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Tour Report: 9 burning gear topics from the 2022 American Express

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As the first mainland PGA Tour event of 2022, The American Express Championship was an especially busy week for GolfWRX. We got our first in-hand look at new products that have launched on Tour, and PGA Tour players have been testing them at length to see if they’re the right fit.

In our first Tour Report of 2022 (which will be a weekly staple going forward), we highlight all of the notable changes, WITB photos, and gear reports from inside the ropes.

Before we get into the inaugural Tour Report below, I wanted to provide a brief state of the union on what’s going on here at GolfWRX. I’m Andrew Tursky, former Editor-in-Chief of GolfWRX, and current head of Tour content. Over the past three years, since leaving GolfWRX, I’ve spent my time inside the ropes at PGA Tour events working for two different media outlets. Within that period, I’ve built and strengthened relationships with Tour reps, players, and caddies. GolfWRX has given me the opportunity to bring my inside-the-ropes reports to this website — a huge ‘thank you’ to current Editor-in-Chief, Ben Alberstadt. In other words: I’m back. Honestly, I’ve missed GolfWRX and all of the people that make the community so fun, informative, and unique.

Going forward, I’ll be reporting on PGA Tour gear for GolfWRX (alongside GolfWRX’s veteran photographer Greg Moore), talking about my insights on podcasts (TG2 with Brian Knudson is coming back), and doing a lot more exciting things I can’t wait to share with the GolfWRX audience. A sincere thank you for having me back.

OK. Let’s get into this week’s gear recap from The American Express…

Check out all of our photos from the 2022 American Express here. 

1. Matthew Wolff’s thoughts on the new Stealth Plus driver

Young bomber Matthew Wolff has switched into the new Stealth Plus driver (9 degrees), and as he told me this week, “It’s the best TaylorMade driver ever made.”

Being that he’s finding significantly more forgiveness from the Stealth Plus than TaylorMade drivers in the past, Wolff says he plans on hitting more drivers this year, even on tight holes. As a reminder, Wolff ranked fourth on the PGA Tour in driving distance last year (averaging 315.9 yards per drive), so tightening his dispersion should help him capitalize even more on his length advantage.

Read the full story here on PGATour.com

2. Patrick Reed’s new wedges

In one of the most significant new deals of 2022, former free agent Patrick Reed signed a driver and hat deal with PXG. This week, we got our first look at his new setup.

He’s currently bagging a PXG 0811X Gen4 9-degree driver, which he actually started using back in October 2021. That wasn’t the only news for Reed this week, though. He also put new Grindworks “Barrett collection” wedges in the bag, which are named after his son and made completely custom for him. Reed and Grindworks have worked closely over the last two years shaping and developing the new wedges.

“We’ve been working really hard on designing the wedges through Grindworks,” Reed told GolfWRX on Tuesday. “They’ve been really good. It’s still a work in progress, trying to tweak them a hair here and there, but for me, it’s going to be a game-changer, because, let’s be honest, you have to be perfect from 130 yards-and-in nowadays on Tour, because that’s where you score every time.”

For more on Reed’s new wedges, click here. 

3. A look at the 6-foot 9-incher’s gear setup

James Hart du Preez is maybe the longest-hitting player in professional golf. The 26-year-old South African stands at 6-feet 9-inches tall, and he averaged 373 yards on The Sunshine Tour last year. Making his PGA Tour debut this week, we took photos of his WITB, and I also talked to his Ping fitter Brad Millard about what it’s like working with a guy who hits the ball so far. Lucky for us, Millard also shared a Trackman screenshot from a recent driver fitting with du Preez for us to ogle.

James Hart du Preez full WITB

4. New flatsticks abound

There’s been an influx of new putter designs hitting the Tour over recent weeks, and we got our first in-hand look at them at The American Express. Scotty Cameron, TaylorMade, Odyssey and Axis 1 have all revealed new models.

In the coming weeks, we’ll keep you informed on which players are switching into the new putters, and provide more information about the new designs as they become available from the OEMs. For now, enjoy all of the photos and speculation.

5. Ping Glide 4.0 and Titleist Vokey SM9 wedges

Ping and Titleist have officially revealed their new wedges to Tour players, and they’ve been conducting extensive testing to see what bounce and grind options are right for each player. Unfortunately for us, we’re not yet being told about the tech and design philosophies. For now, we’ll just have to look at the photos of the new launches.

Here’s a look at the new Ping Glide 4.0 wedges

And here’s a look at the Titleist Vokey SM9 wedges

I also spoke to legendary wedge maker Bob Vokey about his design process and thoughts on the new wedges. Check out that conversation here.

