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Tiger Woods opts for lead tape on his Newport 2 rather than a heavier putter: Here’s why it makes sense

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After days of speculation about which putter Tiger Woods might end up with an attempt to tame the greens at Royal Portrush, we now officially know he settled on his old faithful GSS Scotty Cameron but with a twist—some added lead tape.

The whole reason the speculation was in high gear early in the week was because of Tiger was spotted with a new custom Scotty that had the Studio Select weights in the sole to increase head weight to help with slow greens, something Tiger has talked about in the past—especially when it comes to the greens at The Open Championship.

We can even look back a few years ago when Tiger finally put a Nike putter in play, the original Method (those were nice putters) and talked about both the increased head weight and the grooves on the face to help get the ball rolling on slower greens.

The decision to stick with the old faithful with added lead tape goes beyond just a comfort level, even if the two putters look the same at address, it’s about feel and MOI around the axis.

Let me explain. Sure the putter heads weight the same, but depending on where the mass is located it will change the MOI. The putter with the Select weights vs. lead tape in the middle will have a higher MOI because there is more weight on the perimeter of the head—it’s like a blade vs. cavity back iron. Sure, two 7-irons can weigh the same but the performance will vary significantly.

For a player with such deft feel like Tiger Woods, any change like that can could cause doubt. Tweaking an already great putting stroke and on the eve of the last major of the year is not really something you want to do, which is why it isn’t surprising he stuck with his legendary Newport 2.

Lead tape in the middle allows Tiger to increase the head weight with very little change to the natural rate of rotation for hit putter and hopefully manage the slower Portrush greens better.

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Ryan Barath is a club-fitter & master club builder with more than 17 years of experience working with golfers of all skill levels, including PGA Tour players. He is the former Build Shop Manager & Social Media Coordinator for Modern Golf. He now works independently from his home shop and is a member of advisory panels to a select number of golf equipment manufacturers. You can find Ryan on Twitter and Instagram where he's always willing to chat golf, and share his passion for club building, course architecture and wedge grinding.

16 Comments

16 Comments

  1. Jon

    Aug 7, 2019 at 3:36 pm

    Why would the rate of closure change between the two options? That closure relates to toe hang which is determined by the CG location along the heel – toe plane and the shaft axis. If you have lead tape in the cavity or equal weights placed on the heel and toe, the CG in this plane hasn’t shifted. MOI would increase with the latter but the toe release shouldn’t change.

  2. bobbyg

    Jul 29, 2019 at 9:30 pm

    Method 001 is a great putter. Wish Nike was still making clubs. There player stuff was clean and performed.

  3. s

    Jul 24, 2019 at 12:06 am

    For me heavier the putter, less worried about putting yips. All the blade putters these days feel very light in my hands yet most average golfers like me don’t have access to those professional grade fast greens. Do lighter putters have any distinctive advantages over heavier ones, besides they “may” work better on the very fast greens?

  4. Dave r

    Jul 22, 2019 at 9:23 pm

    I see it worked real well.

  5. geohogan

    Jul 22, 2019 at 8:01 pm

    I can’t imagine there being a huge amount of difference considering..
    impact of a putt is 1/1000 second.

  6. Bruce

    Jul 21, 2019 at 10:15 am

    The putter head probably weighs in excess of 300 g. Adding lead tape – even the heavy 1 g per inch is a painfully slow at to adjust weight. He could add few grams at best so we are talking 1%. You won’t feel that change, but it may adjust your head so you think it’s heavier and gain confidence.
    Also, Tiger knew his game was lacking and he was going home so why make permanent changes.

  7. Tiger

    Jul 20, 2019 at 11:12 pm

    Can’t even make the cut, he needs to be worried about more than lead tape!

  8. Pelling

    Jul 20, 2019 at 7:48 pm

    Tiger seems to put the lead tape in different places. Most of the time it’s on the sole, but here it is behind the face.

  9. Greg C

    Jul 20, 2019 at 3:08 pm

    I own three Macgregor Bobby Grace putters, 2 M5s and one M5K with the accessory weight sets. I’m good without the lead tape.

