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This PGA Tour pro is using a ridiculously expensive 1-of-1 sand wedge. Here’s why

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It’s not uncommon for a PGA Tour player to use a one-off prototype golf club that’s not available to the public. If you follow our weekly photos in the GolfWRX forum threads, you know that’s the case. Some of the world’s best players simply require a different look and feel than what comes stock from the OEMs, and, for the most part, PGA Tour players are in a position to get any club modification they want.

Dylan Frittelli’s new Callaway Apex TCB sand wedge, though, is a next-level custom job that could represent a shift in equipment usage for golfers going forward.

Most tour players and mid-to-low-handicappers use what you’d consider a set of “standard” wedges, which are characterized by thick soles, thick hosels, rounded profiles and blade-style back sections. Their more angular cavity-back (or muscleback) iron sets typically stop at either the 9-iron or the pitching wedge, while their higher-lofted clubs have a standard wedge design.

Just for reference, below is a look at Frittelli’s 56-degree sand wedge from March 2021, which showcases what a “standard” wedge looks like.

Why do players use differently designed clubs for their irons and wedges?

Well, that’s what Frittelli wanted to know.

“I’m like, why do I use a sand wedge with a blade? I asked the Callaway rep and Roger Cleveland, they were all like, ‘No, there’s no reason, it’s just people do that,'” Frittelli told GolfWRX on Monday ahead of the 2022 Farmers Insurance Open.

Last year, Frittelli switched into a Callaway Apex TCB gap wedge that was a stock offering in the iron set, and he found the distance numbers to be more consistent on mishits due to the cavity-back design.

Click here for more info and conversation about the Apex TCB irons.

“The simple story is, I switched to the gap wedge in L.A. last year. I saw it on Instagram – I think it was in Austin the guys gave it to me,” Frittelli explained. “Through putting it on Trackman, hitting distances and yardages with the wedge, I figured it was way more consistent than the next wedge down, which was a blade-like sand wedge. So I’m like, ‘Why not? Can you make me the same iron head in the sand wedge in that loft and see if we can try?'”

Since Frittelli found the Apex TCB gap wedge to work well, he wanted to try a sand-wedge version. The problem was, a 56-degree Apex TCB iron-like head didn’t exist.

That’s when Callaway’s R&D team got to work on the task…and it was NOT cheap.

“It took two or three months for them to make it, but I started using it last week and it’s really good,” Frittelli said. “Roger said to me it’s a $4,000 wedge basically. I don’t know what steel it is, but they ground it out and milled it and did whatever they could to get to the shape. They 3D modeled somehow so they can reproduce it cheaper and quicker.”

A $4,000 wedge has to be the most expensive wedge on the PGA Tour. But is it worth it? According to Frittelli, he’s experiencing performance gains across the board.

“Chipping is a little different, I had to adjust a little bit there,” Frittelli told GolfWRX. “But it feels fine, on most of my chip shots I use a sand wedge. It feels pretty good on that as well. So it’s really just a question of, ‘Why do you guys use these? Well, just because they use them.’ There’s no answer. There’s no extra spin, there’s no extra distance or less distance. For me, in my head, I just see spin numbers are more consistent on the longer shots, full shots, and slight mishits just fly to the yardage a lot better. And then out of the rough you have a little more mass behind it, which again, mishits and off-center it flies a lot better.”

Based on his experience with the Apex TCB gap wedge, Frittelli says it’s unlikely he’ll switch out of the sand-wedge version. This is certainly something to keep an eye on going forward, since Frittelli is breaking new ground in the wedge category on tour by using an iron-like wedge for his sand wedge.

“I just used (a blade-style wedge) because they never had that option,” Frittelli said. “Then when the TCBs came out, I saw the gap wedge was in the list of irons, so I was like, well, let me use it. And I didn’t turn back once I used it. So I don’t see myself turning back now from the sand wedge. I don’t think anyone is gonna follow me in that trend, but that’s OK. We’ll see if my wedge numbers start going off the charts.”

For average golfers, I pose the question: Why do you use a blade-style wedge, rather than a cavity-back, iron-like construction that may offer more forgiveness? That’s the question Frittelli asked, and it led him down this road. It will be interesting to see if his performance really does improve, and if the new wedge stays in the bag.