6. New Cobra LTDx drivers launch

Cobra officially launched its new LTDx drivers to the public, and we dove deep into the new designs.

“The LTDx driver lineup reflects our team’s continued dedication to innovation and improved performance. With the introduction of PWR-COR and H.O.T Face technology, our engineers have, yet again, developed innovation that improves CG and MOI while making the face hotter and more forgiving. 

“The resulting LTDx family of drivers are the best we have ever produced, and the three distinct driver models ensure that every golfer can achieve optimized performance for their game. We look forward to seeing the LTDx on Tour and also in the hands of amateurs and weekend warriors at courses globally.” – Tom Olsavsky, Vice President of R&D, Cobra Golf.

At the 2022 American Express, I was also able to catchup with Jason Dufner, who spoke on his experiences with the LTDx model.

“One thing I have been seeing is the strikes have been really consistent off the middle of the face,” Dufner told GolfWRX. “People don’t believe this, but sometimes the driver can droop in different ways. The last couple models I had, I felt like I had been making good swings but was catching it on the toe a little bit. So these have been really consistent off the middle. I’ve seen really good launch windows to my eye, good spin windows to my eye, but I haven’t tested it on Trackman yet.”

Dufner also weighed in on why he still plays a Titleist 915F fairway wood, which was released in 2014. Look at that wear mark!

7. Fujikura reveals new Ventus TR shaft

Fujikura’s Ventus series shafts have undoubtedly been some of the most popular metalwood shafts on the PGA Tour and in the marketplace for the past few years. This year, Fujikura has launched an all-new Ventus TR Blue version, which has a strong mid-to-butt section thanks to a new “Spread Tow” carbon weave. I went deep on the technology with Fujikura’s Spencer Reynolds, so make sure to check out that full Q&A here.

“Essentially, there’s a standard carbon weave and then there’s a Spread Tow carbon weave,” Reynolds explained to GolfWRX. “What a Spread Tow does is it takes all these individual strands of carbon and irons them flat into a tape, and then weaves those over-under, over-under almost like a checkerboard pattern. So there’s very little space for resin to accumulate, you get super low resin content, and then you also get a lot of strength in varying directions. It can take pull and load in multiple directions. Another benefit is that it’s super lightweight. You’re getting an incredible amount of strength, in an ultra-lightweight package.”

8. Mitsubishi’s new MMT putter shaft

More than ever, PGA Tour players are using graphite iron, wedge and putter shafts, taking advantage of composite materials to add consistency to their performance. In Mitsubishi’s MMT iron shafts, they use a multi-material “Metal Mesh” construction that combines graphite and steel. For its new MMT putter concept shafts, the company has developed a new “Speed Mesh,” which is 75 percent lighter.

I caught up with Preston Toulon, a Mitsubishi representative, at The American Express for more insight…

“The putter shaft uses a new application of Metal Mesh Technology called Speed Mesh, which is 75 percent lighter than traditional Metal Mesh you’d fine in iron shafts. What that allows you to do is instead of using it in a small portion of the shaft, because it’s so much thinner and so much lighter, you’re able to use it in the full length of the putter shaft. It’s a big material advancement for us.” 

“It makes the shaft more stable. Through player testing, they tell us it makes milled putters feel like they’re struck with an insert. People are reporting it makes it feel softer. It’s intended to help your start line and improve stability and feel. It helps players release the putter head more fully.” 

“We did a lot of testing versus steel putter shafts, mostly through GEARS motion capture system…we had face-mapping patterns, and in nearly all cases, there was tighter dispersion, tighter impact location (more center face), more consistent feel, and more speed control.” 

“So, we’ve had a lot of early excitement.” 

9. The world No. 1’s gear setup

Jon Rahm, the current No. 1 golfer in the Official World Golf Rankings, has some new gear in the bag, including a Rogue ST Triple Diamond LS driver and a Rogue ST prototype fairway wood. Check all the photos of his equipment here.

