I expect you will see 5-7 yards minimum for the same loft. If you consistently mishit your current irons, as many amateurs do, you will see large gains. This is because the areas of the face that would otherwise be miss hits, have a similar trampoline effect.
    5. My clubs were standard length with the 680s and Callaway achieved a consistent (within less than 0.5 SW) of D3 SW for all of the clubs, as I had requested. They are not, in fact, overly lightweight heads.

    I haven’t played Callaway clubs since the X18 irons and FT-5 driver days. While I will continue to play Ping woods, Callaway got my iron purchase.

    I encourage others to do their homework before posting their ignorance on the Internet.

  10. Teaj

    Feb 11, 2015 at 12:41 pm

    I agree its great for the consumer if they are willing to wait. But if your looking to purchase last generation Titleist through my experience you will have to do some looking around as Titleist seems to control their inventory a little better then the rest so if you want titleist your most likely going to have to buy new or hope that the 1 offs they have on the shelves fit your spec. A month before launching the new driver we were out of the previous model.

  11. JoeJoe

    Jan 28, 2015 at 4:47 pm

    Not seen these in person but does anyone know if the lofts are still about the same as the Xhots (I’ve attached the Xhot lofts below)? I’ve played those for two years and really like the club and forgiveness and I typically replace (or get the itch to replace) my clubs about every two years so I’m looking. XR seems to be about what I’m used to and XR Pro maybe not as much confidence at address as I might like. I’ll be demoing soon once I find somewhere that has these available.
    3 18°
    4 20°
    5 23°
    6 26°
    7 30°
    8 34.5°
    9 39°
    PW 44°
    AW 49°
    SW 54°
    LW 59°


  12. Steve

    Jan 17, 2015 at 1:42 pm

    They look like the xhot line. Hated the look of the x2 hot irons. I don’t play callaway, but I don’t see a lot reason to upgrade from the previous models.

    • sam

      Jan 17, 2015 at 5:08 pm

      Interesting that you take the time to comment at all being you do not play Callaway. Myself? I’ve been with Callaway since 1990 and do comment from time to time, pro or con, but I feel I can because I play Callaway.

      • Steve

        Jan 19, 2015 at 9:47 am

        Interesting that you take the time to comment on my post. Since you having been playing Callaway since 1990, but make no reply to the article itself or the clubs. I appreciate that I interest you more then the article. I feel I can comment since I live in th U.S and have the freedom to do so. And you are yelling at kids to get off the lawn. Your a troll.

  13. KT

    Jan 16, 2015 at 7:49 am

    Looks like X hot pro.

    • sam

      Jan 17, 2015 at 5:11 pm

      OK, So what?

      • Birdeez

        Feb 16, 2015 at 1:37 pm

        you seem like a miserable person to be around

      • Rick

        Mar 1, 2015 at 5:20 pm

        Right on Sam. First off you did not say Steve had no right to give his comment. Steve is just not smart enough to realize that this is about people that are interested in Callaway irons. But he has to make a comment that tells everyone that he doesn’t think much of the Callaway iron lineup. you know, to put down the people that do like Callaway irons. He probably won’t get what I am saying either unless I make it simple for him.
        So Hey Steve, Try being more of a gentleman, After all, golf is a gentlemans game. What you said in your post shows you are not a gentleman. And Sam was pointing this out without going through all this explaining. So really Steve, you are the troll.

  14. Tom

    Jan 15, 2015 at 11:16 am

    There seems to be a lot of suedo club engineers on this blog. Try the clubs then post your opinions.

  15. Gogio

    Jan 15, 2015 at 1:53 am

    Really wish McGregor golf could have capitalized on this tech since it really does work. They had “360° cup face technology” (their exact slogon also) in their irons back in the early 2000’s and most people who hit them know they were crazy long. Mac tec nvg2 irons were one set with 360 cup face technology but they had a couple others also. Callaway won’t say this obviously but wonder why it took so long for another manufacturer to pick up on this? It’s probably the only technology left that will legitimately give anyone more distance imo.

    • DSD

      Jan 15, 2015 at 4:27 pm

      As someone who worked in golf retail at that time (03-04), I can tell you the public thought those products were awful and we returned them all to MacGregor.

