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‘It’s the perfect club’ – GolfWRXers discuss Callaway’s new Apex UW utility wood

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In our forums, our members have been discussing Callaway’s new Apex UW utility wood. WRXer ‘CopeGolfer’ is interested in hearing from members who have hit the club, and plenty of WRXers have been sharing their very positive early experiences with the UW in our forum.

Here are a few posts from the thread, but make sure to check out the entire discussion and have your say at the link below.

  • XanderSingh: “I took mine out for the first time yesterday! I have it shafted with an Atmos Blue 8x. I have a 21 degree to go up against my 7 wood. I really like it so far; it’s much easier to work and flight the ball than my 7 wood. Also should mention that I’ve never gotten along with hybrids. I would equate it to fairway woods that I played as a junior (early 2000’s). Also, I think it’s for everyone really; my friend who is an 18 handicap hit it a few times and really loved it. So much that he picked up a 17 degree on his way home to replace his 4 wood.”
  • PowerCobra98: “I’ve had mine for about a week now. It’s the perfect club. Really the best of both worlds between fairway and hybrid.”
  • mootrail: “Got Mine! Looks fantastic! Easy to hit, centered every one and feels hot and solid (off the mat). I settled for the Project X as I didn’t want to wait but seemed decent at the shop. From address, it reminds me a lot of my Nickent 3DX Utility DC which was exactly this; a cross between their fairway and hybrid. Beyond that, it’s miles different. Mats and launch monitors are meaningless to me; I can’t wait to get it out on the course! I will say it sets up open, launches low and definitely seems anti-left; exactly what I’m looking for.”
  • QuigleyDU: “This club is awesome. I am completely smitten.”

Entire Thread: ‘It’s the perfect club’ – GolfWRXers discuss Callaway’s new Apex UW utility wood

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Gianni is the Assistant Editor at GolfWRX. He can be contacted at [email protected] Follow him on Twitter @giannimosquito

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Whats in the Bag

Rory McIlroy WITB 2022 (January)

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  • Rory McIlroy what’s in the bag accurate as of the Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship. Images via @sms_on_tour.

Driver: TaylorMade Stealth Plus (9 degrees)
Shaft: Fujikura Ventus Black 6 X

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

5-wood: TaylorMade Stealth Plus (19 degrees)
Shaft: Fujikura Ventus Black 9 X

Irons: TaylorMade P770 (3), TaylorMade Rors Proto (4-PW)
Shafts: Project X Rifle 7.0

Wedges: TaylorMade MG3 (54-HB13, 58-HB12)
Shaft: Project X Rifle 6.5

Putter: TaylorMade Spider X Hydro Blast
Grip: SuperSroke Pistol GT Tour

Ball: 2021 TaylorMade TP5x (#22)

Grips: Golf Pride MCC

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6’9”, 211 mph ball speed: Inside James Hart du Preez’s setup

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You may have heard some rumblings about a 6-foot 9-inch golfer who averages 373 yards off the tee, and is teeing it up at the 2022 American Express this week at PGA West’s Stadium Course in La Quinta, California.

His name is James Hart du Preez, a 26-year-old South African Ping staffer who’s making his PGA Tour debut this week.

Previously, Bryson DeChambeau and Wilco Nienaber (a fellow Ping staffer) were the kings of distance on the PGA Tour. It looks like there may be a new head honcho in town, though.

I’ll admit, I was initially skeptical of du Preez’s distance (he averaged 373.1 yards in 2020/2021 on The Sunshine Tour, a South African tour. For reference, DeChambeau led the PGA Tour in driving distance in 2021, averaging 323.7 yards per drive). To get some verification, I got in touch with du Preez’s Ping club fitter Brad Millard. I also wanted to know what’s different about the club setup of a guy who is so tall and hits the ball so far.

Millard, the Player Development Manager at Ping’s Headquarters in Phoenix, personally fit du Preez for his current Ping equipment. In speaking with Millar on Wednesday ahead of The American Express, it appears all of the rumors are true. Du Preez really does hit his drives with 208-211 mph of ball speed.

He’s also done something that no other golfer has accomplished at the Ping fitting facility; he carried the back net of Ping’s range from the indoor hitting bay. That’s something Bubba Watson, Tony Finau, Cameron Champ, or even Wilco Nienaber have ever done. According to Millar, it was a 375-yard carry, with over 143 mph of club head speed.

Apparently, du Preez is the real deal — at least when it comes to distance.

Check out my Q&A with Millar below, and for more photos of du Preez’s equipment setup at the 2022 American Express, click here.

Tursky: First off, can you talk about what it’s like working with du Preez, and is 211 ball speed real? Also, what are some of the challenges that with working with a guy who’s that tall?

Millard: He’s done something we’ve never seen at Ping. James Hart is the only guy I’ve seen hit one over the fence from our bay. It was a 375-yard carry, with over 143 club head speed to launch it over our net.