  10. hardpan1

    Jul 19, 2019 at 9:29 pm

    I’ve always heard heavier putter for fast greens, lighter putter for slow greens…hmmm

  11. Christopher

    Jul 19, 2019 at 6:47 pm

    I can’t imagine there being a huge amount of difference considering the head is solid stainless steel. The reason MOI and COG change with irons is due to the differing materials. There isn’t a huge difference between something like Titleist MBs and CBs, it’s far greater between MBs and say the Titleist AP1 (which can move extremes around due to their construction) irons. We know that movable weights on drivers (which have the biggest difference between the weight of their head components) only move the COG millimeters.

    It would be a coin-toss between different MOI and what Tiger feels and hears with a heavier putter. I imagine it’s down to Tiger wanting to use (and look down on) old-faithful and the feel of his Ping grip and the familiarity of it’s shaft.

  12. DB

    Jul 19, 2019 at 2:43 pm

    I find it amusing that some people say use a heavier putter for slower greens and others say a heavier putter is for faster greens. Nobody can agree.

    Also his Nike putter did not have grooves cut into the face, you can even tell on the picture posted. Yes there are black lines obviously, but no actual grooves cut onto the face like the retail version.

    • Doug

      Jul 19, 2019 at 8:59 pm

      Hot dang if you’re not right about the fake grooves. You can see the milling lines going through the black.

    • MKPAPA

      Jul 25, 2019 at 2:52 pm

      The grooves were filled totally with rzn and whole face was milled. As is the case with most of the Tour Stock Method’s.

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Equipment

Masters gear roundup: Limited-edition bags, balls, and more

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The Masters in itself is a huge tradition in the world of golf, but it also brings its own traditions with it. One of the big ones for us golf equipment fans is the limited edition gear that is influenced by the season’s first major championship.

Around tournament time, companies big and small offer bags, balls, and accessories that are designed with the colors and history of the Masters Tournament.

Here is some of the gear that we will see this weekend out on the lush, green grass of Augusta.

Callaway

The land Augusta National sits on was once a nursery. Callaway looks to be celebrating that history this year. Colorful flowers are used all over the side panels on the staff bag and on top of the headcovers. Callaway also did some limited edition Chrome Tour golf balls with azalea patterns.

Mizuno

There might not be a green bag here for Mizuno, but they know how to celebrate the Masters! This year, Mizuno is offering Mizuno Pro 241 “Azalea” irons to a limited number of lucky customers. A new green iridescent finish is applied to the heads and some beautiful colored ferrules bring some floral color to the irons. If you are lucky enough to grab a set, you will be impressed by the green display box the irons come in as well!

TaylorMade

This year’s staff bag goes a little heavier on a metallic green color to pay homage to the first major of the year. If you look closely at the details, you will notice shiny gold accent pieces, a small Amen Corner, and an inner lining with Georgia peaches. The headcovers are made from matching metallic green fabric and feature “88th” embroidery for the number of Masters tournaments that have been played. TaylorMade’s TP5x Pix golf balls come in a case that looks, and feels, like a peach!

Srixon

Srixon’s bag for the 2024 Masters goes heavy on green and white with a more simple and classic design on the outside. When you unzip the pockets you will treated to a hidden inner lining that has Georgia’s state fruit, the peach, printed all over. Heck, Srixon even included the pit! Headcovers are matching white and green but have a look that reminds you of the iconic Masters scoreboard.

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Whats in the Bag

WITB Time Machine: Tiger Woods’ winning WITB, 2019 Masters

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At the 2019 Masters, Tiger Woods famously ended an 11-year major championship drought. When Francesco Molinari faltered during the final round, Woods pounced. With a Sunday 70, he captured his fifth green jacket and 15th major championship.

Check out what Tiger had in the bag below.