      • Gogio

        Jan 15, 2015 at 7:08 pm

        I never said anything about them looking good. Go ahead and google 360° cup face technology or nvg2 and you will get a bunch of info regarding McGregor. Hell the photo above is almost identical to theirs from 2004. Quite a few old wrx threads about them to. I didn’t imply about anything except for the (tech) involved. It works and Callaway knows that very well.

      • TJF

        Jan 16, 2015 at 2:55 pm

        The ORIGINAL NVG2 irons were very awkward, Way too much offset and too long from heel to toe, but the NVG2 MIDS were a much improved design…. powerful and solid thru the 7 iron. midsize head, and minimal offset in relation to the original NVG2. The 8-pw though was the weak leak in the set. I used a combo set back them of NVG2 mids 4 thru 7 , and PING I3 8-pw. I remember hitting a 205 yard par 3 in 42 degree weather with a NVG2 MID 6.

        • JT

          Jan 23, 2015 at 7:45 pm

          Rick Shiels has a good video on youtube.. that brought me here.. he hits the the 6i around 200y in the vid, and temp is probably in the 40’s.. I couldn’t believe that kind of distance so I guess you guys validate

          Btw, I picked up an Adams dhy hybrid iron in 2014 (2013 model) with a matrix white tie and love it.. so easy to hit.. Is that concept (hollow body) what Callaway is going for here?

  16. Andrew

    Jan 14, 2015 at 7:55 pm

    I hit the XR and XR PRO 7 iron tonight on the LM at Edwin Watts with Project-X 6.0 steel shaft and KBS C-Taper steel shaft. I currently game Ping I20’s with CFS X-stiff steel shafts. I can carry the XR and the PRO an average of 10 yards longer than my Pings. I normally carry my Ping 7 iron about 160 – 163 yards, with roll out to 170 – 173 yards. I consistently carried the XR and PRO 170 – 174 yards, with roll out to 185 yards. Not to say I can do this every time, my last swing carried the XR head with C-Taper shaft 188 yards, with roll out to 199 yards. These irons are extremely long and forgiving, with an outstanding feel to the face. I think the PRO’s are going to be in my bag this year.

    Last note, the numbers I quoted were produced with the new Callaway Chrome Soft golf ball. I alternated between the new Chrome Soft and the Speed Regime 2, and the Chrome Soft is incredible.

    • Andrew

      Jan 20, 2015 at 12:32 pm

      A 10 handicap is going to have a little inconsistency in distance. Instead of commenting on other people without knowing anything about them, maybe you should test the irons for yourself and post your own commentary on the irons.

    • Simon

      Feb 5, 2015 at 8:05 pm

      These types of irons are not made for precise yardages and functional gapping. This is why the philosophy of modern golf companies (or just Callaway and TM if you like) sucks big time. All the gaps in the long irons are squashed up and the scoring irons have large gaps – and these are the irons you need to be precise to score. There should be rules around what a 7 iron loft should be. This will also end the confusion around advertising distances.

  17. Tom

    Jan 14, 2015 at 6:58 pm

    I hit these today. My pro did not have the XR Pro heads yet. The regular XR heads felt great once he put a DG S300 shaft in them for me. I could tell about miss-hit location and got good distance and reasonable dispersion on my miss-hits. The XR 7I was comparable to the AP2 6I with equivalent shaft for me today in distance and actually launched a bit lower. (could be the Indian…) Anyhow these stand a real good chance of being in my bag come spring.

  18. WILSON

    Jan 14, 2015 at 4:42 pm

    A guy in our men’s league just barely bought a set of big bertha irons. I’ll have to ask him what it feels like to have obsolete irons already.

    • LB

      Jan 14, 2015 at 8:25 pm

      They release new irons all the time, what exactly are you mad about?

    • Jafar

      Jan 16, 2015 at 9:29 am

      They still work. It’s golfers that are obsolete, not the clubs. If you know how to strike a ball with a golf club, it doesn’t really matter who made it or when it was made. I’d take a set of Big Berthas ten years from now.

