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TOUR REPORT: 3 jaw-dropping custom Augusta National putters spotted before the Masters

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Welcome to the Tour Report from the 2022 Valero Texas Open, which is the final PGA Tour event before he Masters. It’s the last chance for players without a Masters invite to get into the field, and it’s the last chance for Masters participants to get dialed in with their games. It’s the final test.

You may think the Valero is the proverbial calm before the storm, but there’s not much “calm” about TPC San Antonio. It’s a long and difficult layout that’s exposed to the whipping Texas winds; the conditions aren’t much of a preview to the tree-lined and typically calmer Augusta weather we’ll see next week.

Alas, in this week’s Tour Report, we’ll run down all of the interesting gear and equipment switches we spotted in San Antonio the week before the Masters. Check out our rundown of the most interesting topics below.

If you want more gear insight and information, tune into our latest “Two Guys Talkin Golf” podcast here, and for more photos from the Valero Texas Open, head over to our forum thread.

And with that, let’s get into this week’s Tour Report.

Spieth’s Masters prep and gear insights

Jordan Spieth is only 28 years old, but he already has five top-3 finishes in The Masters, including a win in 2015. He has veteran-like experience, so I was curious what gear changes he makes to prepare for the uniquely challenging conditions that Augusta National presents.

As it turns out, Spieth doesn’t really change much.

Every week, Spieth decides between a driving iron and a hybrid depending on course layout and weather, and he says he’s going with his trusty Titleist 818H2 (21 degrees) at Augusta to help take advantage on approach shots on the par 5’s.

While many Masters participants will switch into lower bounce wedges to deal with the firm Augusta pitching areas, Spieth explained that he never changes his wedge setup to deal with different grasses or bunkers.

“I don’t change anything for Augusta,” Spieth said. “I don’t change anything regardless if I’m on soft sand, firm sand, if I’m on bentgrass, or really grainy Bermuda. I’ve learned to pitch on grainy Bermuda, meaning I drive the ball into the ground. I don’t use bounce, so I have very little on my 60-degree. Even out of a bunker, I try to enter the club really close to the ball so it doesn’t make a difference if it’s firm or soft to me. It’s a technique thing. If it’s off, it’s not the bounce of the wedge.”

Since Spieth says he uses the leading edge when chipping and pitching, rather than using the bounce of the wedge, he prefers a Vokey T-grind, which Vokey rep Aaron Dill says is probably the lowest-bounce offering in the lineup. Spieth’s Vokey WedgeWorks T-grind 60 degree also has heel relief so the leading edge sits closer to the ground when he opens up the face.

For our full gear Q&A with Spieth, check it out on PGATOUR.com.

C.T. Pan shows off the bronze medal and a new toy

Representing Taiwan, C.T. Pan won the bronze medal at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, and he happened to have the medal with him at the Valero this week. Of course, we had to get some up-close photos of it.

That’s not the only cool piece of gear he had with him this week, though. Pan also got a new Scotty Cameron T-11.5 proto putter decked out in custom University of Washington purple paintfill, and equipped with a purple Scotty Cameron grip.

Abe Ancer’s mysterious 5-wood

Ancer switched into a new 5-wood last week, and we were able to take some in-hand photos of it this week.

But… what is it, exactly?

According to Callaway’s head of tour content Johnny Wunder, the blank head is actually a Callaway Rogue ST Triple Diamond 18-degree 5-wood, it just doesn’t have the typical paint and branding on the sole.

If you love a clean look, it doesn’t get much cleaner than a head that has nothing printed on it at all (not even the loft).

Rickie Fowler’s blacked-out Diamana White Board

Like Ancer, Fowler also put a new piece of mysterious equipment in the bag.

While testing out the new Cobra LTDx LS driver (9 degrees, set to 7 degrees), Fowler wanted to put a Mitsubishi Diamana White Board shaft into the head that he’d been using in his previous Cobra King F9 driver. The problem was that Mitsubishi no longer makes that shaft, which originally came out back in 2006, and they didn’t have any White Board shafts in stock that had the original branding.

They did, however, have an old stock of Diamana White Board shafts laying around that they used to experiment with a laser etching machine in 2013.

So, Fowler’s new black-on-black Diamana shaft is actually an original White Board shaft.

There’s actually way more to the full story, which you can read here.

3 awesome Augusta-inspired custom putters

With The Masters right around the corner, it’s no surprise that we started to see some custom Augusta National-inspired gear out at the Valero.

Here are three standout putters we spotted:

Piretti made just 200 of these custom Masters putters with a colorful Azalea flower on the sole. Unfortunately, according to a Piretti representative, they’re already sold out. Luckily they kept one around so we could capture some in-hand photos, at least.

While this isn’t an entirely new design from Swag Golf, it’s one of my favorites. The food and drinks at The Masters are both inexpensive and delicious, making the Masters menu especially iconic. Personally, I think the famous Pimento Cheese sandwich is overrated, but that’s another argument for another day.

