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TOUR REPORT: Maverick McNealy explains his “11-iron,” and a 12-year-old 5-wood finally gets replaced

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Welcome to Colonial Country Club in Fort Worth, Texas for the 2022 Charles Schwab Challenge.

As always, this week’s Tour Report will highlight the most interesting equipment that we spotted on the grounds this week ahead of the event. But first, a quick history lesson…or rather, a quick historical debate.

You may have heard that Colonial Country Club is nicknamed “Hogan’s Alley,” due to his five professional wins at the event (1946, 1947, 1952, 1953 and 1959). The “Hogan’s Alley” name, however, has also been applied to Riviera Country Club, because he won three times on the course in less than 18 months (he won the L.A. Open twice at Riviera in 1947 and 1948, then he won the U.S. Open at Riviera in 1948). There’s a third “Hogan’s Alley,” too. On the 6th hole at Carnoustie, Hogan reportedly split the out of bounds line on the left and the fairway bunker on the right for 4 straight days en route to winning the 1953 Open Championship. That small strip of fairway then became known as “Hogan’s Alley.”

Which one is the real Hogan’s Alley? Unfortunately, that’s not my call to make, so I’ll leave that debate up to the GolfWRX Forum Thread regarding the topic.

Nickname debates aside, let’s get into this week’s Tour Report from Colonial Country Club (a.k.a. Hogan’s Alley?!).

Click here to see all of our photos from the 2022 Charles Schwab Challenge.

Ben Hogan’s unbelievable prototypes revealed

Apparently, Ben Hogan wasn’t just a legendary golfer and ball striker, but he was a golf club visionary, too.

On Tuesday at the 2022 Charles Schwab Challenge, the Ben Hogan Foundation brought out a number of Hogan’s old personal clubs for PGA Tour players to try on the range. It’s always cool to see the modern players test out clubs that were made well before they were born.

Thanks to Robert Stennett, CEO of the Ben Hogan Foundation, GolfWRX was also granted the opportunity to check out a collection of Hogan’s personal prototypes from the early 1960’s that were previously locked away in a safe.

Hogan’s prototypes reveal that he was well ahead of his time as a club inventor. The five clubs that Stennett showed to GolfWRX included:

  • A driver made of metal (remember, TaylorMade didn’t come out with their first metalwood until 1979, and Hogan’s prototype was estimated to be made in the early 1960’s!)
  • A hybrid made of metal (the first “hybrid” as we know it today was released by Cobra in 1998)
  • A wooden driver with a bore-thru shaft and modern head shape
  • An extremely lightweight iron with an aluminum head and wave-like grooves
  • A putter with the shaft entering into the toe section of the putter rather than the heel

These golf clubs are truly one of a kind, and a huge THANK YOU goes out to the Ben Hogan Foundation for the opportunity to see the clubs and share their stories. You can check out our full feature story on the golf clubs over at PGATOUR.com, or click here for the all of the photos in our GolfWRX Forums.

Also, head over to the Ben Hogan Foundation’s website to learn more and get involved.

JT’s dad has an awesome Vokey wedge

Mike Thomas – Justin Thomas’ father and swing coach – can usually be seen walking alongside his son at PGA Tour events carrying around a Titleist Vokey SM6 wedge, which doubles as a walking stick.

In case you haven’t seen up-close photos of the wedge, it’s stamped with notable memories and events that Mike and Justin have shared together over the past few years. Each of the stampings is done by Vokey wedge rep and stamper extraordinaire Aaron Dill.

Dill has another stamp to add: the “2022 PGA Championship,” where JT won his second major championship in a playoff against Will Zalatoris last week.

The wedge is running out of room for stampings, so maybe for the upcoming Father’s Day, JT can gift his dad a fresh Vokey SM9 wedge to act as a blank canvas for future stamps.

Check out all our photos of the wedge here.

Maverick McNealy puts prototype 10 and 11 irons in play

In case you haven’t been following along to this ongoing gear story, Maverick McNealy revealed new Callaway Apex MB prototype irons at the 2022 AT&T Byron Nelson a few weeks ago. McNealy and the Callaway team had been working on the prototypes for over a year, and he put the 4-7 irons in play at the Byron Nelson.

He spoke in-depth on the designs with GolfWRX here.

Well, at the 2022 Charles Schwab Challenge, we caught up with McNealy, and he’s since filled out the set. Not only did he put the 8 and 9 iron prototypes into the bag, but he’s also using 10 and 11 irons this week.

Unlike the 4-9 irons, which have 17 narrowly spaced grooves, the 10 and 11 irons have 14 grooves that are more widely spaced for lower launch and additional spin/control.