If you’re curious to try out a wedge like this for yourself, next time you’re shopping for irons, take note of the available options. Many irons sets come with gap wedges or sand wedges in their stock offerings. They may be worth a try.

Check out more photos from the 2022 Farmers Insurance Open here!

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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.

15 Comments

15 Comments

  1. Pingback: TOUR REPORT: Henrik Stenson goes DEEP on his Callaway Legacy Black irons from 2013 – GolfWRX

  2. Jeremy

    Jan 26, 2022 at 12:10 am

    This in not a new thing Callaway started offering the Mac Daddy CB wedge in 2020 I used them all last season they are great

  3. steve

    Jan 25, 2022 at 8:10 pm

    This is the story Terry Koehler (founder of Edison wedges) has been telling for many years. I have tried his wedges and I am sold.

  4. Garrett

    Jan 25, 2022 at 11:32 am

    but if he uses a CB sand wedge where will aaron dill put all those dope stampings. priorities

    • Aaron Dill

      Jan 25, 2022 at 12:49 pm

      Pay no attention to my charlatan ways.

  5. Steve Myrvold

    Jan 25, 2022 at 10:35 am

    Well, sandwiches come in all shorts of different sole configurations. The set wedge may be fine for more full type shots. But, the sand wedge needs to be very versatile. Sand conditions can make a different sole design very important.

  6. Dan W

    Jan 24, 2022 at 9:57 pm

    Why use a blade wedge? I’m shocked a pro doesn’t know these things. 2 reasons.
    1- the wedge head has the most aggressive grooves. Plus micro grooves or face milling or face texture which adds spin on the shorter shots.
    2- and most importantly. Flighting down shots and controlling trajectory.
    If a pro doesn’t see these things they sucks with a wedge.
    Ask any fitter, “why go with a bigger head?”…answer- yes, forgiveness but mostly, the bigger the head , the higher it makes the ball go.
    So a blade style club can easily flight the ball down, which is crucial with the wedge as choosing the proper trajectory is vital with a back pin then a front pin or to combat a head or tail wind.
    The reason we all use them isn’t “ well, we just do”. There’s a very important reason.

    • Seriously?

      Jan 25, 2022 at 12:36 am

      So, how many professional wins do you have and how long did you spend in the world top 50?
      I’m pretty sure Dylan can flight down these wedges without an issue.

  7. Jay

    Jan 24, 2022 at 9:32 pm

    I asked myself this same question not long ago. I’ve used Vokey blade wedges for years and years. I recently decided to switch to a cavity back sandwedge, The Callaway MackDaddy CB, and I have seen no performance drop off in consistency or spin, and I have gained some forgiveness. I am glad I questioned this and changed.

  8. Born

    Jan 24, 2022 at 9:29 pm

    My PW is 49.5 lol so prob same loft as TCB gpa wedge

  9. chip75

    Jan 24, 2022 at 8:42 pm

    “Many irons sets come with gap wedges or sand wedges in their stock offerings. They may be worth a try.”

    It depends on the set. The more player orientated the stronger the highest lofted club tends to be. That’s one of the reasons why they spent $4,000 on this spanner. Ping are one of the last OEMs to offer something like a 52° with the i210s (which Westwood games). It would be neat if we saw 56° and 60° set wedges. Ping probably had some of the last 2-SW/LW sets on tour with their Eye2 line, not sure if that got to i3s.

    • Dan w

      Jan 24, 2022 at 10:02 pm

      The Ping i210 GW is 50 deg.

      • Golf Nobel

        Jan 25, 2022 at 2:53 am

        Retro Spec is 52 and he probably has this configuration.

      • chip75

        Jan 25, 2022 at 8:14 pm

        Lee’s used two U wedges in the past, one a 49.5 the other a 53, as well as a 50/54 U set-up.

        I assume he uses the Sharpie yardage marks to tell the difference when they’re in the bag!

  10. Benny

    Jan 24, 2022 at 7:26 pm

    Always was a fan of my sets gap wedge. Looks better with the flow. Weight is consistent and for CB’s its helps.

    Great call and article Wrx.

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Equipment

TOUR REPORT: Details on JT’s new ultra-custom Scotty Cameron putter

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The PGA Tour is in McKinney, Texas this week for the 2022 AT&T Byron Nelson at TPC Craig Ranch, where players will have their final opportunities to tune up for the year’s second major, or to qualify for the event if they haven’t already.