The Swag-brand skull being transformed into a Georgia Peach is a nice touch, too.

Odyssey Toulon also concocted a custom Magnolia putter with a green dot as the alignment aid, and an Azalea flower milling on the sole. It’s a subtle yet classy design, and it comes without Toulon’s usual Diamond face milling.

Dustin Johnson’s under-the-radar gear switch

DJ isn’t a stranger to testing out driver shafts; he’s constantly searching for the right fit from week-to-week.

Although Johnson isn’t playing in this week’s Valero Texas Open, we got an in-hand look at the new LA Golf “DJ FS6X Rev. 8” driver shaft that he put in play at the Valspar Championship.

As the model name would imply, this is the 8th version of the custom shaft. We’ll keep an eye on Johnson’s driver next week at The Masters to see if it hangs around, or whether he’ll be onto version No. 9.

More photos and discussion about Johnson’s new LA Golf shaft

Any Contra fans here?

Admittedly, I had no idea what Andrew Novak’s alignment stick cover was referencing, but luckily a few of our GolfWRX forum members helped shed some light. Apparently, Novak’s cover shows a “Konami code” that was first used in the game Gradius, and later made famous in the Nintendo game “Contra,” according to this article.

If you already know what the Konami Code is, I apologize for my ignorance. If you’re like me and want to know more about it, check out this YouTube explanation from the Gaming Historian:

And that’s “Game Over” for this week’s Tour Report from the 2022 Valero Texas Open.  We’ll see you next week from the home of the green jackets.

For more photos and discussion, check out our forum thread 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.

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Whats in the Bag

WITB Time Machine: Tiger Woods, 2017 Hero World Challenge

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Following a 10-month layoff and his then-fourth back surgery, Tiger Woods teed it up at the 2017 Hero World Challenge. Tiger finished 9th in the event, 10 strokes behind Rickie Fowler, but the 15-time major champion also gave fans some glimpses of his former dominance, including this majestic 3-wood approach shot from 271 yards out on a par 5:

He also had an amazing chip in for birdie on the 17th hole:

Tiger’s driver was also excellent that week, and his overall stats were pretty impressive in his second round: Woods hit 9 of 13 fairways, 13 of 18 greens and 27 putts. 31-37=68.

Woods was expected to return to action at this week’s competition — making his first start since The Open Championship in July where he missed the cut. However, he announced Monday he was withdrawing owing to plantar fasciitis in his right foot.

Tiger Woods WITB 2017 Hero World Challenge

Driver: TaylorMade M2 2016 (9.5 degrees)
Shaft: Mitsubishi Tensei CK Pro White 70 TX

3-wood: TaylorMade M1 2017 (13.5 degrees)
Shaft: Mitsubishi Tensei CK Pro White 90TX

Driving Iron: TaylorMade Tour Preferred UDI (18 degrees)
Shaft: Project X PXi 7.0

Irons: “TGR” prototypes (3-PW)
Shafts: True Temper Dynamic Gold Tour Issue X100

Wedges: Nike VR Pro Forged (56 and 60 degrees)
Shafts: True Temper Dynamic Gold Tour Issue S400

Putter: Scotty Cameron Newport 2 GSS

Ball: Bridgestone Tour B XS

Grips: Golf Pride Tour Velvet Cord

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Coolest thing for sale in the GolfWRX Classifieds (11/28/22): TEI3 Scotty Cameron Del Mar Long Slant

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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 TEI3 Scotty Cameron Del Mar Long Slant

From the seller (@TaylorMadeHunter1): “Restore completed by the Scotty Shop. New Grip. Shaft band from the Scotty Shop . Includes Scotty Shop box and Club Bag. 34”. I bought this with intentions to game it but life happens and now I need some cash.  You will not find a Long Slant TeI3 in this condition for a lower price anywhere. $700.”

To check out the full listing in our BST forum, head through the link: TEI3 Scotty Cameron Del Mar Long Slant 

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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Whats in the Bag

Akshay Bhatia WITB 2022 (November)

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Driver: Callaway Rogue ST (9 degrees @8)
Shaft: Fujikura Ventus Black 7 X

3-wood: Callaway Rogue ST Max (15 degrees)
Shaft: Fujikura Ventus Black 8 X

Hybrid: Callaway Apex UW (19 degrees)
Shaft: Fujikura Ventus Black 10 X

Irons: Callaway X Forged UT (22 degrees), Callaway Apex TCB (5-PW)
Shafts: KBS $-Taper 125

Wedges: Callaway Jaws Raw (50-10S, 54-10S, 60-08C)
Shafts: KBS $-Taper 125

Putter: Odyssey 2-Ball Ten (long)
Grip: SuperStroke Traxion Tour long

Grips: Iomic

More photos of Akshay Bhatia’s WITB in the forums.

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