Driver: Callaway Rogue ST Triple Diamond LS (10.5 degrees @11.2) (10GF, 4GB)
Shaft: Aldila Tour Green 75 TX (45.25 inches, tipped 1 inch, D4)

3-wood: Callaway Rogue ST LS Triple Diamond Proto (15 degrees @14.2) (14GF, 10GB)
Shaft: Aldila Tour Green 75 TX (43.25 inches, tipped 1.5 inches, D3.25)

5-wood: Callaway Epic Speed Sub Zero Triple Diamond T (@18.1 degrees) (14 GF, 12 GB)
Shaft: Graphite Design Tour AD-DI (Black) 8 X (42 inches, tipped 2 inches, D4)

Irons: Callaway Apex TCB (4-PW)
Shafts: Project X 6.5

Wedges: Callaway Jaws Forged (52-10, 56-12 @55.25), Callaway Jaws MD5 (60-08W)
Shafts: Project X 6.5

Putter: Odyssey White Hot OG Rossie S (Micro Hinge Star insert, steel stepped shaft, 37 inches, 2.5-degrees loft, 68-degree lie, 544 grams overall weight)
Grip: Odyssey 56 pistol

Ball: Callaway Chrome Soft X 2022 (#10)

Grips: Golf Pride MCC (red/black)

That will do it for this week’s gear recap, and we’ll see you next week at the 2022 Farmers Insurance Open at Torrey Pines.

Don’t miss all of our photos from the 2022 American Express.

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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.

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Whats in the Bag

Xander Schauffele WITB 2024 (May)

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  • Xander Schauffele what’s in the bag accurate as of the PGA Championship. 

Driver: Callaway Paradym Ai Smoke Triple Diamond (10.5 degrees @10.1)
Shaft: Mitsubishi Diamana PD 70 TX (45.5 inches)

3-wood: Callaway Paradym Ai Smoke Triple Diamond (15 degrees)
Shaft: Mitsubishi Diamana PD 80 TX

Hybrid: Callaway Apex UW (21 degrees)
Shaft: Mitsubishi Diamana D+ 90 TX

Irons: Mizuno MP-20 (3), Callaway Apex TCB ’24 (4-10)
Shafts: True Temper Dynamic Gold Tour Issue Mid X100 (3), True Temper Dynamic Gold Tour Issue X100 (4-10)

Wedges: Callaway Jaws Raw (52-10S), Titleist Vokey Design SM10 (56-10S @57), Titleist Vokey Design WedgeWorks Proto (60-K @61)
Shafts: True Temper Dynamic Gold Tour Issue X100

Putter: Odyssey Toulon Design Las Vegas Prototype 7CH
Grip: SuperStroke Zenergy Tour 2.0

Grips: Golf Pride MCC Align

Ball: Callaway Chrome Tour

Check out more in-hand photos of Xander Schauffele’s clubs in the forums.

More Xander Schauffele WITBs

 

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Whats in the Bag

Cam Smith WITB 2024 (May)

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Driver: Titleist TSR3 (10 degrees, D4 SureFit setting)
Shaft: Fujikura Ventus TR Blue 6 X

3-wood: Ping Max G430 Max (15 degrees)
Shaft: Fujikura Ventus TR Red 7 X

7-wood: Titleist TS2 (21 degrees, D4 SureFit setting)
Shaft: UST Mamiya Elements Proto 8F5

Irons: Mizuno Pro Fli-Hi (2, 3), Titleist T100 (5-9)
Shafts: KBS Tour 130 X Custom Series

Wedges: Titleist Vokey Design SM9 (46-10F, 52-08F, 56-08M, 60-04T)
Shafts: KBS Tour 130X (46, 52, 56, 60)

Putter: Scotty Cameron 009M

Grips: Golf Pride Tour Velvet Tack

Ball: Titleist Pro V1x

Check out more in-hand photos of Cam Smith’s gear here.

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Whats in the Bag

Patrick Reed WITB 2024 (May)

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Driver: Ping G400 (8.5 degrees)
Shaft: Aldila Rogue Silver 125 MSI 70 Tour X

3-wood: Callaway Paradym Ai Smoke Triple Diamond (15 degrees)
Shaft: Aldila Rogue Silver 125MSI 80 Tour X

Hybrid: Callaway Apex Pro (18 degrees)
Shaft: Aldila RIP Phenom Hybrid 100 TX

Irons: Titleist 716 TMB (2), Grindworks PR-202 (4), Grindworks PR-101A (5-PW)
Shafts:  True Temper Dynamic Gold Tour Issue X100

Wedges: Cleveland RTX ZipCore (50-10 Mid), Titleist Vokey Design SM9 (56-08M @55), SM10 (60-04T)
Shafts: True Temper Dynamic Gold Tour Issue S400

Putter: Odyssey White Hot RX Pt Customs No. 2

Ball: Titleist Pro V1

Grips: Golf Pride MCC

More photos of Patrick Reed’s WITB in the forums.

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