It’s the proverbial calm before the PGA Championship storm next week at Southern Hills in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Of course, there’s nothing calm about the Texas wind this week, but you get the point.

As always, GolfWRX was live on site ahead of the Byron Nelson to take a look into players’ bags and see what gear they’re playing, and why.

We saw two particularly interesting custom clubs this week (Justin Thomas’ new putter, and Maverick McNealy’s super custom irons), and caught up with two players’ bags we haven’t photographed in a while (Jason Day and Justin Leonard).

Let’s dive right into this week’s Tour Report from Texas.

Max Homa speaks after his Wells Fargo victory

Following his fourth career PGA Tour victory, Max Homa joined our Two Guys Talking Golf (TG2) podcast to speak on his latest Titleist gear changes, his dream celebrity foursome, and what it feels like to win on the PGA Tour. As a biased co-host of the show, I suggest listening to the entire episode, but if you’re only in it for the Homa interview (understandable), skip to the 41:10 mark in the SoundCloud embed above. Or, check it out on YouTube here.

Odyssey’s Texas wedge

With the dry and windy conditions in Texas, the “Texas wedge” is more of an option this week than usual. For those who may not get the reference, a “Texas wedge” is when you decide to use a putter from off the green rather than chipping the ball into the air. Personally, as someone who has struggled with his chipping in recent years, the Texas wedge can be a savior of wasted strokes around the green.

Need work on your chipping? Check out this GolfWRX article: 5 “secrets” to improve your wedge game.

Details on Justin Thomas’ new Scotty Cameron putter

Justin Thomas has won 14 times on the PGA Tour, and most of his victories have come using the Scotty Cameron X5 Tour putter pictured above. Take particular note of the back cavity, the short slant neck, and the milled face.

Despite his prodigious performance with the trusty X5, Thomas came to the 2022 AT&T Byron Nelson with a new putter in the bag. Pictured below, it’s an ultra-custom Scotty Cameron T5 prototype.

While the head shape is nearly identical to his previous gamer, it has smoother milling marks on the face, a plumbers “knuckle” neck, and a plate added to the back cavity.

The “knuckle” neck features a silvered-out shaft piece that helps extend the neck to give Thomas the look and feel that he wants. The slightly different toe hang compared to his previous gamer works to help stabilize the face better throughout his stroke for a more consistent strike and starting direction, according to Scotty Cameron tour rep Drew Page.

The lightweight aluminum back plating in the cavity helps provide the right sound for Thomas. Back at the 2021 British Open, Thomas put a similar prototype putter into play that didn’t have the back plating, and he was looking for a slightly different sound.

“He started working with a knuckle neck last year before the British Open,” Page told GolfWRX on Tuesday. “He put the first version of it in play at the British Open. Then afterwards he came back with feedback for us, what he liked, what he didn’t like, and what he wanted to see out of it. We were able to create that…

“He was like, ‘Alright lets get into current product,’ so that’s why we went that direction. He can see something new, and he knew if he does get into it as a full time thing, there’s no shortage of current product to get, or head shapes, or new heads in that line if we want to alter necks.

“We’re still learning a little bit about everything it helps him with and what he loves. It stabilizes the stroke a little bit. His open to closure rate is just better, it’s more consistent as far as his strike and starting on line. He can feel it throughout the stroke a little bit. A player like that, it’s very much about honing in and being in touch with what they feel throughout the stroke. That produces confidence in being able to make putts, which is huge.”

See more photos of JT’s new putter here.

Embrace yourself

Cooper Dossey, a Ping staffer playing in the 2022 AT&T Byron Nelson, speaks with a slight stutter when saying certain words (such as “root beer”), or in certain situations.

Rather than shying away from the speech impediment, Dossey embraces it by stamping his Ping PLD putter with “Stutter King,” and stamping “Root Beer” on his Ping Glide wedge.

Kudos, Cooper.

Cooper Dossey’s Full 2022 WITB. 

Jason Day’s scratched up red Spider, and custom Odyssey protos

This week, we caught up with 2015 PGA Champion Jason Day to check out what clubs he’s using as an equipment free agent in 2022. Click here to see his full WITB.

Last week at the 2022 Wells Fargo Championship, Day switched back into his famous TaylorMade Spider Tour Limited Red putter that he popularized in 2016. Unfortunately, he’s since dropped the putter on a cart path and scratched the sole plate. Luckily, though, the putter still functions properly; it just has more character now.

