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TOUR REPORT: 10 takeaways from a WILD week in golf equipment at Kapalua

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Like most vacationers aboard an outbound plane to Maui, I had mid-flight visions of Mai Tais, white sandy beaches, and achieving inner peace in the tropics. Even in my pre-paradise dreams I couldn’t convince myself that I’d learn how to surf, but getting lei’d didn’t seem out of the question.

As I sit aboard the return flight to reality, however, my brain is spinning. Not from an overabundance of delicious, ice cold, pineapple-laden Mai Tais, unfortunately, but from the chaotic couple days of golf equipment news at the 2023 Sentry Tournament of Champions.

Truth be told, I knew I was heading directly into the eye of the gear storm at the Kapalua Plantation Course this week, but I didn’t realize just how hectic it would be.

Buckle in for my 10 gear takeaways below as I attempt to recap all that went on in the gear world ahead of the 2023 Sentry Tournament of Champions at Kapalua in Maui.

See all of the photos from this week in Hawaii here!

1) Rahm and Xander make a Paradym shift

Callaway officially launched its new family of Paradym golf clubs this week and revealed full tech and retail information to the public. Among the early adopters at Kapalua were two of the tournaments favorites: Jon Rahm and Xander Schauffele.

Check out their new additions below:

Jon Rahm’s driver, 3-wood, and 5-wood

Jon Rahm’s mini WITB at Kapalua

Xander’s driver (and custom Odyssey Toulon putter)

Since they’re just Sharpie marker lines on the face, this is perfectly legal. Don’t worry, it’s not a Hideki situation here. Xander just prefers to see a bit more of the face.

More Xander photos here

2) Collin and Scottie go into Stealth 2 mode

Although TaylorMade hasn’t officially announced tech details, or the retail release of its new Stealth 2 products, that didn’t stop Collin Morikawa and Scottie Scheffler from making a quick switch into the new products.

Check out their additions below:

Collin Morikawa’s new TaylorMade Stealth 2 Plus (and the Stealth 2 Plus fairway wood he was testing)

More Collin photos here

Scottie Scheffler’s new Stealth 2 Plus driver and Stealth 2 fairway wood

Read about Scottie’s switch here

3) Justin Thomas takes it all the way back to middle school

JT put us all through a spin cycle in 2022 when it came to his custom Scotty Cameron mallet prototype putters. It felt like he was debuting a new 1-of-1 every week there for a while.

Well, it seems 2023 is going to be another year of putter entertainment from Thomas, who switched back into a Scotty Cameron 303 SSS Circle T blade putter that he first starting using in middle school (as first reported by Dylan Dethier from golf.com).

I repeat, JUSTIN THOMAS IS USING A PUTTER AT THE 2023 SENTRY TOURNAMENT OF CHAMPIONS THAT HE STARTED USING IN MIDDLE SCHOOL.

Such a cool throwback addition to the bag and yet another fascinating chapter in JT’s putter saga.

4) Cantlay goes blank

Rumors have been swirling about Patrick Cantlay leaving the PGA Tour to LIV his best life, but he assured the media this week that he’s staying put on the PGA Tour. I have no reason not to believe him, as he seemed very candid in his Tuesday press conference.

“Yeah, I think it’s because I haven’t been too vocal one way or the other,” Cantlay said. “So, I think that’s probably where it is. Guys, for the most part, seem like they’re pretty polarized on this issue, and I view it as it’s been a competition for top talent, like any other business. But I have no plans to do that as of now, which has been my stance for, you know, basically since the whole time.”

Amidst the rumors, Cantlay showed up to Kapalua with a blacked-out Vessel staff bag – rather than his usual Titleist staff bag – and a missing Hugo Boss logo from his hat.

Cantlay remains on a glove/ball/shoe deal with Titleist, but he’s no longer a full-time equipment staffer. He does, however, seem to have the same Titleist gear setup in the bag this week.

I’m just going eat some popcorn and continue to watch the Cantlay show unfold. Actually, when Patrick is in Hawaii, is it Cant-lei?