    • Dave

      Feb 11, 2015 at 5:36 pm

      Wilson, he doesn’t have obsolete irons. In fact the set he has are very good. The BB have more of a hybrid look with a deeper bounce that offers more forgiveness than standard irons. He’ll be able to score quite nicely with his clubs.
      I fit and sell clubs. I hit everything in my Edwin Watts store. They feel great.
      If your buddy bought his clubs from us he has 90 days to play them. If he’s not satisfied, bring them back and get full credit towards something else; but I’m pretty sure, if I fit him in the irons, he’ll have no complaints. You might when he starts taking the pot every week. 😉

  19. Rich

    Jan 14, 2015 at 3:16 pm

    What are the stock shafts please?

  20. Golfraven

    Jan 14, 2015 at 2:35 pm

    Can someone stop this marketing BS? We know those are the best irons, drivers ever build – nobody wants to go back in evolution. Like the Pro model, looking sharp and seems like there is enough tech stuff in them.

  21. Corey

    Jan 14, 2015 at 2:33 pm

    The PRO Model is unreal. I played apex pro all last year and thought those were long. I got 12 yards more with xr pro 7 iron over apex pro same specs.

    PGA Fitter

    • WILSON

      Jan 14, 2015 at 4:41 pm

      Way to be another shill, Mr. Corey. We definitely need more of those around.

  22. Troy

    Jan 14, 2015 at 2:27 pm

    The irons look nice overall, but do not like the red and blue inside the iron cavity, makes the iron look a bit cheap.
    I have the XHot Pro Irons and have loved them from day one, am not seeing anything with these irons that would make me want to give up what I have.

  23. other paul

    Jan 14, 2015 at 2:12 pm

    Bertha irons are super game improvement to the extreme. These are as well, just less so.

  24. Ron H

    Jan 14, 2015 at 12:25 pm

    colour me skeptical. The kind of golfer who wants more distance on gross mishits will just push/slice/pull/hook shots even Further off line and into trouble. A little help on mild mishits is a good idea. Too much help too far off the sweet spot and toe and heel strikes produce much worse problems, not better outcomes.

  25. harleyweewax

    Jan 14, 2015 at 11:56 am

    “Bladelike”?…….ummmmm, no. That topline is an immediate turn-off. Nice though that Cally is already out with their “latest and greatest”, sucks for all you guys with the new berthas that have barely gotten dirty yet. Any difference b/w TM and Cally anymore?

  26. Gregg

    Jan 14, 2015 at 11:52 am

    So what is the point of the Big Bertha irons at an extra $200 retail? Good job on Callaway pushing that iron on the retailers before bringing these out

  27. Eugene Marchetti

    Jan 14, 2015 at 11:40 am

    At least the price of these irons are more in line with other brands. The Big Bertha’s were over priced and, in my opinion, over hyped.

  28. Teaj

    Jan 14, 2015 at 10:21 am

    if you need a little extra distance with a pro model these will most likely fit the bill as the previous ones for me anyways were a club longer. Most likely due to them being delofted

  29. BL

    Jan 14, 2015 at 10:01 am

    The XR Pro irons are slim and blade-like? I must be looking at the wrong pictures.

    • jgpl001

      Jan 14, 2015 at 4:50 pm

      Me too, don’t see any blade like characteristic or slim top line here….

      These are just rehashed x hot 2 pros and will be clearing at half price in March

  30. Ian

    Jan 14, 2015 at 9:44 am

    cast club mean inconsistent distance control, also the heads are sooooo light that you lose all swing timing because you cannot tell where the head is on the down swing.

    Look pretty, though that top line is still too thick, the sole unit is too thick so turf interaction plays a huge part

    If I were callaway I would look at the AP2 714 iron range and look to replicate what Titleist do, this would increase their market share

    also stop launching new clubs every year, I mean come on last year the V series, big bertha, big bertha alpha, big bertha 815 and now the XR range

    what is wrong with every two years, jeez it was just two years ago you launched the Xhot pro

    • Rick

      Mar 1, 2015 at 5:43 pm

      I agree Ian. but they want as much market share as they can get I guess.

  31. LB

    Jan 14, 2015 at 8:32 am

    these look good! much nicer than Xhot and X2hot releases

  32. James

    Jan 14, 2015 at 8:10 am

    Still a pretty wide sole and a thick topline on the Pro than what I would prefer but as always I will demo them like I do most new clubs.

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7 takeaways from an AWESOME equipment talk with Padraig Harrington



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



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



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.

More “Spotted” pieces

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