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Xander Schauffele switches to armlock putter…despite wanting the method banned

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Xander Schauffele has made a significant putting switch this week at Murfield Village, implementing the armlock method on the greens — a technique he feels should be banned.

The Californian is statistically one of the best putters on Tour and ranks ninth this season for strokes gained: putting. However, in a surprising move, he has now decided to move to an armlock version of his regular putter (Odyssey O-Works #7 CH Red) in search of more advantage.

On Thursday, Schauffele told media following his opening round that it’s still a method he believes should be banned on Tour despite the change.

“My putting coach (Derek Uyeda), my whole team honestly, we’re very against change and I had to see what the craze was about. I do feel funny, obviously being a top-10 putter on Tour, switching putters or the style of putting. It’s a distinct advantage.

“I am for banning the armlock putters, but if everyone else is going to use it and I feel like they have a bigger advantage, I may as well do the same.”

The change worked to great effect in round one at the Memorial. Schauffele needed just 28 putts during his opening round of 68, and after his round, the Californian explained his new process on the greens.

“It’s easier; it’s more consistent. My coach and I work a lot in San Diego on start lines and making sure the ball’s doing what we think it’s doing. And the fact that [the putter] is anchored to your arm…you can flinch in your hands, but you can’t flinch your entire left arm. So that’s the process behind that.”

Despite the change in process, Schauffele still believes that the game’s authorities should ban the armlock method, saying how it “takes the stress of putting out of the game”.

“It takes the stress of putting out of the game. Putting is so stressful. Obviously hitting shots and chipping and all kinds of stuff are difficult, but your putts are what give you the score on the card. It’s ruined a lot of people’s careers and it’s helped people’s career.

“So I think putting is an art in our game and when you lock it to your arm or anchor it to your body, it kind of gets rid of that.”

As for putting goals, Schaufelle has set himself a big target of ending the season ranked number one in Strokes Gained: Putting, a goal he feels he can reach now with the armlock technique.

“I know how good it can be and I think you still have to read putts and get the speed down correct. I’m in a very similar setup compared to my old putter and I know I can putt with a shorter putter, so I figured if I can get an advantage on the greens, and maybe get to first in putting, that would be something special. So I’m going to give it a go.”

Xander Schauffele putter specs

  • Model: Odyssey Wrist Lock #7
  • Length: 38 inches
  • Loft: 5.5 degrees
  • Lie: 71.5 degrees
  • Shaft: Black stepped shaft
  • Grip: WristLock SuperStroke
  • Insert: White Hot
  • Alignment aids: Top and tracers in white
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Gianni is the Managing Editor at GolfWRX. He can be contacted at [email protected].

7 Comments

7 Comments

  1. Bing

    Jun 6, 2021 at 9:45 am

    38 inch arm lock? He must be pretty short…

  2. Imafitter

    Jun 5, 2021 at 5:29 pm

    I’ve tried Bettinardi & Ping arm-lock, but can’t make them work for me. Too uncomfortable.

  3. Chuck Swift

    Jun 4, 2021 at 8:38 pm

    @BillyBob…….that paragraph is beautiful! Can’t help but think of Chris Farley saying those exact words on SNL, followed with a

    LadeeFreakin’DAH!!

  4. Lyle

    Jun 4, 2021 at 10:49 am

    Typical hypocrisy. When something innovative comes along they look to change the rules to get rid of it. They want to eliminate something that helps golfers play better and enjoy the game. There intent is to damage, as much as possible, the success of others.
    Having used armlock since the mid eighties, I can attest that one is still able to flinch. It’s not a superior method, just helpful for some.

    • Jake

      Jun 7, 2021 at 12:16 pm

      Golf is supposed to be hard. Get over it or take up bowling w/ bumpers.

  5. Gregory

    Jun 4, 2021 at 9:28 am

    Kinda awesome he backed up his statement by playing it. All these guys say how it’s soooo much better, it’s easier, it’s basically cheating etc. so why don’t you do it while it’s legal?

  6. BillyBob

    Jun 4, 2021 at 8:37 am

    Cant flinch entire left arm??? Shoot i know people that can (myself included) flinch left arm, leg, hip AND right kankle all at the same time over a 3 footer on 18 for 2nd in the C flight championship.

    Hey if you cant beat em, join em then rob em blind right under their nose amirite???

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Whats in the Bag

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Putter: Scotty Cameron Special Select Timeless Tourtype GSS Prototype

Ball: Titleist Pro V1

Grips: Golf Pride Tour Velvet

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

 

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Best irons in golf of 2024: Most technology packed

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

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

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

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

Best irons of 2024: The process

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

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

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

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

Best irons of 2024: The categories

2024 Best irons: Most technology packed

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

Callaway Paradym Ai Smoke

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

Fitter comments:

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

For more photos/info, read our launch piece.

TaylorMade P790

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

Fitter comments:

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

For more photos/info, read our launch piece.

Titleist T350

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

Fitter comments: 

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

For more photos/info, read our launch piece.

Srixon ZX5 Mk II

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

Fitter comments: 

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

For more photos/info, read our launch piece.

Ping G430

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

Fitter comments:

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

Best irons of 2024: Meet the fitters

RELATED: Best driver 2024

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Read the full piece on PGATour.com.

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