5) Mullinax (and Kisner) sign with Wilson

This week, Wilson finally confirmed one of the worst kept secrets in golf: Kevin Kisner, and Trey Mullinax, have signed equipment deals with Wilson for 2023. Kisner isn’t in the field this week, but Mullinax is in Hawaii giving his new Wilson setup a test run.

Click here for more info on the Wilson signings

6) Luke enLists new PXG irons

We don’t know exactly what’s different about Luke List’s set of PXG “0317 CB” irons, but we do know that List confirmed they are new in the bag for him this week. They are definitely milled, and they’re definitely cavity backs, but I’ll leave the rest up for reader speculation for now.

7) SuperStroke, Ping, and…McLovin!

Second place to only the Masters, Hawaiian colors and themes make for nearly perfect artistic inspiration to make awesome custom headcovers.

Who do you think won the headcover battle this week in Kapalua?

SuperStroke…

Ping…

Or…Odyssey?

8) Check out Tom Kim’s new look, and putter grip

Tom Kim broke out as a budding superstar last year thanks to his two quick PGA Tour wins and electric Presidents Cup performance. This year, it seems that he cashed in on his early success by signing a deal with Nike apparel.

It also appears that he re-upped his equipment deal with Titleist, despite rumors he may have been bolting elsewhere for a bigger check.

9) Sungjae Im focuses his Zenergy

Im, and the aforementioned Tom Kim, both switched putter grips into SuperStroke’s new Zynergy models, which offer slightly more grip on the lower hand, and a less-pronounced seam on the undercarriage. Im switched into a Zenergy 1.0 PT and Kim switched into a Zenergy Tour 2.0.

Also, a quick reminder that Lee’s Scotty Cameron Tourtype F-5 mallet is a heater.

10) Odyssey’s new White Hot wave

As I was perusing the Odyssey putter staff bag on the putting green at Kapalua, I started realizing something: ALL of the putters resting up against the golf bag are brand new. This week, Odyssey unveiled new White Hot Versa and Tri-Hot 5K putter models, with a slew of different hosels and sightlines.

While we don’t know just yet exactly what makes the designs different than previous models, we have confirmed one thing for certain: former Odyssey putter rep Joe Toulon has been promoted to Callaway’s PGA Tour Manager. Now that’s some White Hot industry gear news for you.

And with that, we say Aloha to Maui this week for the 2023 Sentry Tournament of Champions. We’ll see you next week at the Sony Open on Oahu for more gear news.

See all of the photos from this week in Hawaii 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.

3 Comments

3 Comments

  1. Eric Trump

    Jan 9, 2023 at 8:10 pm

    I as well played a $5k putter in middle school

  2. Erik Ugland

    Jan 9, 2023 at 1:22 pm

    New Paradigm driver looks fantastic from address. But fairway woods are weirdly round. Like actually circular. SMH.

    All the Stealth stuff also looks great from address, but I could do without the red face and the weird metal mechanicals on the back of the Plus fairways.

  3. Jack

    Jan 9, 2023 at 6:19 am

    Saw you in the Bahamas taking pictures for the Hero. Good frequent flier miles you’re racking up here.

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VRST Golf unveils new clothing line for 2023

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This week, a new golf clothing line was announced by VRST Golf.

The brand launched in 2021 and is a men’s apparel line that brings style and versatility to both the athlete and everyday man, where pieces can be worn for training to casually getting around town.

With the Golf season right around the corner, their first-ever golf collection brings modern style that can be worn on-course and off. You can find all of the available items here: VRST

VRST Golf offers versatile and trendy golf tops, bottoms, and layering pieces. The line provides styling options for the versatile golfer with gear that goes beyond the course. The collection is now available online and at select DICK’S Sporting Goods and Golf Galaxy locations and will be expanding to over 180 store locations by end of February.

Check out VRST’s launch video here:

 

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Odyssey Tri-Hot 5K lineup now includes mallets

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What you need to know: In January 2022, in the name of creating a blades with the MOI of mallets and forward CG, Odyssey threw everything at the wall with the Tri-Hot 5K family of blade putters: stainless steel, tungsten, 6061 aircraft grade aluminum. A year later, the company is bringing the same technology package to mallets with the Rossie and Seven models. The Tri-Hot 5K lineup now stands at seven putters (four with multiple necks).