“The 10 and 11 iron is a fun project for us because I almost never chip with a pitching wedge or gap wedge, and if I do it’s a bump and run, so I just want something that’s going to flow straight through from my short irons to my approach irons, or however you want to call them,” McNealy told GolfWRX. “I’ve seen them launch lower with a little bit more spin, which is great for distance control, and they feel just like my irons, which is a pretty exciting project.”

Our full story on the new full bag of Callaway prototypes is over on PGATOUR.com.

Pure bag appeal

Thanks to his copper Cobra King MIM Tour irons and rusted Titleist Vokey SM9 raw wedges, Erik Compton’s bag is one of those that you walk by and just have to do a double take. The irons, specifically, show that even pro golfers use designs with modern cavity back technology through the set; not all of them use blades or ultra-compact CB options.

To figure out which iron style and model may work best for your particular game and preferences, check out GolfWRX’s Best Irons for 2022.

Interestingly, Compton also bags an Axis1 Rose proto putter that was designed for Justin Rose. Speaking with Phil Long from Axis1 on Tuesday, GolfWRX learned that Justin Rose has 44.094 Strokes Gained: Putting in his last 34 measured major championship rounds since switching to his Axis1 Rose putter in 2019. Yeah, that’s pretty strong. No wonder the putter has also caught Compton’s eye.

Erik Compton’s full 2022 WITB at the Charles Schwab Challenge

An update on one of the most interesting WITBs on Tour

In our Tour Report from the 2022 WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play in March, we highlighted Richard Bland’s especially noteworthy WITB, which included Honma “Rose Proto” short irons with the “Rose” scratched out, and a TaylorMade Burner SuperFast 5-wood (released to retail in 2010).

At the 2022 Charles Schwab Challenge this week, we got an update on his setup. Apparently, Bland has finally switched out his 12-year-old 5 wood for a new 21-degree TaylorMade Stealth 7 wood, which he’s equipping with a Fujikura Ventus Red.

And with that, we say goodbye to Fort Worth and the 2022 Charles Schwab Challenge. We’ll see you next week at Muirfield Village Golf Club in Dublin, Ohio for the Memorial Tournament presented by Workday.

Click here to see all of our photos from the 2022 Charles Schwab Challenge.

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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.

2 Comments

2 Comments

  1. Pingback: Top-30 equipment photos from the 2021-2022 PGA Tour season – GolfWRX

  2. ChipNRun

    May 29, 2022 at 7:33 pm

    I find it amusing that the 10i and 11i are called prototypes.

    Years ago, MacGregor regularly featured the 10i and 11i in several of its 1960s and 1970s iron models.

    From 1974-1994, I played with MacGregor MT flatsole blades which contained a 10i rather than a PW. The 10i was great for half and full swings from fairway and rough, but fell short as a PW for touch shots around the green. The sharp leading edge tended to grab at the wrong time.

    For greenside, I used either a 7i chip or a SW cut shot (SW had a decent wedge-style flange).

    Today, Honma is one of the current manufacturers that offer 10i and 11i.

    Honma TR21 X IRONS

    CLUB #3 #4 #5 #6 #7 #8 #9 #10 #11
    LOFT 18.0° 20.0° 23.0° 26.0° 30.0° 34.0° 38.0° 43.0° 48.0°

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Equipment

Spotted: Custom Scotty Cameron putters at the Cognizant Classic

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Each week on the PGA Tour, we spot some pretty amazing Scotty Cameron Circle T putters that players are using or testing. This week is no exception as we have some great flatsticks that were built for players at the Congnizant Classic. Here are a few of the ones that stood out to us!

Jacob Bridgeman: Circle T Masterful+

The matte copper finish is something you don’t see a ton from Scotty Cameron, but it looks great on this putter. The Masterful+ is a version of the retail Newport+ with a slightly wider shape from face to back. A Teryllium face insert should offer a softer feel and sound, especially with the deeper milling on it.

Tom Kim: Circle T 5s

Kim’s putter might be the most unique here because of the center shaft, shaft alignment aid, and a sanded-down sole. When you look at the top of the putter, down near the heel, you can see an alignment aid that works with the shaft to make sure the putter face is square to the target. The sole also looks to have the center of it sanded down and that could be to ensure that the putter sits a certain way when it is resting on the turf.

Alejandro Tosti: Circle T Timeless+

This Timeless+ is a take on the retail Newport 2 Plus with a wider shape and a sole plate that moves more mass to the perimeter for added stability. Tosti went with a single site line on the topline of the putter, leaving the flange naked. We see another Teryllium face insert here for dialing in the sound and feel, but this time with shallower milling.