I would say the biggest challenge is his height and getting clubs long enough. He had never really tested shafts out. He was using X100s when he came to us, and I switched him into a little heavier and stiffer X7, which seemed to help for his height and strength.

The biggest thing that we had to focus on for him was making sure we didn’t get him into equipment that would produce fliers. You can imagine with how far he hits it; he creates gaps bigger than most players do.

How far does he hit a 7-iron?

Around 225 yards. His 8-iron went about 190-195, so we had to make sure we got him into something that would spin enough so it didn’t produce fliers. We didn’t want him to hit a ball 230 when he was trying to hit 220 because the ball didn’t spin enough.

That was one of the main focuses on our fitting, was gapping and going through and making sure he didn’t have anything that would go too far, so if he had a number in mind he didn’t hit it over that.

What does he do with length, loft and shaft on his driver?

So the shaft is 46 inches, which, for him obviously, it looks as comfortable as a 45 or 45.5-inch driver would look to a normal human. It was more about comfort. We didn’t want to go too long, so we went with something comfortable for him that he could control. That’s how we landed with 46 inches. As far as loft, he obviously doesn’t need a lot of loft because of his club head speed it just spins too much.

It’s a pretty low lofted driver, a 9-degree Ping G425 LST head (with 8 degrees of actual loft), and a very stiff shaft in that Project X HZRDUS Smoke Green (80 TX, tipped 1-inch).

What are the lengths of his other clubs? Does he have to go super long?

Yeah, plus 2 inches.

What problems does that create, if any, with the build?

The only issue is that it makes the swing weight extremely heavy, but due to how strong he is, he doesn’t seem to mind whereas other players might feel that, just due to his size and strength.

What are his swing weights?

E0, and most other players play their clubs between D2-D5. They’re pretty heavy.

So for his other clubs, he has a 3-wood and a driving iron?

Correct, and he uses those a lot since due to his length, he doesn’t always need driver.

I’m not sure if you’ve worked with Wilco Nienaber at all, but is he longer than Wilco?

Yeah, I had Wilco in two days before and yes, he is a little longer than Wilco. Not by much, I mean Wilco still hits it out there, but he definitely has Wilco by a few.

I was recently watching Wilco hit drives at the hitting bay and I thought there’s no way a golf ball can father than that, but I guess it can…

Yeah, and partially why Wilco hits it far – I’ve seen Cameron Champ and I’m sure you have, too – but part of the reason Wilco hits it so far is due to his launch conditions. I would say Wilco was about 202-205 ball speed, and James was 208-210 or 211 ball speed, and with similar launch conditions, so that gave him a few extra yards.

Anything else I need to know about this kid?

I think all of us are anxious to see how he performs at this level. Obviously he has the tools and the length to play, it’s just whether he can hit it as close as these guys and make putts to make a cut. So I think we’re all curious to see.

When he came in and we were just warming up, he got to his 7-iron and I was like, holy cow, he’s swinging his 7-iron 110 mph like my driver. This is the craziest thing I’ve ever seen. I pulled in some people, like John Souza who manages our WRX department who’s worked at Ping forever, and Christian Pena was there. I’m like, you guys gotta see this. Then he flew the net, and I basically shut down the fitting. I’m like, OK, there’s nothing else I can do when you’re hitting it that far and that straight, over the net. It’s like, ‘I think you’re driver is good, bud.’ I’ve never seen anybody hit it over that net except James.

Make sure to check out all of our photos of du Preez’s equipment in our forum thread.

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David Duval joins Callaway Tour staff

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David Duval has signed with Callaway ahead of a year that will see him play a full Champions Tour schedule.

For 2022, the former World Number One will play Callaway woods, irons, a Callaway Chrome Soft ball, and an Odyssey putter on the Champions Tour.

Speaking on joining Callaway and playing the Champions Tour, Duval said

“I’ve been working hard on my game for almost a year now, I feel confident about where I’m at, and I’m looking forward to getting back out and competing. In the past I’ve never really been affiliated with one golf brand, and more recently I’ve been looking for a relationship with a company that feels like a family. That’s exactly what I’ve found with the Callaway Team, and I believe that they make the best, most consistent equipment in the game.

I’ve always admired the quality of their products, and with the new golf ball alone I’ve picked up 3 mph ball speed, which has really made a difference for me. They have had so much success especially in recent years across the professional Tours, including the Champions Tour where they’re the most played brand. Joining Callaway is a natural fit for me, and I’m excited for what’s ahead.”

The 50-year-old will make his Champions Tour debut this week in Hawaii, and this summer he will compete in the 150th Open at St. Andrews and at the British Senior Open in Gleneagles.

In addition to using Callaway and Odyssey equipment, Duval will wear TravisMathew apparel and footwear from Cuater by TravisMathew.

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