2023 Odyssey Tri-Hot putters: Features and technology

Engineers applied the “Tri-Hot formula” utilized in blade putters in 2022 to move CG forward and raise MOI for a more forgiving mallet design — and a 5,000 IZZ inertia level (hence “5K”). Golfers will see improved speed and spin control, as well as consistency on off-center hits, according to the company, resulting in golf balls that finish closer to the hole when sub-optimally struck.

Stainless steel front: Odyssey touts the side-spin reducing capabilities of the 303 stainless steel hosel and face area for off-center putts. Tighter dispersion and putts that a more likely to go in results. Acting in a complementary fashion, the rear of the mallets are milled for tighter shape and weight tolerances that allows the CG to remain forward.

Tungsten front weights: Up to 120 grams of tungsten is positioned behind the face in the heel and toe sections of the putter heads. The resulting forward CG improves roll and increases inertia.

Interchangeable front weights: Available in 5, 10, 15 and 20 grams to dial in head weight and performance.

White Hot insert: 2023 Tri-Hot 5K putters add the iconic two-part urethane White Hot insert, which was originally developed using the same material as Callaway’s Rule 35 golf ball. White Hot, with its “firm but soft” properties has been a long-time favorite of Callaway staffers and recreational golfers. According to Callaway, “They’ve been asking for us to bring these technologies back and we’ve listened.” Can’t argue with that.

Stroke Lab shaft: The newest generation of Callaway’s multi-material Stroke Lab shaft features a shortened steel section and reduced weight (seven grams). Additionally it is stiffer. All of this leads to more stability and consistency.

Additional model details

Full lineup details — and who they’re for — including 2022 releases, via Callaway. 

One: A classically shaped heel toe weighted putter with a crank neck hosel creating moderate toe hang making it suitable for strokes that have moderate arc and face rotation

Two: A classically shaped heel toe weighted putter with a crank neck hosel creating moderate toe hang making it suitable for strokes that have moderate arc and face rotation. Less rounded than the One.

Three: A classically shaped heel toe weighted putter with a flow neck hosel yielding more toe hang making it suitable for strokes with more aggressive swing arc and face rotation

Double Wide (CH, CB): CH: A wide blade with a crank neck hosel yielding moderate toe hang making it suitable for strokes with moderate swing arc and face rotation. CS: Face-balanced center shafted wide blade making it suitable for strokes with minimal swing arc and face rotation

Triple Wide (DB, CS): DB: A face-balanced double bend wide blade making it suitable for strokes with minimal swing arc and face rotation. CS: A face-balanced center shafted wide blade making it suitable for strokes with minimal swing arc and face rotation.

Rossie: (DB, S): DB: A face-balanced double bend mallet suitable for strokes with minimal arc and face rotation. S: A mallet with a short slant hosel, suitable for strokes with arc and face rotation.

Seven (DB, S, CH): DB: A face-balanced double bend mallet suitable for strokes with minimal arc and face rotation. S:  mallet with a short slant hosel, suitable for strokes with arc and face rotation. CH: a mallet with a crank hosel, suitable for strokes with moderate arc and face rotation.

Pricing and availability

At retail: March 2, 2022

Price: $399.99

Standard grip: Odyssey Tri-Hot 5K Pistol

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Best players irons of 2023 – GolfWRXers discuss

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In our forums, our members have been discussing the best ‘Players’ irons of 2023. WRXer ‘odshot68’ kicks off the thread saying, “Looking to get a new set of players irons this spring and wondering what you guys like. Distance control is very important; I’m not a fan of irons with hotspots,” and our members have been selecting their favorites from recent releases 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.

  • noodle3872: “Titleist T100/T100S should be in the conversation.”
  • sadclevelandsports: “I love my T100s, but recently tried the new Cobra CBs, and they are just as high quality.”
  • edwelly: “I have been fortunate enough to have several nice sets of irons. A couple of Maura sets and, most recently, the Bridgestone J40s. Today I took out my new Srixon ZX5/ZX7s, and they are phenomenal irons. I cannot recommend those enough. “
  • KevCannon: “T100 should be on the shortlist to try.”

Entire Thread: “Best Players irons of 2023 – GolfWRXers discuss”

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