Ryo Hisatsune: Circle T F-3

We haven’t seen too many heel-shafted putters in the past couple of years, but recently they have made a slight comeback. Ryo’s F3 is based off the legendary Del Mar head shape with the larger shoulders surrounding the flange. This putter also has a unique “T” shaped alignment with a white line running from heel to toe on the top of the putter and a half line running from front to back on the flange. The face looks to have a pretty aggressive deep milling for a softer, quieter impact.

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Whats in the Bag

Shane Lowry WITB 2024 (March)

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  • Shane Lowry what’s in the bag accurate as of the Cognizant Classic.

Driver: Srixon ZX5 Mk II (8.5 degrees)
Shaft: Mitsubishi Diamana D+ White 70 TX

5-wood: TaylorMade M5 (19 degrees @ 18.25 degrees)
Shaft: Graphite Design Tour AD DI 8 X

Irons: Srixon ZX Utility (3, 20 degrees), Srixon ZX5 Mk II (4, 5), Srixon ZX7 Mk II (6-PW)
Shafts: Nippon N.S. Pro Modus3 Tour 120 X (3), KBS Tour 130 X (4-PW)

Wedges: Cleveland RTX 6 ZipCore Tour Rack (50-10 MID, 54-10 MID), Cleveland RTX Full Face (58-8)
Shafts: KBS Tour Wedge X Black

Putter: Odyssey White Hot OG 2-Ball
Grip: SuperStroke Pistol

Grips: Golf Pride Tour Velvet

Ball: Srixon Z-Star XV

 

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Equipment

Tua Tagovailoa’s WITB + 9 interesting equipment photos from the Cognizant Classic

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Welcome to the 2024 Cognizant Classic at PGA National in Palm Beach Gardens, where the Florida Swing officially gets underway

Not to oversell the story below, but we spotted a surprising amount of interesting gear this week.

We got our first look at Maverick McNealy’s updated set (he’s mostly a free agent now, aside from the putter), Jake Knapp’s two-driver setup, Chris Kirk’s show-stopping new black irons, Tom Kim’s “new” custom Scotty Cameron, an oddly high-tech prototype driver headcover, and we even got a look at Miami Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa’s set during the Wednesday Pro-Am.

There’s a lot to cover, and no time to waste. Let’s get right into the 9 interesting equipment photos below!

See all of our photos from the 2024 Cognizant Classic here

1) Our first look at Maverick McNealy’s setup in 2024

Now as an Odyssey putter staffer, McNealy is free to play any 13 full-shot clubs that he desires. McNealy has always preferred a blade iron style with a longer blade length – ala Tiger Woods – so it’s no shocker to see him switch into the TaylorMade P-7TW iron head, co-designed by Tiger himself. What’s cool about the photo above is you can see that he originally had lead tape across the top portion of the head, but removed it and added weight to the bottom portion; in all likelihood, he still wanted the extra head weight, but also wanted a bit of extra launch and height. After all, it is a thin blade 3-iron we’re talking about, so it makes sense.

As for the rest of McNealy’s bag, he’s using a TaylorMade Qi10 driver, two Stealth 2 fairway woods (3HL and 7), a set of P-7TW irons (3-9), Titleist Vokey SM10 wedges (46, 50, 54 and 58 degrees), and he’s testing between his longtime Odyssey Toulon “Stanford MM” putter, and a new Odyssey Ai-One Milled “Stanford” black-and-gold putter.

He’s also using a Titleist Pro V1x golf ball, where he uses the “dot” while putting for visual focus, and the line for alignment on his tee shot.

McNealy is the type of gearhead that GolfWRX.com is all about; attention to detail, with a flair for style. He’s a pilot, too, which explains the Top Gun-inspired “Maverick” headcovers, and “remove before flight” headcover tag.

Check out McNealy’s full 2024 WITB here from the Cognizant Classic

2) Shane Lowry’s two heartwarming headcovers

Shane Lowry has two daughters.

One is named Ivy…

And the other is named Iris…

See what golf clubs are underneath Lowry’s family-oriented headcovers here.

3) Brandt Snedeker still has the Odyssey White Hot Rossie XG putter in the bag

He’s still got it!

But, let’s not get too excited, because on Wednesday, we also spotted Sneds with a Bridgestone TD-02 putter in the bag, which looks quite similar to his longtime gamer Rossie XG.

Snedeker certainly has a type when it comes to how his putter looks, doesn’t he?