That wasn’t the only putter he had in the bag on Tuesday, though. Although he said he plans to continue using the red Spider, Day was also testing out two different Odyssey Toulon “J Daytona” mallet putters.

More photos of Jason Day’s 2022 WITB. 

Maverick McNealy’s irons

For most of his professional career, Maverick McNealy has gone back and forth between a set of Callaway Apex MB irons, and a set of Nike VR Pro blades that he’s used for years.

For the last year, however, McNealy and Callaway have been working on an ultra custom 1-of-1 set of Apex MB irons that more closely match the looks, feel and performance that McNealy is searching for.

This week at the 2022 AT&T Byron Nelson, McNealy unveiled the set for the first time on the PGA Tour.

Check out the full story behind the custom irons here.

Here’s a snippet of what McNealy had to say about the irons:

“For me, getting that center of gravity out towards the toe, or should I say, getting that center of gravity further away from the hosel, gives me more club head awareness on the way down. It slows down the closure rate and keeps the club face square longer. I found out with other blades, because they’re so short heel to toe, and the center of gravity is so close to the heel, that I was shutting them down too fast for me. So these help keep the club face square on the way back and give me that awareness on the way through.

“We’re measuring offsets, impact height, location, lead groove height, there’s just so many little details that change the way you deliver the club, the way you feel it. The next thing we’re looking at is making sure every iron is spinning exactly the way we want through the bag especially with the new golf ball, the prototype golf ball (Chrome Soft X) that I’ve been playing from Callaway, which is awesome. It’s pretty cool to get to match an iron and a golf ball to hit exactly the flight I want to through the bag.”

Check out all of our photos of the irons. 

Justin Leonard 2022 WITB update

Justin Leonard, a 12-time PGA Tour winner from nearby Dallas, Texas, is playing in the AT&T Byron Nelson this week. The 49-year-old is now likely preparing for his Champion Tours debut in the near future, and nowadays he has a bag full of Callaway/Odyssey equipment. It’s always fun to see what clubs the legends decide to use as they continue into their later years in the game.

Make sure to check out his full 2022 WITB here.

And with that, we wrap up this week’s Tour Report from Texas. We’ll see you next week in Oklahoma for the 2022 PGA Championship!

Check out all of our photos from the 2022 AT&T Byron Nelson here.

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Best Mizuno irons of all time? – GolfWRXers discuss

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In our forums, our members have been discussing Mizuno irons. WRXer ‘Tomathist’ wants to know what model are considered the best in each iron category, and our members have been sharing their thoughts 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.

  • Mp14forlife: “Mp14. None of this crazy has to have a razor-thin top line nonsense, or crazy has to have zero offset nonsense. Easy to hit for a blade, Little bit of offset and a top line that gives you a bit of confidence and buttery feel! Great clubs!”
  • golf_junkie_85: “MP-33, these are the irons Tiger would’ve used if Titleist didn’t sign him up.”
  • Mirsir69: “Mp-33 has to be up there. All around I would go with the Mizuno pro 223’s though as they’re so versatile and still quite appealing. My only complaint there is I wish they would have forged the 7 iron the same was that they did 8-PW. I don’t mind the 4, 5, & 6 being a little bit hotter. Maybe could’ve gotten away with the 6 being forged as well, but I’m picky about feel.”

Entire Thread: “Best Mizuno irons of all time? – GolfWRXers discuss

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Coolest thing for sale in the GolfWRX Classifieds (5/13/22): Callaway UW

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At GolfWRX, we are a community of like-minded individuals that all experience and express our enjoyment of the game in many ways.

It’s that sense of community that drives day-to-day interactions in the forums on topics that range from best driver to what marker you use to mark your ball. It even allows us to share another thing we all love – buying and selling equipment.

Currently, in our GolfWRX buy/sell/trade (BST) forum, there is a listing for a Callaway UW.

From the seller (@tmaze177): “Callaway UW 19° standard length, RDX Black 5.5 shaft. Hit less than a dozen times. $245”

To check out the full listing in our BST forum, head through the link: Callaway UW

This is the most impressive current listing from the GolfWRX BST, and if you are curious about the rules to participate in the BST Forum you can check them out here: GolfWRX BST Rules

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