Driver: TaylorMade M5 (9 degrees)
Shaft: Mitsubishi Diamana D+ White 60 TX

3-wood: TaylorMade M5 (13 degrees)
Shaft: Mitsubishi Diamana D+ White 70 TX

5-wood: TaylorMade M3 (19 degrees)
Shaft: Mitsubishi Diamana D+ White 80 TX

Irons: TaylorMade P7TW (3-PW)
Shafts: True Temper Dynamic Gold Tour Issue X100

Wedges: TaylorMade Milled Grind Raw (56, 60)
Shafts: True Temper Dynamic Gold Tour Issue S400

Putter: Scotty Cameron Newport 2 GSS

Ball: Bridgestone TourB XS

Grips: Golf Pride Tour Velvet Cord

 

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Best irons in golf of 2024: Pure enjoyment

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

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

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

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

Best irons of 2024: The process

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

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

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

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

Best irons of 2024: The categories

2024 Best irons: Pure enjoyment

We continue to see an overlap in the way fitters in this category define the top irons. The most playable irons are the most likely to be higher launching, and shots that fly higher make the game more enjoyable for everyone. This reiterates our belief that your iron selection should not be defined by your handicap but instead by what gives you the best opportunity to play your best — and most enjoyable — golf.

Ping G430

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

Fitter comments:

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

For more photos/info, read our launch piece.

TaylorMade P790

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

Fitter comments:

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

For more photos/info, read our launch piece.

Srixon ZX5 Mk II

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

Fitter comments: 

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

For more photos/info, read our launch piece.

Mizuno JPX923 Hot Metal

Their story: “With the JPX923 Hot Metal, Mizuno introduces “4355 nickel chromoly,” which is 35 percent stronger than the original Hot Metal material and allows for an eight-percent thinner clubface. Cup face construction works in tandem with a deep center of gravity for high launch with stopping power. Mizuno developed Hot Metal Pro, Hot Metal and Hot Metal HL (High Launch) from 175,000 real golf swings recorded via Mizuno’s Swing DNA system.”

Fitter comments:

  • “These are great for a player who flips at the ball but also needs some help and forgiveness. The strong lofts help reduce a player’s launch and spin.”
  • “Great forgiveness with the feel that Mizuno is known for.”
  • “Great looking and great feeling irons.”
  • “If I had a player come in, that’s just your, you know, your average golfer. It’s one that is like, “Hey, this is, this is one to try.” This is gonna produce a lot of ball speed and is super forgiving. You can combo it really well. Mizuno does a great job where you can do combo sets just with lofts.”
  • “It’s very good. It’s one of the most popular. Always in the mix of game improvement irons when people come in and they want to hit something that’s forgiving and that also still feels less clicky.”

For more photos/info, read our launch piece.

Titleist T200

Their story:  If there were gripes about the previous generation of T200 irons, it was probably because of feel and sound at impact. Titleist heard your feedback on the previous T200 irons, and it listened. The new 2023 T200 irons have a reengineered chassis to create a stiffer structure and create a more stable feeling and muted sound. They also refined the Max Impact Technology within the head to sit closer to the L-face, further solidifying the feel.

Fitter comments: 

  • “Best overall for us. Great looks, workability. Plenty of forgiveness.”
  • “I like the great look of these and they are easy to play for the average golfer.”
  • “That’s a big combo iron for sure, especially, but it’s also, you know, in that player distance category, it’s one of the higher launching ones, and it’s gonna spin a little bit more. I would say some of those irons in that category they launch, you know, they’ve launched a little bit lower and they don’t spin, which it is great for some players, but also some still want to play a smaller package.”
  • “I think it was definitely a big jump from the previous one. Yeah, I mean, one thing I’ve noticed is compared to some of the other irons, even kind of equal loft, it tends to get a little bit more height on it.”
  • “It’s great for one of those guys that if I get in there that’s kind of hitting a little low. It’s one to kind of throw in my hands…you’re seeing that initial launch kind of pick up a little bit compared to some of the other ones.”

For more photos/info, read our launch piece.

Best irons of 2024: Meet the fitters

RELATED: Best driver 2024

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