Check out the rest of Snedeker’s 2024 WITB here

4) A prototype Swag Golf headcover

 

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A post shared by GolfWRX (@golfwrx)

It’s rare that “prototype headcover testing” happens on the PGA Tour, but that exactly what’s happening with Nick Hardy this week.

According to Swag Golf founder and CEO Nick Venson, Swag Golf is in the creation process of what the company is calling “Headcover 3.0,” which uses TPU welding and a support structure to create a three-dimensional look, and greater durability.

The new age of headcovers could be developing right in front of our eyes.

5) Tom Kim’s custom putter

I wrote in-depth about Tom Kim’s new custom putter over on PGATOUR.com’s Equipment Report this week, but below is a few snippets of what he had to say about the customized Scotty Cameron Tour-Only T5S mallet that he switched to recently at the 2024 Genesis Invitational:

“No, [it’s not worn down], they actually milled it out (the black paint) to make me feel like there’s less loft on it. Because it was black, the color change was stronger. I told them my center shafts all look too lofty. They look too behind [the face]. So what they did was – I had no idea they did it – but they shaved off the color so I could see less loft on it. It’s the same thing, it’s just a different color. It doesn’t make me feel like there’s a lot of loft on it.

“It’s a very, very unique putter. The head has been used before, but there’s a lot of details that people don’t really know. It’s a cool putter they made for me. The team did a great job back at home.

“Right now, it’s just helping me feel more connected with my upper body. I’ve always used a blade. I went to the center shaft a little bit before, but I’ve putted my best with a hosel in the back, and I just feel like it started to feel like I just couldn’t really feel it through the release itself.

“And, the start lines were a little shaky, so that kind of made me feel like everything was in front of me. [The center shaft] helps me just feel like the ball was starting straight on my line.”

See what GolfWRX members are saying about the putter in our GolfWRX Forums

6) Chris Kirk’s black Callaway Apex CB irons

We saw Kirk switch into Callaway’s Apex CB irons – which were the stock silver/chrome color – at the 2023 FedEx St. Jude Classic last year, but, we also know that Kirk prefers the look of black irons because they make the head look slightly smaller.

Well, it looks like Kirk is testing out some new black-colored Apex CB irons, which combine the forgiveness of the Apex CB iron head, with the “smaller looking” black colorway that Kirk prefers. He still had his old chrome versions in the bag on Wednesday, to go along with the new black models, so we’ll keep an eye on what irons Kirk decides to put in the bag come competition time.

Don’t be surprised if he switches this week, or sometime in the near future.

See what GolfWRX members are saying Kirk’s new black Apex CB irons here

7) Knapp wins with two drivers in the bag

We already covered Knapp’s two-driver setup on GolfWRX.com and PGATOUR.com, but I wanted to re-emphasize how popular it’s becoming that PGA Tour players are using both a driver and a mini driver, rather than a driver and a 3-wood. Adam Scott and Tommy Fleetwood also come to mind.

I’m not saying you should switch to a setup like this for yourself, but even Knapp says that the BRNR Mini driver is significantly easier to hit than a three wood. When pros say things like that, it’s a cue to amateurs to at least test out its merits for themselves.

8) Make the forums go crazy, Jake!

We’ve already covered a few putters in this story, but still, the Custom Putter of the Week Award goes to Jacob Bridgeman, who showed off his Scotty Cameron putter with a “commando” finish and three white alignment lines.

GolfWRX Forums members weren’t ready for this type of heat, and some even slapped the “NSFW” tag on the putter photos.

Don’t hurt ’em, Jake!

See what else the forum members are saying about Bridgeman’s custom Scotty here

9) Left-handed NFL quarterback Tua Tagovailoa’s right-handed golf clubs

Tua isn’t the first person ever to throw a football left-handed and play golf right-handed. Jordan Spieth is the same way. But, admittedly, it did throw me for a spiral when I first saw Tua swinging righty.

Too bad Tua can’t throw a spiral himself!

Sorry, that was a mean attempt at a pun. I’m a Giants fan, though, we can’t help it.

In terms of Tua’s WITB, he was gaming mostly PXG clubs, including a driver, fairway wood, irons, wedges, and a putter. He also had a Callaway Jaws lob wedge in the bag during the Wednesday Pro-Am, just to keep things interesting.

Something tells me the next time we see Tua on the golf course, he’ll be using a custom Miami Dolphins SuperStroke grip on his PXG putter.

And, with that cross-sport connection, we say goodbye to Palm Beach Gardens. We’ll see you next week in Orlando at Arnie’s Place for the 2024 Arnold Palmer Invitational. See you there!

Check out all of our photos from the 2024 Cognizant Classic here

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